20/1 Odds – How To Work Out Your Bet

I always recommend looking around for the best odds for any bet you are considering. You would be amazed by the differences in the odds that some bookmakers offer. That applies to all sports and especially for bets with odds of around 20/1.

So I’m going to work off the premise that the best odds you have found for your chosen bet are 20/1. How do work out how much you could win? What if you didn’t back the winner but they came in second place? Do you get anything back for that?

Here’s how it all works:

The first number (20) is the amount you’ll win from wagering the second number (1). So for every £1 or $1 or €1 you spend, you will win 20 back. That is the bet in its simplest form.

A £1 winning bet at odds of 20/1 will payout £20 plus your £1 stake is returned. If you place more then the returns are increased by the amount you bet. So a stake of £2 will return £40 back (plus £2 stake). A winning bet of £10 will net you £200 plus your £10 back. And so on it goes. Simply multiply the first number by the amount you wager.

Different bookmakers offer a range of odds and specials on the various sports. 20/1 will be either be an ok bet or an excellent bet depending on the sport. Races like the Grand National have 40 runners so 20/1 is good but not great because you have 39 other horses who could scupper your chances of a win. 20/1 on one football team to win a match is excellent because there are only three outcomes – win, draw, lose. So the odds of a win are pretty decent in the grand scheme of things.

Just remember that when the odds are good, your chances of actually winning also have to be good. If you like tennis and one player has odds of 25/1 to win then that is NOT a good sign. In a two player sport the odds should be much much closer so your tennis player, barring a miracle, probably hasn’t a chance of winning. And neither do you if you back him/her!

However if you see the likes of Barcelona FC at odds of 25/1 to win the League at the beginning of the season then that’s probably a better bet. Their chances of winning the title are significantly better than a lot of other teams so in turn your bet becomes more likely.


£1 @ 20/1 = £20
£2 @ 20/1 = £40
£5 @ 20/1 = £100
£10 @ 20/1 = £200
£25 @ 20/1 = £500
£50 @ 20/1 = £1000
£100 @ 20/1 = £2,000

There is also the option of a ‘Place’ or ‘Each-way’ bet with some sports. Depending on the bookmakers, those payout odds vary. So we will assume for the purposes of this article that it’s a quarter odds.

A ‘Place’ or ‘Each-way’ option means you are backing your horse/team/player to both win and place. If they finish in either 2nd, 3rd or even 4th place (depending on the bookmaker) you may still get some money back.

However, this also doubles your stake. That is because you are both betting on a win AND betting on a place so a £1 bet will now become £2. You are putting £1 on the Win and another £1 on the Place.

If your team/player/horse wins you’ll get your £20 (Win bet) + £1 (Stake) + £5 (Place bet at 1/4 odds) + £1 (Stake) so you will end up with £27 in your pocket. If they do not win, but place, you will only get back £5 (Place bet at 1/4 odds) + £1 (Stake) = £6.

So there you have it, 20/1 explained in simple terms. I’ve added a payout guide below for some common bets placed at 20/1. However, you can also use our online bet calculator to work out other odds and stake combinations.

20/1 EACH WAY BETS (2nd, 3rd or 4th Place)

£1 @ 20/1 = £5
£2 @ 20/1 = £10
£5 @ 20/1 = £25
£10 @ 20/1 = £50
£25 @ 20/1 = £125
£50 @ 20/1 = £250
£100 @ 20/1 = £500

Amounts above do not include returned stakes and assumes the bet is settle each-way at a quarter odds.

If your each way bet wins you can add together the win bet column and place bet column to get the correct amount. For example, a £10 win at 20/1 pays £200 + £10 place at 20/1 pays out £50 giving you a total of £250 plus your £20 stake is returned.


Easy to follow guides for beating the odds & making smarter bets.

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