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What is Vig?

Steven D. Thompson

Updated:

Betting on sports is all about getting the best odds, and the only way to do that is to know what vig is. vig is short for vigorish and refers to the house edge the bookmaker has over bettors. The lower the vig, the better the value you will get. Read on to learn more about vig in sports betting and boost your chances when wagering online.

Table of Contents

    Vig Explained

    Vig, vigorish or juice is the commission the sportsbook charges to facilitate the placing of bets and to ensure that it makes money on each wager. The bookmaker achieves this by offering odds that are lower than those reflecting the real probability of an outcome. In other words, if the real odds for a bet are 2.00, the bookie might offer 1.90. The vig is the difference between the real odds and the prices the bookmaker gives you for a particular market. 

    Let's explain this in more detail. Let's say you are betting on the match between PSG and Real Sociedad and placing a bet on the moneyline market. The odds are as follows:

    • PSG 1.65
    • Draw 4.15
    • Real Sociedad 5.15

    The odds you see in the example above are adjusted with the vig calculated in them. But how much is the vig for this moneyline market? You can check by trying to win $100 from a budget of $100 by betting on all outcomes:

    • PSG 100/1.65 = 60,6
    • Draw 100/4.15 = 24.1
    • Real Sociedad 100/5.15 = 19.4

    The combined implied probability of the three potential outcomes in this 3-way market is 104.1 (60.6 + 24.1 + 19.4). So, to win $100, you need to bet $104.1. In other words, the vig or bookmaker's commission for this moneyline market is 4.1%. Most top online sportsbooks have vigorish ranging from 3% to 5%.

    As you can see, regardless of the result, the bookmaker will always have an advantage over bettors because of the vig. That's why the vig is also referred to as house edge, as it is a way for the betting site to have an edge over bettors.

    Vig Explained Vig Explained

    Vig Sports Betting Examples - How is Vig Calculated

    Before you join online sportsbooks or place your bets, we strongly recommend that you calculate the vigorish for the market you want to wager on. The lower the vig, the better your potential winnings. Here's how you can calculate the house edge of a sports betting line.

    You first have to find out the implied probability of all of the possible outcomes in a market. Then add them together and subtract 100 from that number. That will give you the sports betting site's vig for that line. For example, if you are wagering on the NBA game between the Miami Heat (-2.5) and the Orlando Magic (+2.5), these are the point spread odds you will get

    • Miami Heat (-2.5) 1.95
    • Orlando Magic (+2.5) 1.90

    Those odds may seem enticing, but they come with the vig calculated in them. Let's see how high that house edge is by following the simple formula mentioned above. Let's first determine the implied probability:

    • Miami Heat 100/1.95 = 51.3
    • Orlando Magic 100/1.90 = 52.6

    The combined implied probability of the two outcomes in this 2-way market is 103.9 (51.3 + 52.6). To get the vig, subtract 100 (103.9 - 100) and you will get 3.9. In other words, the bookie has a 3.9% house edge on the point spread market.

    So, if you are trying to cover all outcomes and win regardless of the result, you should bet $51.3 on Miami winning and $52.6 on Orlando triumphing. Whichever bet wins, you will get the same payout of $100. However, you will have spent $103.9. That's how the online sportsbook ensures it has an edge on all bets you place.

    How to Place Low Vig Bets

    If you want to enjoy placing sports bets, you need to minimize the vig and find the best odds. Doing that alone can be tricky, as you would have to calculate various formulas and compare dozens of betting sites. However, with our easy-to-follow guide, you will be placing low-vig bets in no time.

    • Estimated Time Needed: 10:00
    • Tools Needed: Account
    • Supplies Needed: Time, Money
    Find Bettor-Friendly Sportsbooks Step 1

    Find Bettor-Friendly Sportsbooks

    When searching for low-vig sportsbooks, your best bet is to start with the top-rated betting sites we feature at Betpack. These online bookmakers have competitive odds and offer a myriad of bonuses. That way, you can offset the impact of their vig, even if it is super-small.

    Register and Deposit Step 2

    Register and Deposit

    When you find that one sports betting site that gives you the best value, join it. Registration is as easy as you want it to be and won't take more than a couple of minutes of your time. Next, choose the payment method that works for you and fund your betting account.

    Pick Reduced Vig Betting Lines Step 3

    Pick Reduced Vig Betting Lines

    It might sound counter-intuitive, but different betting lines have different juice. So, you should examine the sportsbook you join market by market, and see which betting lines come with the favourable vig. Start your search with the moneylines and point spreads, as these usually have the lowest house edges.

    Place Your Low Vigorish Bet Step 4

    Place Your Low Vigorish Bet

    Once you find the sports betting market with the lowest vig percentage, it is time to place your low-vig bet. Click on the odds or selection you want to bet on and it will be added to your bet slip. The last thing to do is enter your bet stake, place your wager and hope you have a winner.

    Strategies and Tips for Vigorish Betting

    Online sportsbooks will always have a small advantage over punters. After all, if they didn't put that profit margin in place, they wouldn't be able to operate as a sustainable business and would soon shut down shop. So, for all the money in winning bets bookmakers need to pay out, they will get more profits from losing wagers. That said, there are ways and betting strategies that increase your chances of being the winning bettor and not the punter funding the sportsbook's business growth.

    Know the Standard Vig for Each Betting Line

    Compare Odds and House Edges

    Use Bonus Bets and Odds Boosts

    Different bet types come with different house edges. Even in the examples above, which were both from the same bookmaker, the vigorish for the moneyline and point spread markets were different. Usually, moneyline (1X2), point spread, and Over/Under total bets have lower vig than other, more exotic betting options. Knowing which market comes with reduced vigorish can go a long way when aiming for a sustainable sports betting adventure.

    You already know that markets offered by the same sportsbook have different vig. So, you can imagine the differences in house edges between different online bookmakers. That's why all experienced analyze the vigorish before they join a sportsbook or place a bet. You should do too, as you would be surprised to find out how different the odds are at the best betting sites compared to second-rate bookies. Even if you are not into sports betting formulas, you can learn about the profit margin a betting site uses by giving our Betpack sportsbook reviews a read. We examine betting sites' house edges and help you find the best odds.

    Top online sportsbooks have a wide range of betting offers and promos. You can leverage these bonus bets, promotional funds, and odds boosts to make the most of your wagers. For instance, bonus or free bets allow you to wager with the bookmaker's free bet credits. That way, you don't spend any of your money, so even a higher vig will present no obstacle. Similarly, if a bookmaker has enhanced odds bonuses, you will get competitive odds even when the sportsbook uses a steeper profit margin. Some betting sites aptly name these promos as No Vig or Zero House Edge bonuses, meaning you might even bet on events without having to deal with the vigorish.

    Conclusion

    Online betting sites put a commission or interest in their sportsbook odds. The goal is to ensure they work as any other business - with a profit margin. So, your goal is to find reliable sportsbooks that utilize a small house edge. And that's where we come in. At Betpack, we review and compare sports betting sites to help you find bookmakers that not only have the best odds but also work with bettor-friendly payment methods, offer enticing bonuses and provide you with round-the-clock support. If you don't want to spend hours searching for a good value betting site, check out some of the top bookies we shortlist. You are guaranteed to get great value for money.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What does Vig Mean in Sports Betting?

    Vig refers to the profit margin of the betting operator. It is a sort of a commission or interest integrated into the sports betting odds to ensure the sportsbook has an edge over bettors.

    Is there Vigorish on Parlay Bets?

    Yes, there is. In fact, when you place parlay bets, the vigorish from all wagers in your bet slip is added up. So, the sportsbook has a much higher vig on the combo bet you place than on your single wagers.

    What Sports Betting Site has the Lowest House Edge?

    To find the sports betting site with the lowest house edge, choose the most popular markets, such as 1X2, point spreads, and Over/Under totals and calculate the house edge for each. A bettor-first sportsbook will always have low vig, ranging from 3% to 5%.

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