What does evens mean in betting

Understand the concept of "evens" in betting, denoting equal chances of winning and offering insights into its significance across different sports and betting scenarios.

James Pacheco
James Pacheco

Last Updated: 2024-05-15

A. Tzamantanis

5 minutes read

A coin toss is the ultimate even money bet.

On any given day you’ll find no shortage of bets at the best football betting sites, tennis sportsbooks, online cricket bookies and on plenty of other sports at ‘evens’, sometimes also known as ‘even money’.

So, a good place as any to start is to consider: what does evens mean in betting?

From a betting point of view, evens is the equivalent of 2.0 in decimal odds, 1/1 in fractional odds, -100 in American odds or 50% if expressed in terms of probability.

Betting on a coin toss 

The most obvious example and the easiest to understand of a bet at evens is a coin toss among two friends. We’re not talking about a bookmaker being involved who will insert a house edge into their odds (see below); we’re talking about two friends having a fair bet on the outcome of a coin toss.

Given a coin toss is the ultimate example of a 50/50 outcome, and assuming there are no issues with the coin or cheating involved, and the bet would be struck at evens.

John and Peter both have a 50% chance of winning the coin toss, so they decide to bet two cans of Coke on the outcome.

Whoever wins it, receives two cans of Coke. Whoever loses it, has to pay the two cans of Coke.

Given the definition above of evens betting and the definition of what does evs meansfor  in betting, it makes sense that a coin toss involves both people playing for the same stake with the same potential payout.

Should I Place an Evens Bet? 

There’s no right or wrong answer to that question.

If you’re a gambler who doesn’t like to bet at short odds because the payouts are small compared to the stake, or doesn’t like betting at big odds because not many of those bets will go on to win, there’s nothing wrong with placing bets at evens.

By doing so, you can expect to win ‘almost’ exactly (see the next section for why it’s almost) half your bets placed at evens and this way you’ll neither lose your bank quickly. But nor can you expect to show a huge profit in the short-term.

So, betting at evens will suit the somewhat conservative, middle-of-the-road gambler.

The better question would be: is that bet at evens a good value bet? If you think the bookies’ odds should be 1.8 but they’re giving you 2.0 (evens), then that’s a good value bet and you should place it. 

How Is an Evens Bet Calculated? 

At a bookmaker, a bet at evens has ‘almost’ a 50/50 chance of winning. Why almost?

Because even though the evens meaning in betting is 50/50 in terms of potential payout, we should remember that bookies insert a house edge of around 6% to 10% on their bets.  

In other words, where you’re offered a bet at evens (2.0 in decimal odds) on say a tennis player to win, the ‘true’ odds are likely to be around 2.1 or 2.2; but the bookmaker will shorten them to 2.0 because of that house edge. 

Why Red and Black aren’t actually even money chances in roulette 

Red or Black, or Odd or Even both pay out at evens. But your actual odds are a bit worse than evens. That’s because even though 18 out of 36 numbers are Red, the Zero is also there, which doesn’t count as a number. Every time the ball lands on zero, all of the bets mentioned above automatically lose. So when betting on Red, your odds of winning are 18/37, yet you get paid out at evens.

Or to look at it another way, a bet that should be evens - like the winner of the toss in cricket- is likely to be offered at 1.85 or 1.9 with a bookmaker.

An evens bet is calculated the same way as a bet at any other odds: by the bookmaker taking into account all the relevant factors before deciding on the probability of it happening, and then converting that probability into odds.

Minus the house edge, of course. 

Betting on Evens Odds 

If you place a bet at odds of evens, you’d be paid out exactly the value of your stake if it went on to win.

So, it’s a chance to double your stake, whether that’s in a particular currency or with two cans of Coke at stake, as in the original coin toss example in a bet among friends. 

Can You Cash Out on Bet Builder Bets? 

It completely depends on the betting company. 

In some cases, yes. 

Let’s remember that a Bet Builder is an acca where all selections are taken from the same match. If the Bet Builder has three selections, two of them have already won and the third one looks like winning, some bookies will give you the chance to Cash Out your bet. Again, depending on the bookie, that could be a full Cash Out, or additionally, a partial Cash Out.  

With other bookies, no. They may not have the available software to allow Cash Out on Bet Builders or regular accas, given the odds on each selection are constantly changing. Read the Bet Builders Terms and Conditions for guidance on whether you can Cash Out Bet Builders at that particular bookie. 

Of course, whereas some bookmakers offer Bet Builders, they may not offer Cash Out at all. So, in this case, you obviously wouldn’t be able to Cash Out a Bet Builder. 

There’s plenty more great content here at about how to place bets, what the different markets mean and how to win, so make sure you check out the rest of the site.  

James Pacheco
James Pacheco Sports Betting Editor

James has been writing about cricket, football and tennis betting for the best part of 20 years for some of the biggest operators, websites and publications in the industry. Heroes and heroines include Paul Scholes, Chris DiMarco, Anastasia Myskina, Richard Gasquet, Nat-Sciver Brunt and Kumar Sangakarra.