There are three types of odds formats: American, decimal, and fraction. Some sportsbooks let you toggle between these formats. However, most sportsbooks will default to American odds.
Still, learning to read each type can be valuable. Here’s a quick primer on each type.
As mentioned, American odds are the most common format at US sportsbooks. Here’s a look at PointsBet’s odds for an NBA matchup using American odds.
Philadelphia 76ers Vs. Miami Heat Moneyline:
- Philadelphia 76ers: +120
- Miami Heat: -150
The easiest way to understand American odds and their payouts is to pretend you’re placing a bet. In this case, a $100 bet on the 76ers would pay $120 (plus your original bet back, making the total payout $220).
Conversely, you’d need to bet $150 on the Heat to win $100 (plus your original bet back). The “-” in front of the Heat odds means they’re the favorite to win. The “+” on the 76ers means they’re the underdog, and not expected to win.
But in this case, the odds are relatively close together, meaning it’s expected to be a tight matchup, despite the Heat being favored.
Decimal odds display the possible outcome a bit differently. Here’s a look at another NBA matchup with decimal odds used:
Dallas Mavericks Vs. Phoenix Suns Moneyline:
- Dallas Mavericks: 3.1
- Phoenix Suns 1.4
Another way to think about this is in multiples. If you bet on the Mavericks, for every $1 you bet, you’d get $3.10 back if the bet wins. So a $10 bet would pay out $31 if the Mavericks won.
On the Suns, then, a $10 bet would pay out $14.
Many bettors like decimal odds because the multiplication method is fairly easy to grasp when calculating payouts.
Fraction odds look like…you guessed it: fractions!
Here’s an example.
Oakland Athletics Vs. Detroit Tigers Moneyline:
- Oakland Athletics: 6/5
- Detroit Tigers: 5/7
The easiest way I’ve found to calculate fraction odds payouts is simple: bet the bottom number, win the top number (plus your original bet). So if you bet $5 on the Oakland Athletics, you’d get an $11 payout if they won (your initial $5 bet plus $6 in winnings). A $7 bet on the Tigers would pay $12 (Your initial $7 plus $5 in winnings).
You don't see fractional odds too often at US sportsbooks, but it’s helpful to know how they work.