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What are fractional odds?

Fractional odds are a way of displaying betting odds, they are most commonly used in the United Kingdom. They are one of the older types of odds, originating with horse racing centuries ago. Many UK bookmakers still use fractional odds.

How to read fractional odds

Fractional odds, as the name suggests, are given in fractions. If you remember basic maths in school you’ll know your denominator from your numerator. In the fractional odds of 9/5, 9 is the numerator and 5 is the denominator.

A good way of thinking of fractional odds is:

  • above the line = how much you will win
  • below the line = how much is at stake
Tip: In conversation, you pronounce fractional odds as ‘number’ to ‘number’ so the ¼ odds would be spoken as ‘one to four’ not ‘one quarter’.

You may hear the phrases ‘against’,‘on’ and ‘for’ in fractional betting, this means the favours are ‘against’ the team (with high odds) or on or for the team (low odds).

Example of fractional odds

Using the formula above: Let’s say you place a $10 bet on your team to win at odds of 2/1.

  • above the line = how much you will win = 2 x $10 = $20.00
  • below the line = the stake = 1 x $10 = $10.00
  • You’ll win your original bet plus the winnings = $30.00

Don’t forget to factor the original stake in when calculating your potential winnings using fractional odds.

It’s easy to calculate your returns using a simple example as provided above. But it gets more complicated when odds are 7/4 or 9/5. That’s why decimal odds are more popular with punters in Australia, as they can easily see that 7/4 (2.75) is slightly lower odds than 9/5 (2.8).

Converting from fractional odds to decimal odds

Of course, it’s much easier to use a simple odds converter tool. But if you would like the formula for converting fractional odds, it is:

  • divide the first figure by the second figure then add 1.00

For example converting fractional odds of 11/4 into decimal odds the sum is:

  • 11 ÷ 4 = 2.75 + 1.00 = 3.75