The vigorish, often known as the vig, the take or the juice, is the Sportsbooks commission for taking your bet as a percentage profit on the bets made on an event. Without the vig there would be no advantage for the bookmaker to take your bets, because there would be no margin for them unless everyone constantly placed losing bets.
Generally this will cause the moneyline in events to be listed at -110 vs. -110 to ensure the bookmaker has a 10% profit made on bets made on an event, rather than 100 vs. –100 vs. -100.
Often sportsbooks will run specials where they offer “reduced juice” or “no juice” days. For all the best lines with as little juice as possible, check out 5 Dimes Sportsbook.
For an example of this, let’s look at an event without a vig.
Example 1: The Detroit Lions are playing the Chicago Bears, with the bookmakers setting the moneyline at -100 for each team. 100 Bears fans place a $100 bet to win $100 on their team at 5Dimes, and 100 Lions fans place a $100 bet to win $100 on their team at the same Sportsbook 5Dimes.
The Sportsbook has now taken $10,000 in bets on each team to win. Whichever team wins then half of the bets will win $100, and half will lose $100, which means the Sportsbook will be paying out the $10,000 they have taken from the losing bets and paid it out to the winning bets – so they make no profit.
As you can see from the example above, in the event of an equal number of bets being taken on an event with no vig, the bookmakers will make no profit at all. By adding in a vig the bookmakers can lock in a profit on an event.
Let’s now look at an event using the standard moneyline odds at -110 vs. -110.
Example 2: The Washington Redskins are playing the New York Giants, with the bookmakers setting the moneyline at -110 for each team. 100 Redskins fans place a $110 bet to win $100 on their team at 5Dimes, and 100 Giants fans place a $110 bet to win $100 on their team at the same Sportsbook.
5Dimes has now taken $11,000 in bets on each team to win. Whichever team wins then half of the bets will win $100, and the other half of the bets will lose $110. This means the Sportsbook will be paying out $10,000 to the winning bets, while retaining the $11,000 of losing bets – thus locking in a $1,000 profit whatever the result.
As you can see, the vig is beneficial to the bookmaker, and gives them a reason to keep taking our bets. While it may seem on first look to be something that only happens in sportsbooks, vigorish is also common in other forms of gambling, with one major example being the rake taken in poker.
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Additional Juice/Vig Questions:
The answer to the question What is Juice/Vig in Sports Betting? is also applicable for the following questions: