What are long odds and what are short odds?
This text is based on our personal experiences and represents our opinions.
You have probably heard the terms Long Odds and Short Odds in betting circles, but never paid attention to what they mean. It is feasible that you have been betting for a long time and not really paid attention to this term. But for those wondering, it is a way to describe odds, a sort of summarising of the chances of something happening against it not happening. These terms can be closely associated with the terms Odds On and Odds against, as they pretty much describe the same thing. If you see something which is at Short Odds, then they will be the favourites to win a sporting outcome. For example, in a match between Chelsea and West Ham, Chelsea would be a short odds, as they would be expected to win the match. There is a bit of relativity to work into this, as in general, odds which are close to, or lower than Evens are considered Short Odds. However, a price of 5/1 could technically be termed short odds, if the opposition in a match was priced out at 10/1 for example. That’s unlikely to happen, but it is taking things into a relative nature. In general though, if you are talking about short odds, it will be market prices which are not offering much profit margins, because the bookmaker thinks that the outcome is likely to happen.
A price of 1/2 for example is short odds, because it is lower than Even money and you need to bet more to win smaller amount of profits. Short Odds like these are placed on outcomes which are most likely happen in a sporting event. This is because for something of a certainty (although there is no such thing in sport), the bookmaker is not going to offer generous profit margins for the punter. On the flip side of all this, is the term, Long Odds. When the odds are long, then they will be attached to an outcome which really doesn’t have much chance of happening in the bookmakers’ eyes. This is where the profit is to be had in backing an underdog. Say a team for example is handsomely priced at Long Odds of 7/1 because they are not expected to win a match, but then they cause an upset and do so, that is huge profit for the punter. This doesn’t happen too often of course, and the bookmakers are aware of all this, but the tempting Long Odds are presented so that people will place a lot of wagers on them. Short Odds offer less value, but bring more certainty of bringing some rewards. Long Odds are those which offer much better value, but have less chance of happening.