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Introduction to Fixed Odds Betting

Fixed Odds Betting is the most popular and easily accessible form of betting. It is what you will find if you walk into your local highstreet bookmaker and it is what you will also find at most online bookies!


What can I bet on?

You can bet on virtually anything. There’s a wide variety of bets available on most sports, with a wide variety of bets then available within each sport!

For example, if you want to bet on football you can bet on individual results, correct score, halftime/fulltime, first goalscorer, league and cup winners, promotion, relegation, top goalscorers and much more. The same applies to other sports.

While a huge majority of markets are sports based, there are also non-sports betting markets available for events like general elections, Christmas number one, and tv shows such as Big Brother.



What are odds?
The odds represent the bookmaker’s estimated probability of an event occurring. For example if the chances of something happening is 60% that corresponds to;

  • decimal odds of 1.67 (1/60x100).
  • fractional odds of 4/6

Decimal vs Fractional
The decimal style odds represent the return on your bet, for example £10 at 3.5 would return £35 (£10 x 3.5).

The fraction style odds represent the profit on a bet, for example £10 at 5/2 would win £25 (5 ÷ 2 x £10) plus your stake (£10), returning a total of £35.

On any web site, you will be able to select your preferred style.

For a comparison table, please Click Here

Bookmakers Profit
The estimated probabilities of all the outcomes won’t actually add up to 100%. For example; Chelsea v Charlton might have odds of

  • 5.5 Charlton
  • 3.5 Draw
  • 1.57 Chelsea

meaning the bookmaker gives

  • Charlton an 18.2% chance
  • the draw a 28.6% chance
  • and Chelsea a 63.7% chance.

These add to around 110%. That extra 10% represents the bookmakers profit.

Changing Odds
Odds will be updated as circumstances change. For example, at the start of the season Chelsea were around evens (2.0 decimal) to win the premiership. After winning their first five games they have moved to around 1/2 (1.5 decimal).

The odds can also be influenced by the amount of money staked on a particular outcome. For example, Brazil might be around 4/1 (5.0 decimal) to win the world cup almost a year before it starts. By the time the world cup arrives, although the probability of them winning it hasn’t really changed, the price may well be smaller due to the large amount of money staked on them.

Different Bookmakers - Varying Odds
The odds will also vary between bookmakers.

  • If you're betting on the winner of a football / baseball / basketball game, the difference will be relatively small.
  • If you’re betting on an outsider in a golf tournament the difference between the longest and shortest available price could very large.
  • Generally, if there are a large number of options within a market, the variability will be greater between bookies.

There are sites where you can compare odds on particular markets but whether it’s worth opening an account with many different sites in order to take advantage of that depends whether you will be betting large amounts or placing a very high number of bets.

Initially it’s probably best to just stick to one or two favourite sites. We have a list of reliable bookmakers here, and have also included any joining bonuses currently available.



Betting in-running means betting during the event. As an event progresses the odds will change to reflect the state of play. In-running betting is not that common and is only available in certain events. The site with the largest number of in-running markets is Stan James.


Each way betting

Where there are several contenders in an event it is possible to back one to finish among the leaders rather than just to win. An each way bet means you effectively place two bets, one on the outright win and a second bet at reduced odds ‘each way’.

The terms of the each way bet will vary depending on the market but will always be a fraction of the win price. For example a horse race might be ¼ of the win odds for finishing in the first 3, a tennis tournament might be ½ the odds for getting to the final.

For example,
You want to back Phil Mickleson to win the US Open golf tournament and he’s 8/1. The each way terms might be ¼ the odds, top 5. So £10 each way would be £10 on the win at 8/1 and £10 on the each way (which in this case means top 5) at 2/1 (¼ of the 8/1) Your total stake for the event would be £20.

  • If he finishes 4th, your 1st place bet is lost, but you will win £20 with your each way bet (£10 at 2/1), as well as returning £10 from the 'each way' portion of your stake.
  • If he wins, you win £80 on your win bet (£10 x 8) plus the £20 on your each way bet (£10 x 2). Your full stake will also be returned.


Accumulator bets

It is also possible to bet on a combination of results. For example you might want to bet on Man Utd and Arsenal and Chelsea to all win at the weekend. This is known as an ‘accumulator’ bet.

The bets in an accumulator don't have to be the same sport of similar event either; you can bet on any combination of events. For example if you want to bet on the following, you can.

  • Bet 1 - Chelsea to beat Anderlecht (Football Champs League)
  • Bet 2 - Juventus to beat Bruge (Football Champs League
  • Bet 3 - Luke Donald to Win Outright (Golf - HSBC World Match Play Championship)

Example - Courtesy of Bet 365
If you were to stake £1 on each of those bets individually, if they are all successful, you would win £7.87 + your £3 stake returned.

If you place a £3 "treble" on these 3 events, if successful you would receive £45 + your £3 stake returned.

However, certain bets are not allowed to be part of the same accumulator, when their outcomes are interlinked. For instance, you won't be allowed to create accumulators with more than one bet on the same football match. See the below example from Bet 365.



With accumulators, you need all your selections to be successful for your bet to pay out, but is also possible to bet on permutations of several results.

For example a popular accumulator bet is predicting the winner of all four Football League Divisions (or if you're American, perhaps the winners of the different NFL or MLB conferences).

Say you choose....

European Example (Football)

  • Chelsea - Premier League
  • Norwich - Coca Cola Championship
  • Nottingham Forest - League One
  • Northampton - League Two

US Example (NFL - NFC)

  • Dallas - NFC East
  • Detroit - NFC North
  • Atlanta - NFC South
  • San Francisco - NFC West

as the winners of respective divisions/conferences and place an accumulator bet. You would need all four to win. However, you could bet on a permutation from that four, which gives you a number of different options.

N.B. Before explaining any further, it's worth stating that the following examples are not as complicated as they sound. Once you’ve added the four league winners to your bet slip, the following options will be displayed for you automatically.

For example you could bet on any three from four - hence only needing three of the four selection to win. This is effectively four individual accumulators, placed as one bet.

European Example (Football)

Chelsea, Norwich , Forest
Chelsea, Norwich, Northampton
Chelsea, Forest, Northampton
Norwich, Forest, Northampton

US Example (NFL - NFC)

Dallas, Detroit , Atlanta
Dallas, Detroit, San Francisco
Dallas, Atlanta, San Francisco
Detroit, Atlanta, San Francisco

Likewise, you could bet on any two from four, which would be six bets.

European Example (Football)

Chelsea, Norwich
Chelsea, Forest
Chelsea, Northampton
Norwich, Forest,
Norwich, Northampton
Forest, Northampton

US Example (NFL - NFC)

Dallas, Detroit
Dallas, Atlanta
Dallas, San Francisco
Detroit, Atlanta
Detroit, San Francisco
Atlanta, San Francisco

You could also do a combination of them both. Betting on every permutation of -

  • any three teams from four,
  • and any two teams from four,
  • and an accumulator on all four,

giving a total of eleven bets (4 x 3 from 4, 6 x 2 from 4, and one accumulator of all four results). This bet is know as a yankee.

With all these permutation bets, you will be paid if any of the secions come off. For instance, if the ACTUAL league/conference winners end up as follows -

European Example (Football)

  • Chelsea - Premier League
  • Norwich - Coca Cola Championship
  • Brentford - League One
  • Northampton - League Two

US Example (NFL - NFC)

  • Dallas - NFC East
  • Detroit - NFC North
  • Tampa Bay - NFC South
  • San Francisco - NFC West

Then if you had placed a 3 from 4 "treble" bet, you would be paid out on the following...

European Example (Football)

Chelsea, Norwich, Forest - NO
Chelsea, Norwich, Northampton - YES
Chelsea, Forest, Northampton - NO
Norwich, Forest, Northampton - NO

US Example (NFL - NFC)

Dallas, Detroit , Atlanta - NO
Dallas, Detroit, San Francisco - YES
Dallas, Atlanta, San Francisco - NO
Detroit, Atlanta, San Francisco - NO

If you had placed a 2 from 4 "double" bet, you would be paid out on the following...

European Example (Football)

Chelsea, Norwich - YES
Chelsea, Forest - NO
Chelsea, Northampton - YES
Norwich, Forest - NO
Norwich, Northampton - YES
Forest, Northampton - NO

US Example (NFL - NFC)

Dallas, Detroit - YES
Dallas, Atlanta - NO
Dallas, San Francisco - YES
Detroit, Atlanta - NO
Detroit, San Francisco - YES
Atlanta, San Francisco - NO

All "YES" bets displayed above will be paid out.

Remember that these individual bets are accumulators in themselves and will be paying out good odds in comparison to the individual odds for each league /conference winner.

Whether you make a profit in each circumstance will obviously depend on the individual odds. However, as a rough guide, if your bets are all at or around evens, you will make a slight profit if 3 of 4 come off and a slight loss if 2 of 4 come off.


Betting Exchanges

Betting exchanged are an alternative to traditional bookmakers. The big difference is you have the option to lay bets too, giving you the opportunity to act as the bookmaker. An example of such a site is BETDAQ. They aren’t a bookmaker but simply a site which matches bets people have layed with people looking to place a bet.

For example,
You don’t think Tiger Woods is going to win the Open, rather than backing any of his opponents you could 'lay' Woods. Say you lay him at 4/1 and will accept £25 worth of bets. People will bet at your odds up to £25 worth. If Woods fails to win, you get £25. If he does win, you will lose £100. (£25 x 4). Exchange sites charge a commission on winning bets.

Opening an online betting account

Opening an account is pretty straight forward and will only take a minute or two. You will need to enter your name and address and you will need a way of depositing money. The most common way is through using a debit or credit card but depending on the site, there are other ways available such as a direct bank transfer or Neteller.

You can deposit as little as £5, although you may want to deposit slightly more if it means you can take advantage of sign up offers (Click Here for our up to date list).

Any winnings will be added to your account balance and losing bets deducted from the balance. You can move money from your betting account back to your credit card or bank at any point.