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Article on Football Betting Prices explained

Understanding Football Betting Prices

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General football betting prices explained. To get the most out of football betting online, then you will of course, want to be fully conversant in reading football betting prices. This can also fall under the category of football betting basics. So, explained forthwith are the answers to some of the questions you may have been having about what prices really mean, what's the difference between fractions and decimal, how are they set and how do you make the most of them? Have more questions about football betting prices? Explained here is a guide to the odds you see at online bookmakers.

To explain football betting prices from the beginning, the basis of all football betting prices is down to probability. You are, for all intents and purposes, doing two things when you place a bet on a team to win a football match. Firstly you are backing a team to win, but more importantly at the same time you are betting on an event NOT to happen (i.e. the other team winning or the match ending in a draw). Let us take an Arsenal v West Ham match for example. First and foremost, online bookmakers determine prices on an event not happening, and that is when they "lay" a bet and post a price, in this case say Arsenal to win at a price of 1/4. While this is suggesting Arsenal will win, at the same time it is saying that West Ham are NOT going to win this match, and it is NOT going to end in a draw. As for the odds themselves, Arsenal would be clear favourites to win the game, and therefore the bookmakers don't want to lose money by setting generous odds on the Arsenal win, or else everybody would be backing them heavily and the bookmaker would be bankrupt. So then you, the punter have options. You either agree and risk a larger sum on Arsenal winning for a quarter of your stake in profit, or you can come along and back the bet by saying fine, I'll have £10 on the Hammers winning at say 6/1. The probability is that they won't, but the price is too enticing not to have a crack. The Hammers subsequently lose as expected, and the bookie is up £10 instead of you being up £2.50 if you had backed the Gunners.

This leads to the next question. How do you determine what the probability of an event happening or not happening is? Well this comes from reading the odds themselves. Basically the shorter the odds, the more likely something is to happen. What are short odds? Anything at lesser value than Evens (the odds at which two outcomes are equally probable) can be considered short odds. The shorter the odds, for example, Arsenal's price of 1/4, the higher probability is that that will be the outcome. But of course, if you have a very unlikely priced two horse race with one at 10/1 and the other at 5/1, then the 5/1 would be short odds even though it is still a very good price. It just means that the horse with the shorter odds has more of a likelihood of crossing the line first. Online bookmakers set prices based on the likelihood of outcomes happening against ones not happening, and that is represented in these football betting prices. Explained in general betting, is the point that you risk more on short odds generally, as you have to bet bigger in order to get the equivalent returns. For example, at the price of 2/1 a £10 bet would bring you £20 profit. Whereas a price of 10/1 would only take a £2 stake to reap the same rewards. But are you more likely to lose that £2 than the £10 stake? There you have to weigh up risks of loss and potential return.

Fractional odds

When you are wanting some football betting prices explained, then the likelihood is that you are looking at fractional odds such as 4/6, 3/1 and 41/40. What does it all mean? Well, "Evens" is the important benchmark in betting as all prices will fall either side of this focal point (Evens is where the profit gained will be exactly the same as your stake, so if you bet £10 you will win £10). To get a visual, remember back in physics class a see-saw perched on a triangular fulcrum. When it is perfectly balanced, then this is Evens, as both teams have an equal chance of winning. When a heavy favourite sits on one end of the see-saw though, they will drag their own side down below Evens, and at the same time will be raising the price of the underdog team at the other end. From the above example, if Arsenal and West Ham sat on the bench, Arsenal would be near to the ground, while West Ham would be kicking their legs in the air. With Arsenal being a strong favourite in this match, the odds of 1/4 represent very short odds. When the first number is smaller than the second number then you know that you are looking at short odds (and a favourite), and you are not getting great value in terms of profit. So let's take a quick look at how to read the figures of the two differing bets.

Example of a £10 bet on an Arsenal win at 1/4
£10 x 0.25 (which is the decimal conversion of the quarter fraction of the bet, so winnings would be a quarter of your stake) which brings a return of £2.50 profit.

Example of a £10 bet on an Arsenal win at 2/5
£10 x 0.20 (which is a fifth in decimal terms) x 2 (as these odds work out as your profits being two fifths of your original stake). So if you put £10 on the Gunners, then one fifth of ten is £2.00. Your bet is for two fifths, so that's £4.00 in profit for your £10 stake.

Example of a £10 bet on a West Ham win at 6/1
£10 x 6 = £60 profit.

One quick way to look at fractional bets in order to work out your returns, is to look at the second number and say that for every one of those, you will win one of the first number. For example, a 6/1 bet simply means that for every "one" you bet, you will get six back (whatever the "one" is in terms of your stake). So you bet £1 then you get £6 back. It is the same principle on a 1/4 bet, just this time, for every "four" you bet, you will only get one back. So you bet £4 to get £1 back as winnings. The first bet is obviously the more lucrative one, but has less chance of happening.

How do bookmakers come up with odds such as 2/5 in the first place? For all intents and purposes to get a quick idea of value, you can just break the fraction down in half, which equates to 1/2.5 which isn't a fraction and cannot be represented as so. But it gives a guideline as to what your winnings may be. To be more accurate, mathematics determines that the 1/2.5 fraction is expanded (doubled) up to odds of 2/5, and 2/5 lies somewhere in between Evens and 1/3.

Decimal Odds

This system is favoured more in Europe, and in ways it is a little clearer to see the profit margins. Instead of reading fractions, you just read decimal numbers related to a match in football betting. So, let's stick with the Arsenal v West Ham match and the same odds of 1/4 and 6/1 resepectively. In decimal odds, this would translate to:

Arsenal to win: 1.25
West Ham to win: 7.00

How is this worked out? The difference between the decimal odds and fractional odds, is simply that the decimal odds show everything you will get back as a whole. This means that included in the price are both winnings and the returned stake. In fractional odds, you only get to see your potential winnings. So, because a £10 bet on odds of 6/1 would bring £60 winnings + £10 stake, it would be represented in decimal odds of 7.00, which equates to a £10 x 7.00 = £70, otherwise the same amount. This is why, in decimal odds betting, Evens is represented as 1.00 because whatever stake you bet multiplied by 1.00 will give you exactly the same amount as your stake.

In ways it is quicker to see, because you know exactly what the bookmaker will be handing back to you, stake included. The odds and returns all come out the same, whether you are looking at it from a decimal or fractional point of view. Again, the higher the decimal odds, the more unlikely the event is to happen. When you look at odds like the Arsenal bet of 1/4 translated into decimal at 1.25, it looks more lucrative perhaps, but of course it is not. You are still betting at quarter odds, but the "1" simply represents the stake you would get back as well, which is not represented in fractional odds. So if you again you bet £10 x 1.25 = £12.50 which is winnings and stake all rolled into one.

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