An introduction to high betting odds: High versus Low odds
There’s some confusion among mostly newer sports bettors regarding two things: they need odds boosts explained as well as the concept of high versus low odds. If you open up your search engine and type in the difference between high and low odds, you’ll get many articles, blogs, and vlogs attempting to explain the phenomenon. That’s because, in sports betting, high odds mean something different than it would conventionally.
When discussing gambling and odds boosts in the US, you have to think about high and low a little differently.
When something has high odds outside the context of a sportsbook, that usually means it’s likely to happen. The same goes for non-sportsbook-related low odds situations; usually, when something has low odds of happening, it means that it isn’t expected to happen. Thus, the meanings of high and low odds are to be used upside down when it comes to odds and sports betting.
If you didn’t know this before, you’d undoubtedly realize it once you start a practical betting process yourself. Once you start betting, the sports betting version of high and low odds becomes second nature.
To illustrate what high and low odds are, it helps to look at other terminology used to describe the same situation.
Here’s an example for you to chew on:
- You may sometimes hear someone call low odds “short odds,” while high odds are sometimes substituted by the term “long odds.” These terms are not really used in the US, but more in the UK or countries with a historical British influence. Nevertheless, it’s an effective way of explaining the difference between high and low odds because, on some level, the wording makes more sense. Let me explain what I mean by that:
- Low odds are also called short odds because the potential profit from low odds equates to a shorter stack of cash when compared to a higher odds proposition. Then again, high betting odds are considered long odds compared to the short payout for a low odds bet.
Another way to think about it is in terms of the word “likelihood;” however, if you choose to do this, be careful not to confuse likelihood with probability. The probability of a bet and the likelihood of a bet has different meanings in betting, and likelihood is a better replacement for odds than probability is because it has its own function in betting calculations.
That being said, if a bet has a high likelihood of winning, it will have low or short odds. Thus, bets that have a low likelihood of winning will have high or long odds. It’s all linked to the risk factor. Low odds equals a small payout but little risk, while high odds equals a more significant payout but significantly higher risk.
Why do odds change?
Whether the odds are high or low, they are not immune to change. Odds tell you how likely an event will happen, and as we all know, there are always other relevant contributing factors that can probably change odds in a situation. Let’s look at three factors that can influence odds:
Because a sportsbook is a business, and betting equals profit, betting trends greatly influence how bookmakers determine the lines. If they don’t do their homework and the pricing on their odds is a little off, this can cost them.
Sportsbooks conduct constant analyses on the betting behavior of their customers to see what’s popular, what’s not, and in which direction the betting trends are moving. For example, if many customers bet on a specific team, this is an obvious hint that customers consider it a good bet. In sportsbook language, this means that the odds of the favorite team are too high or, in other words, the team’s odds are too high compared to the customers’ payback expectations. In this case, the sportsbook will lower the odds of avoiding losing too much money.
Looking at previous relevant stats is always a go-to if you want some perspective. The bookmaker relies heavily on the cold, hard facts of statistics to make intelligent choices regarding the pricing of odds. Statistics significantly influence how the oddsmakers price each line.
A specific team winning a league, a particular bet type being unusually successful, or any patterns that can be identified in sports or in betting behavior are worth gold to sportsbooks when it comes to pricing.
The Lemming Effect
Sportsbooks like to look over each other’s shoulders to see what the others are doing. This is an interesting phenomenon because it means that most of them will offer similar deals, if not slightly better or different. Sportsbooks are very competitive because sports betting is not only extremely popular in the US. It is also a booming new market, and every operator wants to be unique and attractive to customers. On the other hand, analyzing your neighbors is a great way to get an idea of what’s trending.
Suppose a neighbor suddenly decides to lower odds on a particular line. In that case, this can either mean that the neighbor’s customers have bet more on this line, or maybe the neighbor has some inside information that you don’t have, but you sure can see your neighbor’s behavior. Therefore, sportsbooks ultimately choose to “play safe” by doing what their competitors do to avoid too much risk and potential loss. This is known as the Lemming Effect.
When should I go for high betting odds and when is low better?
When is high odds betting a good thing?
Since high odds mean a considerable risk for a large reward, you’d want to have high odds when you had a great deal of knowledge and certainty about your bet’s outcome. Let’s look at a scenario:
Let’s say that the Giants are visiting the Cowboys.
The sportsbook has them listed at +525. What would the reason be? The Giants are in the middle of a performance slump, playing on short rest, one man down to injury, and they’re playing away against a dominant Cowboys team.
This is an example of an irrefutable high betting odds situation. The reasoning behind it being a high odds situation is that the sportsbook is offering you, the bettor, a very long +525 to back the Giants in an attempt to balance bets on both sides. Would you dare take a bet with such high odds? Only if you’re almost a hundred percent certain that the Giants will win the game, and for that to happen, you need to be a fortune teller.
If you have substantial reasons to think that the Giants can make it, you will make a pretty penny, though, and that’s the whole concept of high odds betting.
When would low odds be better?
You’d want low odds when you don’t have a lot of information and surety about your bet and also when you’re protecting your bankroll. Also, high odds are not for you if you’re not into risk taking.
Now, consider the example above and imagine the Giants-Cowboys game again. This time, the Cowboys are at home against a slumping Giants squad, and with odds at -800, the tables would be turned, and it would be a low-odds situation.
To make a success of high odds betting and the best odds boosts for today, you either have to be almost a hundred percent certain of your betting situation or you’re a thrill-seeker. Whichever way, high odds betting is not considered reckless if you do the necessary preparation, research, and cover all your bases. If the right situation comes along, high odds can be the perfect solution to what seems to be a betting dilemma. Thus, never rule it out as a possibility.
High betting odds FAQ
That’s an interesting question, and it actually depends on where you’re from. If you want a full explanation of the difference, whether there is one, and what it means, you’re in the right place. Our betting guides at TheGruelingTruth.com have everything you need.
Whether high odds are dangerous depends on several factors, including the bettor. There are situations that are better suited for high odds than others, so if you want to learn more about high odds betting, take a look at our article.
When it comes to the literal meaning of the words, it’s easy to find correlations between the two. However, things are different in the world of sports betting, and that’s why TheGruelingTruth.com provides you with all the information you need to make smart bets. Read all about it here.