What is American Odds: How to Read & Examples


american odds explained


As the term suggests, American odds are betting odds by North American sportsbooks. This format of betting odds is used only in the USA. These are also termed as Moneyline odds or US odds. These are centered around wagering or winning $100 on a bet. Odds are represented by a minus (-) sign and plus (+) Sign to indicate underdog and favorite. 


Since there are different types or formats of sports betting odds, understanding these odds can be confusing for beginners. So, we have created this guide to explain how American odds work. Find our sports betting guide for beginners for more information.

Examples of USA Odds

Meaning of:


Positive Sign (+): Wagering on the result will win more money compared to the original wager. It marks the underdog in the game.

Negative Sign (-): Wagering on the result will win less money than the amount of the placed wager. It marks the favorite in the game.


What is American Odds

How to Read American Odds

Though, as mentioned above, these sports betting odds involve wagering or winning $100 on a given bet, you don’t always have to wager $100. The amount increases and decreases according to your bet amount.  


  • Betting on Favorite: For example, if you’re betting on Blue Jays at -120, you’ve to risk +120 and will win $100 if Yankees wins (plus you get your original $120 back).
  • Betting on Underdog: For example, if you’re betting on Yankees at +150, you risk $100 and will win $150 if Blue Jays wins (plus your original wagering amount of $100).

Converting American Odds into Decimal Odds

For positive odds, use this formula: (American odds / 100) + 1 = decimal odds.

For negative odds, use this formula: 1 – (100 / – American odds) = decimal odds.


Converting American Odds into Fractional Odds

For positive odds, divide your USA odds by 100. So, odds of +200 become 2/1 (200/100). 

For negative odds, divide -100 by USA odds. So, odds of -200 become 1/2 (-100/-200). 


Different Ways USA Sports Betting Odds are Used

There are two primary ways these odds are used:

  • These are used on their own. This is like a Moneyline that needs you to pick the winner. 
  • Use it with a point spread or an over/under bet. The team you bet should still cover the spread. Here, American odds show how much you have to risk for your bet.