What Does a Vig Mean When Betting on Sports?

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There is no doubt that the cliché is right; sportsbooks were not developed on winners. Instead, sportsbooks, whether legal or not, appear in more and more states nationwide. They have an inherent benefit for every line they generate for their customers to bet on. The vig in betting is a broader part of that. Not only digitally but also at retail locations, every line look by the customer includes Vigorish for any point spread. In this article, you will get complete information about Vigorish.

Vig in Sports Betting:

There are many names for vig, like Vigorish, juice, house edge, etc., but they all represent the same thing. It is as old as sports betting itself. Sportsbooks run a business, and it is a fact that that business involves risk. Therefore, sportsbooks develop an edge by slightly tweaking the odds in the customer’s favor to reduce the likelihood of major losses. Vigorish in sports betting is a fee that sports book charge for each bet. However, each bet you make contains true odds that the sportsbook sets. 

The only difference between the two is Vigorish.

It means that in a perfect world, online sportsbooks would have no interest in the outcome of the sports you bet on. In addition to this, they don’t have to sweat results and depend solely on the Vigorish. It will allow them to get profits that most players agree the sportsbook is entitled to. Although, it is very hard to get the action evenly split across lines. That means the sportsbook can lose money if the action is not equal. 

Impact of Vig on your Winnings:

Say you have a 50/50 bet, like which side will win the coin toss before a game of cricket. However, each side of this wager has an equal chance of a win. Therefore, it is natural that you will get an even amount if you choose the right. So, if you bet $100, you should look at a $100 profit when the sportsbook offers the right odds. Usually, sportsbooks offer odds of -110 for every side of the bet. A $100 bet will only provide you with almost $91 in profit return. The remaining 9% is a portion the sportsbook keeps for itself as the bet fee. 

The perfect scenario for a sportsbook would be for several people to take the wrong bet, but that happens rarely. Instead, the sportsbook wants to look at both sides producing roughly equal bets. So, if the bettors bet $10,000 on one side and $10,000 on the other, the sportsbook would have to gather $20,000 from that bet. Regardless of the outcome, they would only have to pay out $18180. The most important thing to remember is that it will greatly impact your winnings. It means that the higher the Vigorish, the less you take home in your win.

The Vig Plays both Sides:

There is no guarantee that you will flock to one side of a bet and provide an easy profit to the sportsbook. Instead, operators look to take the same number of bets on both sides of any given market. However, with vig developing into those odds, the sportsbook can often guarantee a profit, regardless of the game’s outcomes. Let’s assume two teams, Team A and Team B, are playing against each other. Both are at -100 on the list to cover the spread.

Let’s say the sportsbook takes $25,000 in bets on Team A and $25,000 on Team B for a total handle of $50,000. Regardless of the winner, the sportsbook pays out $22,727.27 to the winners. Besides that, they still get a profit of $2,272.73, which they get from the losing bets. The sportsbook takes more bets, and the odds will change to ensure each bet will trend toward a guaranteed profit for the operator. 

Calculating the Vig:

  • Using this formula, you can calculate the vig on bets. 
  • V=100*(1-(p*q)/(p+q))

The p and q in the formula represent payouts for each of the two outcomes. You can convert them into decimal odds for the formula to be correct. Remember that the vig only works if each bet side takes in equal amounts. Therefore, sportsbooks tend to shift the odds before the game starts. It makes the side of the bet with less action more appealing.

Once all sides of the bet you take in equal amounts, allow the Vigorish to ensure a profit. Sportsbooks must be careful not to convert bettors away when setting the vig. A bettor will ignore them if they go overboard and offer less favorable odds. Instead, they look for better odds with a lower vigorish on the other betting sites.


Sportsbook wants only profit. So they develop strategies to earn good profit. The vig in sports betting plays a big role. It is essential to your sports betting experience. You can take the time to calculate it yourself. So, if you are a casual bettor, chances are you place your bet and hope for the bets. On the other hand, seasoned bettors looking to make a profit should pay lots of attention to it.

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