How to bet on football : A beginner’s guide to football betting

How to read football odds

Sport betting is more popular than ever in the UK, and leading the way is football with many bets placed up and down the country on the events which unfold.

But to be able to bet on sporting events you must be able understand the odds being offered to you and in this guide, we give you all the information you need to know to place a bet on football.

Football betting odds explained

How to understand betting odds? Odds are simply the likelihood of something happen in a particular sporting event, for example Harry Kane to be the top goalscorer in the Premier League this season.

Football betting has expanded over the years and rather than just betting on the outcome of a match, you can now bet on events occurring in a match e.g. the number of corners, fouls, goals.

Betting companies vary how they convey those odds and they can be expressed as either decimals or fractions.

Decimal odds

Decimal odds are considered by many punters and bookmakers as the easier format to understand, while fractional odds can cause problems if your mental arithmetic isn’t up to scratch.

Trying to work out the greater number between 15/8 or 7/4 can prove troublesome, however, it is much more straightforward to see that 2.50 is a bigger number than 2.45.

Calculating your potential winning is a lot more straightforward as well, as all you need to do is multiply your stake by the decimal odds.

For example, if you stake £5 at 2.50, your winnings will be £12.50

Fractional odds

Fractional odds take the format of 15/8 and 7/4 and while trying to work out your potential winnings may appear complicated, the simplest wait to work them out is by following this format:

How much will you win/how much you stake

When a team has odds of 4/1, they are perceived as the underdog and the likelihood of that team picking up a win is less likely. If you placed a bet on one you will have a higher payout, as you would expect.

For example, if you place a bet on a selection which has odds of 4/1, for every pound you place, you stand to win £4.

Odds-on selections tell you that the team is a strong favourite to win the game, for example 3/4 or 10/11.

If you were to place a bet on an odds-on selection your return will be less as it is deemed more likely to happen.

So, if you place a bet on a team which is 3/4 to win, for every £4 you place, you stand to win £3.

American Odds

As the title suggest these are more common in America. They start either with a positive or a negative sign, e.g. -110, or +120.

A negative number indicates the amount you must stake to make $100 profit (or the equivalent in your chosen currency) and a positive number indicates how much you might profit if you bet $100 (again, this would be the equivalent in your chosen currency).

A -135 favourite means you must risk $135 to win $100 from the sports book. So, you either lose $135 or win $100.

A +350 underdog means you risk only $100, but you win $350. You either lose $100 or win $350.

Betting odds Comparison

Here is a handy comparison table to look at the difference between decimal, fractional and American odds.


Decimal Odds Fractional Odds American Odds
1.01 1/100 -10000
1.1 1/10 -1000
1.4 2/5 -250
1.5 1/2 -200
2 1/1 (“evens”) (-)100
3 2/1 200
5 4/1 400
10 9/1 900
101 100/1 10000

How to calculate your football betting wins

When you place bets on the latest football matches, have you ever wondered how to calculate your potential winnings? Look no further than our instant bet calculator.

With our bet calculator you can work out how much profit there is on any potential winning bets, as well as looking at all the different types of bets you can place and their potential returns depending on the stake and whether the bet placed is each way or not.