Betting Markets Explained: How To Read Sports Betting Odds


A betting market is a specific type or category of the bet with odds related to each. If you’re new to the world of sports betting, one of the first things you’ll need to know is the betting market. You need to familiarise yourself with the different betting odds as quick as possible before starting to place a bet. One reason why you need to understand the sports betting market is to avoid losses.

The sports market can be quite intimidating to first-time bettors, and you may find yourself asking “how do betting odds work?” 

Bookmakers offer a large number of betting options across different types of events, tournaments or competition.

What are betting odds?

A betting odd simply indicates the probability of an event and the return you could accumulate if you wager on the outcomes.

Different odds and their conversion

Irrespective of the platform sports bookmarkers use to display betting odds, there are three different formats of displaying odds:

  • American odds, 
  • fractional odds and 
  • decimal odds. 
Decimal odds to American odds:


(numerator/denominator) + 1 = decimal odds

(11/4) + 1 = 3.75


Convert fraction to decimal x 100 =American odds

(11/4) x 100 = 2.75 x 100 = 275

Fractional to American:


(decimal odds-1) and round to nearest integer =  fractional odds

(3.75-1=2.75) = 2.75/1 or 11/4


(decimal – 1) x 100 = American odds

(3.75 – 1) x 100 = 275

However, different formats don’t really mean different odds; it’s just a way of representing the odds in the market – simply a different way of presenting them.

Football betting markets

The main football betting market is the outcome of the match with the betting odds on a win or a draw. Other football market odds are: betting on the correct score, total goals scored, goal scorers, handicap, both teams to score (BTTS), half time score and winning margins. 

Also, you will see bookmakers sometimes offering special betting markets for high-profile matches. And you may even find odds on who to win the league at the start of a season.

Note that odds vary with a different market.

Not sure what every sports betting market means? Here are the most popular:

Straight bet

A straight bet is a single bet on the outcome of a sporting event, usually determined by a point spread.


A futures wager is the type of bets placed on the outcome of an event in the future. For instance, you can place a wager on the winners of the EPL season when the league hasn’t even started.


A parlay wager is a single bet that is linked with two or more wagers. To win a parlay bet, you must win every wager in the parlay. If you lose one wager in the parlay, you lose the entire parlay bet. Parlay bets tend to have much higher odds than other bet types.


Teaser bets are usually available for football and basketball events. A teaser gives bettors an option to combine their bets on two different games and adjust the point spreads for the two games.


Propositions bets are sometimes referred to as “prop” bets. These bets focus more on the outcome of a certain event happening during a sports game such as “how many goals will team x score?”

How to use the betting markets

The best way to use betting markets is to decide how you think the match will go and identify the betting market. check if there is value in the market and select the odds available in the market.

You can even select the sport that you prefer to bet on and choose from the list of football competitions or tournaments. Then search for the particular match and select the betting market from the options. 

Bookmakers have made it easy by listing all the sports they cover prominently on their home page.  And all you need is click the odds and place your bet.

While gambling odds can vary between sports betting sites, you should now know what betting market is, how to start betting and find the best odds on the sports betting market.


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