Understanding Fractional or British Style Odds

If you’re betting on sports in the UK or Australia you will come across fractional odds, sometimes called British-style.

This way of displaying odds shows the profit you win for your stake.

Fractional odds are displayed in the forms 2/1, 2-1 or 2:1 and would be pronounced “two to one” or often “two to one against”.

The first number of the odds represents a multiple of your winnings (or profit) should you win, while the second number represents the stake. So if, for example, you see 2-1 odds,  you would win double your stake.  Consider a two-horse race. One is the favorite with  odds of 2/1 and, the other one as an underdog, less likely to win. For this one the bookie offers higher odds of 5/1. If you bet £100 on the favorite and it wins you win £200. Alternatively,  if you bet £100 on the underdog and it wins then your profit is 5 x £100 or £500. Including your original stake you would receive £600 from the bookie.

We see this odds system all the time in the UK and Ireland. It is  commonly used in horse racing, dog racing and football.

Let’s say you were to bet £10 on a horse to win with the odds of 5-1. You would get back 5 x (£10) stake plus your original stake (£10) or £60.

If you were to bet £20 on a horse with the odds of 7/2 then you will receive from the bookie £20 x 7 times/2+£20 (stake) or £90.

Sometimes we’ll come across cases where the second number of the odds is bigger than the first. This is most commonly founded with favorites. An example is where the odds are 1-5 (pronounced “1 to 5 on”. Put simply, this means you need to bet 5 to win 1. To work out your winnings you multiply the first number with your stake and divide it with the second number. In the above case where the odds are 1-5, were you to bet 20 divide it by 5 and you get 4. This means that if you place a bet of £20 you will win £4. The total payout from the bookie being £24.

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