Betting Strategy – Calculating Margins on Football Betting Odds

When it comes to making smart bets that result in solid profits, in the long run, knowing the bookie's margin placed on the relevant odds is a must! The lower the margin, the better it is for you and the bigger the margin, the more likely it will cut into how much you can realistically get out of your bets.

Out of all the different betting options available, 1X2 odds are among the most popular but can often be difficult for novice bettors to wrap their heads around. While it may seem that comparing odds is the best way to go about deciding on your next bet, punters with some experience already understand that the real secret lies in the margins.

Understanding the fact that whatever the bookies betting odds margin is, reveals how they calculate their actual price, which is vital to consistently successful sports betting. We show you how you can calculate 1X2 odds margins quickly, easily and accurately using our Predictology margin calculator, which you can then simply apply to your next bet.

1X2 odds work around three possible outcomes for any given soccer match: home (team) win, away win, and draw. Now, the way in which a leading bookmaker will set their price on each of these options can be illustrated in the following example.

If we create a hypothetical soccer game played between team A and team B, your bookie might give team A an opening (initial) price of 3.41 to win at home. Now, team B get their initial price at say, 2.39 and a draw between the two is set at an initial price of 3.19, but how do you use this information to calculate your odds margin for 1X2 betting?

Well, there are two basic steps which you can use to easily and accurately calculate your 1X2 odds.

Firstly, take all three possible outcomes and convert each successive price into what’s known as a ‘decimal probability’, which can be done by creating a simple equation – margin = (1/Home Odds) + (1/Away Odds) + (1/Draw Odds) – 1.

As you can see from the above simple equation, each of the three markets is represented within the brackets, allowing you to convert each 1X2 market into its decimal probability or chance of winning. So, if team A (the Home odds) is priced at odds of 3.41, we can convert this as (1/3.41) which works out to a decimal reading of 0.239 or a 29.3% chance of winning. Working out the other two markets is just as easy, with team B (1/2.39) converted to 0.418 decimal probability (41.8%), and a draw between the two at (1/3.19) or 0.313 decimal probability (31.9%).

Now that you have worked out the decimal probability for each of the three 1X2 markets, you can then easily work out what the margin will be. This can be done by placing the above decimal numbers back into your original formula like this: Margin = (0.293) + (0.418) + (0.313) – 1 which gives you a margin of 0.024 – or 2.4%.


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