Fixed Odds Betting

This is the most common form of betting in the UK, and the odds underlying it can be found throughout the media when commenting on items as diverse as sport, politics and even the weather.

In simple terms, a bet is made with a bookmaker on an event happening. The potential winnings are based on the odds offered by the bookmaker. Odds are usually displayed as fractions, e.g. 2/1, 7/4, 100/30 and so on. All this represents is that amount that will be won/stake amount. So a win at 2/1 with a £1 stake would return 2x£1 as winnings plus the original £1 stake. The same stake at 7/4 would return £1.75 winnings plus the original £1 stake. A simple way to calculate the return is to ‘decimalise’ the fraction – so for 2/1, 2 divided by 1 is 2, meaning the stake is multiplied by 2 to determine the winnings (remembering to add the stake to calculate the total return). For 7/4 odds, 7 divided by 4 is 1.75, so the stake is multiplied by 1.75. The confusion that people can experience when trying to compare different fractions is one reason for the increase in decimal odds.

However, the examples above assume that the profit is more than the stake. This isn’t always the case, as a heavily favoured selection is often ‘odds on’. This is expressed in the form of 1/5 etc., or spoken as ‘five to one on‘. In this example, a bet of £5 would need to be made to win £1 (plus the stake of course). The concept here is that it is extremely likely (about 83% likely) that the bet would win, so the odds are kept ‘short’.

Fixed odds are offered on a huge number of markets through either high street betting shops or online through the bookmaker’s website or app.