American odds is one of three odds types available to sports betting fans. It is the preferred choice for bookies and bettors in the United States. Although American odds may look completely different to decimal and fractional odds they can all be converted equally. Check out our odds conversion calculator for the easiest way to convert all three.
Our American odds guide will explain how American odds work, how they can be read and how they differentiate between the other odds types
What are American Odds?
American odds is a form of betting odds and the number one choice for sportsbooks and bettors in the United States. American odds are represented with either a minus sign (-) to represent the favorite or a plus sign (+) to represent the underdog of a contest.
Although American odds may look completely different to decimal and fractional odds they can all be converted equally. Check out our odds conversion calculator.
How do American Odds Work?
American odds are all based around the value of $100. When backing a favorite (- symbol) you risk the amount represented in the odds to win $100, and when you back the underdog (+ symbol), you risk $100 to win the amount shown in the odds.
A -125 odds favorite means you must risk $125 in order to make $100 profit.
A +275 odds selection would mean you risk $100 to make $275 profit.
Using the same two examples the total returned to you would look look like this:
$125 staked on a -125 selection would return in total $225. That is because you make $100 profit from the sportsbook and your stake is also returned to you. The breakdown would look like this:
$125 winning bet on a -125 pick = $225 ($100 profit + $125 stake returned)
$100 staked on a +275 selection would return in total $375. That is because in this instance you make $275 profit. The breakdown for this bet’s return would look like this:
$100 winning bet on a +275 pick = $375 ($275 profit + $100 stake returned).
Moneyline American Odds Examples:
Above is a real life example of a NFL Moneyline bet using American odds taken from Draft Kings. You will see that the minus odds symbol (-) tells us that Atlanta Falcons are the favorites of the contest. The -170 odds shows us that for every $170 bet you will make $100 profit, with $270 returned in total with your $100 stake returned.
Above you will see another real life example from Draft Kings, this time with a moneyline underdog selection. You will see that the Cleveland Cavaliers are the +230 underdogs and that with a $100 bet you will make in profit the amount listed in the odds. $100 bet to return $330. $230 profit from the sportsbook and your $100 stake returned.
How Are American Odds Compiled?
Effectively American Odds can be converted into percentages. Working out the percentages of your odds can be a useful thing to do, as it will tell you over a longer period of time how many bets you will need to win in order to breakeven. One of the most common American odds you
will see is -110. Which means we’d have to bet $110 to make $100 profit. To work out the percentage for this you’d divide the $110 you risk by the amount you’d stand to win $220.
110 divided by 220 = .5238 (52.38%)
That means that in order to break even you would need to win at least 52.38% of your -110 bets to reach the breakeven mark.
An example of an underdog’s percentages looks like this:
Let’s say the underdogs odds are +300. You would divide your $100 risked by the amount you stand to win ($400) which gives you the following breakdown:
100 divided by 400 = 0.25 (25%)
Which means you would need to win 25% of your +400 bets to break even.
It’s worth bearing in mind that sportsbooks will always give you slightly worse odds compared to the true odds of a selection winning, as with every market created the sportsbook has a margin added on, which is how they make their money. For more information on sportsbooks margins and true odds vs displayed odds check out our sportsbook margin guide.
American Odds vs Decimal & Fractional Odds
Let’s look at how an evens bet (+100) looks across all three odds formats.
A $10 bet at American odds of +100 returns $20 ($10 profit and your $10 stake returned)
A $10 bet on the same odds in decimal odds format would look like this: $10 bet at 2.0 decimal odds returns $20.
A $10 bet on the same odds in fractional odds would look like this: $10 at 1/1 fractional odds returns $20.
American Odds FAQs
American odds are a sports betting odds type that is the preferred choice in the United States for both sportsbook and bettors. American odds are different to both decimal and fractional odds as they use plus (+) and minus (-) symbols. The minus symbol represents a short priced selection, usually the favorite of a contest. Whilst the plus symbol represents an underdog.
Reading American odds is not as difficult as you might think. For favorites (- odds), you know that you have to stake the amount noted in the odds in order to win $100, for example let’s say your selection is -110. Those odds tell you that in order to make $100 profit you will need to stake $110. For underdogs the amount listed with the plus symbol (+) tells you how much you stand to profit with every $100 bet. For example an underdog with +200 odds tells us that for every $100 we bet we stand to make $200 profit.
American odds are easily converted to fractional odds. For example to convert a -200 favorite from American odds to fractional, you’d just divide -100 by the American odds amount. So -100 divided by -200 odds = 0.5 (1/2 odds). Underdogs are even easier as you just divide the plus odds (+) amount by 100. So let’s say our underdog is +200 in American odds. +200 divided 100 = 2 (2/1 odds).
Converting American odds to decimal odds is slightly harder. For negative odds (-) the conversion looks like this: 1 minus (100 divided by the American odds amount) so for example American odds of -200 can be converted as 1 - (100 divided by 200) = 0.5 decimal odds. For positive odds, the conversion formula looks like this: 1 plus (american odds amount divided by 100) so for example American odds of +200 can be converted as 1 + (200 divided by 100) = 3.0 decimal odds. However you will be pleased to know that there are odds conversion calculators that can work this out for you.
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