What are odds?
Odds represent the likelihood of an outcome occurring. When odds are set by our oddsmakers, the game or event is analyzed thoroughly and the most probable outcome influences how much juice or vig a certain team may be given. Past scores and future odds are strongly related.
Odds are represented in the chosen format you select on the sportsbook – you can choose from American, Decimal and Fractional odds depending on your preference. American odds are most popular in North America, Decimal are popular in Europe and Fractional odds tend to be popular worldwide. Each shows you the same odds, but in a different format – it’s all in the one that’s easiest for you to understand.
In each setting, there will be a favored team and an underdog team. The favored team’s odds will be represented by a negative symbol in both moneyline and point spreads usually, especially if you choose American odds. The negative symbol (-) is a quick and easy indicator of the favored team, and with point spreads, it will show you how many points a team will need to win by. With moneyline American odds, the negative number will show you what you’d have to bet to win $100 as well.
An underdog team will be represented by a positive symbol (+) and this is the traditional indicator of a team that is less likely to win the game, and with point spreads, how many points they are allowed to lose by. With moneyline betting, the positive number will also show you what you would win on a $100 wager.
When it comes to wagers like totals or props, there are usually two options and the odds will be associated with the likelihood of winning, they won’t have an effect on the total or anything that would affect the prop bet. Usually these betting types don’t have the inflated odds that you’d see on a moneyline wager, so you can expect odds that range from (-130) to (+115) more often than not.
When we look at odds, we talk a lot about implied probability. It is arguably one of the more important factors when betting on sports and can show you how likely it is that your bet will win.
A quick way to calculate implied probability requires you to calculate your odds into fractional or decimal odds.
For decimal odds, you will divide one by your decimal odds. For instance, let’s say the odds are 9.0, and we are going to divide 1/9.0 for an implied probability of 11.11%. This isn’t much and is a low chance of this bet winning.
For fractional odds, let’s say the odds are 1/ 4. The calculation looks like this: B/A+B. In this case, it would be 4/4+1 = 80% chance of winning the game.
Previous Game Results and Team Records
Previous games and team records provide endless data for sports betting analysis. When betting on a game, we often don’t look at the previous stats enough – this is more common in daily fantasy than sports betting. Many fantasy team owners tend to look at individual player stats and how that player might perform in the future to best decide which players to sit and which players to start.
With sports betting, it’s no different. Reviewing previous games teams have played and how they’ve performed is an essential factor in how the odds are listed and how they can change.
Let’s look at a few key factors that we pay attention to when it comes to reviewing past records and setting lines.
Identifying key statistics that affect odds
Home team advantage
We don’t have to explain this one too in-depth as home team advantage is a huge factor to be considered when setting lines and placing wagers. Teams tend to simply play better at home – their loyal fans are there, they don’t have to travel or experience potential jetlag, they are acclimated to the weather, the benefits of playing at home list goes on.
A team’s previous games and record will show how they’ve done on the road versus at home, and provide details into how valuable they are at home. Usually, to oddsmakers, the home team advantage is worth a few points on a spread if a team has a proven at-home winning record.
Offensive and Defensive strengths
A team must be in simpatico on both offense and defense. If a team has a strong offense but weak defense, they may score plenty of points, but the other team may as well. The match-up will depend on the output by both sides in previous games. Perhaps in the first five weeks of the season, a team that usually has a strong offense is proving to be struggling, or injuries could plague a defensive line, making their production much lower.
These factors are important for understanding how many points might be scored in a game, but also how oddsmakers predict the outcomes so closely. If two teams are playing and both have weak defensive lines, we can predict the game total will be quite high as both offensive lines will be racking up points.
Past Record Against a Team
Each professional sports league has conferences or divisions that teams tend to stick to for decades. This means that many teams play within their division or conference and play the same teams year in and year out. This means that team has a record against each team, and we can dig into those statistics to see how the team has performed. Usually, we only like to really put a value on this if rosters have remained the same, so we know which players are threats to the other team and vice versa.
Rivalries are another huge factor – many times a team might perform a certain way when they are playing their division rival, whether that be more aggressive or showing they have something to prove. Rivalry games can be more exciting and sometimes can be close, so these are always factored in when setting lines
This can be difficult to analyze at the start of the season, but the main and ultimate factor looked at when setting lines is how a team has performed in the short term. Are they on a winning streak? Do they have an easy schedule or are they hot right now? Analyzing the recent results and actually digging into the data is important when creating lines but also when betting.
A team may be struggling to secure a win, but keeping games relatively close despite their shortcomings. This doesn’t mean they should be ruled out, but that they should be monitored and spreads would be likely very tight.
Listen to the Data
There are plenty of reasons to analyze each and every game you bet on, but be aware that lines move all the time based on previous games and records – so be vigilant in reviewing past game reports, how teams are securing their points, and where their strengths and weaknesses lie.