How to Read Soccer Odds

Are you a soccer fan? You know all about MLS and the Premier League? If yes, your next step is learning how to read soccer odds. The better you understand betting odds, the better your chances of winning money and placing less risky wagers. 

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The Types of Odds Formats 

You might come across three types of soccer odds formats: British, American and European. British are called fractional, European – decimal, and American – moneyline. The probability doesn’t change, just the way the bookmakers present the betting odds. Whichever format you come across, no need to worry – there are many odds converters available online. So you can pick whatever is more comfortable for you, and convert the odds in other formats to the one you like. We will explain American odds in detail further down. For now, let’s look at the British and European odds, and see how to read soccer odds in different formats. 

For an even more in-depth explanation, take a look at this video.

British format: Fractional Odds

The fractional odds are one of the easiest betting odds to read. You will recognize them by a slash or a dash connecting the two numbers. The first number says how much you will win, the second number – the stake. Let’s look at some soccer odds to explain the way it works. We will use the recent Premier League odds as an example. Bettors will find the Premier League odds for particular games in a table with three columns: home, draw, away. The columns are customarily labeled with a single letter: H, D, A.

In the game Liverpool vs. Newcastle, the odds at one of the biggest sportsbooks were the following: Home: 2/13, Draw: 7/1, Away: 20/1.

Now, keep in mind, the odds will change before the game begins, so this is just an example. If you put money on Liverpool winning at home with odds 2/13, you will not have much profit, as oddsmakers predict the team victory. For every 13 dollars you wager, your earnings will be $2. If you bet that there will be a draw and your prediction is correct, for every dollar you bet, you will earn $7. And so on.

You probably won’t come across this format when looking at the MLS odds in the US. However, it won’t hurt you to understand how to read soccer odds in different forms. 

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European Format: Decimal Odds

The European format is also pretty easy to read. We will use the Premier League odds again as an example to show you how to read soccer odds in case one day you are betting in Europe.

Other than betting on the results of a particular game, you can also make a wager on the outright winner of the entire Premier League. Again, we will rely on odds from one of the biggest sportsbooks.

Manchester City’s odds for winning the Premier League are 1.61, Liverpool’s – 2.50, and Tottenham Hotspur’s – 41.00.

If you bet a hundred dollars on Liverpool and they take the championship, you will get 100 dollars multiplied by the odds, in this case, 1.61. It will be 161 dollars, a hundred from your stake and 61 dollars of earnings.

Now you can see that according to bookmakers, Tottenham is not very likely to win the Premier League, with odds at 41.00.

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Understanding American Odds

After warming you up with fractional and decimal odds, we arrive at the main course: figuring out how to read soccer odds in the US. The American odds, also called moneyline odds, show you either how much you need to wager to win a $100 or how much you will win if you wager a $100. In this case, we will use the MLS odds as our example. 

Let’s say Seattle is playing FC Dallas, and the odds are the following:

Seattle – 120

FC Dallas + 250

A minus sign means that the team is expected to win. The higher the number following the minus, the bigger are the chances of that team winning. Now, with the plus sign, it’s the opposite. The bigger the number following the plus, the lower are the chances of that team winning. In this case, Seattle is expected to win and FC Dallas to lose. How does it translate to your wager? If you bet $120 on Seattle winning, and they win, you will earn $100. If you bet $100 on FC Dallas, and they win, the bookmaker will have to pay you out $250. This knowledge will help you not only with soccer odds, but also all types of sports betting odds. 

Moneyline odds and implied probability

At this point, you know how to read soccer odds in terms of calculating what you can win if you make a correct prediction. Now, let’s take it to another level. We will look at how to make an accurate prediction based on betting odds. It’s different for the plus and minus odds. We can use the absolute numbers and ignore the minus sign before the negative odds. Just make sure you remember the difference between equations for underdogs and favorites. 

Let’s start by calculating the implied probability for our favorite to win, Seattle with -120 odds. You take 120 and divide it by 120 plus 100. The mathematical equation will look like this:

120 ÷ (120 + 100) = 120 ÷ 220 = 0.54

Implied probability for negative odds = (odds) divided by (odds plus hundred)

The last thing to do is turning the result into a percentage. To do that, you multiply it by a hundred. 

0.54 x 100 = 54%

It’s not really complicated. Now you know that a -120 odds mean that oddsmakers predict a 54% chance of the team winning. 

Okay, a little bit more math and we are almost done. FC Dallas with odds of +250 is the underdog. Calculating their implied probability of winning looks a bit different: 

100  ÷ (250 + 100) = 100  ÷ 350 = 0.28

Implied probability for positive odds = hundred divided by (odds plus hundred)

Again, we turn the result of the equation into a percentage by multiplying the result by a hundred:

0.28 x 100 = 28%

So, in this case, the chances of FC Dallas winning with Seattle are just 28%. We hope this will help you understand how to read soccer odds on a whole new level. 

Betting Odds Calculators 

Tired of math? No worries, the internet has all the tools to help you avoid all the complicated math equations. You know how to predict what you will win off $100 or what you need to stake to win $100. But what if you have only $20 to bet? We will not torture you with another set of calculations. Instead, we recommend you do an online search for “betting odds calculator” – there are thousands of options. Usually, you type in the moneyline odds, don’t forget the minus or plus sign, and the amount of money you want to bet. And the calculator will show you your potential earnings. In case you are relying on decimal or fractional odds, finding online betting odds convertor is also very easy.

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How to Read Odds: Final Words 

We hope that our guide helped you understand how to read soccer odds, both in terms of calculating the implied probability and your potential earnings. Whether you are looking at MLS odds or Premier League odds, it’s all the same mechanism. 

Understanding the soccer odds is not all, but it’s a good start. You still need to learn about the teams, their records, and their performance playing against a particular opponent. Once you’ve done your research and calculated your potential earnings, you can go ahead place your bets. If you are making your first steps into the sports betting, start small. See how accurate your predictions are before you wager bigger amounts of money. And most of all – enjoy the thrill!