Fractional Odds

Dennis Hopper was wrong: you can’t go into space without fractions. You also can’t get much done at the betting window, especially if you’re in the United Kingdom or Ireland. That’s where fractional odds are most commonly used to bet on the NFL. However you’re probably familiar with them no matter where you live. Anytime you hear someone talk about “four to one” or “eight to five,” those are fractional odds.

The futures market is one of the best places to see fractional odds in action. Before the start of every season the sportsbook will put together a list of Super Bowl odds for all 32 teams, and the favorite will usually be available at around 5/1 during the preseason. That means a $100 bet on the favorite would earn you $500 in profit if they won the Super Bowl.

There are other NFL betting situations where a team will be such a strong favorite that the fractional odds will flip around and put the bigger number on the bottom. For example, perhaps you’re looking at the Patriots to win the AFC East division. The other three teams in that division have had their ups and downs; in recent years we’ve seen New England priced at 1/5 to take the AFC East crown. That’s $500 you have to bet for every $100 you want to win.

By the way, heavy favorites aren’t necessarily the best value on the futures market. NFL football betting experts usually prefer teams with longer futures odds, maybe a legitimate up-and-coming team at around 18/1 instead of 5/1. It’s not easy to win a championship after all. Might as well go for the bigger payday.