How Odds and Probability Work when Betting Online – A Guide

Here at Casino Review Center, we bring in the experts to help you understand the jargon of casino talk, or when betting online. For many New Zealand players who consider themselves to be enthusiasts, this can get a bit overwhelming, so we’ve broken it down for you right here. Read all about odds, probability, and how these impact your betting strategy.

Odds Versus Probability in Betting

Odds and probability are the two cornerstones of sports betting. They are set by bookies to create a more even playing field when it comes to teams, which encourages betting on both sides and not just one. If everyone were to bet only on one side, and get it right most of the time, sports betting sites would quickly go out of business.

Odds are basically the representation of probability, in other words how likely something is to happen. Working these out does involve a bit of maths but don’t be daunted if you are not particularly mathematically minded, calculators are allowed.

Probability When Placing Bets

Probability is exactly what it sounds like; what is the likelihood of something happening. A great way to explain this is to look at a coin toss. A coin toss has two definite outcomes, heads or tails. Probability can be worked out by taking the total number of outcomes, in this case two, and dividing them by the event. So the toss is the event which equals one, and you divide that by two which is the total number of outcomes, reaching an answer of .50 or 1-2.

Another example is marbles in a bag. If you have a total of 12 marbles, three of which are red, the probability of you picking a red one is worked out by taking the total number of red marbles and dividing it by the total number of marbles in the bag.  So you end up with three divided by 12 which is 25% or 0.25.

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What are the Odds?

The dictionary defines odds as a representation of the perceived frequency of an event derived from the underlying probability which enables betting. This basically boils down to the ratio of favourable outcomes to unfavourable outcomes when placing bets online. Odds are different from probability in that the number which one divides by does not include all possible outcomes, only the unfavourable ones.

In our marble example this would be shown as three divided by nine instead of twelve, since we have taken only the unfavourable outcomes which does include the red marbles. This leaves us with a very different answer to probability which is 0.3 or 1/3. Being able to distinguish between the two is very important.

Odds, Probability and Bookies

Knowing how to work these out is all very well, but how would it be useful in the world of online betting in nz? Bookies all use odds and probability in pretty much every sport. One of the main things that a sharp punter looks for is value in all of their wagers, which means that they need to know how to work out odds and probability and apply them accordingly.

Bear in mind that bookies odds vary from site to site, and may not be anywhere near what you have worked them out to be. Armed with your knowledge of odds and probability, you can check the odds on offer and see whether they offer a bet with value or not. This allows you to shop around and make sure that you get the best odds according to you and not have to rely on what the bookies or betting sites offer.