What Is Sports Betting Juice?

Meta Description: Sports Betting juice is the percentage Sportsbook gains to keep operations afloat. Here is all to know about it and how it affects players

“Juice” in sports betting is the amount of money the sportsbook takes as their cut.

Sometimes it’s discussed as a percentage, sometimes as as a dollar amount, and sometimes as the odds (the odds determine juice… we’ll talk about this lower in the article).

You’ll also hear juice called “vig,” or “vigorish.” Some people will more casually say “the sportsbooks take” or the “commission.” These all mean the same thing.

It’s no secret that Sportsbooks make money, and they do so by cutting out a particular percentage from every bet you wager. That’s fair, but it’s also important you know how much they’re taking because it can vary. And then you can learn how to seek out the sportsbooks taking the least juice.

Small differences in juice add up to a lot of money over time.

Identifying Sports Juice in Odds

Let’s pretend you’re betting with a friend.

The Cowboys and Eagles are playing, and you bet $110 for the Cowboys to win.

There are no sportsbooks to take any juice, so if you win, you get $110 from your friend

Now, let’s look at an example of if you bet on a Sportsbook instead of with your friend:

Dallas Cowboys  – 3.5-110
Philadelphia Eagles+ 3.5-110

The above table shows the typical football bet Moneylines and spread, and yes, Sportsbooks get their cuts from this kind of bet.

This tells us that if we bet $110 that the Cowboys will win (by the -3.5 spread in this case) we will win $100. That’s $10 less than if we bet with a friend!

And that’s the juice. The Sportsbook keeps the other $10 to make their money

It means that for every wagered amount with a positive outcome, the win will always be 10% less than the main bet.

When Do You Break Even with the Juice Factor?

So if the sportsbook is taking juice, you have to win more than 50% of your spread or other “even money” bets to break even. 

I’ll start with a formula, but you can skip that if you want the answer for the most common odds.

Break-Even Formula

[Moneyline odds / (Moneyline odds + 100)] x 100

The solved number would determine the percentage of wins you must get from your bets to break even in the long term.

Important Points to Note

1.   Negative Odds: The solved value is the win rate required to break even

2.   Positive Odds: 100 – The solved number is the win rate required to break even

Let’s go over some examples:

Break-Even for – 110

To break even with -110 odds, you will need to win at least 52.4% of your bets.

How did I determine this? Let’s plug into the numbers from the formula above:

[110 / (110 + 100)] x 100 = 52.4%

Break-Even for + 120

So, for a +120 odds, you will need to win up to 45.45% of your bet on this odd to break even.

With positive odds, you’ll have to use one more step to calculate (shown above):

[120 / (120 + 100)] x 100 = 54.55%

100 – 54.55 = 45.45%

How to Reduce the Juice Factor?

Now you know how to recognize juice, but the next step is to get a quick look at how much juice the sportsbook is taking.

The easiest bets to look at how much juice they are taking are 50/50 bets. Common 50/50 bets are the over/under and spread bets. You can learn more about what those are by clicking the link if you’re new to sports betting.

One easy rule of thumb is the more negative the odds, the more juice they are taking from you. Unfortunately, it’s uncommon to see anything better than -110 on each bet in a 50/50 bet, but there are times when you might find a -105 on one side or even +100 and -110 on the other. OR sometimes sportsbooks will run “no juice” promotions where each bet is +100. In those cases, it’s like betting with a friend and the house doesn’t take a cut.

There are times when it’s important to shop for juice. This is usually moneyline bets because the bet is determined by the odds. In example, the Yankees might be favorites against the Pirates, so the Yankees have -160 odds, while the Pirates have +140 odds. It’s not uncommon to find Sportsbooks with different odds in these cases. You get the better deal when the positive number (underdog) bet is closer to the negative number (favorite) bet. The positive number will always be lower than the negative number unless they’re doing a promo.

One last thing on reducing juice: there’s no time that’s more important to shop around than live betting. I’ve seen live betting odds and juice vary a lot more between sportsbooks than pregame odds.

Bottom Line

Unlike your childhood, less juice is better.

Sportsbooks need their cut, but it’s that small amount that makes most sports gamblers overall losers and very few that can profit over time. With the most common odds (-110), you’ll need to win 52.4% of your bets. Check out our gambling tips for some ideas on how to do it.