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IN-PLAY betting

IN-PLAY betting is the most exciting way to bet on your favourite sports.

You can place bets during events (games, races, matches etc), so you can react to what you're watching!

Combined with Live Streaming you're able to place bets on events worldwide - 24/7, 365 days a year.

Using Betting exchanges, you can bet for or against any given result!

Bet 365 best odds

Best Odds - guaranteed!

bet365 guarantee BEST ODDS on all horse races.

This applies to both early morning and board prices, so if you can find yourself a winner, bet365 will allow you to maximise your profits.

If you take an early morning price or the price showing at the time you put your bet on, you will get those odds at the very least.

Click here for more information on this offer - and the offer of a free bet up to £200.


From the trading floor - Steve Freeth

- World Cup 2014 tips

Who'll win the Golden Boot at the World Cup 2014?

With the World Cup just over two months away, now is the best time to get your ante-post bets on the top scorer for the competition - the Golden Boot wiiner.

In this article, we discuss the top contenders and look at a couple of outsiders who offer good value for early punters.

(Read more...)

How do betting odds work?

What are odds?

Odds are a way of showing 1) how likely something is to happen and 2) how much you'll win if it does happen.

How are odds shown?

Odds can be shown in different ways. In betting, the main forms of odds you'll see are:

BOOKMAKERS ODDS eg 7-1 (as used in sports betting)
DECIMAL ODDS eg 11.0 (used on betting exchanges)
PERCENTAGE eg 25% (shown as payouts in casino games)

To explain odds, we'll answer the two most important questions

How much will I win? AND What are the chances of it happening?

How much will I win?

Bookmakers odds

Bookmakers (or bookies) odds are shown as A-B ie 'For every B units you bet, you will win A units' (We'll call A the 'return' and B the 'stake') eg

3-1 : every 1 unit you stake will return 3 units
7-2 : every 2 units you stake will return 7 units
9-4 : every 4 units you stake will return 9 units.

Your stake is returned with your winnings, so your payout (ie the money you're given) is A / B x stake + stake

eg if you bet £100 on a horse whose odds are 9-4, your overall payout on a winning bet is 9 / 4 x 100 + 100 = £325

You'll sometimes hear of an 'Odds on' favourite. What this means is that the event is so likely to happen that the bookies have set the odds so that the return is less than the stake.

For example:

1-2 (or 2-1 ON) means you get 1 unit for every 2 staked
2-7 (or 7-2 ON) means you get 2 units for every 7 staked

Don't forget, though, that your original bet is still returned, so you still win overall.

Eg a £100 bet on a horse at 1-2 pays out £150 (1 / 2 x 100 + 100).

If this seems a bit confusing, try our Instant Bet Calculator and work out your winnings!

We've also included a section on different bet types (each-way, place and multiple (Yankee, Lucky 15 etc)

Decimal odds

With decimal odds, things are simpler as the figure quoted is the payout per unit staked. For example, for a £100 bet at Betfair,

7.0 pays out £700 (7.0 x £100 staked)
4.1 pays out £410 (4.1 x £100)
1.2 pays out £120 (1.2 x £100)

Remember, though, the great thing about Betfair is that it's an exchange (see our guide to betting exchanges). As such, Betfair are not an ordinary bookmaker - they don't set the odds. They allow bettors to choose whether to back or lay on an event, so you're effectively trying to outwit other punters. Great fun and very profitable if you know what you're doing. To help you get familiar with the exchange, they'll give you free £25 bet when you open your account.

Percentage odds

Percentage odds are an accurate way of showing how likely something is to happen (see below).

You'll most likely come across percentage odds when playing at casinos.

Casinos use percentages to show the odds of individual bets in a game, plus the overall payout rate for the casino. The closer the payout is to 100%, the more likely you are to win.

What will I win?

To see how much you will win for stakes of £1, £5 and £10, for each of the betting odds discussed above, have a look at our Betting odds comparison table (below) or simply use our Instant Bet Calculator.

Odds and probability

What are the odds of it happening?

If you choose a card at random from a standard pack (13 cards of 4 suits, no jokers), what are the chances of selecting a diamond?

There are 13 diamonds and 52 cards. So the chance of choosing a diamond is 13 chances out of 52 ie 1 in 4.

The easiest way to show this is as a FRACTION ie 1 / 4 - there are four possible outcomes and only 1 of them is a winner.

Another way to show this is as a PROBABILITY. Probability ranges from 0 (impossible) to 1 (certain). The card bet above would be shown as 0.25.

Bookmakers odds

In bookmakers odds, this would be shown as 3-1. You might think it would be 4-1. It isn't, because bookies odds show the chances against the event. As there are 3 cases where this bet won't win and 1 where it will, the odds are 3-1.

Decimal odds

In decimal odds, this bet would show as 4.0. Remember, in decimal odds, the number shown is the payout, not just the winnings. A £1 bet on this result would give you £4 (£3 winnings plus your £1 stake)

Percentage odds

In percentage odds, this bet would be shown as a 25% chance.

Betting odds comparison table

Bookies Odds Decimal Odds Percentage % Probability Returns (£1) Returns (£5) Returns (£10)
Odds On
1/2 1.50 67 0.67 £1.50 £7.50 £15.00
8/15 1.53 65 0.65 £1.53 £7.65 £15.30
4/7 1.57 64 0.64 £1.57 £7.85 £15.70
8/13 1.62 62 0.62 £1.62 £8.10 £16.20
4/6 1.67 60 0.60 £1.67 £8.35 £16.70
8/11 1.72 58 0.58 £1.72 £8.60 £17.20
4/5 1.80 56 0.56 £1.80 £9.00 £18.00
5/6 1.83 55 0.55 £1.83 £9.15 £18.30
10/11 1.91 52 0.52 £1.91 £9.55 £19.10
Odds Against
Evens 2.00 50 0.50 £2.00 £10.00 £20.00
11/10 2.10 48 0.48 £2.10 £10.50 £21.00
6/5 2.20 45 0.45 £2.20 £11.00 £22.00
5/4 2.25 44 0.44 £2.25 £11.25 £22.50
11/8 2.37 42 0.42 £2.37 £11.85 £23.70
6/4 2.50 40 0.40 £2.50 £12.50 £25.00
13/8 2.63 38 0.38 £2.63 £13.15 £26.30
7/4 2.75 36 0.36 £2.75 £13.75 £27.50
15/8 2.83 35 0.35 £2.83 £14.15 £28.30
2/1 3.00 33 0.33 £3.00 £15.00 £30.00
85/40 3.13 32 0.32 £3.13 £15.65 £31.30
9/4 3.25 31 0.31 £3.25 £16.25 £32.50
5/2 3.50 29 0.29 £3.50 £17.50 £35.00
11/4 3.75 27 0.27 £3.75 £18.75 £37.50
3/1 4.00 25 0.25 £4.00 £20.00 £40.00
100/30 4.33 23 0.23 £4.33 £21.67 £43.33
7/2 4.50 22 0.22 £4.50 £22.50 £45.00
4/1 5.00 20 0.20 £5.00 £25.00 £50.00
9/2 5.50 18 0.18 £5.50 £27.50 £55.00

To work out exactly how much you'll win on your bet, use our Instant Bet Calculator

Bookies odds

Why Bookies odds aren't accurate

The problem people have in understanding odds is trying to link the bookies' odds of a horse winning with its actual chances of winning. This is because bookies' odds are influenced by probability, but are not an accurate representation.

Bookmakers set their prices with two intentions: firstly, to attract money for outsiders; secondly, to minimise their losses should the predicted winner win.

Unlike the fraction examples given above, betting on a horse at evens does not mean that it has a 50% chance of winning. Remember that the bookie has set those prices.

The 'rake' for bookmakers - ie the amount of profit they expect on their takings - is around 25%. In other words, their payout percentage is around 75.

The advantage of bookies odds

The advantage with Bookies is that in most races the favourite will generally set off with odds better than 1 to 1. For example, in a race like the Grand National, the favourite - ie the horse most likely to win (in the bookies' opinions) - will often pay out at 9-1.

Casino games and sports betting are different propositions and the odds and payouts are calculated very differently. Remember that casino games have very few variables - the results always occur within predictable ranges.

With horse racing, lots of factors can affect the result; the weather or an illness to horse or jockey could have a major bearing on the outcome.

Successful sports betting

The key to successful sports betting is to understand that whereas casino betting is an exact science - a battle against long-term probability - betting on horses is far more random.

Bookies try their best to ensure they don't lose - and in the main they don't.

But those random factors will always throw up the opportunity for a good return on your bet. Successful punters know how to read the market and see where the odds don't quite match up to the likely outcome.

Fancy a flutter?

Now you know all about odds, why not try out your new-found skill with a little wager? To help you on your way, we've linked up with a few online bookies, all of which are happy to offer you FREE bets - up to £200 in some cases.

Check out the latest offers to the right hand side of this page.

Getting the best betting odds

How to get the best horse racing odds - guaranteed

The Best Odds guarantee was a unique selling point of bet365, until other bookies latched on to the concept! Now, in 2014, all the top online bookmakers are making the same guarantee.

The guarantee applies to both early morning and board prices, so if you can find yourself a winner, the bookmaker will allow you to maximise your profits.

If you take either an early morning price or a board price (ie the price showing at the time you put your bet on), then you will get that price at the very least. Sometimes horse prices decrease and sometimes they increase, but with this offer, you get the best of both worlds.

If you bet at 3 to 1, in the morning or off the board, and the odds decrease to 2 to 1, then you will still be paid out at 3 to 1. Alternatively, if the odds increase to 5 to 1, then you will be paid out at 5 to 1. Guaranteed! It's a great offer for both novice and experienced punters.

If you're looking for a new online bookmaker, click here for more information on the offers of free bets up to £200 for new customers.