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Probability p is expressed in terms of odds is "(1-p)/p to 1 against". Notice that if p=1/4 this gives "3 to 1 against." One can also compute "odds in favor" of an event, although "odds against" seems more common. (I'm not sure why that is, but suspect it may be that gamblers often like to bet on something with big odds against which then has a large payoff.) But you are correct that "the odds are 3" isn't really meaningful although I understood what tlm meant.
chas

In reply to Re: What are "the odds"? by chas
in thread Fastest way to calculate hypergeometric distribution probabilities (i.e. BIG factorials)? by Commander Salamander

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