If you’re new to sports betting, you might have heard the terms “vig” or “juice” floating around.
The “juice” or “vig,” used interchangeably, is how much the house makes off your bet. Read on to learn more about how the juice works in sports betting and what it means for your bottom line.
What is “the juice” in sports betting?
The juice is how the house wins in sports betting. The “juice” or “vig” is the cut the sportsbook gets for every bet. Casinos and sportsbooks are there to profit, so they’ve got to get a cut to stay in business, even if you win.
Juice is the slang term for “vigorish.” The definition of vigorish is “a charge taken (as by a bookie or a gambling house) on bets.”
How does juice impact your winnings?
The vig in sports betting matters because it determines how much you will get if you win your bet.
The standard odds for most bets is -110. If you bet $1 and you win, you’ll take home $1.91 (your initial bet of $1 and winnings of 91 cents). You don’t take home $2 because of the vig. The sportsbook gets that nine cents as their cut for allowing you to place a bet.
The most important thing to remember about the vig is that it will impact your winnings. The higher the vig, the less you take home if you win.
How is the vig set?
Most sportsbooks will use the standard vig of -110 on point spreads. Both sides will typically sit at the standard odds when the lines are first released. However, books will often adjust those odds once bettors start wagering.
If lots of bettors are taking the favorite, the book may adjust the sports gambling odds to protect themselves. Remember that they are there to make money, so they want that financial security.
How does the vig work for the main bet types?
The juice or the vig is not the same across all bets. It varies by bet type (and, as a result, by sport, since not all sports have the same bets).
For spreads and totals, the vig falls into the -110 range. However, when it comes to moneylines, the vig can fluctuate quite a bit depending on the odds listed for the game.
When the spread is tight and the teams are evenly matched, you might see odds in the -110 range, with one side at -105 and the other at -115. When the spread isn’t as tight and there is a clear favorite, the range could be -400 or more. Major longshots could have odds of +500 or even higher.
The importance of reduced juice at sportsbooks
Some sportsbooks will have higher vigs than others. This makes line shopping important, especially for high-volume bettors.
Evaluating different sportsbooks and what they offer is essential for spreads and totals but even more necessary for the moneyline since the odds can vary so widely. When deciding where you want to place your bet, consider the vigs and the potential payout of the different live and online sportsbooks.
Is the juice higher or lower on certain bets?
To note a key example, the juice is usually higher on futures bets.
Odds are the sum of probability for all the potential outcomes, so if you’re betting on who will win the World Series, there are 30 potential winners. This means that the sportsbooks have to calculate the probability that any of those 30 teams will win.
Which sportsbooks have the lowest juice?
Some sportsbooks offer reduced juice and have the lowest vigs, including:
If you’re looking for sportsbooks with the lowest juice, it’s essential to understand that competition is king. In states with multiple sportsbooks, the juice tends to be lower. Sportsbooks compete against each other to attract the most bettors, so they lower their juice.
The juice can get out of hand quickly at sportsbooks run by a lottery commission. For example, in Washington DC, GamBetDC charges some rather ridiculous vig. On NFL spreads and totals, it’s not uncommon to see -118/125 splits. For basketball games, -105/-112 lines are common.
It’s important to shop for the best lines when looking at vig. For example, let’s look at a recent basketball posted on DraftKings:
|Boston Celtics||-9.5 (-110)||Over 224.5 (-105)||-425|
|Sacramento Kings||+9.5 (-110)||Under 224.5 (-115)||+320|
Here’s the same line on FanDuel:
|Boston Celtics||-9.5 (-110)||Over 224.5 (-110)||-430|
|Sacramento Kings||+9.5 (-110)||Under 224.5 (-110)||+340|
If you believe that the score will go over, you’re getting a much better deal on DraftKings. But if you think the Kings will pull off the upset, you get a better moneyline at FanDuel. Line shopping will help you offset the juice if you have several betting options in your state.
Can you avoid paying the juice in sports betting?
Unfortunately, you can’t avoid paying the vig or the juice. What you can do is find a book that has a lower vig or offers reduced juice.
How do you beat the juice?
Based on the standard odds of -110, you have to win 52.38 percent of your bets to break even. You’ll need to win even more often to come out in the black. When you place bets with varying odds, the percentage of bets you need to win to break even or make money gets even higher.
- -105/-105: 51.22%
- -110/-110: 52.38%
- -115/-115: 53.49%
- -120/-120: 54.45%
- -125/-125: 55.56%
As we mentioned above, the house always wins. Successful sports bettors compare lines between sportsbooks, and they understand math models, statistics and how to analyze trends over the long term.