What is Betting Margin? Betting Margin Explained

Last Updated on October 21, 2023

Betting Margin, often referred to as the “vig” or “juice,” represents the commission that bookmakers add to their odds to ensure they turn a profit, regardless of the outcome of an event. It’s a measure of the market’s efficiency and indicates how much the bookmaker is charging to take a bet. The higher the margin, the less value the bet offers the punter. The margin is typically built into the odds and isn’t an explicit charge to the bettor.


How is the Betting Margin calculated?

  • To calculate the betting margin for a two-outcome event, use the following formula:
  • Margin=(1/Decimal odds for Outcome A+1/Decimal odds for Outcome B)−1
    The result is then multiplied by 100 to get a percentage. For events with more than two possible outcomes, simply extend the formula by adding the reciprocal of the odds for each additional outcome.

Why do bookmakers implement a Betting Margin?

Bookmakers use betting margins to secure a profit regardless of an event’s outcome. By adjusting the odds slightly in their favor, bookmakers can balance their books and ensure they remain profitable over the long run, covering operational costs and unforeseen payouts.

Is a lower Betting Margin better for bettors?

Yes, generally speaking, a lower betting margin means that the odds are closer to the “true odds” of an event’s outcome. This implies that bettors are getting better value for their money.

Do all bookmakers have the same Betting Margin?

No, betting margins can vary among bookmakers. Some might offer lower margins as a competitive strategy to attract more bettors, while others might have higher margins due to higher overhead costs or a different business model. Comparing betting margins among various bookmakers can be a useful strategy for bettors.

Can the Betting Margin change for an event?

Yes, bookmakers can adjust the betting margin based on various factors, including the amount of money wagered on different outcomes, unexpected news that might change the event dynamics, or their own assessment of risk. It’s always beneficial for bettors to be aware of these adjustments.

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