Odds like 1/2 are considered very short. Known as ‘Odds On’, they will always return less than you bet. While you may not make a lot of money from a winning bet, they do indicate a clear favourite, so there is slightly less risk.

In this article, we’ll not only break down what 1/2 odds mean in terms of potential returns, but we’ll also look at betting strategies specifically for short odds wagers.

Whether you’re a new bettor looking to make a bet or an old hand at the betting game, understanding how to increase your gains and reduce the risks can be a game-changer.


£1 @ 1/2 = 50p
£2 @ 1/2 = £1.00
£5 @ 1/2 = £2.50
£10 @ 1/2 = £5.00
£25 @ 1/2 = £12.50
£50 @ 1/2 = £25.00
£100 @ 1/2 = £50.00
Amounts above DO NOT include returned stakes.

The first number (1) is the amount you’ll win from wagering the second number (2). So for every £10 that you bet, you will get back £5 if your bet wins.

You basically get back half of what you bet, plus your stake back.

For instance, a £40 winning bet at 1/2 odds will payout £20 (plus your £40 stake is returned). If you increase the stake to £50 you’ll get £25 back (plus the £50 stake).

The maths formula for a win only bet is:

(amount staked x 1) / 2 = win returns + stake back = total amount of returns.

For example: (£30 x 1) = £30 divided by 2 = £15 win + £30 stake back = £45 returned in total.

Each Way Bets

There is an option to bet each-way on most markets. However, it is generally advised not to do this unless the odds are over 6/1.

The reason is that you can’t win any money if your bet loses the win but takes a place instead.

Traditionally most bookmakers paid out 1/4 of the odds on each-way bets. However, with larger offers, such as more paid places, the odds are often less and around 1/5 of the fixed odds quoted.

So, much bigger horse races may pay out more places, but they only pay 1/5 of the odds quoted on the each-way win.

And when you are already betting on such short numbers, it is almost impossible to get any money back on an each-way bet.

For example, if you placed £10 each-way (£20 in total) on odds of 1/2 you would get back £11.25 in TOTAL if you won the place part of the bet.

You would lose the win part of your stake. That leaves you with the each-way winnings of just £1.25 plus that part of the stake back.

That is a loss of -£8.75 on your original total stake. It really isn’t worth it.



What Does 1/2 Odds Mean?

When you see odds written as 1/2, it means that for every 2 units you bet, you could potentially win 1 unit in profit if your bet is successful.

For example, if you bet £10 with odds of 1/2 and your bet wins, you would receive back your original £10 stake plus an additional £5 in profit.

So, your total return would be £15 (£10 stake + £5 profit).

These odds are considered low, and they indicate that the event or outcome being bet on is seen as relatively likely by the bookmaker or betting provider.

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Why Do Bookies Offer Such Short Odds?

You will actually see odds of 1/2 on most betting markets. The bookmaker is basically saying that one player/horse/team has a far greater chance statistically of winning.

Their rivals are not as good and barring a major upset those odds are favouring one side far more than the other.

Let’s say there’s a football match between two teams, Team A and Team B. The bookmaker thinks that Team A is very likely to win. So, they offer odds of 1/2 on Team A winning.

The reason the odds are low (1/2) is because the bookmaker doesn’t want to risk paying out a lot of money if Team A does indeed win, which they expect to happen.

They’re essentially saying that this outcome is quite probable, so they’re not willing to offer a big payout for it.

So, low odds like 1/2 reflect the bookmaker’s confidence in the outcome. They’re designed to attract bets on the more likely result while limiting the potential payout.

Ordinarily, the lower the odds of something, the less chance there is of it happening. But with betting, it is the opposite.

Calculating Potential Returns

To calculate your potential returns with 1/2 odds, you can use the following formula:
Potential Returns = Stake × (1/2) + Stake

For example, if you bet £10:

Potential Returns = £10 × (1/2) + £10 = £5 + £10 = £15

Converting 1/2 to Other Odds Formats

    1. Decimal Odds: To convert 1/2 to decimal odds, you divide the numerator by the denominator and add 1.
    Decimal Odds = 1/2 + 1 = 1.5
    1. Moneyline Odds: For positive moneyline odds, you multiply the fractional odds by 100. For negative moneyline odds, you divide -100 by the fractional odds. In this case, 1/2 would be:
    Moneyline Odds = -200

This means you would need to bet £200 to win £100.

    1. Percentage Probability: To find the implied probability, you divide the denominator by the sum of the numerator and denominator, then multiply by 100.
    Implied Probability = 2/(1+2) × 100 = 2/3 × 100 ≈ 66.66%

So, whether you’re familiar with fractional, decimal, or moneyline odds, understanding how to convert between these formats can give you a more rounded view of your betting options.

What Are The Best Sports To Bet On For Low Odds?

If you’re looking for sports to bet on with low odds, you’ll typically want to focus on sports or events where outcomes are more predictable or where there is a clear favourite.

Always remember that lower odds are best suited to sports with lower outcomes.

For example, in tennis there is only TWO outcomes – a player either wins or loses. There are no draws.

Likewise in boxing matches which often have low odds, especially when a heavily favoured fighter faces an underdog.

However, the Grand National can have over 30 runners so the number of outcomes is staggeringly high, making a low odds bet of 1/2 nearly impossible to win.

Football matches often have low odds, especially when a strong team is playing against a weaker one. Betting on the favourite in such matches may yield lower odds but a higher probability of winning.

In basketball, especially during regular season games, odds can be relatively low when a dominant team is playing against a struggling one.

Similar to basketball, ice hockey games can have low odds when a top team faces an underperforming one.

It’s important to remember that low odds mean lower potential profits, so you’ll need to wager larger amounts to make a substantial return.

Additionally, even in sports with low odds, upsets can and do happen, so there is no guarantee of winning.

Always make sure to do your research and consider your betting strategy carefully, regardless of the odds. Responsible gambling is essential.