Gambling – How do I Translate Bookie Odds Into Probability?

Have you ever wondered how you can take bookie odds and turn them into probability? Most people assume that the better the odds the better the chances of winning. There is some truth to this, but it’s also true that bookies present their bets in several different ways. It can be difficult to know just which odds are the “best” ones. The different ways to present odds are little more than marketing exercises to make a bet sound better and entice people to make a bet that they are actually likely to lose.

Keeping Things Simple

The simplest way bookies present odds is comparing the winning bet to the losing bet, presented in a W-L format. This could be odds of 10 – 8 or “ten to eight” for example. This presents your risk L to win W. It sounds like you would be giving the bookie the L and getting W+L if you win the bet. If the L is larger than the W then it might be expressed as L – W on or “three to one on” for example. This would mean that you have to give the bookie three dollars to win one net dollar, meaning the bookie would give you three dollars should you win. This is the kind of thing you can learn with our 1xbet guide where you can find how this bookmaker converts its own odds.

If you were to be presented with perfectly fair odds and the bookie knew the precise probability, then your odds of winning a bet with the odds W – L would be exactly L over W+L. Bookies are interested in making some profit however, and so their odds across the book would add up to something like 10 to 30, meaning that the actual probability of winning would be something like L over 1.3(W+L).

Betting With Probability

If you know that the probability of winning is outside of this range then you’re in a position to make a good bet that you’re likely to win. These really good bets are actually very rare. They tend to show up only when the market or a bookie has misunderstood the competition somehow. If you believe that the market is truly wise, then this is something that rarely ever happens. Bookies need to stay in touch with the market and offer odds that look attractive to punters while still making them a profit. You’ll be hard pressed to find a bookie that makes a mistake as amateurish as this one.

As we said at the start, there are a number of different ways that bookies are able to represent their odds. This includes setting lines and giving returns on fixed bets. It’s important that you remember that how the bet is presented to you doesn’t change the likelihood of the bookie offering you a good bet or the underlying probabilities of that bet. If you aren’t sure how to properly convert the odds of a bet into your probability of winning that bet, then maybe you shouldn’t be making that bet.

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