Odds Comparison 101

Odds Comparison

If you're new to sports betting, or just new to odds comparison, we're here to help.

Getting the best available odds is one of the most important aspects of gambling. If you don't have the best odds for all your bets, you're cutting into your edge over the sportsbooks.

Reading the odds screen

Futures

Let's take a look at the NFC East market in the NFL (all odds are from 4/10/2020).

Comparing Odds for the NFC East 2020/21

Teams are sorted from the most favored at the top (by average odds from all sportsbooks) to least at the bottom.

The column on the far right shows the implied percentage chance of the team winning, based on their average odds.

Any odds highlighted in bright yellow are the best odds for that team. In this case, FanDuel Sportsbook has the best odds for the Philadelphia Eagles at +129.

Any odds shaded paler yellow indicate that those odds are above the average of all sportsbooks. As far as the Cowboys go, you can see that BetMGM, Bet365 and Hard Rock all have above-average odds (in this case, the average odds across the board are +122).

Matches

The basics for games are exactly the same, with a couple of added features.

As this article is being written during the coronavirus outbreak of 2020, we are having to use a Belarus Premier League soccer game as an example.

Belarus Premier League

Belarus Premier League match odds comparison

So, much the same as for a futures market. Again, yellow shading indicates best available odds for that outcome.

The main difference you'll notice is the red and green outlines on the odds.

Red indicates that the odds are lengthening (getting better for you), and green indicates shortening (getting worse, as far as payout goes).

The thicker the border around the odds, the more the odds have changed. So you can see that FanDuel's +250 for Vitebsk (whoever they are) is very thick; that's because they opened at +190, and have moved all the way out to +250.

What are the percentages at the bottom of each column? That's the 'vig', also known as 'cut', or 'take'.

If sportsbooks offered no vig, they would go out of business. They effectively have to charge a commission on each bet, so the lower this number, the better.

Click on any graph icon in a sportsbook column and you'll see exactly how their odds have fluctuated over time:

Odds Graph

Odds changes over time at FanDuel

This is handy for checking which direction a book is headed with certain outcomes. Here you can see FanDuel started low, drifted out, then reacted and came back in. In the last few hours of the graph, there is another drift in the odds upwards.

Why it's important to get the best odds

You want to bet the Cowboys over the Packers. The Cowboys are +110 at FanDuel, and +120 at BetMGM. You don't have a BetMGM account, and figure 10 cents doesn't make much difference, so go ahead and place the bet at FanDuel.

Dallas wins the game, and for your $100 bet, you collect $110.

But if you'd have bet with BetMGM and taken the bigger odds, you'd have collected $120. An extra $10 might not seem a big deal, but if you're placing a lot of bets, it is.

Let's use a 50% win rate for our Cowboys example above. We place 1,000 wagers of $100 through the year, and 50% of them win.

  • If you had taken the FanDuel odds of +110 every time, your profit would be $5,000.
  • If you had taken the better BetMGM odds of +120 every time, your profit would be $10,000.

This gives you an indication that shopping around for odds gives you a much better long term chance of making money.

Parlay