It is easy to get lost in the jargon and specialized terminology of betting. Some terms refer to specific types of bets (such the Lucky 15 and the Super Heinz), while others refer to the odds offered to bookmakers (with terms like cockle, carpet, or bottle representing odds between 10/1, 3/1, and 2/1 respectively). We’ll be focusing on the most commonly used term in relation to odds: evens.

EVS, Evs, 1/1, and sometimes referred to simply as “even money”, evens is a simple concept. If you place a wager at evens, and the horse wins, your win will equal your stake. For example, if you bet at PS10 on a horse priced at evens odds, you will receive a net win in the amount of PS10 (for an overall return of PS20). The winning bet amount plus your initial stake.

Odds of evens mean that the outcome is likely to occur at 50%. This is similar to what you’d get long-term with the tossing of a fair coin. Bookmakers’ odds do not necessarily reflect the *actual* probability that an event will occur (or the bookie’s best guess at it), but we will discuss this later in the article. We’ll first explain how odds will display evens in different formats.

## Different Odds Formats For Evens

There are many ways to present betting odds. Here are three main formats.

### Fractional Odds

Bookies and punters have always preferred fractional odds in the UK. These odds are written as fractions and include things such as 5/1, 10/3 and 4/5, as well as 100/1. It is interesting that even money is not written as 1/1. Instead, it is written as Evens, or abbreviated to Evs.

### Decimal Odds

Decimal odds are becoming more popular in the UK due to the rise of betting exchanges. Decimal odds can be less confusing than fractional ones once you know the basics. If your bet wins, the odds will show you a number greater that 1.00. This number is your total return. If you bet at decimal odds, 4.0, your total returns would be four times the initial stake.

Evens can be written as 2.0 in decimal odds. Anything below 2.0 is considered to be odds on. Anything above 2.0 is considered odds against. (See below for more information about odds on and odds off of placing bets). To convert fractional odds into decimal odds, simply divide the numerator (top) by denominator(bottom) and add one. To convert 7/2 to decimal odds, you would use the following formula: (7/2) + 1 = 4.5. To convert evens to decimal, it would simply be (1 / 1) +1 = 2.0.

### American Odds

Surprisingly, odds of American winning are not as common in the UK. However, many bookies still offer this option. Although they are less intuitive than the other formats, they are still easy to comprehend. The odds are represented as a number that has a +/- symbol. In the case of the first, this number is the amount you would win if you bet $100 (or a currency equivalent). The winnings that the number represents are not the total return (win or initial stake), but the win from the bet.

For example, American odds of +900 in American would mean winnings of $900 on a $100 bet or PS900 on a PS100, if you like. This is equivalent to 9/1 in fractional odds. Even money, when written in American odds format is +100. A $100 bet would result in a win of $100 or the equivalent currency.

The American odds display a minus sign. This indicates how much cash you’d need to stake in order to win $100. To win $100 in American odds, you would need to place a wager of $400. This is equivalent to 1/4 in fractional odds. American odds marked with a minus sign indicate a bet that is not on the odds. (See below for more information).

## What does Odds on and Odds against mean?

Simply put, odds on a bet are those that have odds that are lower than evens. Conversely, odds against a bet will always have odds that are greater than evens. If the odds are written in fractional odds, the fraction for odds-on bets will be less than 1/1 and greater for odds-on bets. When written in decimal odds format, odds on bets are less that 2.0 (but always higher than 1.0), while odds against bets will be greater than 2. American odds show odds-on bets written with a plus sign and odds against bets written with +100 or higher.

You could think of betting odds like a set old-fashioned weighing machines. Money is the point at which they are balanced. If your bet wins, your winnings will equal the stake you put (and your total returns will be twice the initial stake). In our example, both odds for and against will tilt the balances in one direction or another.

If you look at the odds in favor, the scales will tip past evens, so the return on a winning bet is greater than the initial stake. Odds on will give you a lower return than your initial stake. However, if you win your bet, you’ll get your initial stake back.

Let’s look at some examples to help you understand the context.

Fractional Odds | Decimal Odds | Are the Odds Against or On? | Returns from a PS10 Bet |
---|---|---|---|

1/100 | 1.01 | Odds on | PS10.10 |

1/10 | 1.1 | Odds on | PS11 |

2/5 | 1.4 | Odds on | PS14 |

5/6 | 1.83 | Odds on | PS18.30 |

10/11 | 1.91 | Odds on | PS19.10 |

1/1 | 2.0 | N/A | PS20 |

7/4 | 2.75 | Odds Against | PS27.50 |

3/1 | 4 | Odds Against | PS40 |

10/1 | 11 | Odds Against | PS110 |

100/1 | 101 | Odds Against | PS1000 |

1000/1 | 1001 | Odds Against | PS10000 |

You can find more information about what odds are here.

## Why Probability and Odds are NOT the Same

Unexperienced punters might mistakenly assume that a bet with odds at evens (2.0), has a 50% chance to win. The implied probability that even money will win is 50%. However, this assumption does not take into consideration the margin that the bookie will increase to any bet to ensure they always win long-term.

Bookies are not afraid to admit that they make margins, as they are business after all. Some people believe that the odds offered by bookmakers are indicative of the likelihood of an event happening. You could say that they do indeed indicate the probability but with some extra. There is little chance that you will know the true probability of an event happening. It is therefore difficult to determine how close the odds of it happening are to the *actual* probability. The tossing of a coin is an event that people can place a bet on and can be compared against a known probability.

Bookies are happy to take bets on which side of the coin will win, regardless of whether it is a match of cricket or not. Anyone who has ever studied basic probability will recall that the chance of your coin flipping ending in heads is 50%. The probability of your coin flip ending in tails is 50%. This assumes that the coin is fair and unweighted, and has not been altered by any unscrupulous trickster.

If the odds of England winning the Toss in their Ashes Match against Australia were truely based on the probability that a coin will be tossed, then the odds of England winning the Toss would be evens with Australia’s. Most bookies offer odds of 10/11 for England and 10/11 for Australia. This price is an implied probability of 52.38%, which is lower than the 50% implied by a price at evens. The total overround (as the bookies’ margins are called) is 4.76%. That is a good return.

It is difficult to determine the probability of an event, except for things like the tossing of a coin. Because of the many variables involved in a race or football match, it is almost impossible to accurately predict how likely an event will be.

If you can dig into statistics in a systematic way, you may be able to assign probabilities to certain events. If you believe an event is more likely than 50%, and the bookie offers odds of evens for it, you can place a value wager and possibly beat the bookie. Even though value bets can fail, there is no way to beat the bookies.

## Even Money Bets In Accumulators

A final note: While an even money win will award you a win equal to your stake, you can make your winnings even more impressive if you combine multiple even money wagers in an accumulator. We will now show you the potential winnings of a PS10 accumulator, which only includes bets priced at evens.

Accumuator | Returns on a PS10 wager (including stake) |
---|---|

Double | PS40 |

Triple | PS80 |

Four-fold | PS160 |

Five-fold | PS320 |

Six-fold | PS640 |

Seven-fold | PS1,280 |

Eight-fold | PS2,560 |

Combining multiple even money bets can result in handsome cash prizes. However, with each selection the odds of your bet coming through decreases. It takes only one loser to ruin the entire bet.