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Betting odds down low: How football odds are calculated

One of the most pivotal parts of sports betting is the ability to understand betting odds. Why? Because knowing the ins and outs is essential, especially if you wish to win big! An inability to understand these odds is one of the key reasons sports betting players lose bets and ultimately, money.

From learning more about sports betting as a whole to interpreting odds, to discovering how bookmakers work, there are many aspects to sports betting online.

How do odds work?

Placing bets is easy, calculating sports betting odds is the tricky part, and often, a lengthy learning process, especially if you’re new to online sports betting. However, once you get the hang of this technique, you’ll be able to win big going forward.

The most common way to bet is on the final result. If you look up betting sites that offer football markets, you will see that you can place a bet on the home team, the away team or a draw. If the odds for the home team to win are 2/1 and you bet £20, you will get £40 back. If the odds are 3/1, you will get £60 back if your bet wins.

Data Analysis

The first and foremost step when it comes to calculating sports odds? Data analysis. Today’s savvy bookmakers often hire specialists, such as odds compilers and traders to assemble all available data and make sense of it.

These specialists have access to some of the best software and tools in the industry, which allows them to achieve objective statistical evaluations and near-perfect results every time. The result? A clear outcome of possibilities, determining how often a particular event will occur during a match. From how many goals will be scored, to how many player swap ins will take place, there are numerous outcomes to consider.

Cash Forecasts

After calculating each outcome's likelihood, the next step involves adding cash forecasts to the equation. To determine how much cash flow is likely to be wagered on a specific market, bookmakers adopt state-of-the-art algorithms. On top of these algorithms, they have access to an entire database of past cash predictions, which helps them to achieve more accurate calculations.

It’s these calculations that assist bookies in ensuring each outcome and wager has an individual or equal balance.

These projections makeup part of the odds, and assist the marketplace too. How? By establishing wagers that wouldn’t normally exist, which results in attracting more customers to their online casino. Whether the margin is high or low, it all comes down to the event and sport’s popularity.

The Margin

Once bookmakers have determined the odds, and how much they stand to make from wagers, they release them to consumers. Before being released, they go through a ‘margin’ - in the world of online sports betting, this is often nicknamed ‘juice’.

If both outcomes boast the same percentage, this means players can in essence double their money. For example, those betting a total of £100 could win £200. When it comes to choosing a casino, it’s important to compare odds before signing up to the online establishment. The better the odds, the more you stand top make! Professor Leighton Vaughan Williams, top gambling expert at Nottingham Trent University’s Betting Research Unit, recommends choosing casino establishments with odds of 2-1, as these tend to be highly accurate.


The best online casinos feature a margin of around three to five per cent. Brick and mortar establishments on the other hand tend to feature a higher percentage, as unlike their online counterparts, they pay higher taxes and overheads.

Asides from convenience, this is one of the reasons today’s savvy gamers choose to play online - because they stand to win more for less. On top of this, they have access to a wide range of player incentives, promotions and progressive jackpots. From no-deposit bonuses to free bets, there are plenty of incentives to take advantage of.