American odds are most popular in North American betting. You will find them used by UK online sportsbooks, but American odds are often used with sports typically played in the United States such as gridiron football, basketball, baseball, and ice hockey.

Oftentimes, you will see American odds used for NFL and NCAA gridiron football. The odds are displayed are a little complex, but once you learn how American odds work, they are easy to understand. American odds may not be as simple to understand as fractional or decimal odds, at least not straight away.

Once you get to know American odds, you may prefer using them for all of your sports betting needs. So, how do American odds work? Let's take a deep dive into the odds format to learn more.

How do American Odds work

Let us start off by stating that fractional or decimal odds are more common than American odds outside of the United States. It is handy to know and understand American odds. In fact, understanding sports betting odds of different formats is a great way to know more about sports betting.

In American odds, the format is based on winning or wagering £100. The key number in the odds format is 100. American odds also make use of minus (-) and plus (+) symbols to denote the favourite and underdog for a sporting event.

Let us use an example from the NFL to explain American odds. In our example, the Chicago Bears are playing the Dallas Cowboys. The Bears are the favourite according to sports bookmakers at odds of -130. The Cowboys are underdogs ahead of the game with odds of +500. The odds would look like this:

  • Chicago Bears -130
  • Dallas Cowboys +500

This is where American odds become a little more complex and a lot of it has to do with the negative or positive sign. The Bears are the favourite at -130. This means that if you must wager £130 on the Bears to win, and the bet is successful, you will win £100. Your total payout would be £230 (£130 stake plus a £100 profit).

The Cowboys are at +500 to win. Remember, the plus (+) symbol means that they are the underdogs. If you wager £100 on the Cowboys to win and the bet is successful, then you would win £500. Your total payout would be £600 (£100 stake plus a £500 profit).

What are American Odds?

American odds seem very complex, which they are until you have some practice with them. Of course, you don't have to wager £100 each time. The format simply works on £100 wagers. American odds are sometimes called moneyline odds. This is a name that is used interchangeably when wagering on sports.

How do you read American odds?

The important aspect to remember when reading American betting odds is to locate the positive odds and the negative odds. By locating the positive and negative signs, you quickly learn which team is the underdog and the favourite.

It isn't always clear which team is the underdog or favourite when it comes to fractional odds or decimal odds. Therefore, American odds make it easy to understand which team is the favourite to win by using a minus (-) symbol. Just glancing at the sports betting odds will give you a clear idea of which team is the bookies' favourite to win.

Once you understand which team is the favourite, you will know that you must wager the displayed figure to win £100. In the case of the underdog, you will win the displayed figure by wagering £100.

How Do you Convert American odds into Potential Winnings?

Let us take the above example between the Bears and Cowboys. The Bears are at odds of -130, which means they are the favourite. The figure is not the profits, but the stake you must wager to win £100. Therefore, a stake of £130 will win you a profit of £100. Always remember when betting on the favourite that the figure shown is the amount you must wager to win £100.

The Cowboys are at +500. If you wager on the underdog, you have the chance of winning £500 for a £100 stake. Your potential payout is £500, which is the figure shown by the sportsbook. The figure shown is the potential payout you will receive for a successful bet.

Do American Odds Calculate Probability?

American odds can be used to calculate probability. However, it isn't as easy to calculate as fractional odds or decimal odds. In moneyline odds, there are two formulas for converting the odds to probability. These formulas are based on whether a team is the favourite or underdog.

How Betting Odds Work

Betting odds can be confusing to many new bettors. It isn't clear to many newer bettors which team is the favourite or underdog. It can also be difficult for a new bettor to understand what good odds look like.

Understanding and calculating odds should be learned by anyone who makes sports bets. It will take a little time, but it will certainly pay off in the end. Oftentimes, new or inexperienced bettors just want to win as much money as possible from the smallest stake possible.

By learning about the different formats, you improve our chances of winning profits at sports betting. Sports odds are simply the likelihood a result will occur in a given contest.

American Odds or Fractional Odds or Decimal odds?

American, fractional, and decimal odds are the three most used odds in the world today. Decimal odds have become the go to odds format for many bettors. In fact, it is believed that decimal odds are used more than any other.

Decimal odds are known as European odds. The odds show the amount you would win for every £1 wagered. You would typically find decimal odds used on betting exchanges.

Displaying odds can be a personal choice but you tend to see just one format on the likes of Betfair Exchange and Smarkets to name a few. For odds of 11.00, you would win £11 on a £1 bet. The return is a combination of the profit and the stake.

Fractional odds are sometimes called UK odds or traditional odds. These odds are popular in Ireland and the UK. Horse racing and football are sports that typically have fractional odds displayed.

In this format, the potential profit is listed above the amount you must wager. Odds of 2/1 mean you will win £2 if you wager £1. Fractional odds do not include the money you stake in the potential return, only the potential profit. Decimal odds include both the winnings and the stake in the figure.

American odds are based on bets of £100. Although complex, once you get used to moneyline odds, you may prefer to use them.

How Do You Convert American odds into Decimal Odds?

There are two formulas for converting American odds to decimal odds. There is a slightly different formula for calculating odds on the favourite and the underdog.

  • To convert decimal to American odds on the underdog (+ sign): (American odds / 100) + 1 = decimal odds.
  • To convert decimal to American odds on the favourite (- sign): 1 - (100 / - American odds) = decimal odds

What's The Difference Between Fractional Odds and American Odds?

Fractional odds are a ratio of the amount of money you can win from a specific wager. For example, the Miami Dolphins are at odds of 2/1 to defeat the New York Jets. You will win £2 from a £1.

American odds are based on £100. You will either wager £100 to win a profit or wager the odds figure to win £100 in profit.

What are Moneyline odds?

Moneyline odds are another name for American odds. The moneyline only includes odds to win.

How Do You Convert Fractional odds into American Odds?

Fractions that are greater than 1 use the formula: (fractional value) x 100 = American odds.

Fractions that are less than 1 use the formula: -100 / (fractional value) = American odds.

What is the Difference Between American odds and Implied probability?

Implied probability uses simple math to convert odds expressed in the form of a payout into a percentage that tells you what the bookmaker expects to occur. Betting odds can be converted into implied probabilities to give you a clearer picture of what bookies expect to happen in a given sporting event. Implied probability is also known as implied odds.

How Do You Convert American Odds Into Implied Probability?

When converting American odds into implied probability, you will have two different equations. These equations are based on whether a team is a favourite or underdog to win.

The equation for negative odds:

Negative American odds / (Negative American odds + 100) x 100 = implied probability

The equation for positive odds:

100 / (positive American odds + 100) x 100 = implied probability

Which Countries Use American Odds?

As the name suggests, American odds are popular in the United States. It is common to see moneyline odds used on NFL and NCAA gridiron football. You will also see them displayed for other American sports such as basketball and baseball.

Why Do Some Countries Use American Odds?

American odds are typically only used in the United States. However, you will find bookies outside of the U.S. that post odds on American sports leagues using moneyline odds. The reason for this is due to draws or ties being eliminated.

In American sports, rather than simply end a game after regulation, sports events move into overtime. American odds remove the possibility of a draw taking place. Countries in which sports do not finish in draws will likely use American odds.

In addition, countries with a strong history of working with the American gambling industry may choose to use moneyline odds.

Do Betting Sites Give you the Option to Use American Odds?

Online sportsbooks give you the chance to change your odds format. Simply go to the settings and you can alter your odds format.

Which Is the Best Odds Format?

The best odds format for you is down to personal preference. A lot of people around the world use decimal odds for its simplicity. If you want a simple odds display, then decimal is the way to go.

Fractional odds are the traditional format. However, they don't often give you a clear picture of how much money you will win in total payout.

American odds can seem complex on the surface. Once you get to know them, they become easier to understand. They also give you a clear picture of which team is the favourite and the underdog.


American odds are a popular betting odds format used mostly in the United States. You will often see NFL, NCAA sports, baseball, and basketball odds displayed in American odds.

Also known as moneyline odds, what makes them so unique is that they are based on wagering or winning £100. The moneyline displays the odds with a plus (+) or minus (-) symbol to denote the underdog and favourite.

Online sportsbooks give you the chance to change the odds format. If you plan to wager on American based sports, give American odds a try the next time you wager.