Short odds like 2/5 are all the rage now on almost every sport with a betting market. The shorter the odds, the less risk the bookmaker takes. This is especially true if two mismatched teams are set to go head-to-head.

Think cup games where a Premier League team is taking on a second division team. Or if an on-form England team plays a much smaller inexperienced team in a big tournament qualifier. Clearly the odds will favour the better team and the likelihood of them winning is so great that the odds reflect this. This is why you often get unusual odds such as 2/5. They are also trickier to work out.

To balance out the maths, when one team has odds of 2/5, the opposing team is generally around 7/2. These odds are low. Really low. Ordinarily, the lower the odds of something, the less chance there is of it happening. But with betting, it is the opposite. The lower the odds, the greater the chance you may win.

The bookies have worked out that there is a much higher probability of your team winning so rather than face massive payouts, the odds reduce so those that win are paid less. It’s also why you see favourites with such low odds in racing. All things considered, one horse, barring any mishaps, is considered to be much better than the others in the field. Therefore it has a much better chance of winning and the better the horse, the lower the odds.

Odds of 2/5 offer very little in terms of payouts. However, the upside is that a win is still a win. The amounts may be small but they do add up. It could also be considered a shrewd betting strategy to go after the favourites. You just can’t get carried away as favourites don’t always win.

So now you a little bit more, let’s get to the maths! This is actually a very simple formula.

The first number (2) is the amount you’ll win from wagering the second number (5). So for every £10 that you bet, you will get back £4 if your bet wins. You basically get back a lot less than you bet, plus your stake back.

For instance, a £30 winning bet at 2/5 will payout £12.00 (plus your £30 stake is returned). If you increase the stake to £50 you’ll get £20 back (plus £50 stake). The maths formula for a win only bet is:

(amount staked x 2) / 5 = win returns + stake back = total amount of returns.

For example: (£40 x 2) = £80 divided by 5 = £16 win + £40 stake back = £56 returned in total.

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.

Most bookmakers payout 1/4 on each-way places, basically a quarter of the odds. However, this will depend entirely on the sport. Much bigger horse races may pay out more places, but they only pay 1/5 of the odds quoted on the each-way won. 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 2/5 you would get back £11 in TOTAL if you won the place part of the bet.

You would lose the win part of your stake, leaving you with the each-way winnings of just £1 plus that part of the stake back. That is a loss of -£9 on your original total stake. It really isn’t worth it.

So there you have it, 2/5 explained in simple terms. There’s a payout guide below for some common bets placed at those odds. However, you can also use our online bet calculator to work out other odds and stake combinations.

2/5 PROFIT ON WIN BET

£1 = 40p
£2 = 80p
£5 = £2
£10 = £4
£25 = £10
£50 = £20
£100 = £40

The amounts quoted above are based on Win bets only. The returns do not include the original amount staked. If you place an each-way bet and it wins, you get back the win and the place winnings, plus your original stake.

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