What Does Evens Mean In Betting Odds?

illustration coin flipThe term ‘Evens’ in betting parlance refers to the odds given by the bookmaker for a bet selection within a given betting market or an event. When something is priced at evens, it’s important to note that this doesn’t just mean the outcome is 50/50, however. Instead, it merely means that you will double your money if the bet does come in.

Let’s use a Premier League football match between Liverpool and Manchester City as a quick example. There might be odds of 3/1 for the home win, 2/1 for the away win, and the draw coming in at ‘Evens’ for this game. In this scenario, the draw is given a 50% likelihood of occurring but this is what is known as implied odds, i.e. the probabilities offered by the bookmaker.

The true odds will be lower than 50% and the difference between the odds the bookie offers you and the true odds is their profit margin, i.e. an evens bet doesn’t mean 50% chance of happening, almost always the actual real odds will be under 50%.

Depending on the betting site you are using, evens may appear differently. For instance, in decimal odds (more commonly seen in mainland Europe), evens would appear as ‘2.00’.

Should You Place An Evens Bet?

scales two coins saying yes and no

While still posing an obvious risk, an evens bet does come with plenty of upsides. The payoff is certainly worthwhile, as punters who place an evens bet will receive a profit that is equal to their stake if they win. Statically at least, you generally have close to a 50/50 chance of winning, meaning they are tempting propositions.

One of the best ways to try and mitigate some of the risk when making an evens stake is to look at the context around it. For instance, when betting on a football or basketball match, if the home side is evens to win the game, it makes a great deal of sense to pick them – as home advantage in both sports is well documented.

Evens still poses a great deal of risk in a three-way outcome compared to other events. For instance, in a sporting event like Cycling’s Tour de France, where there could be hundreds of possible winners if one rider is ‘Evens’ to win the yellow jersey, you can be very confident in their ability – as they are the overwhelming favourite in a vast field of riders.

How Is An Evens Bet Calculated?

woman calculating looking frustratedYou bet £10 on Chelsea to beat Burnley at odds of 1/1 (Evens) in the Premier League. That means that your expected payout is £10 x 1/1 = £20, which is your £10 stake returned plus £10 profit.

As with all wagers, you can combine multiple evens bets together if you want more significant profits. If you built a straight treble and used a £10 stake, the pay-out would be: 2.0 x 2.0 x 2.0 = £80 return (£70 profit).

If you pick the right selections, you can really boost your bankroll betting at this price, but be careful not to get too greedy. The bookie has priced it at 50/50 for a reason, meaning the chances are close to even but will never be exactly even.  If a bet is priced at evens and the bookie has a 10% margin on the bet then the real chances of that outcome happening will be closer to 45% of the time.

Ultimately though odds are set depending on probabilities and form but also based on the amount of money staked on an outcome.  Therefore something with evens odds may have much less than a 50:50 chance of winning if it is popular and everyone has backed it.  Conversely an unpopular selection at evens may have a greater than 50% chance of winning but its odds are lower because less people back it.  Discerning the difference between implied odds and the true odds is critical in knowing if an evens bet is worth it or not.

Evens Bets Practical Examples

price and value on hand drawn scalesOften written as Evs or EVS, evens is a straightforward concept. If you place a wager at evens and it wins, the win equals your stake. For instance, if you place a £100 bet on a horse that is priced at evens odds, if it wins, you’ll be paid a net win of £100 (for a total return of £200, i.e. the amount from the successful bet plus the original stake).

Let’s say you place a bet of £5 on Arsenal to beat Tottenham Hotspur at odds of 2.0 in the EPL; that means your expected return is 2.0 x £5 = £10, which is your initial £5 stake returned plus £5 profit. As with any other type of bet, it is possible to combine multiple evens wagers together if you’re after significant profits. For example, if you make a straight treble and use a stake of £10, your payout would be 2.0 x 2.0 x 2.0 x £10 = £80 return, a £70 profit.

If you manage to make the right selections, you can significantly boost your bankroll in this market, but you should not get too greedy, however. The bookmaker’s price this market at 50/50 for a reason, as you should expect to lose as many bets as you gain over a long time.

Odds of evens relate to the tossing of a fair coin. Imagine two of your favourite friends participating in a coin-tossing contest, and you decide to run your own betting platform on who will emerge the winner. Remember that this is a fair coin, both of your friends have an equal chance of winning. Both heads and tails can be turned with a 50% chance of one or the other landing.

In line with this, if you wanted to provide bettors with a fair betting market on this coin-tossing contest, you would offer an even price, confirming the equal chances of both competitors winning. But an average sportsbook’s business model isn’t built around fairness since they want to be profitable in the long run.

Why Evens Odds Aren’t the Same as Probability?

gauss distribution bell curveNew or inexperienced bettors who find a wager with odds of evens (1/1 or 2.0) always assume that it has a 50% winning chance. The main reason is that the implied likelihood of even money is 50%. Sportsbooks don’t hide the fact that they add margins since, after all, they’re businesses that want to earn profits. For one reason or another, some punters think the odds bookies offer represent the actual likelihood of a given outcome happening.

They’re indeed indicative of the likelihood, but with something extra on top. There’s little chance of knowing the actual probability of a given event happening, meaning it’s challenging to determine how close the probability provided by the sportsbooks’ odds is to the real probability.

If you’re able to research effectively, you might find a perfect way to allocate a probability of occurring that’s more than 50%. If the sportsbook is offering odds of even, then you have a value wager, and you could have a chance to beat the bookmaker. But also, in many cases, value bets fail, and there’re no ways of beating the sportsbooks, even if you invest hours in researching.

What Does Odds Against and Odds On Mean?

odds on bet exampleA wager that’s odds on is the one that has less than evens odds. On the other hand, if a wager is odds against, it means that the odds are greater than evens. For bets that are odds against, the fraction will be greater than 1/1 and less than 1/1 for odds on. When it comes to decimal odds format bets, odds against are more than 2.0 while odds on are less than 2.0.

A sportsbook that uses American odds will present odds on bets with a – sign and odds-against bets with a + sign. Looking first at odds on bets, the return you earn from a winning wager will always be less than your original stake. With odds against, in contrast, the scales are tipped past evens, meaning the return you gain from a successful bet will be greater than the initial stake.

The Best Sports for Evens Wagers

You can use the evens betting strategy with any of your favourite sports. But that does not mean you should use it every time you are betting. That is because this type of betting works better with events where markets have two possible results, and this makes most racing sports unsuitable for this bet.

It is best to place evens bets on sports like cricket, rugby, and football. But keep in mind that any other sport where there’re many selections with just two results will work as well.

Betting on Evens

When an event is priced up at evens, the sportsbooks mean that there’s a 50/50 chance of the outcome in question occurring. The evens bet is an ideal option for punters who want to balance risk and reward. You will need to win 50% of your evens wagers to keep yourself in profit or level if you decide to wager on everything.


When it comes to evens bets, you should continually assess each wager on an individual basis to work out if it’s right for you. While the risk of evens bets may be minimised compared to longer shots, they can never be viewed as absolute bankers. In this regard, it’s always wise to do your due diligence, even when you have such a high likelihood of winning.