What are short and long odds in betting and what’s the difference?

Short and long odds may be a new betting term to some of you, so we’ve created this article to minimise any confusion and help you get started with your betting right away.

Whilst you may not come across these terms on a daily basis, it’s still good to know exactly what they mean so you’re not confused when you next come across them.

So, what are short and long odds?

What are short and long odds?

Short and long odds are terms used to describe different bets. Short odds refer to likely outcomes whereas long odds refer to outcomes that are more unlikely.

These terms are often interchanged with odds on and odds against as they pretty much mean the same thing.

For example, let’s say that Cardiff City are playing Man Utd in the Premier League. The price for a Cardiff win would be long and the price for a Man Utd win would be very short.

What’s short and what’s long?

Short odds are typically classed as evens or smaller. That is, they’re generally less than 2.00 in decimal format or 1/1 in fractional format. Long odds could be anything from 5.00 (4/1).

Having said that, it’s all relative and what is classed as short or long may differ from market to market. Short odds could be classed as 5.0 if that market was the most likely outcome. This is rare and you’re unlikely to come across this scenario very often but it’s important to consider.

Short or long – which is better?

Now you know a little more about short and long prices, which type is better in 2019? This is a very subjective question and it totally depends on your betting strategy and how much risk you want to take.

Benefits of betting on short odds

Short odds by their nature consist of likely outcomes which typically don’t provide a great profit margin for punters. You’re not going to win large amounts from each bet but the key is in the volume.

Punters who use this strategy will win far more bets than those who bet long.

Mathematically speaking, placing a bet at 1.50 gives you a 66% chance of winning your bet. As you move towards 2.00, your chances get nearer to 50/50. Beyond 2.00, the odds are well stacked in the bookie’s favour.

If you’re looking to profit on a regular basis, it’s probably best to bet short. However, you will need to place a lot of bets.

What about long odds?

So how about using long odds?

On the other hand, long odds are more profitable but they carry far more risk. You’re more unlikely to land bets with long odds meaning you need to win big when you do. At odds of 8/1, you need to win once in 8 bets just to break even.

The bookmakers know the likelihood of landing these bets is quite low which is why they offer more value to entice punters to place bets on unlikely outcomes.

This is where research comes into your betting strategy. If you’re a regular visitor of our site, you’ll know how much we go on about researching your bets before placing them.

But if you really want to make a profit in 2019, it’s vital you know exactly what you’re betting on and why. This way, you’re more likely to win your bets regardless of whether they’re short or long.

Odds movement

Bookie’s prices do not remain stable, they’re always moving up and down in value. This is especially the case in the modern world of online gambling.

Odds are shortening and lengthening all the time meaning you need to stay up to date if you want to get the most value out of your bets.

At some betting websites, you can now see the history of a market. Smarkets are just one company offering this feature. They show charts to their customers in order to help punters predict the future market movements.

A review of Smarkets live chart feature

Finding the best value

As with anything in the betting industry, it’s important to do your research before placing any bets. There are hundreds of bookmakers which all offer slightly different prices on certain markets.

The aim is to find the best value bets to maximise your potential return. This is a process called line shopping and it’s used by pretty much all serious punters.

There are many different betting sites you can use to help you find the best price. We’re not affiliated with any sites but I recommend you use either Oddschecker or Oddsportal.


Overall, short and long odds are pretty self-explanatory.

You’ll come across the two types of bet on a regular basis and now you know what the terms short and long mean.

Whether you want to bet on short or long odds is totally up to you and the betting strategy you choose to implement.

Let me know whether you prefer betting short or long by leaving a comment below right now.

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