Here are some common terms we’ll use to help explain how to read fuures bets and odds:

  • “Stake” refers to the money you spend on your bet
  • “Winning” refers to how much you win (net profit)
  • “Payout” refers to how much you get back (winnings + stake)

Odds for futures bets can be confusing at first but once you get the hang of the basics they are very easy to understand. In the United States, odds for most bets including futures are shown in American odds, sometimes called money line odds.

Let’s look at some examples of futures odds so we can explain it in detail. These are all different ways that you can read futures bets. These are money line odds on which team will win the NBA Championship:

  • Golden State Warriors: -162.50
  • Boston Celtics: +600
  • Houston Rockets: +900
  • Toronto Raptors: +1000

The first thing you’ll notice is that som numbers have a plus sign and some have a minus sign. This is how you tell which bets are favorites to win and which are underdogs.

  • The negative number (minus sign) indicates a favorite
  • The positive number (plus sign) indicates an underdog

Since favorites are more likely to win, they pay out less. The opposite is true for underdogs.

  • The negative number tells you how much you have to bet to win $100 in profit.
  • The positive number tells you how much profit you will win for every $100 stake.

In our example from above, because the Golden State Warriors are such heavy favorites, they have a minus odds number. The odds of the Warriors in this example, -162.50, meaning that if you bet $162.50, you will win $100. You would also get your original stake back, so if you bet $162.50 and the Warriors win, you would receive a $262.50 total payout ($162.50 + $100).

As for the Celtics, +600 means that if you bet $100 you will stand to win $600. Add your original stake, and you would receive a total payout of $700.

You can bet any amount you want but the easiest way to think about the odds is to imagine you are betting $100 on underdogs or trying to win $100 in profit on favorites. For example, if you bet $100 on each team, here is what you would get back:

Sometimes odds are shown in different formats. In addition to American odds, a bet can be expressed in both fractional and decimal form. Here are the same odds on which team will win the championship, expressed as fractions:

  • Golden State Warriors: 8/13
  • Boston Celtics: 6/1
  • Houston Rockets: 9/1
  • Toronto Raptors: 10/1

These odds mean exactly the same thing as in our last example. In this case, if you bet the number below the dividing line, you win the number above the dividing line. So, if you bet $1 on the Boston Celtics, you win $6. Meaning your payout will be $7.

If you bet $13 on the Warriors, you win $8. Meaning your payout will be $21.

To determine how much you would win from a bet, simply divide your stake by the number below the line, and then multiply by the number above the line.

Again, these odds mean exactly the same thing as in the money line format. They are just different ways of expressing the same information.

The final format you may come across is decimal odds, which looks like this:

  • Golden State Warriors: 1.62
  • Boston Celtics: 7.00
  • Houston Rockets: 10.00
  • Toronto Raptors: 11.00

In this case, simply multiply your stake by the number, and that is your potential pay-out.

For example, if you bet $5 on the Warriors, you will stand to receive $8.10 ($5 * 1.62)

If you bet $5 on the Celtics, you will stand to receive $35 ($5 * 7)

Again, all of the odds on this page are the same. These are just different ways of expressing them. It may seem a little complicated at first, but once you get the hang of them it becomes very easy to understand.

When you’re betting online you can just enter how much you want to bet, or how much you want to win, and the sportsbook will automatically calculate it for you. You can also sometimes choose which style you want all the odds on the site to be shown in.

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