Odds Display Modes

Odds Display Modes in betting

If you were to browse all the top betting sites then you will likely notice a range of different formats of the odds being displayed. Almost all bookmakers will offer a variety of formats for how they display the odds to punters, knowing that different customers will have alternate preferences.

They may appear confusing and unclear and so in this article we will discuss the different options available and explain what they mean.

Different Types of Odds

There are four main methods in which bookmakers will display the odds on their websites. It is useful for bettors to gain knowledge of all four so that they can then compare and contrast odds available from different betting sites who display their odds in various formats. This will allow you to work out where the best value is, which of course will help you make the most profit from your betting strategy.

There is a wide range of reasons why different bookmakers or punters will prefer a specific odds format. These will include user familiarity, nationality, what type of exchange or bookmaker it is or the nature of the sport in which you are betting on.

Being able to transfer odds from one format to another is a useful skill to have nowadays. Once you have read through this article and the relevant examples, you should have a good grasp of the four main odds formats and this will then allow you to make an informed decision on which site is offering the best odds. You can also find useful tools online that will convert these for you and many bookmakers will provide odds in several of the following formats, but you cannot underestimate the importance of understanding them for yourself when quick in-play bets are required. 

Betting Odds as a percentage

Displaying betting odds as a percentage is not one of the most common methods of showing potential returns, however, several bookmakers and betting sites will offer this method, so it is worth looking into so you can understand the format.

It is quite peculiar that the percentage method isn’t more commonly used as it essentially displays the implied probability of a specific outcome better than any of the other formats. One of the reasons it is likely not more commonly used is due to the difficulty in quickly comparing it with other formats.

Calculating the return when using percentage odds is done by initially converting it into decimal odds before multiplying it by the bet placed. This can be done using the following formula.

Below we will look through an example of how an example of percentage odds may play out.

Montreal Canadians to beat Winnipeg Jets by 2 goals: 15%

To calculate your overall return from a C$20 stake:

(100 / 15) x C$20 = C$133.33

This return will also include your stake, so your actual profit would be C$113.33.

What are decimal odds?

Decimal odds are among the most popular across the globe and are extremely popular in Canada. Why are they so popular? Well, their simplicity and clarity will certainly be a factor. They are unbelievably easy to read and a lot of information can be taken from them despite their basic layout. Their popularity has made them the default odds display with many betting sites across the world. As they are one of the most common methods of displaying odds, it also makes them extremely comparable with other sites. You can flick between specific bookmakers who use the same default odds display and quickly learn who is offering the best value odds. There is no need to calculate or translate them from one format to another.

The decimal odds format displays the potential return of a bet including the stake placed. Calculating the potential return when using decimal odds is very simple. All you need to do is multiply the amount you wish to bet with the decimal odds on display.

Let’s take a look at how that might play out in a real life example.

1x2 Odds

To work out the potential return on a C$100 stake on Toronto FC victory, you would follow the simple calculation:

1.90 x C$100 = C$190

Likewise, for the same stake on Montreal Impact to win, it would be:

3.70 x C$100 = C$370

With decimal odds the returns also include your stakes, so the profit for the above two examples would be C$90 (C$190 – C$100) and C$270 respectively (C$370 – C$100). 

What are fractional odds?

Fractional odds are hugely popular in the United Kingdom and Ireland and are commonly seen on markets such as horse racing, but the relative difficulty in comparing them with other odds displays is making them less and less popular. However, many top sportsbooks will still supply the format on their website knowing that they are the preferred choice of many bettors.

They differ from decimal odds in that they show the amount of profit you would make if your bet were to be successful relative to your stake. Also, unlike when using decimal odds, fractional odds are displayed with either a forward slash ( / ) or occasionally with a dash ( - ). 

Fractional odds may be displayed as 9/1 or 7/4. If your end result is ‘odds on’ they will be displayed the opposite way around, so that it would then be 1/9 or 4/7. The lower the left hand side number, the more likely the result is to happen. On the flip side, the higher the number, the bigger the underdog and more chance there is of making a bigger profit.

To work out your profit you follow this simple equation:

Let’s look further into how this works in real life with the following example.

Super Bowl Winner

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 9/1

If you were to place C$100 on the Buccaneers to win the Super Bowl and the result came in, your return could be worked out with the following:

9/1 = C$100 x 9 = C$900. This is your profit. To add your total return, you will need to add your stake back in. C$900 + C$100 = C$1000.

What are American odds?

American odds, commonly referred to as money line or US odds, are represented with either a positive or negative number. If the number is negative it represents what you must stake in order to make C$100 profit, while a positive number shows how much profit you might make if you staked C$100. It’s important to remember that you do not need to stake the full C$100 when using this method, it is just a sample so you can see what the likely profits are. You can bet more or less and this will then be shown in your profits as a percentage of the amount you have staked.

You can work out how much this will be based on the following two equations:

To show this in a working example:

Let's look at the calculations for how much a C$20 stake would return on a Maple Leafs victory:

(100 / 213) x 20 = C$9.38

Now, if we look at the reverse and calculate a C$20 stake on the Senators winning, we will get the following:

163 x (20 / 100) = C$32.60


Different bookmakers will display odds in varying formats depending on the location and preference of the majority of their customers. All will display the potential return and therefore the likelihood of a specific result, but these will look very different to one another. Nowadays many betting sites will offer odds in a range of formats, and you can easily switch your preferences in the website settings. However, not all bookmakers provide this service, so it is worth familiarising yourself with how each of the Percentage, Decimal, Fractional and American odds work, and how to then calculate your potential return when using each method.

Betting Odds Display Modes - FAQ

Do bookmakers feature all odds display modes?

No. Most bookmakers will have a default method of displaying their odds and provide one or two other options. It is therefore important that you understand how each display works and how you can calculate your potential return.

Why do different betting sites display odds differently?

This will depend on the location of the betting site, the type of sport, and the method historically used by that area of the world. People from the UK and Ireland are more likely to use fractional odds, Americans are likely to use American odds, while Canadian’s are more likely to use decimal odds.

Will my betting return include my stake?

It depends on what odds format you are using to work out your return. Some of the calculations will show your return including the stake, and some will just show your profit and you need to add your stake back in. This article shows you all the details on each of the main formats.