Betting on sports is all about maths in the sense that we need to know what we stand to win. We take our intended stake – let’s say $CAD 10.00 – and look at what possible profits can be made. Based on those potential profits, we can then decide on whether to take up the bet in question.
Along the way, there are a number of terms relating to betting which we need to understand. This guide is therefore intended to talk you through the jargon and give you some actual calculations in each case. Moving forward, you can return to this guide and use those calculations whenever your lining up a wager.
An arbitrage, or arb bet, comes along when two separate bookmakers quote odds for a sporting event in such a way that you can guarantee a profit whatever happens. It is most commonly used in a sport such as tennis where there are only two possible outcomes in the result betting but it can be applied in other sports, other markets, and other bets where there are more than two possibilities.
In this following example, we’ll take two notional bookmakers who have priced up a bet between two tennis players. In all of the following calculations, we’ll be using decimal odds as they underline the point more easily but these can quickly be converted to American or even Fractional if you prefer.
Bookmaker A prices Player A at odds of 2.00
Bookmaker B prices Player B at odds of 4.33
You stake $68.40 on Player A and
You stake $31.60 on Player B
Your total stake is $100.00
If player A wins your return is 2.00 x $68.40 = $136.80
Your profit is $36.80
If player B wins your return is 4.33 x $31.60 = $136.82
Your return is $36.82
Using this example, you will profit whatever happens in the game and this is, therefore, a good example of an Arb. The odds may be a little extreme but there are a number of arbs dropping in each day where you can align your stakes and as long as the prices don’t move, a profit will come in.
Tipsters like to state arb bets as being guaranteed and as long as the prices stay the same and you stake in the correct way then this certainly should be the case. The only potential pitfall comes if one or both of the sportsbooks involved realises they have set themselves up for an arbitrage bet. If this is the case, they are certain to change their odds so be aware of this and be sure to act quickly if you spot or are made aware of an arb.
Bettors in Canada are currently required to make parlay bets online as opposed to win singles. This methods combines two or more bets and that means that the calculations involved can be more complicated. Here, we are going to use two bets and for the sake of this example, we’re going to be staking in Major League Soccer (MLS).
We’ll keep things patriotic so we’re we’re going to back Toronto FC to beat DC United and the Vancouver Whitecaps to beat Real Salt Lake. We’ll use decimal odds and a stake of $10 CAD on the straight line double.
It all results in the following calculation:
Parlay Odds Calculator
Toronto v beat DC United at 2.00: $10.00 x 2.00 = $20.00
Vancouver Whitecaps to beat Real Salt Lake at 2.00: $10.00 x 2.00 = $20.00
$20.00 + $20.00 = $40.00
-$10.00 stake = $30.00 profit
It really is a simple calculation when you round up the decimal odds. Obviously, things can get a little more complicated when using numbers such as 1.73 and 4.33 but the principle is still the same so just work through this calculator to generate your profit.
Parlay Bet Calculator
The calculation here effectively doubles up on any stake that is made for the game. We’ve kept it very simple here with two bets at 2.00 so you’re simply doubling it up to make 2 x 2.00 = 4.00.
Any sum can be used to replace the 2.00 and it’s perfectly simple to work out so, for example, if we have two bets at 1.74 then it’s 1.74 x 1.74 = 3.02.
Reverse Bets Calculator
A reverse bet can be quite a complicated process for the new bettor but once the concept is grasped, it can be a useful tool in your strategy. It’s perfect for Canada because it requires a minimum of two bets and will usually be capped at four outcomes.
Reverse bets are based on another form of gambling known as ‘if’ bets which rely on a certain sequence of events happening. A reverse bet follows the same principle but it is known as a ‘reverse’ because the winning bets can work in all directions.
While it sounds complex, this is an easy process once you understand it and it’s really best explained by using an example calculation.
Once again, we’re going with our standard odds of 2.00 on two possible outcomes and we’re keeping it simple with that $10.00 stake.
2.00 x 2.00 = total odds of 4.00 and we are staking 2 x $10.00, giving us a total outlay of $20.00.
Our possible winnings are, therefore, $10.00 x 2.00 = $20.00 + $10.00 x 2 = $20.00. $20.00 + $20.00 = $40.00 leaving us with a total return of $40.00.
This is similar to parlay betting but reverse bets have their own place in gambling terminology and are something that Canadian bettors will run into.
Horse Bets Calculator
Horse bets are similar to the money line option which we will explain in the next section. They are calculated in the same way but because many sportsbooks have a separate horse racing book, it’s helpful to have them listed separately.
Let’s assume you back a horse at decimal odds of 7.00 to win a race and you are back with our standard stake of $10.00. The horse wins and you will then receive the following return.
$10.00 x 7.00 = $70.00.
There is an anomaly with horse racing, and with other sports where each way betting is made available. With an Each Way punt you are actually taking two bets – one for the win and one for a place. It’s usually taken when a bettor is looking at a longer-priced option. They’re not convinced about the horse’s chances of winning but they feel it can finish strongly – in second third or fourth.
In this example, we will therefore consider a horse that is priced at 20.00. Your stake is still $10.00 but because there are actually two bets – a win and a place – your total outlay is $20.00. In this calculation we will assume that the horse has won so you will receive.
Win bet = $10.00 x 20.00 = $200.00
Place bet (paid at one fifth of the odds) $10.00 x 4.00 = $40.00
Total return = $240.00
If, however, the horse comes home in second place, you do not receive the win portion but you will take a return based on the place. Using the same calculation you will therefore receive $40.00.
Check the terms of each sportsbook before placing that each way bet. In this example we have assumed that the bookmaker will pay down to six places at one fifth of the odds but this may well vary.
Money Line Bet Calculator
In simple terms, a money line bet is applied to the result of a match: Some sportsbooks will be confusing in their approach as they use the term money line for a prop bet but for this example, we’ll be sticking with the result. We’ll take an imaginary MLB game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Vancouver Canucks and once again, we will use decimal odds for the calculation as these are the most straightforward.
We’ll assume that the Canadiens are available at odds of 2.00 to win the game and you want to stake $10.00 on the team to win. Your calculation will therefore work as follows:
10 x 2.00 = 20.00. There is no stake to add when using decimal odds so the calculation really is that simple: By using the $10.00 stake each time it’s also very simple to calculate any wins manually so, for example, if the odds are 1.74 then you multiply by 10 to get 17.40.
For stakes that aren’t rounded up, just whip out the calculator for a quick and easy answer. Money line bet calculations really are the simplest to understand but be sure you know the potential profits before parting with your stake.