Decimal vs. Fractional betting odds

Cyril's Betting Advice
Cyril's Betting Advice

When I started settling bets for a living it was not uncommon for the bets to be written on the back of a cigarette packet. Thankfully things have progressed greatly since those days.

In those times we had to wrestle with such wondrous odds as 21/20, 100/7, 100/8. Why? God only knows Evens, 14/1 and 13/1 would have made things so much easier. Now, of course we have DECIMAL ODDS, and a good thing too. Settling is mostly done by computes in the shops but Joe Bloggs still has to work out how much he has coming back if only so he can show his mates that his brain does still work.

Unfortunately betting shops still work mainly with the old style odds. So be it. However it’s so easy to convert these odds to decimals and the calculations will be that little bit more accurate.

Settling at decimal odds is much easier and very much more accurate no matter what your stake unit is.


Throughout a calculator will be used to settle all bets.


11/8 @20p stake returns 47.5p. However 2.375 @20p stake returns 47.5p. Not much difference when it comes to working them out but the decimal answer is obtained more quickly. The same definitely applies when settling multiples. 11/8 and 6/4 double @ 20p. Answer is £1.18.75p.(£1.19p)

However multiply 2.375 by 2.5 for the same answer but much more quickly.

This might not seem much different but when you come to settle a multiples bet, say a Yankee or Lucky 15 etc, the time element and accuracy will be much in evidence.


Let’s start at the beginning.

What is a bet?

A bet is simply one persons view of an outcome against another persons contrary view of the same outcome. However to make it meaningful we add a little spice by way of a wager.

The odds are arrived at by way of assessing the “form” and the stakes agreed by the two sides. In other words “A” bets “B” the “C” will win . “A” the bookmaker will lay odds of 2 to 1 and “B” the punter will bet £1.00 on “C” winning. Very simple, if “C” wins the bookmaker pays the punters £3.

£2.00 winnings and also his £1.00 stake. If “C” loses the punters stake of £1.00 stays I the bookmakers satchel.

A very simple example. What happens when the bet takes a more intriguing form?

Say a multiple bet of three selections. We need to look at the mechanics of settling at this point.


The way I see a winning single bet is…………………Odds + 1 = returns. e.g. 4/1 @ £1.00 stake.

So, 4 + 1 = 5 X £1.00 = £5.00. This is how it would appear as a FRACTIONAL BET. (BEAR THIS IN MIND INCASE YOU DECIDE THIS TYPE OF SETTLING IS BETTER FOR YOU)


As a DECIMAL BET the odds would be listed as 5.0 In this case you just need to multiply by the stake.


A further example.


Fractional odds 7/4, stake £5.00 Returns £13.75.

Decimal odds 2.75, stake £5.00 Returns £13.75.


When we come to settle a doubles bet we just extend what we’ve done with the single bet.

£1. Double @ 3/1 and 5/1. In this case we add 1 to the 3 = 4 and add 1 to the 5 = 6. We then multiply the 4 x 6 = £24.00.

Now settle this bet with Decimal odds and you have 4.00 x 6.00 = £24.00.


When the bets are at odds other than FULL ODDS. i.e. are made up of full numbers plus part numbers, (e..g. 7/4 11/8 9/2 etc.) it becomes much easier to use the Decimal odds for speed and convenience. (e.g. 2.75 2.375 5.50)

Try a treble at the above Fractional odds. (Just do what we did for the double but carry on one more step with the extra odds).

7/4 = 1.75 + 1 = 2.75, 11/8 = 1.375 + 1 =2.375 9/2 = 4.5 + 1 =5.5. Then multiply 2.75 x 2.375 x 5.5. = £35.92 .

The Decimal odds will be 2.75, 2.375 and 5.5. The answer is obviously the same as the Fractional odds but with a lot less work.


There will be many occasions hen odds will be shown as Fractional. Spend a few seconds and convert them to Decimal. After a short while it will become second nature and you’ll do it without a thought. To do this divide the first part of the odds listed by the second part and add ONE to the answer. e.g. 6/4 = 6 divided by 4 = 1.5 then add 1 =2.5, 13/2 = 13 divided by 2 = 6.5 +1 =7.5

All straight forward bets can be settled in this manner. Double, treble and accumulator. Mind, I wouldn’t expect many of the people reading this to be the kind of punter to indulge in the bookies favourite bet. The accumulator.

I find it difficult to justify anything more than a double, to myself.


To make things easier at the start, I’ll attach a conversion table at the end of the article.


A good place to find odds that need converting is on the football coupons of the larger bookmakers.

Give it a go and you’ll find it’s quite fun and enjoyable.


Now there will be occasions when you’ll want to know how to settle multiple bets, the easy way. Even if it’s only to help out a mate.


There are short cuts to all the multiple bets.

The ONE thing to remember is it’s easier using decimal odds and will probably bamboozle your mate into the bargain.


Three doubles and a treble. A favourite bet as it isn’t too costly.

Call the selections A 2/1, B 2/1, C 2/1. (£1.00 stake units for the example, total stakes £4.00).

The old way you would have to work out three doubles

A x B, A x C, B x C, and then the treble A x B x C.

The first double of 2/1 and 2/1 would return £9.00. Obviously so too would each of the other two doubles. So the three doubles would return a total of £27.00 . So we’re now left with just the treble. To settle. As the double “A” x “B” returned £9.00 we then stake that on to “C” At 2/1 that then returns £27.00. So the three doubles and the treble gives a total return of £54.00.

A little convoluted so we need to find a quicker way to do the same job.

Finding a quicker way to settle multiple bets should prove interesting for all except the very experienced punters.

This we’ll do a little later.


Decimal odds Fractional odds
1.01 1/100
1.10 1/10
1.40 2/5
1.50 1/2
2.00 1/1 (“evens”)
3.00 2/1
5.00 4/1
10.00 9/1
101.00 100/1