How To Read Football Betting Odds

Learn how to read football betting odds with our comprehensive guide. Whether you're a beginner or need a refresher, discover how to interpret fractional, decimal, and moneyline odds, and calculate your potential payouts. Start betting with confidence on top football betting sites!

Claudia Hartley
Claudia Hartley

Last Updated: 2024-06-11

A. Tzamantanis

7 minutes read

All of the best sports betting sites offer odds on the beautiful game. So, whether you’re a fan of football who’s never placed a bet before, or a keen football punter in need of a refresher, this is all the info you need on how to read football betting odds.

From recognizing fractional, decimal, and moneyline odds, to calculating your payout, by the end of this article you’ll feel confident placing bets at all of the best football betting sites.
Ready to learn all about how to read odds in football betting? Let’s kick off!

Types of Football Betting Odds 

Depending on the country you’re betting from, there are up to three different types of odds that you’ll come across: fractional, decimal, and moneyline. 

They can each be used to show the same thing, but they do it in slightly different ways. We’ll first take a look at where you’ll see them and what they look like, then we’ll move on to how to read the different betting odds for football.

●    Fractional: Mostly used in the UK and Ireland, these odds are expressed as a fraction e.g. 6/1
●    Decimal: The most widely used type of odds, decimal odds are used throughout Europe, as well as Canada and Australia, they’re expressed as a whole number, sometimes with decimal places e.g. 7
●    Moneyline: Mostly used in the United States, moneyline odds are expressed as a positive or negative number depending on whether the team is a favourite or underdog e.g. +600

How Do Football Betting Odds Work

Football betting odds work just the same as odds in other sports, in that they’re read the same way. Let’s take a look at an example of each of the three different types of odds.

Fractional Football Betting Odds

Fractional odds are written as a fraction, where the number to the left of the slash is your potential profit and the number to the right is your stake. 

The team that’s the underdog will have a higher number to the left of the slash, while a hotly fancied favourite might have a higher number to the right.

For example, fractional odds of 6/1 would give you a $6 profit for every $1 stake you wagered.

Decimal Football Betting Odds

Decimal odds are written as a whole number with or without up to two decimal places after it. This allows for smaller fluctuations in the size of the odds. This can be helpful in big tournament games where bookmakers want to have the most competitive odds.

For example, decimal odds of 7.2 are just a tiny bit larger than fractional odds of 6/1, allowing bookmakers to be more precise with the odds on offer.

Moneyline Football Betting Odds

Moneyline odds are written as a whole number with either a plus or minus in front of it. The favorite team will have a minus and the underdog will have a plus. 

The number refers either to your profit from a $100 stake, or the amount of money you’d need to wager to win $100.

For example, moneyline odds of +600 are equivalent to fractional odds of 6/1 and decimal odds of 7. That means for every $100 you bet, you’ll get $600 back as profit.

How to Calculate Betting Odds in Football 

Now that you know how to read betting odds for football, it’s time to learn how to calculate them. This step might seem a little intimidating but it doesn’t need to be! 

Imagine it’s the FIFA World Cup qualifiers and Italy is drawn to play Bosnia and Herzegovina. You think that Italy is going to win and you’d like to have $10 on them doing so. Let’s work out the return from each of the different types of odds. 

Fractional Odds Football Example

Italy’s fractional odds to win against Bosnia and Herzegovina are 4/1. If you have $10 on Italy to win (and they do) then you’ll get $40 back as profit, plus your $10 stake. The sum you do to get this is:

1 (right hand side number) x ? = 10 (stake) 

The ? answer here is 10 (because 1 x 10 = 10). You then take this number for the next part of the sum.

4 (left hand side number) x 10 (answer from the last part) = 40 (profit)

You then add your stake to calculate your total returns from this bet. 

40 (profit) + 10 (stake) = $50 (total returns)

Decimal Odds Football Example

Italy’s decimal odds to win against Bosnia and Herzegovina are 5. If you have $10 on Italy to win and they do then we already know that you’ll get a total of $50 back as your whole return, including your stake. 

This is because 5 in decimal odds is equal to 4/1 in fractional. But how do we work out the decimal football odds?

5 (decimal odds) x 10 (stake) = 50 (total returns)

This is your total return. If you’d like to find just your profit then also do the following sum. This is useful if you’re using a free bet where your stake is usually not returned.

50 (total returns) - 10 (stake) = 40 (total profit)

Moneyline Odds Football Example

Italy’s moneyline odds to win against Bosnia and Herzegovina are +400 (equal to 5 in decimal odds and 4/1 in fractional). 

We know that with your same $10 stake you’ll get a return of $40, but how do we work this out from moneyline odds?

The first step is to work out what we need to divide 100 by to get to our stake. This is because (positive) moneyline odds are worked out with $100 as the stake.

100 / ? = 10 The ? answer here is 10, because 10 x 10 = 100

Next, we take this answer and use it to calculate the total return

400 (moneyline odds) / 10 (answer from the previous sum) = 40 (total profit)

Like fractional odds, your stake is not included in moneyline odds. If you want to work out your total returns then just add your stake back on at the end.

Frequently Asked Questions About Football Betting Odds

Can I change the type of odds that are used at my favourite football betting site?

Usually yes. Most betting sites will allow you to pick the kind of odds that you prefer seeing. You’ll find it under your account preferences. This can make understanding and calculating football odds much easier.

I’m rubbish at calculating odds, are there any tricks I can use?

Absolutely! Most people have one type of odds that they find it easier to calculate, find out which one yours is and learn how to convert from one type of odds to another. It’s an easy step that can make calculating much quicker for you. 

If you’re still struggling, use an online calculator, or check out the calculation at your favourite online betting site.

Does the way you calculate football odds change for multiple bets?

It certainly does. Calculating multiple bets is a little bit more confusing, but we have lots of articles and explainers dedicated to showing how multiple bets work and how to calculate them. 

Some people find that odds calculators are the easiest way, but it can be surprisingly quick to calculate multiples if you take a little time to learn.

Claudia Hartley
Claudia HartleySports Betting Writer

With a decade of experience in the sports betting industry, Claudia can spot a value bet from a mile off. She prides herself on not just being a sports writer, but a fastidious researcher too.