Understanding the Vig in Sports Betting

sports betting vig

Vig, also referred to as juice, when it comes to sports betting, is the amount or the cut that a bookie or a sportsbook charges for assuming or taking a bet from a player. Since all bookies or sportsbooks that are in business are there to realize profits, all of them, therefore, use vig or juice so that they make money from players’ bets, regardless of what the outcome of the match produces. Really quick, it’s easy to see the reason as to why players don’t want the vig! The higher the cut taken by the sportsbooks, the more players need to wager to win some cash. That’s basically it. When it comes to sports betting, the lesser the vig, the better!

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Calculating Vig

Before proceeding, it’s important to be aware that it’s easy to observe vig by the naked eye, especially after you become aware of what it is. For instance, experienced players are well aware that EVEN bets are even bets with no vig.

Luckily enough, for rookie players without a clear understanding of vig, such is easy to calculate. In fact, it is possible to calculate the vig percentage without even having a clear understanding of the money risked or the outcome of the event. But here’s how to calculate it.

Vig = 100 x (1 – p x q / p + q)

Here, the p and the q represent the decimal payouts for every outcome – the x multiplication symbol-. If you plug the numbers in, then you’ll be able to find the vig for a bet.


If you still find it hard understanding how to calculate vig, then the example below will make you comprehend everything about vig clearly. Below is an apt example of calculating vig based on a Full-Time result of a sporting event based on the following odds:

  • Home win: 1.70
  • Draw: 3.55
  • Away Win: 5.85
  • Based on the earlier formula, the vig is calculated this way: {1.1 / [(1 / 1.70) + (1 / 3.55) + (1 / 5.85)]} * 100% = 4%.

The resulting answer is 4%. The 4% is what the bookies pocket as their guaranteed profits for a given set. Put in other words, if a player is to win €100, then s/he will have to bet €104, as clearly depicted in the calculation below:

100 / 1.70 = 58.8 €, X: 100 / 28.1 €, 2: 100 / 5.85 = 17.1€.

This formula also applies to two or more than two outcome events. All you have to do is to add more fractions in order to find the commission.

Why Does Vig Matter?

Getting to comprehend some of the basic of vig is essential to understanding how to go about being an effective player. Vig will affect the amount of money that a player gets to receive in return from his or her wager. Vig can also alter the side that a player chooses to bet on in addition to being a signal for potential players that everything is about to shift.

In simple terms, vig helps players to understand that some parts of their bets go to bookies, otherwise considered a fee for wagering. Additionally, vig act as warning signs to players in that if the vig is higher for a wager, then it would be best to avoid it. Lastly, the vig is important as it helps players in knowing the ideal time to bet.

At what point to Sportsbooks Adjust Vig?

Bookies do adjust vig. To individuals who are still new to matters concerning sports betting, such can turn out to be something quite confusing? What are the reasons that compel bookmakers to change it sometimes? Of importance to note that vig adjustment could be a precursor to altering the real line of an event. If funds on a line begin getting somewhat dicey for a bookie, altering the vig can turn out to be the easiest way of ensuring that they bring home more revenues, without having to alter the entire line. Many times, altering the vig by sportsbooks signals that the line will soon change.

If absurd funds get bet on one side of a bet, the bookie will more than like adjust the line in a bid to attract more players to place their bets, but on the other side. But you need to remember that some of the most established bookies don’t really require a dog in the fight as they receive what they need from the vig instead.

Increasing the vig on one side, even by just a little fraction, achieves two things. First, it tends to entice players to place their bets in a certain manner, the same way as a line change. Secondly, an increase in vig means that the sportsbook will accumulate high-profit margins. As mentioned earlier, even if they adjust it by a small fraction, every dollar matters. Being aware of the vig under such scenarios can assist new players to save, or even net a few more bucks.

Knowing how to calculate the vig while monitoring the adjustment of odds for different bookmakers can bring about good winnings to a keen bettor. However, as a player, you need to be very careful in addition to being well versed before placing bets on high odds. The reason for this is that maybe a change might have occurred due to injury or the absence of a club’s best player.

Best ways to deal with the vig

A lot of people don’t know how to go about dealing with the vig. But an essential thing to keep at the back of your mind is that the best way to avoid too much vig is to place bets on a few events as possible. In fact, if you can, you are better off placing just a single bet. Even though placing too many bets on a single bet slip multiplies your potential profits, it also enhances the vig also. In other words, the fewer, the better.

Additionally, you may need to monitor odds changes carefully as such may be due to many players placing bets on a certain event. If you happen to have been keen enough, then you must have realized that betting firms provide different odds from one another. This is a form of competition that has lately seen the introduction of what is known as the “0% commission.”

The Bottom Line

As things appear to be, vig seems to be going nowhere. Even if some sportsbooks offer some of the most reduced vig, they have no intention of doing away with it. Besides being their fee for providing betting services to clients, it also assures them that they are able to rake in some profits regardless of the outcome of the bets. Just think about that: if they didn’t do that, then they would simply be out of business.

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