Fixed odds betting is one of the most common types of sports betting around the world. Most sports books offer these types of odds on just about every sporting event imaginable, and, fortunately, they are easy to explain.
When you place a bet on a betting price, you bet on odds that are fixed. If you take on a futures bet, for example, you are most likely dealing with fixed odds (like if the Houston Texans are 100/1 odds to win the Super Bowl next year).
It’s a way of evening things out for the bettor and bookmaker. If we stick with the example from above, the chances of the Texans actually winning the Super Bowl are not very strong. More likely than not, one of the other 31 teams will win the championship.
In the United Kingdom, most betting lines are given in fractions. In fractional odds, the potential gain is on top of the amount that a bettor must wager. So, if you are betting $100 on 4/1 odds, you win $400 if you win the bet.
If the odds are particularly high on something, the fraction will be flipped. It will still be the potential gain on top of the amount wagered, but the payout will be far smaller. If the Patriots are expected to win the Super Bowl, they could have 1/3 odds, for example. That means you would have to bet $3 just to win $1. In other words, it is hardly a bet worth placing, as the wager far outweighs the potential winnings.
1/1 odds mean there is a 50/50 chance of either team in a given game coming out with a win.
While we typically see fraction odds or moneyline odds (more on that later) in the U.K. and in America, decimal odds are more common in other European countries as well as Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
The concept is the same as with fractional odds, the only difference is the presentation. Rather than displaying the potential winnings above or below the wager, decimal odds are essentially just a way to calculate your winnings.
As an example, if odds are listed at 3.0, your return will be three times your wager. If the odds are 3.5, your winnings will come out to three-and-a-half times the amount of your bet.
The moneyline will often appear next to the spread and implied total when you look at a bet on paper or on your computer screen. These kinds of odds are most common in the United States.
We can use Super Bowl LI as an example of what to look for. The New England Patriots are listed as three-point favorites and the game has an implied total of 59 ½. In between those two figures you will see the moneyline. The moneyline on New England is -160, while the Atlanta Falcons are at +140.
What does this mean?
When you are betting on the moneyline, you are betting on a team winning a game outright. The odds attached to each team indicate their likelihood of actually winning the game. The Patriots are favored in the previous example, so they have the more favorable moneyline odds.
You do not need a point spread in order to tell which team is favored. If one team has a negative (-) symbol and the other has a positive (+) symbol, the team with the negative symbol is favored.
In the example we used above, you would need to bet $160 on the Patriots just to win $100 back. Betting that same $100 on the Falcons and winning would give you $140 in return.
It is possible for both teams to have a negative symbol next to them. This means neither team is heavily favored, but more often than not one team will have slightly better odds. Still, you are obviously betting on which team you think will win if you are putting money on the moneyline.
Seeing a moneyline of +400 is the same as seeing the fractional odds 4/1. If you see a moneyline of -400, it is the equivalent of 1-to-4 odds.
With a spread bet, you are largely gambling on margin of victory for one team. If you think a favored team has an excellent chance of winning a game by a certain amount or more, you place that bet. On the flip side, if you think an underdog has a good shot at winning or at least keeping it close, you can take that chance.
With fixed odds, nothing about the final score matters except for which team winds up winning. The odds are on nothing except for the outcome of the game. It doesn’t matter if the Patriots win a game by one point or by 50 points. If you place a bet on them winning and they win, then you win, as well.
It’s a simpler form of betting on sports than spread betting. It’s an easier path to take, especially if you are relatively new to sports betting.
In addition to the bit above that explains how using fixed odds simplifies things, there are a few more aspects to look for: you’re essentially assured of everything. You determine how much you want to bet, and you know that if you pick the correct outcome, you will win some cash regardless of point differential.
Unless you happen to place a bet on a sport that can see a tied result (like soccer), you are also assured of an outcome. A bet is nullified whenever a spread bet “pushes”, but there are no pushes with odds that are fixed. Either you win or you lose, there is no in-between.
Taking the underdog on a moneyline bet will always be the more appealing option from a financial perspective. Upsets happen all the time in sports, and obviously the payout is far greater if you pick the underdog and win than if you pick the favorite and win.
Clearly, you need to pick your spots here. If you are thinking of picking the Phoenix Suns to take down the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, that’s probably not the smartest use of your cash. Still, there is a reason gambling is difficult. The bookmakers do more homework than anybody, and a bettor is going do have to do their fair share if they think they can beat the moneyline.
Nailing an underdog pick certainly yields a superior profit, but be smart about it.
Betting on fixed odds is an easy way to get in on sports betting, particularly if you are a newcomer. There are few surprises, and you know exactly what you are getting yourself into when you place a wager.
Rather than dealing with the complexities of spread betting, this form of betting allows you to simply enjoy the game rather than sweating a certain team winning by a certain number of points.