All sports gamblers would do well to test out betting odds calculators—particularly if they plan, or already are, placing wagers across different markets that deal in various currencies and, more notably, the presentation of event lines.
These tools are also useful if you're looking to calculate returns on parlay betting and arbitrage wagers. However, their main function is to explain and convert different types of betting odds so you don't get confused when investing in certain lines.
Don't worry if you've never used this little helper. We've got you covered if you continue scrolling.
Our betting guide contains several pages in order to make you understand the betting world.
Different Types of Odds
These are the most common forms of betting lines. Pretty much every online sportsbook prefers to roll with the American odds format. Even if they don't, their servers can often detect your location, and if you're in a territory that predominantly uses American odds, this will be how all the event lines you see are presented.
Reading them is pretty straightforward. They're written in the form of "-100" and "0." For negative odds, you're simply calculating the difference between the provided number and "100." Once you have that, you'll know how much money you must risk in order to win $100. Let's say you have a -250 betting line. In this case, the difference between -250 and 0 is 250. So, for this event, you'll need to wager $250 in order to make a profit of $100.
On the flip side, let's say you're dealing with a +250 moneyline. For positive odds, you're simply seeing the amount of money you stand to win for every $100 you bet. In this instance, each successful $100 wager will result in a $250 profit.
Decimal odds are also incredibly easy to interpret once you get the hang of them. As the name suggests, they're presented in a decimal format: 1.00, 1.50, 2.75, etc. These odds represent the amount for every $1 wagered.
So, if you're placing a bet on an event with decimal odds of 2.50, you're looking at a payout of $250 for every $100 you invest—or a profit of $150 total.
Fractional odds are easy to identify, though not as simple to calculate. These are all presented with slashes, such as 3/2, 5/2, 1/1, and all that. When odds are written in this format, they tell you how much cash you can win on your bet in comparison to your stake.
It sounds a little confusing, but it just takes a little practice. The number on the left shows you how much you stand to win, while the number on the right tells you how much you'll need to wager. By this measure, for an event with 5/4 fractional odds, you'll win 125 percent of your initial investment. If that's $100, you'll profit $125, for a total of $225 in winnings.
Many sports bettors won't come by implied odds too often. These lines are essentially traditional American odds converted into percentages. And while many of the other line types can be calculated manually without much issue, these are more complicated.
Implied odds do not account for the "juice". In other words, investing in a +100 line, which has a 50 percent implied probability, doesn't mean you'll successfully hit 50 percent of the time. It instead means you would need to win half your bets to break even.
Why Use a Betting Odds Calculator?
Betting Odds Conversion
The absolute best part of a betting odds calculator is its conversion. It takes whatever odds you input and then relays them in all the most common forms.
Just for kicks, let's assume you're looking at the latest NFL odds and decide to take the New England Patriots at +575 to win the upcoming Super Bowl. If you plug this into a betting odds calculator, you'll get a return along the lines of the following:
- American Odds: +575
- Decimal Odds: 6.75
- Fraction Odds: 23/4
- Implied Odds: 14.81 percent
This is super useful if you're someone who, in this case, is used to fraction odds but looking at a sportsbook that only provides lines using American odds. Rather than having to figure it out in your head—which, are you really figured out 23/4 in your head?!?—the proper presentation is right there in front of your face.
But the benefits to betting odds calculators don't stop there...
Any betting-odds calculator worth its salt will not only convert different lines, but it will tell you how much you stand to win based on how much you wager.
Time for another hypothetical. You've decided to parse recently updated NBA Odds and want to bet on the Los Angeles Lakers to win the next title. The problem is, everything is listed in American odds and you're used to decimal or implied odds, so you have no idea how far your $500 will go on the Lakers' +750 championship line. That's when you can punch the information into the betting odds calculator, and it will output something like this:
- American Odds: +750
- Decimal Odds: 8.50
- Fraction Odds: 15/2
- Implied Odds: 11.76 percent
- Bet Amount: $500
- To Win: $750
Just like that, you don't even really need the converted lines—though you'll still have them. You'll instead know that a $500 bet on the Lakers to win the title could net you $3,750 in profit.
The easiest to use betting calculators will even sum up the total potential winnings for you—the initial investment plus whatever profit you stand to gain. In this example, your entire return would be $4,250: The $500 you put down on top of the $3,750 you stand to win.
Betting Calculators and Parlays
Sometimes, people don't need betting calculators as an odds converter specifically. They don't plan on placing wagers in different markets and don't have to worry about coming across decimal or implied odds when they traffic exclusively in American lines.
That's all well and good. You may never need to use an odds converter when submitting single-event wagers. You can easily calculate the risk and reward or just know it by memory, since so many sports use repetitive odds when it comes to games or futures outcomes.
What about when you want to place a parlay bet, though? Well, this changes everything. You may need a parlay odds calculator. These handy tools allow you to select an odds type and build out mock parlays before spitting out everything you need to know about how much you'll win based on how much you'll bet.
For our purposes, let's say you're shopping around the latest MLB odds and want to parlay the winners of all six divisions. Your theoretical budget is $100, and you're taking the following teams and their American odds price points: New York Yankees (+150), Chicago White Sox (+225), Houston Astros (+125), Miami Marlins (+300), St. Louis Cardinals (+100) and Los Angeles Dodgers (-150). Calculating your return based on a $100 investment is impossible on your own. If you plug all the individual lines into a parlay betting odds calculator, though, you'll receive some variation of the following instantly:
- Bet Amount: $100
- To Win: $24,275.00
- Total Payout: $24,275.00
See how easy that was? It saves you a ton of time. And while many online sportsbooks have these calculators on your bet slip, this is a great way of discerning payouts if you don't want to built or ticket or simply haven't registered with a bookie just yet.
How Do You Find a Betting Odds Calculator?
This is the easiest question we'll answer. Simply put: Betting odds calculators are everywhere.
Most sportsbooks, as we already mentioned, will have them built into their bet slips. That said, you don't need to use them. A quick Google search for "betting odds calculator" will do the trick. And if you need a parlay betting calculator, simply adjust the search to those terms, and a whole host of options will pop.
With this in mind, make sure you avoid any odds and payout calculators that ask you to register for anything. They should be free and open to everyone—again unless you're on an actual sportsbook. If you run into an access issue, where you cannot use it without making an account or inputting certain personal information, just head back over to Google and find another option.