In the realm of sports betting, there are fixed odds and floating odds. Floating odds are represented by the point spread, and a win or loss is determined by how a particular team did against the spread. When all is said and done, with floating odds you earn the same amount of money whether the favorite or underdog wins.
Concept behind Fixed Odds
With fixed odds, if you bet on the underdog you risk less to win more. When wagering on the favorite, you risk more to win less. If you bet on the winner of the game or contest, you win your bet. This is unlike betting the point spread, where the favorite has to beat the spread and the underdog can pay off even if they lose the game.
Fixed odds are the closest thing you’ll find in sports betting to real odds. That’s because the risk factor is calculated into the wager and payout amounts. The amount you’re asked to wager is weighted according to risk. You wager more on the favorite because your cash is less at risk than it would be if you bet on the underdog. You get a bigger reward if you bet on the long shot and they win.
Neither is true with the point spread. The point spread is not about playing odds; it is about neutralizing the odds.
Displaying Fixed Odds
Fixed odds are usually displayed in one of three ways—using the decimal or European method, the fractional or English manner or the American money line way. Here is what each looks like:
Money Line +400
All three of these indicate that the odds are 4:1, which means that for every dollar wagered you’d get a payout of four dollars and a total return of five dollars. The total return represents the payout plus your original wager. The odds displayed above are for a team that is not favored. With the money line, the plus indicates that you are wagering on the underdog and it shows you what you will win on a $100 bet.
A favored team might have odds like this:
Money Line -400
With these odds you get a payout of one dollar for every four dollar bet. The decimal shows your return on a dollar while the fractional reveals what you’ll make on a four dollar bet, which is one dollar. The money line reveals how much you must wager to make $100. In the money line, the favored team has a minus displayed in from of the wager amount.
Why Fixed Odds Can be Preferable
If you’re wagering on a contest that looks to be fairly even or one in which you feel the point spread is misleading (or simply wrong), then going with a fixed odds bet makes sense. Fixed odds are especially good to take if you suspect a possible upset. The wager is smart because the payoff is often very good, and the risk is minimal.