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Decimal odds vs fractional odds – betting prices

28th December 2010 / cyril
Betting Advice

Decimal odds vs fractional odds – betting prices.

I never gave decimal odds a thought when I was a Betting Shop Manager. Why should I, I’d been settling bets for God knows how many years when the debate came to the fore? At the time, of course, it was better the devil that you know. Most other managers I spoke to were of a similar mind.
The idea being "if it ain’t broke, why mend it"? Now of course, I’ve crossed the road, so to speak.
However the chance of having decimal returns seems to have diminished.
The bugbear appears to be the course bookmakers. The argument I heard was that if they did do away with fractions they wouldn’t be able to offer "regular big hitters" that little bit extra.
Why not? It could be done on an ad hoc basis. Whilst the public at large would be kept in the dark. I think it was just a case of wanting to stay with tradition. Most things in this counrty are ruled by the so-called Upper Class and giving in to the Pro Decimal Lobby would be tantamoount to handing power to the proletariat.

A that aside let’s look at the practical side of the differences
£1.00 win @ 11/8 returns £2.38. Whereas £1 win @ 2.38 is exactly the same bet but without the need to convert the fraction to "real money".
Of course someone with a cynical mind, (could be me), might say fractions are retained because of multiple betting. Any bet that is a "Vulgar fraction" is usually to the bookies advantage. just workout a successful double with both returns of 11/8. To a £1.00 stake the return is 5.64p. The same bet settled with decimal odds returns £5.66p. Only a difference of 2p but that is only to a £1.00 stake. The people the bookies want to keep on their side, and subsequently the people who will bet in fractions, are the big hitters who bet in hundreds and thousands. Now workout the same double for a £ 1.000. stake. Fractions work out at £5.640.63p However decimals work out at £5,664.40p. A difference of £23.77p. Now when you think that the bookies who accept these kind of bets with these high stakes, do so on a regular basis, race by race, day by day,
there does seem to be a solid finacial reason why they don’t want decimal betting.
Many years ago there were sounds reasons for fractional betting.

As far back as Victorian times bets were struck at these odds. Simply because the coinage of the day was ready made for such odds. A florin, in reality our FIRST EVER DECIMAL COIN. In those days it bore the legend, One Tenth of a pound. So it was tailor made for 11/10 etc.
How about the Half-Crown? with eight to the pound they were ideal for 11/8, 13/8 or even 100/8. Even the Crown Piece. A 3/1 winner rewarded you with a pound note.
Even more bizarre was the Guinea. Ideal for short odds of 20/21.
All this might seem like nit-picking but nevertheless pennies soon add-up to a pound and pounds to tens of pounds, etc.

Probably the most annoying thing about Fractions is knowing which is the better of two prices. This has come about as almost all fixed-odds coupons price-up in fractions.
As the bookie seeks to squeeze as much out of the prices as possible we now have a range of prices which fill-in the gaps between the old accepted prices. 9/4 is not followed by the usual 5/2 but by 12/5. Stake a £1.00 bet at 5/2 returns £3.50. The same bet at 12/5 only returns £3.40. Not a fortune in the difference but as a percentage it is almost 2.9%.

Over time and with those large bets the bookies satchel gets fatter and fatter from these little additions to the odds range.

Here is a list of these "new" odds and their decimal equivalent to help you see where they all fit-in. These new prices are all above EVENS.

I’ll show the fraction either side of the "new" price and then the decimal.

 6/4  8/5  13/8  2.60
 7/4  9/5  15/8  2.80
 2/1 11/5   9/4  3.20
 9/4 12/5   5/2  3.40
 5/2 13/5  11/4  3.60
11/4 14/5   3/1  3.80

These are the most popular "in-between" odds which the bookies use to squeeze that little bit extra out of the punter.
Hope you can make use of them. ‘Cos every penny counts.
Remember, Bet Sensibly.

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