Understanding Horse Racing Odds

Trying to work out odds is often overthought and sometimes made complicated by those placing bets. We are going to try and simplify working out odds for you, so you have a clear understanding of how to work out your winnings.

Beginners Guide To Horse Racing Odds

"There are three main types of odds format used by bookmakers to represent their prices. These are Fractional odds, Decimal odds and American odds"
Odds formats

Fractional Odds

As the name suggests, prices in this format will appear as fractions. The first, or top number of the fraction represents the return, while the second, or bottom digit represents the stake.

For example a bookmaker is offering odds of 8/1 on a horse to win.

In this case, a £1 stake on this horse would return £8 worth of profit, plus the initial stake (£1) back. Therefore, a £1 stake handed over to the bookmaker would return back £9 as winnings.

Decimal Odds

Odds shown in decimals work based off a money line of 1. It represents the total return one would  achieve from a £1 bet.

For example, a bookmaker is offering a price of 9.00 on a horse to win a certain race.

That means that, should the horse win the race, a £1 bet would return £9, giving the backer an £8 profit. The same as in our fractional example above.

American Odds

Not the most popular odds format in the UK, but one that is most used over the pond. This system works off a money line of £100 and is helped by an accompaniment of either a positive or negative symbol.

For example, a bookmaker is offering odds of +800 on a horse to win.

First, it is important to remember the significance of the symbol at the beginning.

  • A plus sign – this means that should the horse win, the number shown next to the plus symbol will represent the return from a £100 stake.
  • A minus sign – should the horse win, the number shown next to the minus symbol will be the stake amount needed for the bet to return £100.

So in our example, if the horse priced at +800 won, we would see an £800 return from a £100 stake, plus our £100 stake back.

Therefore a £1 bet on this winning horse would return £8 of profit, plus our original stake back. Exactly the same as the other two examples.

If the horse was priced at -800, that would mean that an £800 stake will return £100. Factored down, £8 would be needed to be risked for a potential return of £1 profit, plus the £8 stake back.

Horse Racing Odds Calculator

There are many tools out there in the form of betting calculator apps that help you quickly work out your winnings based on the odds of your bet. One of the best ones available has to be the bet calculator developed by AceOdds. It’s simple to use and once you input the details of your bet it displays exactly how much you can expect to win.

The calcualtor can be found on the Aceodds website. their website. However, if you are like most of us and prefer to place bets on the go, they do provide a downloadable app in both the iTunes App Store and the Google Play Store.

The app makes understanding horse racing odds really easy, and we guaranteed that when you download the app, you’ll carry on using it, we do!

Download here for iOS (Apple) or Download here for Android


Hopefully, we have made understanding racing odds clearer for you? We are constantly adding how-to guides to horse racing apps to help beginners learn more about horse racing in general.

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