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How to work odds when betting on football

How To Work Out Odds


How to work odds when betting on football

Every punter should know how to work out odds.

Before every bet having an idea of what you think the price should be makes it a lot easier to make a decision.

Colin Ross runs a subscription based tipping service, SCOTFOOTY4PROFIT, and has oodles of experience in the football betting industry. Here he outlines his thoughts on how to work out odds.



I have been working independently as an odds-compiler for some seventeen years. Most of this has been directly related to Scottish football, however I have also applied my knowledge and efficiency to other sports, predominantly golf.

The beginning was not by chance. I genuinely used to disagree with many of the old ” fixed odds coupons ” prices on a regular basis. Super-soccer and Top chance, the suppliers, were a closed shop. Access to traders and compilers was taboo. The same still applies today. However, I was determined and felt I had the knowledge to become a player.

In another piece I may one day explain more about my own product. That will involve more content about risk, financial involvement, and more. For now, back to compilation. During the close season in 1999, I contacted several established bookmaking firms, giving them details of my knowledge, desire and skill to be involved. A long story, but after making visits to some head offices, I was given a yearly contract to provide prices and information on Scottish football by three firms.

It may be testament to my hard work and drive that I still work for two of these companies. At peak, between 2004-2010 I had work with six firms, nine in total over the years. The skill has partly gone from the game, betting platforms, price streaming, internet firms playing “follow the leader” and instant price changing has seen to this. It is mostly the high street firms, those who still print and produce coupons who rely on genuine odds-compilation.

To give you readers a small insight into an odds-compilers work, I will apply my own thinking/methods in this brief piece. The exercise will apply to Scottish football as it is the sites main purpose.


How To Work Out Odds

All Bookmakers must apply an over- round to a price i.e. a percentage profit they wish to establish, lets say 10%. On the basis that 10% is applied to all Scottish football matches, then the compiler fits the percentage into his calculation.

Given that a match has 3 outcomes Home Away Draw — a no win percentage for a bookie would be 2/1 on all 3 outcomes. Apply this simply by placing a £ 1 bet on the home, draw and away. The answer = you cannot lose. Your £ 3 outlay is returned whichever the result = spend £ 3 and you are certain to get your £ 3 back.

This is the simple way to explain how an over-round must be worked into the price compilation. To get the desirable 10%, the home away draw must come to 110 %.  Sounds simple, and is really when logic is applied. However it must then be done to all matches, time after time.

I will give you three examples of 110% applied to a game;

Home 6/4 – Away 6/4 – Draw 12/5 = 110%

Home evens – Away 2/1 – Draw 11/4 same 110%

Home 1/2 – Away 9/2 – Draw 14/5 also 110%

Not that easy to calculate, however, when I say evens = 50%, 2/1 = 33.3%, 6/4 = 40%, 3/1 = 25%, 4/1 = 20%, 12/5 = 30% and so on you may begin to understand.

When it comes to compilation and pricing individual games I personally work on a few golden rules.

  1. Current form, how has the team been performing.
  2. Squad strength, has the side got adequate depth.
  3. Injuries, Suspensions. What have we learned since last game.
  4. Goals for and against, at home and away.
  5. Have we got good harmony within the squad.
  6. Playing demands. Run of midweek, weekend fixtures.
  7. Average age of squad and use of younger/older players Many other factors, loan players, distance of travel, training bases, in part time circumstances, work schedules etc.

This is where information, knowledge and experience comes to fore. I only use four or five guys for additional info. Having someone close to clubs is of massive benefit.

When setting the prices for matches, most of the above is applied. You, or I do, always pre-price, apply a price before the previous game is played. You then have clear indication of how you see the match. Of course this is subject to change when results are known, but having your guide price is important.

There are tools we apply. Very general but worth noting, home wins account for around half the results, so evens ( 50% ) is a starting point. Draws and away wins are often then applied equally ie both 12/5 ( 30%) giving you the 110% figure.

This however is very loose. Odds-compiling is a skill, diminishing in importance unfortunately. We need to be on our toes, be well informed, and cut out mistakes. Apply the golden rules, work to the bookmakers percentage over round and be able to speak a good game. My many years of compiling has certainly taught me this. Hopefully it is of some interest to you readers.


If you would like to try out Colin’s service he has offered to give the first three weeks FREE to anyone who quotes this article from Scottish Football Tips.

Alternatively the service costs £28 for a ten week block of weekly and midweek tips.

You can sign up for the service by contacting Colin on 07792826852 or by emailing