How to use a betting calculator

The vast landscape of sports betting can be tricky to navigate, with such a wide array of different sports and betting options to choose from. Thankfully, the web offers some brilliant tools to make life easier, and one of the most useful tools for saving time is a betting calculator.

The days of scribbling odds down on the back of a cigarette packet and furiously trying to work out your potential returns are over, thanks to a raft of resources that can take away some of the unwanted uncertainty from betting and give you a better chance of success.

What is a betting calculator?

Also referred to around the web as an odds calculator or a returns calculator, a betting calculator is a piece of software that will help you to work out how much you stand to win from any bet you place, and thus assist you in making a decision on how much to bet.

Bet calculators are usually web-based tools, and there are many to choose from. Most betting calculators can handle various different types of bet, and they can provide you with vital information for the bet you want to place on any sport or event at any time.

How to use a betting calculator

In order to get the most use out of a betting calculator, it is important to understand the basic functionality and terminology that is common across the various calculators you are likely to find on the web.

The first piece of information a bet calculator will require from you is your bet type. The terminology used on the software is usually reasonably clear and self-explanatory, but if you are a newcomer to sports betting it can be worth familiarising yourself with the commonly used terms.

You might, for example, be looking to simply select and back a winner in your chosen event. This is known and referred to as a win bet. If you want to place a number of win bets across different events, this is referred to as a 'multiple bet'.

You can place single, double, or triple win bets across multiple events, increasing the amount you stand to win if all of your predicted results turn out to be correct. For example, if you bet on Liverpool to beat Manchester United, and Arsenal to beat Spurs, this would be a double bet. You would need both your predicted results to come true in order to get a payout.

If you place a bet on four or more events, this is known as an accumulator, also referred to as an "accy" for short. These bets are hugely popular, particularly amongst football fans, who attempt to predict the results of a large number of matches in order to stand a chance of big wins for relatively small stakes.

Once you have grasped the basics and feel comfortable with the way that win bets work, you might consider trying your hand at a full cover bet. Unlike win bets, full cover bets give you a chance of a payout even if all of your predicted outcomes do not come true.

Full cover bets come in many different forms, and are given different names depending on the combination of bets of which they are comprised.

For example, placing six double bets, four treble bets and one fourfold accumulator bet is known as a 'Yankee'. In order to win, only two of your selected outcomes need to prove correct, but the more correct predictions you make, the higher your potential returns.

Full cover bets can encompass a large number of events. For example, a 'Heinz' involved 15 double bets, 20 treble bets, 15 fourfold accumulator bets, six fivefold accumulator bets, and one sixfold accumulator bet. Your returns start when two of your bets turn out to be correct.

How to input odds

If you're familiar with betting both online and offline, you'll be aware that odds are not always displayed in the same format. If you are new to betting, take some time to make sure you understand the implications of the different ways that odds are displayed and described.

Depending on the betting calculator you are using, you may be required to input your odds as a fraction (e.g. 5/1), a decimal (6.00), or using the American moneyline format (+500).

If you have seen odds that you want to convert into your preferred format, you can find conversion tools online, or use the following sums:

• To convert fractional odds to decimal format, divide the first figure of the fraction by the second, and add 1. For example: (5/1) +1 = 6.

• To convert moneyline odds into decimal odds, divide the figure by 100 and add 1. So for moneyline odds of 500: (500/100) +1 = 6 (for negative odds you need to remove the minus symbol before performing the sum).

• If your odds are in decimal format and you want to convert them to fractional, just minus one from the figure and find the nearest whole integer. So 6 becomes 5/1.

Simple vs comprehensive betting calculators

You might find that the betting calculator you are trying to use doesn't offer the breadth of options you require. In such a scenario, you might require a 'comprehensive' betting calculator.

Simple odds calculators tend to provide information about win bets, but over time you are likely to develop the ability to calculate your returns for simple bets without the need for a calculator.

For multiple bets, full cover bets, accumulators and each-way bets, a comprehensive betting calculator can prove extremely useful. Whether you're placing a treble, a Yankee, a Heinz, or a Lucky 63, you can quickly and easily input your stake, whether your bet is each way or not, and your odds, and then retrieve your outlay, returns and profit at the click of a button.