In simple terms, “juice” or “vigorish” is the fee charged by the sportsbook for accepting a gambler’s wager. This term is also known by many other slangs like “under-juice”, “take”, “cut”, “margin” or “house edge”. They all mean the same and are devised for one purpose: to get the book profits, so it can keep making money to stay in business.
The juice in sports betting is a percentage of what a sportsbook receives as part of the wagers. The most common type of wager is the point spread where each side is “equally” lined. What does -110 mean in betting? Why isn’t it just +100 or “even” on both sides?
This is a moneyline that indicates $110 is wagered for every $100 won. But since this is supposed to be a 50/50 wager, that extra $10 is the vigorish or juice. In this case, if the book takes two $110 bets on opposite sides, only one bet wins and that extra $10 goes to the book for its profit. This is the vigorish or the juice in sports betting.
If both sides were lined at even odds, and one side wins, the book will profit nothing. At the end of the day, sportsbooks are a for-profit entity and are in the business of sports betting to make money.
Keep Juice/Vigorish in Mind When Betting
Juice/vigorish is ever-present in sports betting. There is a reason why every bettor needs to win more than 50 percent of their bets at the standard -110 odds. But even for new bettors, keeping in mind a few things about vigorish can go a long way.
+ The break-even in -110 betting is 52.4 percent. When a bettor bets nothing but -110 odds, they will need to win at least 52.4% of their bets to break even when you factor in the vigorish. A 50% record will result in losses because of the juice betting.
+ Shopping around for a different vig is recommended. Sometimes you will find betting lines at a reduced vig. These are either promotions or a line movement on a sportsbook. Betting at these different lines also impacts the long-term results – such as betting at -105 only needs a 51.2 percent win rate to break even, while -115 requires 53.4 percent.
+ Calculate probabilities without vig: Betting lines are meant to indicate a team’s odds of success. However, you will need to strip the vigorish to get a clear reading. You can use several online tools for that, or manually calculate it yourself.
Pros vs Cons
+ Juice or vigorish may take more out of a bettors’ pocket, but it is how sportsbook stay in business.
+ Shopping around for different lines or finding reduced vig can help make long-term betting easier and more profitable.
+ Tools can be used to calculate actual probabilities without having to do it manually.
+ Bettors will need to win more than 50 percent of the time just to break-even on pick’em moneylines, which are the most prevalent.
+ Calculating actual probabilities can be challenging if done manually.
Juice/Vigorish Explained as Examples
We’ve used -110 as the simplest way to explain the juice betting or vigorish. But what about in moneyline bets, where the betting lines are not -110? Let’s use an example to find the juice. Here is an NFL game:
+ Cleveland Browns +225
+ New England Patriots -280
With this example, a bettor needs to stake $280 on the favorites, the Patriots, just to win $100. On the other side, the Browns backer will win $225 if they wagered $100 because Cleveland is the underdog.
If the Patriots win this game as expected, the sportsbook will break even as they pay out $100 to the Patriots bettor from the $100 the Browns bettor provided. The juice here is the extra $180 the bettor needed to bet on the favorite, the Patriots.
But if the Browns won the game, the book would have profited $55. The book will pay out the Browns bettor $325 with $225 as the bettor’s profit. The remaining $55, which is taken from the $280 the Pats backer wagered ($280 – $225 = $55), is taken by the book as the juice or the vigorish.
Vigorish or juice is a necessary part of sports betting. It is how sportsbooks make a profit and stay in business. For bettors, they need to win more than half of their bets at -110 odds to make a profit. Line-shopping and looking for promotions to reduce vig can help in this aspect.
Betting Juice/Vigorish FAQs
1. What Is Vigorish?
2. How Does Vigorish Work in Sports Betting?
3. What is Juice in Betting?
4. How Does Juice Work in Sports Betting?
5. How Can I Figure out the Vigorish/Juice?