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Following the lionesses’ success in the Euros earlier this year, what chance do the men have of finally stepping up and bringing home the ultimate prize in football, the World Cup? The tournament kicks off on Sunday 20 November and with the final a week before Christmas Day, just imagine the scenes! I know it’s all I want for Christmas, well along with the dinner and family time of course!

So, it led to me thinking, have you ever wondered what the probability is of any given team winning a major tournament and how this relates to the betting odds? Well, as a former Sports Trader at a national bookmaker, I will try to explain in a way a layperson can follow.

If we look at England, they have odds of 7/1 to win the world cup which means if you placed a £1 bet you would get your £1 back plus an added £7 profit if they lifted the cup on December 18. The decimal odds include your stake (bet) I.e., for every £1 you bet you would return £8, if the bet comes in.

The decimal odds are useful in calculating the % chance (aka the probability) of each team winning the world cup. This is simply done by doing 100 divided by the decimal odds, so for England 100/8 = 12.5%.

*The odds above vary slightly between each bookmaker, but they are a good approximate guide.

The eagle-eyed among you may have wondered what I have done with the totals underneath the 4th columns, well, that is the sum of the percentages. But they don’t add up to 100% I hear you say! And of course, you are right (121.9% in fact), that is because they incorporate some profit margin for the bookmakers, for tournaments this is approximately 20% (for a one-off game with 3 outcomes, you will find this to be more like 3%). This means that the actual percentage chance of each team winning is slightly less than stated above but given variation between bookmakers this is a good guide.

They have never stopped me dreaming.

By Tom Beech

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