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Understanding Sports Betting Probabilities

Alice Whittaker
Understanding Sports Betting Probabilities


It’s fair to assume that the way to win money with sports betting is to predict what will happen. Technically, it’s true, but just getting your predictions right isn’t enough to consistently yield a profit. There are too many variables involved in sports events, which makes it impossible to get your predictions right every time. But by understanding probabilities, as we discuss on this page, you might just be able to boost your chances of winning.

What is Probability in Sports Betting

What Is Probability In Sports Betting?

Whether you’ve heard of probability in sports betting or not, it’s a need to know. It’s a measure of how likely something is to happen. Probability is expressed as a decimal between 0 and 1.0, with 1 being a certainty and 0 indicating impossibility. Like odds, probability can also be expressed as a percentage, with 100% being a sure thing and 0% an impossibility.
One of the best things about probability is that you precisely calculate it. Let’s use the toss of a coin as an example. There are just two potential outcomes: heads or tails. So, there’s a 50% probability of either.
Now, if we take probability in sports betting, it’s a little different and not as simple. In fact, it’s impossible to precisely calculate the probable outcome of a sporting event. There are just too many factors at play.

Odds v Probability

Sports Betting Odds vs Probability

When it comes to sportsbook odds, remember you’re offered payout odds and not true odds. So, even if you win 50% of the time, you will show a loss long-term due to the sportsbook’s “juice” or house edge. But looking for profitable differences between yours and the bookmaker’s odds is faster and easier if you understand implied probability.

Understanding Implied Probability

In terms of sports betting, the implied probability is what the odds suggest the likelihood of an outcome may be. To arrive at implied probability, we divide one by the decimal odds.
For example, if the Chicago Bears boast odds of 2.50 to win a particular match, their implied probability of a win is 40% 0r 0.4.
The best way to convert odds into implied probability is to use an online odds converter tool.

The Best Bets For Implied Probability

Moneyline odds are the most popular when it comes to implied probability, but you can use this type of equation elsewhere, with the value of the results varying based on the type of bet. What’s more, odds can fluctuate in response to the volume of bets, but they tend to stay within proximity to the baseline. The most useful bets for implied probability, though, are those that have a range of choices, like futures markets and player props.

Which Is More Useful?

Which Is More Useful – Odds Or Probabilities?

It all depends on the situation. Using odds (both your own and the bookmaker’s) to arrive at an implied probability is your safest and most rewarding betting strategy.

But it also depends on just how serious you are about gambling. If you’re a casual gambler, the odds will do, but if you’re more serious about turning a profit, you’ll have to turn to implied probability. Since odds and probability are essentially expressions of the same facts, you can use either, depending on what you’re more comfortable with.

As you hone your sports betting skills, we recommend looking for value bets. With these bets, the offered odds tend to be longer than what the calculations reveal, and that alone requires an in-depth understanding of probability.

Converting Odds To Probabilities

Converting Odds To Probabilities

Keen to convert odds to probability? It’s this easy: put the number at the bottom on top and divide the sum of those numbers. Let’s use 5/6 as an example:

(5+6) = 6/11 = 54.5%.

Calculating odds and the likelihood of the other team winning, you will get higher potential winnings as there is more value.

If you bet with different formats, like decimals, it’s easier as you simply divide the bookie’s decimal odds by 1 to arrive at the probability.

Applying Probabilities

Applying Probabilities To Your Sports Betting Strategy

If you’re a serious punter, chances are you have a sound betting strategy, and your number one focus is looking for value in your preferred bets. Here’s how you can apply probabilities to your strategies to boost your chances of a win:


Make use of tactical analysis, charts and statistics to figure out how likely you estimate the outcome of an event.


Check out how likely the sportsbooks are to see your outcome.


Should you think that an event is more likely than what the bookies imply via their odds, you’ve probably found a value bet.


Consistently bet on real value bets to make a profit over the long run.

How Can you Make use of Probabilities?

Probabilities Can Help With Your Online Sports Betting

There are really no downsides to using an implied probability for your betting decisions. Just look at some of the ways it can help you:

  • Improves your understanding of different sportsbook odds
  • Translates the odds into the actual likelihood of certain outcomes
  • Helps you gain a better perspective on the closeness of matchups
  • Helps you spot instances where a bookmaker could be over or under-pricing certain lines
  • Helps you visualise what’s expected to happen
  • Equips you to spot value opportunities in the odds

While sports betting probabilities aren’t the golden ticket to your winning chances, they are a valuable tool to add to your betting strategies to help improve your game and, we hope, your long-term results.

Content Editor

Alice Whittaker

2 Articles

Super editor-in-chief at Betman.net, Alice encompasses a vast experience with online sports sites, her favourite betting pastime being streaming live competitions and placing the occasional wager when the atmosphere heats up. Besides sports, you’ll find her reading about everything crypto, sports and casino unless she’s out and about with her basset side-kick Hazel.