What is Vig in Betting? How to Calculate Sports Betting Vig

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Written by Adam Haynes

Updated: 08:24 am EST, 04/07/2024

Vig (vigorish) is a type of commission charged by bookmakers to facilitate wagers, to ensure they make a profit regardless of the outcome. Our guide covers what is vig in betting in detail, tips and strategies for reducing it, and much more.

How Does the Vig Work in Betting?

Bookies factor their cut into betting odds before they are published. They have already calculated the vigorish meaning you don’t get to see it, but it’s always there. For this reason, no bet you place – even at the best offshore sportsbooks – will ever be at “true odds” of 100%.

Without the presence of vigorish, odds in pick ‘em MLB matchups are, correspondingly, likely to be +100 for both teams. This means that a $100 bet on the St. Louis Cardinals or Pittsburgh Pirates would pay out $100 in profit. The sportsbook is offering a service by taking bets, however, and has ensured that they make a profit by changing the odds to -110 for both sides.

Betting sites that take “juice” are, in any case, adhering to standard practices by taking this commission. However, some may charge a higher margin on their betting odds than others. For this reason alone, understanding what is vigorish and how it works is vital to making informed betting decisions.

Ways to Calculate the Vig in Betting Odds

There are two main ways to work out vig odds – manually or using a calculator or online software. Overall, we recommend using vigorish calculators to do the hard work, much like when learning how matched betting works online. But only after you know how to calculate vig in sports betting manually.

The Formula for Calculating Vigorish

There are three steps to take in working out the vigorish sports betting sites take, starting firstly with finding the odds. When you know what the betting odds are, add them together. Then, the idea is to calculate the implied probabilities for both sides, with anything over 100% being the vig.

  1. Find the Odds
  2. Calculate Implied Probabilities for both Sides
  3. Add Both Together
  4. Calculate the Vig

When using American odds, the presence of both plus and minus odds mean there are two formulas to use. One for betting odds beginning with a minus (-) and another for odds starting with a plus (+). Here are the vig betting calculations for both.

Minus Money Odds Formula

  • Implied Probability = Odds/(Odds + 100) x 100

Using the example of the Boston Celtics vs. Dallas Mavericks game, we know that the sportsbook odds for both sides are -110 at this time. So, we can use the minus money odds formula to calculate what is vig in betting both outcomes.

Adding 53.49% + 53.49% = 106.98%. 106.98 minus 100 comes out at 6.98 – so, if expressed as a percentage, the vigorish is 6.98%. However, this may be rounded up to 7% by the betting site.

Plus Money Odds Formula

  • Implied Probability = 100/ (Odds + 100)/100

Without reservation and barring serious error, you’ll never see plus money odds for both sides offered by an online bookie. Rather, you will commonly see one favorite (minus money) and one underdog (plus money). As such, working out what is vig in betting odds with a “+” by using this formula is crucial.

For the purpose of illustration, we’ll use an example featuring Milwaukee Brewers (+150) vs. Cincinnati Reds (-170). Remember, you must use the plus money formula for Milwaukee and the minus money formula for Cincinnati.

To sum up, we get 102. 96% by adding 40% + 62.96%, meaning the surplus is 2.96% over 100. In reality, this makes the commission/vig charged by the sportsbook 2.96% (or 3% if rounded up).

Using Sports Betting Vig Calculators

We support anyone using free online vigorish calculators or software. It’s certainly beneficial to understand how to work things out manually. But you don’t need to do it every time if you have reliable and accurate software to do this for you.

How Sports Betting Vig Affects Payouts

If you’re placing bets at online sportsbooks, each wager is subject to vigorish betting commission of some kind. Furthermore, even when expected value betting opportunities have been identified. As such, it’s a good idea to compare odds across different betting sites to find the best prices for the markets you’re wagering on.


Bookies will always find it easier to apply vig to moneyline betting markets when there are only two outcomes. For example, in this hypothetical soccer match between Man Utd and Liverpool where we have reduced the 3 way betting market to which side wins when betting moneylines.

Teams Odds Implied Probability
Manchester United (Underdog) +180 35.71%
Liverpool (Favorite) -200 66.67%
Total Implied Probability 102.38%
Vigorish Charged 2.38%

If you bet Liverpool, you get -200 which pays out $50 in potential profits. However, by comparing lines across other sites, you may find more suitable sports betting odds. For instance, Liverpool may be -170 elsewhere – combined with United’s lower price, there is less juice applied.

In arbitrage betting, for example, bettors aim to exploit favorable price differences in odds. But you can also find reduced vig opportunities simply by comparing prices and working out the commission charged by the bookie.

Spread Bets

The best sportsbooks seldom charge more than a 5% betting vig on spread bets. In this example, featuring the NFL’s Ravens and Chiefs, you can see how the bookie has factored in their cut to the lines prior to publishing them.

Teams Spread Odds Implied Probability
Baltimore Ravens +2.5 +105 48.78%
Kansas City Chiefs -2.5 -125 55.56%
Total Implied Probability 104.34%
Vigorish Charged 4.34%

The vig here is pretty average at 4.34%. That’s certainly in line with what you can expect to find at reputable bookmakers. It must be remembered that not all sites will adhere to this and may take a little more for themselves.


Also known as totals bets, over/unders are popular markets offered by boxing betting sites and other top bookies. In the example below, meanwhile, we’ve worked out that oddsmakers have factored in a commission of 5.13% for betting lines to go over or under 10.5 rounds.

Canelo vs. Crawford Odds Implied Probability
Over 10.5 Rounds -200 66.67%
Under 10.5 Rounds +160 38.46%
Total Implied Probability 105.13%
Vigorish Charged 5.13%

Vigorish definitions may change from bookie to bookie, but numbers don’t. Regardless of how the juice is framed, you don’t want to take odds that offer little value. Whether you are betting on Esports or anything else, this highlights the importance of comparing prices.


Although calculating the vig in sports betting futures may yield results, the juice can often – in this case, quite literally – not be worth the squeeze. Instead, it might be a better idea to try to identify more favorable prices for the bet you want to place.

Team Bookie 1 Odds (Implied Probability) Odds at Bookie 2 (Implied Probability) Betting Odds at Bookie 3 (Implied Probability)
San Francisco 49ers +230 (30.30%) +220 (31.25%) +240 (29.41%)
Detroit Lions +550 (15.38%) +600 (14.29%) +500 (16.67%)
Philadelphia Eagles +700 (12.50%) +650 (13.33%) +750 (11.76%)
Dallas Cowboys +800 (11.11%) +750 (11.76%) +850 (10.53%)
Green Bay Packers +850 (10.53%) +900 (10.00%) +800 (11.11%)

In the example above, we’ve NFL conference futures and narrowed them down to the top five. Even though we have highlighted the implied probabilities across three different sportsbooks, the odds alone should be enough to make a solid pick.


In the same fashion, Vig is also charged on parlay bets, where there are several legs combined into one wager. To that end, here’s an example of a multi-sport parlay that could be put together to claim a larger payout.

Leg Sport Selection Odds Implied Probability
1 Boxing Fighter A to Win -150 60.00%
2 Football Kansas City Chiefs to Win -110 52.38%
3 Basketball Los Angeles Lakers to Win +120 45.45%
4 Tennis Rafael Nadal to Win -200 66.67%
5 Baseball New York Yankees to Win -170 62.96%

A point often overlooked when discussing vig meaning in parlays is that they carry considerable juice. This is mostly down to how the commission aggregates with each selection, which, on balance, means sportsbooks can often make a much higher margin on these bet types.

All things considered, the same idea applies to other combination bets like trixies in horse racing. Although these do not typically provide a bookie with as much commission as most parlays.


It’s tough to isolate vigorish for props into a set range. While it may be true that betting on props compared to straights and other wagers can pay out big, they are undeniably difficult to get right in many cases.

Bookies love offering props around major events like the Super Bowl or Oscars. Or, to use a very specific example, who will be unmasked as the British “guerilla artist” known as Banksy to the public? The upswing from casual bettors on markets like these can, consequently, lead to considerable margins and profits for bookies.

Strategies & Tips for Reducing Vig in Sports Betting

You can make use of some trusted methods to reduce the vig meaning it’s always worth trying. Correspondingly, here are some expert tips that can help you get better prices and gains in the long run.

Compare Lines with Different Betting Sites

In any event, the easiest way of finding top odds is to compare them across the best soccer sportsbooks and other sites. Prices will seldom vary significantly – but by and large, there is always a chance that one bookie is offering a better price for a market than other sites can or will.

Jump on Early Odds Where Possible

You can find early betting value by taking odds that are hot off the press. Prices for a boxing match between two mostly inseparable fighters, for example, are not subject to line adjustments like those closer to fight night. Balanced against odds that are subject to changes in betting patterns and other data, they can offer more of an advantage.

Avoid Props & Parlays

If the aim is to reduce vig, above all else, limit your props, parlays, and exotic bets. Or just simply avoid them due to the high vig charged on these wagers. With this in mind, you can instead focus on single bets or other types where the vig is not exactly going to draw a large commission.

Utilize Price Boosts & Other Bonuses

Offsetting vig on bets can also be achievable by using bonuses and promotions. Explicitly price boosts and enhanced odds for certain events. Using some new customer welcome offers can also, without doubt, reduce the vig on some of your wagers at an online sportsbook.

Find Reduced Juice Sportsbooks

All things considered, the best way of getting your hands on low vig odds is by wagering on moneylines (and other bets) at sportsbooks that charge less. When you define vigorish, it’s not exactly in the interests of oddsmakers to actively reduce it for all their odds. Although this may be true, some do offer better odds than other sports betting sites.


You should always be aware of the vig in sports betting. An active approach to reducing the bookie’s commission on bets can work in your favor in the long run. At the very least, it means you get a crack at the best odds which then translates to higher potential payouts.


What is the vig in betting?

Why do sportsbooks charge the vig?

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Is vigorish in sports betting the same as commission?

How does a vigorish calculator work?

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