Fixed Odds Betting Guide

Fixed odds betting is a form of betting where the money the bettor stakes will determine the payout based on the odds when the bet is placed.

Sportsbooks have many forms of betting that affect the final potential payout in unique ways. With a fixed odds bet, you know exactly how much you can win the instant you submit your wager. This is because the odds offered by the betting site won’t change on your bet slip, even if they change at the sportsbook that offers them.

Wagering on fixed odds is unarguably the most straightforward method of sports betting; however, if you are just starting out, you can easily get confused by some terminology or concepts related to fixed odds betting. We created this guide to elucidate key aspects related to fixed odds markets so you can be completely in the clear when making fixed-price wagers.

What is Fixed Odds Betting?

Fixed odds betting is gambling on a sporting event where the sportsbook pays out the bettor (provided they win) based on the odds at the moment the bet is submitted. This is the most common method of betting among sports bettors in the US, UK, and elsewhere. One way to help you better understand the concept is to contrast it with other forms of betting, such as spread betting, starting price (SP) betting, and pari-mutuel wagering.

Spread wagering is common for both individual and team sports, where the winner is determined based on the final point spread. Betting shops and online sportsbooks use spread betting on events where the likelihood of the favored team/player winning is high. In spread wagering, sportsbooks set a figure that indicates the spread and provide adequate odds on whether the favorite/underdog will win/lose by a specified margin. Therefore, the final potential payout or loss is calculated based on how much over/under the spread the final result is.

SP betting and pari-mutuel wagering are mostly associated with horse racing betting. While there are also fixed-odds horse racing markets, the nature of the sport allows you to place bets where you won’t be able to accurately calculate your potential winnings. This is because the odds can change depending on the wagering action at betting exchanges heading into the race.

For instance, pari-mutuel wagering is essentially a pool of bets. The odds are calculated based on multiple factors, such as the size of your wager; how many people bet on that horse; the total amount of money collected for winning horses, the total pool for specific horse races, etc.

How Fixed Odds Betting Works

Fixed Odds Betting

An even easier way of understanding how fixed odds betting works is through an actual example. Here, we will explain the general concept of fixed odds betting, and after that, we will enlarge with a few examples to illustrate how you can calculate your potential fixed odds winning.

With fixed odds betting, you can estimate your potential winnings precisely even before you confirm your bet. ‘Fixed odds’ is a term used to distinguish between betting on markets with fixed odds prices and those with a changing price.

But in sports betting, the odds change almost constantly unless a specific outcome is widely expected to occur, in which case the odds remain unchanged or will only slightly rise or drop.

Individual bettors who bet on fixed odds markets will be paid out (provided their bet wins) at the exact same odds placed at the moment of betting. Unlike, for instance, pari-mutuel betting in horse racing, your potential gain will not change based on the number of points scored, bets taken, player injuries, and other variables that have a direct impact on the odds for a certain outcome.

In basketball, for instance, if you place a fixed odds moneyline bet on the Boston Celtics to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers at home, the sportsbook locks your bet at the odds available at the time of betting.

This means that even if the odds for the Celtics to win drop leading up to the game, the sportsbook will pay out based on the value of the betting line at the moment you post your bet.

Calculating Fixed Odds

If you’re browsing for answers on fixed odds sports betting, you will likely come across different odds formats, such as decimal odds (Australia, Canada, New Zealand) or fractional odds (UK).

If you bet from the United States, your betting site will most likely offer American odds, which are the standard at US sportsbooks. While online betting sites can create fixed odds for a variety of betting markets, we will use as an example moneyline odds to give you the gist of how to work out exactly how much you can win.

American odds are represented as a number with a positive (plus) or negative (minus) symbol before the number. The favored team/player is always the one with the negative (minus) sign, and the underdog is with the plus sign.

For example, if Caesars Sportsbook is offering odds of +150 on Team A and -150 on Team B, you need to wager $150 on Team B if you want to win $100 and wager $100 on Team A to win $150. In this case, if $100 is wagered on Team A, the bettor stands to win a total of $250 – a $150 profit and the original stake of $100 returned. Depending on the odds and your stake size, you might want to use an odds calculator to estimate your exact winnings.

You should also be familiar with the concept of ‘even money odds,’ where your winnings are the exact same amount as the amount of your wager. For example, if you wagered $200 on a given team to win, your total winnings will come to $400, where your profit is $200 and $200 from the original stake.

Locking Fixed Odds Early

Locking Fixed Odds Early

One of the major benefits of fixed odds betting is your ability to detect and lock good odds early, such as with a futures bet. Future bets are early markets that often offer highly favorable odds that will most likely change as the event approaches.

Sportsbooks offer future odds for various outcomes, such as whether a team will qualify for the playoffs or win a conference, championship, or cup tournament.

Also, you will see many fixed odds future markets for individual players, such as who will be the forthcoming season’s MVP or the top scorer. US betting sites provide futures odds for virtually any major sport, including baseball, football, basketball, hockey, college sports, soccer etc.

The principle of sports betting is to improve your position and win optimal payouts. But to do so, you have to have a sharp eye for tracking and evaluating early fixed odds markets to make informed bets. Most early markets are high, or higher than should be for that outcome, only to drop rapidly as the event/league closes in.

The thing is, the odds for a given event will likely be similar, if not identical, across all sportsbooks, with a point difference at most. However, even a point can make a substantial difference depending on your bet, which is why locking on early odds matters.

Fixed Odds Betting Strategies & Tips

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You can employ basic betting strategies to leverage the value of fixed odds. Our betting experts agreed on the following fixed odds tips to get you started.

  • Find the best odds – Suffice it to say, choosing the market with the best odds is a no-brainer. But finding the best odds requires some research, and many of the best fixed-odds markets are time-sensitive, meaning you have to make hay before the odds (probably) shift.
  • Leverage futures markets – Futures betting markets can yield big payouts with little risk. The thing is, once you lock your wager, you’d have to wait weeks, even months, before you know the outcome. That said, oftentimes, the bet is worth the wait.
  • Explore preseason markets – Betting sites create preseason markets weeks in advance, allowing you to explore dozens of markets with favorable odds before the season’s start.
  • Use a sports bonusBonuses and sports promotions can provide a significant boost when used properly. Bonus bets, profit boosts, and odds boosts are just a few of the types of bonuses that can apply to fixed odds markets.

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Are Fixed Odds Good or Bad?

We already mentioned arguably the biggest advantage of fixed odds betting, which is the ability to lock onto a market with long odds and a high likelihood of occurring early on.

I have dismissed fixed odds markets with better-than-expected odds (and correct outcomes) without any forethought countless times. With hindsight, I understood that timing is essential if you want to draw optimal value from your fixed odds bet. Then again, instinct has oftentimes spared me from making a costly wager. The moral being, fixed-risk markets can be beneficial just as they can be risky.

Here are the main highlights from both sides of the spectrum.

Your bet is locked at the same odds at the moment of betting, so if the odds drop, you still get the original valueThe betting site will take a small percentage of your potential winnings, known as vigorish
You can claim tailored fixed-odds bonuses to give you a boostSince the odds are fixed, you cannot benefit from unexpected turn of events that can provide favorable odds
Futures markets provide valuable betting opportunitiesYou cannot reverse or change fixed bets
Any sport has fixed-risk markets
You can combine multiple selections with fixed odds into a parlay