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American Odds

American Odds

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Sadonna Price
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How To Read American Odds
How To Calculate Winnings With American Odds
How To Convert American Odds

Sports betting odds can be represented in several ways, but the most commonly used format in the US is American Odds.

American odds also go by the name moneyline odds or US odds, and the easiest way to tell such odds is through the +/- sign that precedes a value—for example -110 or +400.

Since most US sportsbooks use American odds, you must understand how to read such odds since the likelihood of you interacting with them is extremely high.

Seasoned bettors may be used to American odds, but new sports bettors may be confused by this representation and may not know how to read and interpret these odds. If you’re one such bettor, fortunately, you’ve landed on the right page.

Read on to leearn everything regarding American odds.

How Can I Read American Odds?

American Odds always have either a +/- sign in front of the numerical value.

When dealing with odds that have a negative sign, just know that those odds represent the favorite team (except in situations such as point spreads where both sides usually have the same odds).

Negative odds show you how much money you need to wager to win $100.

For example, let’s say that the odds of the Lakers winning their upcoming game is -250. This means you need to place $250 on them to win $100.

So if the Lakers win, your total payout will be the amount won, $100, plus your original stake, $250, which totals to $350.

On the other hand, odds with a positive sign typically represent the underdogs and show you how much you’ll win if you were to risk $100.

For example, let’s say that the Bucks are priced at +200. This means that if you were to wager $100 on them and they won their upcoming game, you’d win $200, which would give you a total payout of $300 after the bookies add your original stake.

As you can see, American odds focus on winning or risking $100, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t bet other amounts. You can scale your bet however you like.

To simplify things for yourself, you can calculate via single dollar amounts instead of a $100 bet.

In our example with the -250 odds, just know that every $2.5 risked will win you $1. In the other example with the +200 odds, every $1 staked will win you $2.

We’re still going to show you other ways of calculating your winnings down below.

Calculating Winnings With American Odds

As you continue placing bets, you’ll slowly become used to the calculations involved.

Eventually, it will reach a point where you’ll know how much you’re going to win just by looking at the odds without involving any calculations.

For now, you can utilize several alternatives if you want to calculate your winnings. Most bookies will calculate your winnings automatically.

Alternatively, our odds converter will calculate your winnings for you!

You can also calculate your winnings on your own by using a number of formulas.

If you’re betting on a favorite, you can use the following methods:

Method A: Calculating your stake by using the amount that you want to win.

In this scenario, your main focus is the amount that you want to win, so you can freely adjust your bet amount to ensure that you end up pocketing a certain amount. So let’s say that the Lakers have odds of -250 and you want to win $50. Simply use the formula below:

Amount You Want To Win × (Favorite’s Odds/100)

$50 × (250/100) = $125

So if you want to win $50 with the above odds, you’ll need to stake $125. Note that when you’re calculating negative odds, you should always drop the (-) sign.

Method B: Calculating the amount that you’ll win if you bet a specific amount.

In this method, you have a fixed stake. So all you want to know is how much that fixed stake will yield if you were to use it to place a bet.

So let’s say that the Lakers still have odds of -250, but this time you only have $50. To know how much you’ll win, simply employ the following calculations:

Bet Amount × (100/Favorite’s Odds)

$50 × (100/250) = $20

So a $50 bet on odds of -250 will win you $20.

On the other hand, if you’re betting on the less favored team (the team with positive odds), you can use these simple methods:

Method A: Calculating the amount you need to risk to win a specific amount.

Here, you are mainly focused on winning a certain amount. So let’s say that the Bucks have odds of +250 and you want to win $80, you’ll simply use the following method:

Amount You Want To Win ÷ (Underdog’s odds/100)

$80 ÷ (250/100) = $32

So you’ll need to bet $32 on odds of +250 if you want to win $80.

Method B: Calculating the amount that you’ll win if you bet a specific amount.

Again, you have a specific amount that you want to bet, but you don’t know how much you’ll win from that stake. So let’s say that you still want to bet on the Bucks, but this time you have a fixed $50 stake. The team has odds of +250. Simply use this formula to know how much you’ll win:

Bet Amount × (Underdog’s odds/100)

$50 × (250/100) = $125

So if you placed $50 on a team that has odds of +250, you’ll win $125.

Moneyline & Point Spreads

You’ll notice that American odds are used on every popular bet option. However, their application varies slightly depending on the type of bet.

Here are the two main ways that American Odds are used:

  • On their own with bet options that have no lines. For example, moneyline bets. In this scenario, you just need to pick the winner.
  • On bet options like point spreads and totals, both of which have lines. In such a scenario, the odds are usually standard, but the lines are what determine whether a bet will win or lose.

American Odds In Moneyline Bets

Let’s take a game with the following odds:

Green Bay Packers – 160

New England Patriots +350

Since this is a moneyline bet, you just need to pick the team that you think is going to win. If the team wins, your winnings will be based on the odds that the team had.

If you pick the Packers, every $1.6 staked will win you $1. If you pick the Patriots, every $1 will win you $3.5. The table below will help simplify this further.

TeamOddsBet amountTo Win
Green Bay Packers-160$1.6$1
New England Patriots+350$1$3.5

So if you placed a $25 bet, here’s how much your bet could yield:

Your BetBet amountFinal ScoreWinnings
Green Bay Packers -160$25Packers 30, Patriots 24$15.63
New England Patriots +350$25Patriots 30, Packers 24$87.50

American Odds In Point Spreads

Unlike the above option, point spreads and over/under bets always have a line. So in such cases, the odds will still show you how much you need to wager, but the line is what will ultimately decide your bet.

Let’s take a game with the following spread:

Green Bay Packers -6.5 (-110)

New England Patriots +6.5 (-110)

If you pick the Packers with the above spread, every $1.10 you place will win you $1; however, they need to defeat the Patriots by 7 points or more.

Alternatively, if you pick the Patriots, every $1.10 will also return the same $1. However, in their case, your bet will only win if they don’t lose by more than 6 points.

So if you wager $25, your return could look like this:

Your BetBet amountFinal ScoreWinnings
Green Bay Packers +6.5 (-110)$25Packers 31, Patriots 24$22.73
New England Patriots -6.5 (-110)$25Patriots 24, Packers 30$22.73

You’ll notice that in point spreads and totals, most of the odds will be -110. This is because such bet choices tend to even out things, but the book adds around a 10% commission, hence the -110 value.

If there was no such commission and the book was offering you fair odds, you’d likely be getting such bets at odds of +/-100.

Converting American Odds

Odds can also be represented in two other formats, namely decimal odds and fractional odds.

Some books will let you choose your preferred format, which is a very handy tool if you’re accustomed to a certain format.

If you wish, you can also convert American odds to one of the other formats by either using an online odds converter or by using simple mathematical formulas, such as the ones we’ve listed below.

American Odds To Decimal Odds

To convert positive odds to decimal odds, simply use this formula:

(US odds/100) + 1 = Decimal Odds

For example, let’s say you want to convert odds of +300.

(300/100) + 1 = 4.00

On the other hand, to convert negative odds to decimal odds, simply use this formula:

1 + (100/US odds) = Decimal Odds

For example, let’s say you want to convert odds of -250. First, drop the negative sign, then follow the formula. This will give you:

1 + (100/250) = 1.40

American Odds To Fractional Odds

If you want to convert positive odds to fractional odds, simply just divide the odds by 100. So odds of +400, when converted to fractional odds, are 4/1 (400/100 = 4/1).

On the other hand, if you want to convert negative odds to fractional odds, you’re going to do the inverse of the previous calculation. So instead of dividing the odds by 100, you’ll divide -100 by the odds.

So -400 when converted to fractional odds becomes 1/4 (-100/-400 = 1/4).

Final Take On American Odds

Most US sportsbooks use American odds by default. Therefore, accustoming yourself to this odds format is essential since you’re going to interact with American odds a lot.

Although they may seem confusing at first, you’ll realize how fast and convenient they are after you get used to reading sports betting odds.

Thirsty For More Betting Knowledge? Check Our Gambling Education Hub.


About the author

For almost two decades, Sadonna has remained at the forefront of the gambling industry in the US and abroad, covering the latest news and legal update...

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