How Do Odds Work In Football Betting


The life currency of betting and gambling, in general, are the odds.  It is vital that you understand the rudiments of how odds work as this will help you in other facets of football betting.

Football betting, in particular, has flexible odds. This is partly due to the popularity of the sport, the number of options for punters and the sheer number of games happening simultaneously.

Bookmakers rather than seeing this as a disadvantage have been able to maximize earnings due to their greater understanding of how it works.  These make it important for punters to understand how it works and how to use the information correctly.

In this article, we will be broaching some major aspects of how odds work in football betting.

General mathematics tells us that probabilities are the fundamentals of values. This is applicable in football betting as odds are used to set the value for the probability of an event.

By setting an odd, the bookmaker determines the probability that suits its margins of profits ahead of the event.


Why do odds go up or down?

This is one question that several bettors regularly bring up on why odds go up or down. There is no conspiratory theory on why this occurs rather this is the way the bookmaker ensures that it maintains its margin of profit.

You will notice that when bookmakers change the odd of a bet there is a common practice. If the odd are lowered there will be a corresponding increase of the odds in the opposite bet.




Bookmakers employed hundreds of statisticians and use mathematical prediction to make rational decisions.

Since the goal of a bookmaker is to make profit, it would change its odds if it feels the likelihood of the event happening is no longer assured.

There Are Several Objective Reasons That Can Cause A Bookmaker To Change An Odd:

  • The absence or injury of a key player
  • The recent results of a team.
  • Unforeseen events that have an influence on the life of a team or a player: court case, accident, change of coach etc.

Since a majority of these events occur before the start of the match, bookmakers are able to anticipate and adjust odds accordingly. Another reason while odds change is when majority of bettors bet heavily on a game.

This sort of situation would see the bookmakers adjust their odds to prevent the probability of a loss. Bookmakers want to win on all fronts regardless of the result of the event and the lower the risk the greater the profits.

Your goal as a punter is to be smarter than them. And to achieve this, you will need to understand smart betting.


Why Value Bet Is The Way Forward

By analyzing matches with different parameters, you can arise with different probabilities to that of the bookies. There are also cases when bookmakers offer odds for an event at a higher probability than what you calculate.

This is referred to in football betting as a valuebet.  Generally speaking, if you want to constantly beat the bookies, you have to aim for value bets. Arbitrage betting also known as sure betting has almost disappeared since most bookmakers across the world offer similar odds.

Value bets is the major strategy in this era and you need to understand some things. Since we have previously revealed in this article that odds are a reflection of the probability that an event will occur.

For you to get the correct value of value bet you will need to get your calculations right.



 Think About Subtracting The Margin Of The Bookmaker

Indeed one must know sports betting sites do not redistribute all bets. It will, therefore, necessary that your calculations must take into account the total amount redistributed to punters by the bookmaker.

Only by removing this margin taken by the bookmaker, will you know the probability associated with a rating. For example in France bookmakers have a return rate to players of 85%.   This means that for every won bet 15% of the total amount of bets is not paid to winning bettors.

It is therefore on this percentage that you should use as a basis to evaluate the chances of a bet passing or not.


Explanation On Calculating An Odd Based On Probabilities

For example, let’s calculate how much odds are a 1.50 chit set by a bookmaker.

The probability calculation is: probability = 1 / odds x 0.85 (the bookmaker’s reversion rate) x 100 (if you want to have a percentage).

For our odds at 1.5, we thus obtain 1 / 1.5 x 0.85 x 100 = 56.7%

It is therefore with respect to this probability value that must be taken into account for a possible value bet.

In principle, it will take you more time to do this type of analysis but once you are accustomed everything is done much faster.


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