Bet £10, Get £10 - BETDAQ

Short and long odds in betting – What’s the difference?

Short and long odds might be new betting terms to any beginners out there. But it’s important to understand what they mean and the difference between the two.

That’s why I created this article. To help you understand and get to grips with short and long odds to help you with your betting strategy.

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 see them.

So, what are short and long odds?

What are short and long odds?

Short and long odds are terms used to describe the likelihood of an outcome.

  • Short odds refer to outcomes that are likely to happen.
  • Long odds refer to outcomes that are more unlikely to happen.

For example, you might say that Arsenal have short odds to beat Notts Forest in a Premier League game or that England have long odds to beat India in a T20 cricket game.

Short and long odds explained

These terms are interchangeable with odds on and odds against. So in our example above, Arsenal would be odds on favourites to beat Notts Forest and England would be odds against to beat India.

What’s short and what’s long?

Short odds are generally classed as evens or smaller. Less than 2.00 (decimal format) or 1/1 (fractional format). Long odds could be anything from 5.00 (4/1).

However, what is classed as short and long depends on what market and sport you’re betting on. For example most horse racing markets will have longer odds due to the number of runners when compared to a football market.

Short or long – which is better?

Now you know more about short and long odds, which is better? This is very subjective 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.

Bettors who use short odds 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 using short odds. 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 one 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 really want to make a profit, 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. If you don’t have the time for this I recommend following top tipsters.

Odds movement

Bookie’s prices don’t 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 sites 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 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 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.