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[News] Football Betting 101- Odds and Markets Explained

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If you’re passionate about football and want to try your first kicks on sports betting, you should know a few things. Above all, knowing how to read different betting odds and how some basic betting options work is essential.

Fortunately, you don’t need to be skilled in math to follow the principles underlying betting odds or to calculate your payout potential. In this article, you’ll learn it all to follow better the latest Football Betting & Football Odds with Boyle Sports.

What Are the Odds?​

There are three main systems for writing betting odds, but all revolve around the same information: which side has more winning chances and the expected payout should the bet succeed. Each sportsbook is responsible for calculating its betting odds based on its mathematical formulas, statistics, and the house edge.

Sportsbooks are businesses just like any other and must be profitable to remain in the game. The bottom line is: the odds offered by sportsbooks never match the real mathematical probabilities of an event, thanks to the house edge.

There are mainly three ways of expressing betting odds:

American System​

The American system, or the “money line,” is based on whole numbers followed by a plus or a minus sign. The plus sign denotes the favorite and the minus sign denotes the underdog. The plus sign indicates how much you can win by wagering €100. (The €100 is just an example, but you can bet how much you want) For instance, odds like +150 show that you’ll receive €150 for each €100 you bet.

The minus sign shows how much you must bet to receive €100. So, if a side has odds of -150, you’ll need to bet €150 to receive €100. As you can see, you are betting less to win more on the underdog and betting more to win less on the favorite.

Decimal System​

This system uses two decimal numbers, like 2.00 or 1.50. It’s a very straightforward system, and you must multiply your bet by the decimal odds to find your projected payout. For instance, if you bet €20 on a side with odds like 2.00, you can expect to receive €40 back if your bet succeeds. This system is commonly found in European sportsbooks.

Fractional System​

Fractional odds, as the name implies, are expressed by fractional numbers. Those numbers represent your potential winnings according to the value of your bet. If you see odds like 7/1, you’ll win €7 for each €1 you wager.

Conversely, odds like 1/7 mean that you’ll need to risk €7 to win €1. So, fractional odds where the number on the left is higher than the number on the right show who’s the favorite.


Several betting markets, or betting types, are available for every football match. While some options are complicated and require considerable knowledge, others are pretty straightforward. Below are the most common betting markets that you will see often.

  • Match Winner: choose the winner of the match.
  • Outright / Futures: it’s a long-term bet where you choose the winner of a championship, league, or tournament
  • Over/Under: choose whether the score will be above or under the score the house indicates. You may see suggested scores like 2.5 goals to prevent draws, as there is no way to score half a goal. If there is no .5 and the total number of goals is the posted total by the sportsbook, then it is a push and you get your original stake back.
  • Handicap: when teams are uneven, the underdog receives extra goals, usually 1.5, before the match starts. If the favorite wins the match but stays under the handicap in the end, the underdog is considered the winner of the match. Conversely, if the favorite goes over the handicap, they are the winning bet.
  • Draw No Bet: you receive your wager back if the game results in a draw.

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