Decimal Odds

As the popularity of NFL betting in European markets grows, we are increasingly seeing decimal odds used for NFL lines.

Commonly known as “European Odds” or “continental odds”, decimal odds are used by most European bookmakers and bettors, and are also commonly seen in other betting markets outside the United States and British Isles.

Despite global popularity, decimal odds often take a back seat to American odds when it comes to NFL football wagers. To seasoned NFL bettors, it may even look odd when decimal odds are placed next to the New York Giants instead of Manchester United.

In truth, decimal odds are probably the simplest fixed odds format to understand and work quite well with fixed odds betting on NFL football.

WHAT ARE DECIMAL ODDS?

Decimal odds require a bit of match, but are otherwise straightforward. The odds are presented as a number that can be multiplied by the stake to calculate winnings. If this sounds simple…that’s only because it is.

For example, lets take the New York Jets week 1 matchup against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. In decimal odds, with no point spread, the line will look something like this:

New York Jets 3.75
Detroit Lions 1.28

This line indicates that Detroit is favored, as the higher the number, the better the payout.

CALCULATING PAYOUTS FROM DECIMAL ODDS

To calculate profit with decimal odds, simply multiply the odds by the stake, then subtract the stake to calculate profit.
Odds x Stake = Winnings
Let’s say we want to bet $100 on the Lions. This will bring in $128, or $28 profit. On the flipside, a $100 bet on the Jets wins $375 ($275 profit).

DECIMAL ODDS AS “MONEYLINE” BETS

Although moneyline is a term typically used in the United States (or to refer to American odds), this NYJ 3.75 @ DET 1.28 line is essentially the same bet as the moneyline (it would be NYJ +275 @ DET -357 in US odds).

DECIMAL ODDS AND THE POINT SPREAD

In NFL football, sports books want the odds around even near 2.00 (or +100, in American odds), with a small percentage taken out for their own profit. They accomplish this by using a point spread to keep action on both sides. With a $100 bet on a 2.00 team, the bettor profits $100.

Back to our game…

As evidenced by the 3.75 line, Detroit is considered a superior team to the Jets and are also playing at home so they will need to give up points via the spread. Let’s re-write the line in decimal odds with Detroit as 7 point favorites.

New York Jets +7 (1.91)
Detroit -7 (1.91)

With these adjusted odds, Detroit now has to win by more than a touchdown to pay out. A $100 bet on either team will win $191 ($91 profit).

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WHO USES DECIMAL ODDS?

Decimal odds are often associated with continental Europe, but they are also widely used in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and a number of Latin American, Asian and African markets.

In Canada, where NFL wagering terminology is common, the “moneyline” is often listed as decimal odds as opposed to American odds.

Decimal odds are often used in sports where a point spread is impractical, such as association football/soccer, hockey and baseball. Because every goal or run is only worth one, having a point spread rarely works. The payouts for favorites and underdogs can vary wildly as we saw in the NYJ (3.75) @ DET (1.28) line. In this case, decimal odds make it easy to calculate payments.

DECIMAL ODDS FOR PARLAY BETS

Decimal odds can be useful when dealing with multi-bet parlays.
Let’s take a look at the over/under for our Jets-Lions game.

Over 44 1.91
Under 44 1.91

Now, assume we really like the Jets and think they are going to win a low scoring game. We can take the Jets to win straight up, at 3.75 and combine it on one ticket with the under, at 1.91. To calculate our new decimal odds, all we need to do is multiply the two numbers.

3.75 x 1.91 = 7.16

With this combined card, if we bet $100 on the Jets to win and the under, we take home a cool $716 ($616 profit).

WHY LEARN DECIMAL ODDS?

The fact is, the difference between American odds, fractional odds and decimal odds are a matter of familiarity more than anything. Though some may see the relative similarity as reason not to stray from one’s comfort zone, the more NFL wagering concepts are understood, the better your chances are when placing bets.