Decimal Odds in Sports betting – How to read and use them

how to bet on sports

One of the first things you’ll learn in sports betting is the type of odds used. In that regard, there are three systems of odds; fractional, American, and decimal odds. The latter will be our focus for this article. They are the most common outside of the United, and for many, the most intuitive odds.  

What are Decimal Odds? 

Decimal odds show the total return for every $1 wagered for a particular line. Thus, they’re usually a decimal number, like 1.4 or 2.5. This is similar to fractional odds but different from American odds, which show the total return for every $100.  

How Decimal Odds Work

The underdog will have higher odds than the favorite. Normally, underdog decimal odds go beyond 2.0, while favorite decimal odds stay below 2.0. So, if team A has 2.1 while team B has 1.4, A is the underdog while B is the favorite. 

To calculate your payout, all you have to do is multiply the odds by the amount you’re wagering. For instance, if you’re backing a team with 1.6 odds using $20, your payout will be $20 * 1.6, which is $32. This translates to a profit of $32-$20, which is $12.  

Why are Decimal Odds Widely Used?

Decimal odds have several advantages over other types of odds;  

Easier to understand

Decimal odds are very easy to read and understand. There are no mental gymnastics needed to tell the underdog from the favorite. 

Easier to work out the return

Calculating the payout from decimal odds is very easy. All you have to do is multiply the amount you’re betting with the odds. This makes it easy to wager with very small amounts of money. 

How do you calculate decimal odds?

To calculate decimal odds from fractional odds, simply convert the fraction to a decimal. So, if you have 3/2 fractional odds, the decimal odds will be 1.5. 

It becomes a little more complicated with American odds. For positive odds; 

  • 1 + (American odds/100): Let’s say you have +150 odds. The decimal odds will be 2.5. 

For negative odds;

  • 1 – (100/American odds): So, if you have -125 odds, the decimal odds will be 1.8. 

Fortunately, you don’t have to do all these maths. Once you’re signed into your sportsbook, you can switch to decimal odds with a single button. 

Decimal odds vs Fractional odds

Decimal and fractional odds are quite similar. They represent the payout for every $1. So, calculating the payout is just a matter of multiplying the bet amount with the odds. Overall though, decimal odds are easier to use. 

Decimal Odds vs American odds

Overall, decimal odds are easier to understand than American odds. They’re also more convenient for people wagering with less than $100, which is the amount most American odds are based on. 

Final Take

Decimal odds come with several benefits over other odds. They are easier to read and make it easy to work out the payout. However, they are not the standard in the US.  


Dan Smullen

Hailing all the way from Dublin, Ireland, Dan Smullen has BSC. in the Sports and Exercise Sciences from the University of Limerick. He is data obsessed. In the past he has worked both as a video performance analyst and provided biometric performance testing and analysis for professional rugby teams. Dan is obsessed about helping the average punter become more successful at sports betting through the assistance of good sports betting data analysis. He has worked with over 200 journalists at multiple editorial teams in his previous role as Head of Search for the largest national news publisher in Ireland.

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