A Breakdown of "American Odds"

Published on December 16th, 2019 3:57 am EST
Written By: Dave Manuel



What is the meaning of American Odds when it comes to sports betting? If you have ever been watching a UFC event (where they show Las Vegas odds for each fight) or gone to an online sportsbook, you may wonder what a number like this:

-145

Or this:

+200 means.

What you are seeing in both of these cases of an example of "American odds". Throughout the rest of the world, people normally use "decimal odds" (especially in Europe) or fractional odds.

For this article, we are going to specifically focus on American odds - the odds with the + or - in front of the number.

The short answer to the question of "what do the plus and minus signs before the odds number mean" is: a minus sign indicates a favourite to win, while a plus sign indicates an underdog.

For instance - let's say that a team is -145 to win a game.

This means that you would need to wager $145 on this team in order to have a chance of winning $100 in PROFIT back.

Whenever you see a minus, take the number and that is how much you would need to bet in order to win $100 in profit back.

So, if a team is -900 to win, this would mean that you would need to bet $900 on them in order to have a chance of winning $100 in profit back.

Or, is a team is -1400 to win, you would need to bet $1,400 on the team in order to have a chance of winning $100 in profit back.

The bigger the number after the minus, the bigger of a favourite that the team or person is to win.

A -1400 number means that a team has a 93.46% chance of winning, while a -145 number means that they have a 59.17% chance of winning.

-

Now, let's look at the opposite - what does it means if an odds number has a plus sign in front of it?

This means that the team or person is an underdog to win, which means that they are not the favourite.

With a number like +200, the 200 is the total amount of PROFIT that you would win with a bet of $100.

So, with an odds number of +200, you would win $200 in profit if you bet on them to win and they actually won.

The bigger the number after the plus sign, the bigger of an underdog that the team or person is to win.

So, if a team is +1000 to win, this would mean that you would win $1000 in profit with a bet of $100 - if they won, of course.

-

So, let's apply what we've just learned.

Let's say that Max Holloway is fighting against Dustin Poirier and the odds look like this:

Max Holloway, +240
Dustin Poirier, -300

So, who is the underdog and who is the favourite to win?

Well, Holloway has the plus sign in front of his odds, so he is the underdog to win, while Poirier is the favourite.

In the cases listed above, a successful $100 wager on Holloway would yield a total profit of $240, while you would need to bet $300 on Poirier in order to have a chance of winning $100 in profit back.

-

One last point.

What happens if both of your options have plus signs in front of them, such as:

Team A, +110
Team B, +110

In this case, these lines are telling you that the game is considered a coin flip, with neither team being considered as the favourite or underdog.

The reason why the numbers are both +110 instead of +100 is because the sports book has to make money - by making both sides +110 instead of +100, the sports book will make an extra ten dollars from the losing side - they'll collect $110 from both sides, though pay out just $100 to the winner. The remaining $10 is their profit - this is also known as the "vig".

Related Articles

The Sweet 16 Betting Odds - 2018 March Madness - Basketball graphic.

NCAA Sweet 16 Betting Odds

The NCAA Men's Basketball tournament will pick back up later this week when the "Sweet 16" gets unde...