With so many numbers appearing in different formats, betting websites can be overwhelming for the beginner. But as long as you can get to grips with a few simple mathematical ideas, it’ll all become a lot easier. This guide will show you how betting odds work.

## What are **betting odds?**

Odds are numbers that express how likely events are to happen. To illustrate this idea, here are the three possible outcomes of a football match for any team:

1. Win

2. Lose

3. Draw

All of these have different possibilities, probabilities, chances – or odds – of happening.

## How betting odds **work**

Betting odds are usually expressed either as fractions (e.g. ‘3/1’) or as decimals (e.g. 4.0). Fractions were traditionally used to bet on horse racing and were most popular in high street betting shops in the UK, before the advent of internet gambling.

As the web has become more popular as a place to bet, European decimal odds have become more commonplace. Moneyline, or American, odds are favoured by US bookmakers and punters, and are often expressed as positive and negative values (e.g. +250, -400).

While the differences may seem confusing at first glance, they’re simply different ways of expressing the same thing.

**How to read** betting odds

Once you understand betting odds and the differences between them, reading them becomes easy.