Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: What are Odds?

What are Odds?

The ODDS are basically the mathematical expression of an outcome going in your favour.

A good example would be the throw of a dice.  A dice has 6 sides.  No matter which side you choose, the chances of the dice landing on your number is one in six.  That is, 5 chances against it happening and 1 chance for it happening. This is shown as ODDS of 5/1.

If you were to wager R10 on these ODDS of 5/1 your bet would be R50 to R10 (R50/R10).

If the dice landed on the number you chose then you would win R50 plus your R10 stake returned.

If the dice landed on any other number you would lose your R10.

You would expect to win every sixth throw, thereby losing 5 throws (R50) and winning on one throw (R50) for a breakeven after six throws.

INTERESTING NOTE: Even if you throw three 6’s in a row, the odds of you throwing another 6 are still 5/1! However, the odds of you throwing 3 sixes in a row one after the other are 215/1. (5/1 x 5/1 x 5/1) = (6 x 6 x 6 – 1) = 215/1.

Throwing three sixes in a row are an example of what we call a multiple bet.  It’s like you betting on three horses in three races, each at 5/1.
For example:
Race 1: Horse number 7 @ 5/1 = (5 + 1 = 6)
Race 5: Horse number 5 @ 5/1 = (5 + 1 =6)
Race 8: Horse number 3 @ 5/1 = (5 + 1 =6)

Multiply 6 x 6 x 6 = 216 – 1 = 215.  The odds are therefore 215/1.

For R10 you will get R2 150 or R4 250/R20, R6 450/R30.

When we talk about ODDS in terms of betting, we aren’t talking about the true chances that an event will occur as with the throw of a dice, but instead the amounts a bookmaker will payout on winning bets.

These odds are deduced from a number of factors.

In a horse race we talk about a horse’s chances against the other horses in that field.  These odds are usually derived from how that horse has performed in the past.  This is also known as the horse’s ‘form’.

Unlike the dice example, every runner in a horse race is different.  The jockey riding the horse, the breeding of a horse, the distance covered and how much weight the horse is carrying are only a few of the numerous factors that influence a horse's given chances.

The odds of a horse can also be determined by:
1. Two year-old horses – Breeding and cost as yearlings and the stable which they belong to.
2. Horses whose odds are determined by form lines and sometimes by the betting support they received in past races.  Winning Form publishes a page that shows beaten favourites and horses backed in their last starts:
Click to Enlarge
3. With regard to sports betting the odds are determined by how well the team’s sportsmen/sportswomen perform, i.e., the better the form the better the odds.  Form is performance based on past achievements (the stronger the form the shorter the odds and vice versa). 

Odds in sporting events and horse racing fluctuate according to market forces, meaning they are affected by the amounts of money being wagered, i.e. the more money being wagered on a horse, the shorter or less its odds become.  Conversely, the odds of the other horses in the field increase.