Fractional Betting Odds
Fractional betting odds have a long-standing history in the UK, and continue to be a popular choice among punters here at Bet UK. And while more and more sports bettors choose decimal odds, there’s no denying that fractional odds are where the spirit of sportsbooks truly lies.
Nowadays, top sportsbooks like us here at Bet UK feature fractional odds alongside decimal and American options. However, if you're new to betting with fractional odds, understanding how they work might be challenging. After all, they do require some good mental maths to figure out!
In this guide, we'll delve into the nuances of fractional odds betting, explore its origins, and explain how to interpret fractional odds.
What are fractional betting odds?
Fractional odds are a type of betting odds that aim to display the chances of you winning a wager. They are set out in a fraction, with a numerator (upper number) and a denominator (lower number). The idea is that the upper number is the profit you would get back from a bet, if you wagered the bottom number (your stake).
The higher the upper number, the bigger your potential profit, and therefore the less likely your bet is to win.
How Fractional odds differ to Decimal Odds
Fractional odds are more complicated than decimal or American odds but that doesn’t mean they’re impossible to figure out. Most people use the Bet UK bet slip to calculate their potential profit, rather than crunching the numbers in their head. Thankfully, though, the majority of fractional odds are easy to understand. So, here’s how they work:
With fractional odds, you work out your profit by dividing the top number by the bottom number. For example, you bet £1 on Bournemouth to beat Brighton at odds of 5/1. This means you’ll get £5 back as profit if Bournemouth win, plus your £1 stake. Bet £10 and you’ll get £50 in profit, etc.
Here’s the maths for fractional odds: £1 bet at 5/1 odds = 5 x £1 (+ your stake) = £6 return.
Remember, the Bet UK bet slip can save you time by doing the maths for you. Simply click on the odds you’re thinking of backing, and enter your proposed stake into the bet slip. You’ll see how much you could win instantly, before hitting Place Bet.
History of fractional betting odds
The history of fractional odds is closely tied to the evolution of bookmaking and the gambling industry in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Bookmakers began drawing up odds on horse racing more than 200 years ago, and the best way to do this was using fractions.
This may feel weird today, especially when decimal odds are easier to understand. But two centuries ago the currency in both the UK and Ireland was split into fractions, and people had a better sense of how they worked.
The first bookmakers began to emerge in the UK during the 18th century, primarily for horse racing events. As bookmakers created odds for these events, they used fractions to represent the probability of a particular outcome. One hundred years later and sports betting was now a big industry, fractional odds became the standard method for representing odds in UK bookmaking, partly due to their familiarity and the traditional nature of UK betting culture.
Bookmakers at racecourses became experts at fractional odds, and could swiftly change their odds to reflect movements in the market. This dexterity remains to this day, even though they now use electronic boards.
Fractional odds began to decline in the late 1990s when online sports betting emerged as a rival to betting shops. Players began to use decimal odds instead, as these require little prior knowledge or maths skills to work out potential profits. Most bookmakers now use both fractional and decimal odds, but it’s fair to say the historic odds format is less popular than the new kid on the block.
Difference between decimal, fractional and American odds
Fractional odds are the oldest form of betting odds that we still use in the 21st century. And while many sports betting fans prefer decimal odds, there’s no denying there’s something spiritual about seeing fractions listed out on a racecard.
Here’s a breakdown of how fractional odds are different to decimal and American types:
Fractional odds represent your possible profit (or positive odds) in relation to your stake. They are presented as a fraction, such as 6/1 or 2/1. To calculate potential winnings, divide the numerator (upper number) by the denominator (lower number) and multiply your stake.
Here’s an example: You bet on the Mavericks to beat the Heat at odds of 5/1 and a £10 stake. If the Mavericks win, you’ll get back £50 (£10 x 5) as well as your original stake of £10, totalling £60. While fractional odds are considered traditional in the UK, some bettors find them more challenging to calculate than decimal odds.
Decimal odds are the new boys on the block and have helped make online sports betting more popular. They signify the total return (both winnings and your original stake) for each unit wagered. To determine potential winnings, simply multiply the decimal odds by your stake.
For instance, if the decimal odds are 4.00 and you bet £10, you would receive a total of £40 (£10 x 4.00). This consists of your original £10 stake and £30 in winnings. The ease of understanding and using decimal odds make them a preferred choice for many bettors.
American odds aren’t really used anywhere but in the United States. They are expressed as either positive or negative numbers. Positive odds show the amount of profit you would earn on a £100 stake. Negative odds show the amount you need to stake to win £100.
Here’s an example of American odds in action. You bet £100 at odds of +300 and get £300 in winnings. Easy, right? Conversely, if the odds are -300, you would need to bet £300 just to win £100.
Don't want to stick with the fractional odds format? You can convert fractional odds into decimal or American in the settings menu of your sportsbook. Alternatively, if you've already placed your bet, you can use our betting calculator to see how the odds compare in the decimal or American format.
Fractional Odds FAQs
Does Bet UK use fractional odds?
Yes. Bet UK use fractional odds in our sportsbook. This means you can bet with fractional odds on sports like cricket, football, horse racing and NFL. You can change the odds type in your settings when you open a Bet UK account.
Can I switch between fractional odds and decimal odds?
Yes. At Bet UK you can choose your odds type and switch between fractional and decimal. Converting fractional odds couldn't be easier, to convert odds, simply head to the settings menu at the bottom of your sportsbook and click the 'odds format' section to change your format.