Fractional Odds

Fractional odds are most often used for verbalizing odds, but virtually all online sportsbooks still offer their betting lines in the fractional odds format.  Fractional odds are very easy to understand, they can just get complicated once the lines are more complex and don’t easily simplify into a low fraction.


Chicago Cubs 9/5
San Francisco Giants ½

This is about as simplified of fractional odds you will find nowadays so we will use this example to explain how fractional odds work.

The first number, also known as the numerator, is the amount you will win by placing a bet the size of the second number, the denominator, on the outcome with those fractional odds.

Therefore, in the simplest form a wager of $5 on the Chicago Cubs will generate a winnings of $9 and a total payout of $14.  Meanwhile, a wager of $2 on the San Francisco Giants will generate a winnings of $1 and a total payout of $3.

Favourite vs Underdog

When using the fractional odds style, the favourite will always have a fraction equal to less than one (numerator < denominator), while the underdog will display a fraction equal to greater than one (numberator > denominator).

Verbalizing Fractional Odds

As mentioned earlier, fractional odds are great for verbalizing the wagers you made when talking to friends.  For example, “I just placed a $10 wager on the Toronto Raptors at 3/1”.  What is best for verbalizing however, isn’t always best for calculating and understanding when the online bookmakers odds are as complicated and detailed as they are nowadays.

A More Difficult Fractional Odds Example

Colorado Rockies 100/157
New York Mets 71/50

This line indicates that a wager of $157 on the Colorado Rockies will win the bettor $100, while a wager of $50 on the New York Mets will win the bettor $71.  That’s easy enough to figure out, but once you start wagering different amounts it becomes increasingly difficult to just look at the line and know how much you would potentially win.

Say you want to bet $35 on the Rockies.  Just looking at the odds I’m sure you would find it difficult to figure out the potential winnings.  With a calculator it is much easier to realize that, the wager would win $22.29 (100/157 x $35).  If you have a calculator handy then fractional odds may be right for you, but if not I would suggest changing to the decimal odds format.