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A Guide to Decimal Odds

If you’re from the UK then you may have only ever encountered fractional odds when it comes to sports betting. Head down to your local bookmakers shop and the screens will be plastered with fractions. The same applies to the stalls at your local racetrack. In fact to many who have never logged on to a betting exchange such as Betfair, decimal odds are completely alien.

Decimal odds might at first seem confusing.

Confusing? … Not for long!

Avid gamblers are quite stuck in their ways and despite many a discussion as to whether the UK bookmaker industry should bring decimalisation into the mainstream there is still no sign of it happening anytime soon. In comparison – across Europe decimal odds are favoured by most. Despite at times I can be a proud British man, on this occasion I think we’ve got it wrong. Why?

Because using decimal odds is so incredibly and easy.

It’s as simple as this: to work out your return on a bet just multiply the decimals odds by your stake. Let’s pretend we want to bet £10 on Manchester United to beat Chelsea and the bookmaker is giving us decimal odds of 2.75.

£10 x 2.75 = £27.50

Should the bet win get our stake back and this is accounted for in the calculated figure above. If we deduct our £10 stake from our £27.50 return it is clear to see that our profit in this circumstance is £17.50.

If you just want to calculate your potential winnings then we just deduct 1 (representing one whole stake) from the decimal odds. For example, going back to our £10 bet at 2.75 our calculation would be:

2.75 – 1 = 1.75

£10 x 1.75 = £17.50 profit.

I told you it wasn’t hard!

Working out potential winnings using fractions often makes my head hurt. The continued use of a fractional odds in the UK is a strange beast when you consider how precise and easy to understand decimal odds are. In fact, because I find calculating fractions so daunting I normally just convert them to decimals.

To work out the decimal odds from a fraction you divide the top figure by the bottom and figure and add 1. It sounds a bit tricky but it’s really not.

7/4 = 1.75 + 1 = 2.75

Fractional odds of 7/4 are identical to decimal odds of 2.75.

Easy! You now have the basic foundations in place to begin arbitrage betting and start taking advantage of bookmaker bonuses.

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  1. Gaz says:

    Huh? Is this a typo Ian?

    2.30 – 1 = 1.75

    £10 x 1.75 = £17.50 profit.

    I’m old school and have a mental block with decimal odds, but shouldn’t it say 2.75 – 1 = 1.75?

    What chance have I got with arbitrage betting…lol!