What is Juice in Sports Betting? How to Calculate Juice in Betting

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Matt ModiJune 1, 2022, 06:34 PM

What is Juice in Sports Betting?

In layman’s terms, you can think of juice (also known as “vig” or “vigorish”) as the tax that sportsbooks charge on each side of a bet. 

When you buy a coffee at Starbucks the price on the menu says $1.99, but with tax you end up being charged over $2. Sportsbooks do something similar. Using the game below, if you bet $100 on the Colts -2.5 and that bet wins you only get $90 back. But, if that bet loses the sportsbook gets your full $100. Fair? Eh, maybe. Reality? Unfortunately. 

So, if two bettors wager $100 on each side of this Patriots/Colts game, no matter what the outcome is the sportsbook would make $10. Multiply that $10 across over millions of bets and that is how sportsbooks make their money. 

The most common juice you will see is -110 on each side, but that is not always the case. 

Using this same Colts/Patriots game, let’s say that more money comes in on the Colts -2.5 but the book isn’t quite ready to change the spread to be -3 or higher. In that situation what the book will do is increase the odds on the Colts -2.5 side to -115 or even -120. 

In the game above you see an example of this. Instead of it being -110 on both sides, the Ravens +7 has been priced up to -115 while you can get the Packers down at -105. This is what it means when you hear people say the juice is towards the Ravens (in this case).

Different sportsbooks have different odds depending on how they receive money on each side. So, one of the valuable betting tools that OddsJam offers is they have lightning fast updated odds on each book. So, no matter what, if you use OddsJam you will be getting the best odds/lines.

How to Calculate Juice

Fair warning, calculating juice contains some math. There is also a juice calculator on OddsJam to do this for you, but if you want to learn how to calculate the vig yourself please read on.

When it comes down to it, odds are essentially just the probability of each outcome occurring. The easiest example of this is flipping a coin has two outcomes, each at 50%. If you add up each side you get to 100%.

But, because of the sportsbook tax (juice), you will see that adding up the probability of each side is actually greater than 100%. 

First you should convert the odds into their implied probability using the formulas below:

*If the odds are negative*

Drop the negative sign, and use this formula: Negative Odds / (Negative Odds + 100) * 100

*if the odds are positive* 

Formula: 100 / (Positive Odds + 100) * 100

Using the -110 example from earlier, which is the most common odds you’ll see, please see below.

110 / (110 + 100) * 100 = 52.4%

So, again using the Colts/Patriots game, the probability of both the Colts and Patriots side would be 52.4%. Adding them together would give you 104.8%. That additional amount over 100% is the vig, so in this case 4.8%. 

This also means that you would need to win a bet at -110 odds 52.4% of the time to breakeven, as opposed to 50%. 

Is There Juice on Other Betting Markets?

Unfortunately, yes. There is juice in every market. 

Let’s continue with this Patriots/Colts game. 

As you see in the screenshot above, there is juice on the total as well. It is -110 on both sides, which puts the juice the same amount as the spread.

Looking at the same screenshot you can also calculate the juice on the moneyline market. The Patriots are +115 and the Colts are -135. That 20 point difference is the most common juice you’ll see for moneyline plays.

The implied probability for the Patriots at +115 is 46.51% 

The implied probability for the Colts at -135 is 57.45% 

Adding those two outcomes together gets you to 103.96%. That means the juice for this moneyline market is 3.96%

Juice on Player Props

The juice on player props tend to be higher than spread or moneyline bets, due to the wider variance of player prop bets

The screenshot above shows the rushing yards player prop for both Carson Wentz and Jonathan Taylor. As you can see instead of both sides being at -110, they are listed at -115. 

This puts both sides at a 53.49% probability, which adds up to 106.98%. So, the vig for this market is 6.98%.

Juice on Futures

Unfortunately, futures tend to have the most juice of all the different betting markets. 

That might seem counterintuitive when you look at futures odds and see such large amounts, but sportsbooks normally charge the most juice when it comes to futures. 

The reality is that odds are just the sum of probabilities. So in a single game there are only two outcomes, but with futures odds there could be dozens. When you add up futures odds for the Super Bowl or NBA Champion it is normally well over 100%.

How to Remove Juice

It is important to remove juice because when you do that you get to see the true probability or line that the market thinks. 

Again, OddsJam offers a no-vig or “fair odds” calculator that does this for you, but please read below for the formula to remove juice.

Formula: Side 1 Implied Probability% / (Side 1 IP% + Side 2 IP%)

Colts: 57.45% / (57.45% + 46.51%) = 55.26%

Patriots: 46.51% / (57.45% + 46.51%) = 44.74%

Those two outcomes now add up to 100% and you now know what the “true” or “fair” probability is for each side. You can plug those probabilities into an odds converter to find the fair odds or no-vig line for this market to be -123.51/+123.51.

One way you can beat the juice on bets is to use parlays to your advantage. Any given week of the NFL you will see some massive odds for games and huge favorites. Taking any of those favorites straight up might seem daunting, especially when odds can be so high. But, what you can do is parlay some big moneyline favorites together to get more favorable odds.

Take the screenshot above for example. Individually the Eagles and Rams are such high favorites, and betting consistently on odds -305 or -400 consistently will burn you when upsets happen. Instead, a strategy could be to parlay them together.

Doing that gets you to -154 instead, a much more palatable bet to make. Upsets do happen, so it would be recommended to not parlay more than 4 favorites at once.

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