Making your online betting successful

Will my bet win?!

Ah, the million dollar question! “Will my bet win?” We’d all love to know the outcome of our bet before we placed it, but sadly there’s no such thing as a dead cert. So how does the intelligent punter decide what to place a bet on?

One simple concept is that of value. In short, there is value in a bet when the odds are better than they should be. Today I am going to look at an easy way of determining whether or not a bet has value.

Lets start by looking at the betting odds again. We’ve fired up one of the bookmakers online betting sites and we’re looking at the odds. What can they tell us? Lets look at the England v France football match again.

Betting odds:

England 2.25
Draw 3.2
France 4

These odds have been set by a bookmaker. They didn’t just make them up, they have set them based on factors such as historical meetings, current form and even the weather! What we want is a quick way of understanding what the odds represent.

Improving your online betting!

This is where implied percentage probability comes in. Its a bit of a mouthful, but its actually a simple concept. Because we are working with decimal odds its also quick and easy to do the calculation!

At first it might look a little daunting, so I will get it out the way now, then immediately expand on it with an example from the above football match.

Converting decimal betting odds to an implied percentage chance:


Perform these steps in order from left to right. So on a calculator, type 1, then divided by, then the odds, then multiply by 100 to get the answer.


England (1/2.25)*100 = 44.44%
Draw (1/3.2)*100 = 31.25%
France (1/4)*100 = 25%

So according to the betting odds, England have a 44% chance of winning the game, France have a 25% chance, and there’s a 31% chance it will be a draw.

You can apply this calculation to any decimal odds to get an implied percentage chance of the bet winning.

Some further examples:

Wayne Rooney to score first. The betting odds at an online bookmaker are 6.5

So (1/6.5)*100 = 15% chance Rooney will score first. Clearly a striker for the home team is more likely to score than most other players on the pitch, does 15% sound right?

No penalty to be awarded during the match. The odds at an online bookmaker are 1.2

So (1/1.2)*100 = 83% chance that there will not be a penalty. Sounds about right? There probably won’t be a penalty, so the odds are low.

First yellow card to a France player. The betting odds at an online bookmaker are 2.

So (1/2)*100 = 50% chance a France player will be booked first. This 50/50, a toss of a coin! If you think they are a dirty team and are much more likely to get booked first, then the bet is a good one!

It is a useful exercise to attempt to work out what you think the percentage chance of something happening is. Do this first, then compare to the percentages calculated from the real world odds. If your percentage is higher then it implies the bet has value. Of course this doesn’t mean you are going to win, but at least you are starting to think about how you can bet smarter.