Beating the Juice: Removing the Vig from Sports Betting Lines
- Sportsbooks take a cut of every bet placed on a sporting event, called the ‘juice’ or ‘vig’
- The vig influences odds, so you need to remove it for a clear picture of likely outcomes
- Learn how to remove the vig to place smarter bets with this guide
“Vig” (also known as vigorish or ‘juice’) refers to the percentage a bookmaker or sportsbook charges a bettor for placing their wager. The vig ensures that the bookmaker or sportsbook makes money on every bet they take in. Bettors win and lose, but with the right vig, the book wins every time.
The vig affects the odds, so you need to remove it to gain an accurate picture of what the bookmakers actually expect to happen in a game.
Check out our comprehensive guide if you want more detail on how and why your favorite sportsbooks take their cut.
How to Read and Calculate Sport Odds
Before you can remove the vig, you first have to effectively read and calculate sports odds.
You’ve probably have seen a spread similar to this:
- L.A. Rams: 3.5 -110
- Seattle Seahawks: +3.5 -110
The -110 indicates that for the bettor must wager $110 for every $100 they want to win.
The $10 withheld from the bettor is the vig, which the bookmaker or sportsbook keeps as their profit.
If you need a hand converting odds, check out our guide on how to read and calculate sports betting odds.
How to Remove the Vig
Removing the vig allows bettors to make more precise, educated bets.
Sportsbooks want to attract an equal amount of bets placed on both teams, so in the lead-up to the event, they often change their odds to ensure they can cover either result. Vigs can vary from book to book, due to regionality or demographic of users.
The best practice for novice bettors is to watch the lines every day, and stay informed about players, injuries or any other factors that could alter the outcome of the event.
The first step to removing the vig is calculating the implied probability.
How to Calculate Implied Probability
The formula to find implied probability is risk/return = implied probability.
Let’s find the implied probability of the following match:
In this scenario, you’ll need to bet $300 to win $100 (with a total return of $400).
Using the above formula of risk/return: 300(risk)/400(return)=0.75. The 0.75 number, or 75%, is the implied probability of the Capitals winning.
For the Vegas Golden Knights you would calculate: 100(risk)/325(return)= 30. The 0.30 or 30% is the implied probability of the Golden Knights winning.
Now, you’ve got to determine the total implied probability. To do, so you add both teams implied probability, which would be .75 + .30 = 1.05, or 105%.
When you add both implied probabilities together your total is more than 100. Why? The amount over 100 is the vig! 1.05 – 1.00= .05 or 5%. In this example, the vig would be .05 or 5%.
Implied Probability with the Vig Removed
Now, in order to find to find the actual probability, you must remove the vig. To do this you divide each team’s implied probability by the total implied probability.
Actual probability = team implied probability/total implied probability
So 75.00/105.00 = .71 or 71%. The actual probability of the Capitals winning is 71%.
30.00/105.00= .29 or 29%. The actual probability of the Golden Knights winning is 29%.
To confirm you have done your calculations correctly add up both of your actual probabilities. The total should be 100 or 1. .71 + .29 = 1.00. or 100%.
By removing the vig, we can see the difference between the actual probability of the outcome compared to the implied probability made by the bookkeepers.
Removing the Vig Provides a Clearer Picture
Removing the vig provides a clearer picture for a bettor. If you don’t remove the vig or juice you will be betting on the implied probability, made by the bookmaker or sportsbook and not the actual probability. Always remove the vig or juice to give yourself an advantage over other bettors and bookmakers!
For more great articles on sport betting tactics and tips, check out our guide to the sharpest strategies in the business.