1/2 Odds: How to Work Out the Payout of a 1/2 Bet

1/2 OddsSome bets that you’ll place will have long odds because the likelihood of them coming in is slim. Others will have much shorter odds because the opposite of that is true. There is, of course, no such thing as a nailed winner in the world of betting else we’d all be a whole lot richer and bookmakers wouldn’t be in business for very long.

Even so, a wager with odds of 1/2 is one that suggests that the outcome is as good as a foregone conclusion. The question is, how can you work out what you payout might be from such a bet?


As you are no doubt aware, how much you’ll be paid out for any given wager will be dictated by two things: the odds and the stake. We know what the odds are here because we’ve already defined them as being 1/2, so what we need to know is how the stake you choose to place will influence things. You will doubtless also want to know what your profit will be, which is different from your return because your return includes your stake whereas your profit doesn’t. Here is how it looks for different stake amounts:

Stake Amount Payout Profit
£1 £1.50 £0.50
£2 £3 £1
£5 £7.50 £2.50
£10 £15 £5
£25 £37.50 £12.50
£50 £75 £25
£100 £150 £50

Each-Way Payout

With some bets, especially those placed on a horse racing event, it is not uncommon for bettors to want to hedge their bets by placing an Each-Way wager. This type of bet is actually two bets broken down into one, with one bet place on the straight Win and the other on the Place.

The Place bet is usually offered at reduced odds, typically being 1/4 of the original odds. If you were betting on something with odds of 20/1, for example, the Place would be paid out at 20/1 divided by 4, or 5/1. Here is how it would look for a bet with odds of 1/2:

Each-Way Stake Amount Total Bet Win Payout Place Payout
£1 £2 £2.63 £1.18
£2 £4 £5.25 £2.25
£5 £10 £13.13 £5.63
£10 £20 £26.25 £11.25
£25 £50 £65.63 £28.13
£50 £100 £131.25 £56.25
£100 £200 £262.50 £112.50


If you want an example of a bet that has come in at 1/2 then you only need to look as far as virtually any major horse racing competition from around the world. It is not uncommon for bookmakers to drop the odds of a horse to as low as that if they are the favourites to win the race and punters are lumping on accordingly. Whilst they aren’t the shortest odds that you’re ever going to get, they are short enough to mean that the horse, golfer, tennis player or football team concerned have a very good chance of winning.

Far more interesting is when competitors with those sorts of odds don’t win, given how much they are considered to be nailed on favourites. One such example could be seen at Chepstow in March of 2018, when Kupatana led the pack in terms of being the favourite for the Classic Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle thanks to odds of 1/2. Despite how much the horse was favoured by both bookies and punters alike, here is the final result from the race along with the odds of the horses and where they finished:

Horse Position Odds
Dinos Benefit 1st 9/4
Kupatana 2nd 1/2
Kilcullen Bellamy 3rd 20/1
Kestrel Valley 4th 11/1
The Toojumpa 5th 66/1
Slice Of Lemon 6th 66/1
Celer Et Audax Pulled Up 100/1

Whilst the eventually winner wasn’t exactly going off with crazily long odds, there is still an almighty shift in expectations between them when you consider the difference between odds of 9/4 and those of 1/2. That a 20/1 shot finished ahead of an 11/1 chance shows just how crazy and unexpected horse racing can be, though. Ultimately, you can never take anything for granted and even odds of 1/2 aren’t a guarantee of success, no matter how well you might expect a horse or other competitor to do when given those sort of chances.