How to Read Lines & Odds in Kentucky
Being able to understand and contextualize betting odds is paramount if you are going to make the most of your betting.
First and foremost, you need to be able to read the odds, whether they be in American, decimal or fractional format. It's important because you cannot know whether a bet is good value or not if you do not know how much you will win.
You also need to familiarize yourself with all the main markets on a game. If you back an underdog, you will generally win a good deal more betting them on the moneyline rather than the spread, where you will always be taking negative odds.
Conversely, if you're all over a red-hot favorite, the best odds to back them is more likely to be the spread than the moneyline.
The key is familiarity and understanding. Know your odds and your markets. It's the bedrock for any successful bettor.
How Do Kentucky Betting Odds Work?
Let's get straight into the crux of what sports betting odds are: They represent an implied probability of an event taking place.
It is "implied" because the odds will include the bookmaker edge, usually referred to as juice. Sportsbook odds are made up of an educated assessment of the probability plus the profit margin (juice).
The simplest example of this is the toss of a coin. The actual probability of a head or tail is 50%, which would be represented in decimal form as 2.0, in American odds as -100 and as 1/1 in fractions.
However, there is no edge for the layer, or indeed the bettor, if the price of heads or tails was set as above.
So, to create a "house edge" a sportsbook would price up both sides of the bet at around -110/-115, which gives them a 10/15 point edge. This means that, assuming roughly the same amount is staked on both sides, the sportsbook would still make money no matter which way the coin dropped.
Of course, odds and lines can change, sometimes regularly. Factors like team news or late illness or injury to key players will force a sportsbook to adjust their lines. For example, if the horse racing favorite is a late scratch (for whatever reason) from the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, then the odds of all the remaining horses would shorten accordingly, and the race would have a new favorite.
Calculating Sports Betting Payouts in KY
It is imperative that any Kentucky bettor can quickly calculate the payout on any bet that they place. The more bets you have, the more important this is.
The payout or return on any bet is always the amount staked plus the amount of winnings.
If you bet negative odds, the amount you win will always be lower than the amount stakes, whereas if you back positive odds, the winnings will always be greater than the amount staked.
Negative American odds nearly always apply to a betting favorite.
These odds indicate how much a bettor needs to stake in order to win $100. If the odds are negative, you will always need to stake more than $100 to win that amount. The number to the right of the negate (-) symbol is the amount that must be staked in order to win $100. So, -450 odds would require the bettor to bet $450 to win $100.
The spread in the opening College Football game between Ball State and Kentucky at the beginning of September has been set at 26.5, with Ball State having the 26.5 point lead. Both teams are -110 odds which means that anyone willing to bet the Wildcats to cover the spread (win by at least 27 points) will need to stake $110 to win $100.
Positive American odds will always apply to the outsider in a match bet. They are commonplace in outright competition betting, like a golf tournament.
Sports odds that are positive will indicate how much a bettor will win if they stake $100. So, +700 odds mean that anyone that stakes $100 would win $700.
Kentucky are +8000 odds to win the SEC regular-season title, which would win anyone staking $100 a cool $8000. They sit a long way behind season favorites Alabama, who is set at -400 ($400 bet would win $100).
What is the Difference Between Fractional Odds and Decimal Odds?
Odds can be represented in a number of ways but the three most common are American, fractional and decimal.
Sportsbooks allow bettors to have their odds shown varying formats, so Kentucky bettors can view odds in whichever way they prefer.
There is one notable difference between fractional and decimal odds: Fractional odds indicate winnings, whereas decimal odds indicate total returns, including stake. It's a single number which represents the total amount a bettor would collect if their bet wins.
For example, decimal sports odds of 26.0 would see potential winnings of $26 to anyone that stakes $1. In fractional terms, those same odds would be displayed as 25/1.
How Fractional Odds Work in KY
Fractional odds are extremely popular in the UK and Ireland, where online sports betting has been legal for decades. In the U.S., they are most often used in horse racing odds.
Fractional odds are always two numbers separated by a forward slash (/) symbol. The number to the left of the forward slash is the amount you win if you stake the amount on the right of the forward slash.
Let's take a 7/1 fractional wager as an example. You need to bet $1 to win $7. So anyone betting $20 on a 7/1 wager would win $140, plus have their $20 stake returned.
Converting fractional odds into implied probability is a very straightforward process. From there, it is easy to convert into decimal odds and American odds. To convert fractional odds, simply divide the first number by the second number, and add 1.
So 7/1 becomes 7 ÷ 1 + 1.00 = 8.0 decimal odds.
How Decimal Odds Work
Decimal odds are becoming more and more popular in sports betting throughout the world. They are especially common on betting sites like exchanges.
The most important thing to remember about decimal odds is the the number includes stake, unlike fractional or American odds.
So, for example, decimal odds of 5.5 would see a total return of $550 for anyone betting $100 on sports betting odds. To convert decimal into fraction, simply -1 from the decimal odds, and place the 1 on he right side of the equation. So, decimal 5.5 odds explained would become 4.5/1.
However, because fractional odds are always round numbers, we would need to multiply both sides by two, which gives us fractional odds of 9/2. In this example, the American odds would simply be +450.
Different Types of Betting Odds in KY
Online sportsbooks in Kentucky will often offer hundreds of betting odds on a popular event, both pre game and in-play. However, the most popular bet types remain constant and they are generally bets like moneyline, point spread and totals.
Here are some of the most popular bet types for anyone learning how to read betting odds:
Moneyline odds are extremely popular across all sports. It's arguably the purest form of sports betting because you are simply backing one team or player to beat another in a game.
A moneyline bet is one of the best ways of getting with an underdog because they will always be much bigger odds on the moneyline than they would on the point spread. So, how much profit would someone betting $100 on a +330 money line underdog? $330.
The point spread in American odds represents the numerical separation between two teams or players, or the projected margin of victory for the favorite over the underdog. The spread can range widely but generally, once the spread is set, the odds are identical on both sides. The odds are generally set at around -110/-115.
The bigger the point spread, the shorter the favorite would be in the moneyline market, making the point spread a much more appealing way of getting with favorites for Kentucky bettors.
Over/Unders or Totals
Sportsbooks predict how many total points are scored in a game, or how many points a team/player will score in that game. Once that total is published, bettors can wager either side of the total, so they can bet that the total will be lower or higher.
A bit like the point spread odds, anyone wanting to play this market will be taking negative odds, generally -110/-115. So, if the total points line is set at 8 and you think it will be less, you will need to stake $110/$115 to win $100.
Parlays are fast becoming one of the most popular bet types on a sportsbook. Parlays, often referred to as combo bets or multi wagers, are a single bet that combines two or more individual wagers. To win a parlay, all the individual wagers within the parlay must be successful.
A popular example would be on a busy NFL Sunday, bettors will often combine a selection of moneyline bets that, when combined, win the bettor a lot more than they would if they were individual bets.
Here's a simple three-leg parlay example: You like three teams to win at moneyline odds of -110, parlay odds would be +600. That's a $600 win for a $100 bet amount, which is clearly a great deal higher than the win for backing the selections individually.
A futures bet in American odds is a wager on an event, series or award that will finish in the future, as opposed to the day the bet is placed.
The most popular futures bets are on teams to win the Super Bowl. If you want to back San Francisco 49ers to win the 2024 Super Bowl, you can bet them now at +1000, which means you will win $1000 for a $100 wager.
That's a futures bet. But is it a winning bet? Only time will tell!
Proposition betting generally seeks to proposition the bettor with a question that has a yes or no outcome. For example: "Will Bryce Hopkins score more than 15 points?" As in the totals and spreads from above, the odds on each side of this "line" would be -110/-115.
Prop bets are becoming increasingly popular, especially in big games, where an online sportsbook will often offer up hundreds of different prop bets.
Get the Best Betting Odds for Kentucky Sports Bettors
The key to getting the best betting odds in Kentucky is making sure you shop around. When online betting goes live in Kentucky, bettors will soon have a whole host of sportsbooks to choose from, all of which will be slightly different. Be sure to compare the odds across different sportsbooks and get the best value for your bet.
If you are new to betting, the key to early success will be keeping things simple. Don't run before you can walk, because online betting is an unforgiving business.
Moneylines, spreads and totals are the ideal starting point for newbies. If you want to stake small to win big, parlays are your friend. However, the key to successful parlay betting is not being greedy with the number of legs. Stick to 2/3 individual bets in a parlay to begin with.
Understanding odds, across all formats, is fundamental to understanding how much a bet can win. Only from that point can you determine whether a bet is good value or not.
With that in mind, familiarize yourself with traditional American odds, decimal odds and fractional odds. Being able to convert quickly and accurately between them is a great skill to have, one that will stand you in good stead on your betting journey.
Kentucky Odds for Sports Betting FAQs
Betting odds represent a risk and reward scenarios. For example, if the odds on a horse winning a race at Churchill Downs are 4/1, and you decide to wager $20, then you will win $80, plus get your stake back.
Online sportsbooks will set Kentucky betting odds. Sportsbooks will be granted a license to operate in KY and they will set the odds for Kentucky bettors to wager on. Each sportsbook will have a different operator so the juice will be vary, as will the odds.
Yes, betting lines can shift regularly. From the moment the initial line is set, many external factors can cause betting lines to move. Weight of money is the big one, but things like injury news, team news, weather conditions etc are all factors that affect betting lines.
It depends on what kind of betting you're interested in. Assessing odds boosts is a great way of getting the best odds about an event. Kentucky sportsbooks like BetMGM and FanDuel will likely offer daily odds boosts on moneyline or player prop bets from NFL matches and College Basketball games.
Because online betting is still not legal in Kentucky, Las Vegas bettors continue to get a better deal. However, that will all change when online sports betting is legalized in Kentucky. Las Vegas odds have been popular for years, but those odds are coming to Kentucky soon.
Gavin Beech is a writer and contributor for BetKentucky.com and has worked in the betting industry for almost 20 years. Gavin is an experienced horse racing journalist, sports betting content writer and tipster. He has worked for some of the biggest online operators around, notably MailOnline and the Racing Post, where he is a regular on the Live Tipster slot.