The term “vig” or “vigorish” is believed to have originated from the Yiddish word “vygre,” which means “winnings.” In the context of betting, it refers to the commission or fee that a bookmaker or casino charges on a bet. This fee is built into the odds, and it ensures that the bookmaker or casino will make a profit over time, regardless of the outcome of the bets. The vig can also be referred to as the “juice” or “overround.”

The “vig” or the “juice” in gambling (online or in person) is the amount that the one making the bet pays to the sportsbook as a fee for placing the bet. This amount is priced into the actual bet and is why, on most straight bets, the return for a bet is as follows: (risk) + (win) – (vig) = Potential Winnings

*where the “vig” is a percentage of the risk (usually 10%). In American lines, the vig will be displayed as a number, usually beginning at -110 where -110 represents a 10% vig. Obviously, the best vig one can get is a vig of 0%, which means that there is no commission or fee charged on a bet. However, this is unlikely to be offered in a real-world betting scenario as bookmakers and casinos need to make a profit in order to stay in business. A low vig of around 2-5% would be considered very good for the bettor. In general, the lower the vig, the better it is for the bettor as it increases their chances of winning in the long run. However, it is also important to consider the overall reputation and trustworthiness of a bookmaker or casino when placing bets as it is not always about the vig.

So, if you were to place a $100 bet with a line of -110, you would be risking $100 to win $190 (not counting the risk). But wait..where did the other $10 go? This brings us to perhaps the most misunderstood concept in all of spots betting.

Spreads Are NOT A Prediction About How A Game Will Go

Perhaps the most common error by sports bettors is thinking that the spread of a game is a prediction of how a game will go. In fact, the line is merely an attempt by a sportsbook to put equal action (money) on each side of the wager. If Alabama is favored by 30 points, Vegas (or your friendly offshore sportsbook) doesn’t actually care about what happens in the game. You are not betting against the sportsbook, but rather you are betting against the people who took the other team. The entire sportsbook model rests on this premise: if equal money is on both sides, the sportsbook cannot lose.

This explains why lines move when nothing has happened that involves the actual game. Moving lines occur because the initial line produced in an asymmetry in the amount of money wagered on one side. In other words, if Alabama is favored by 30 and a wealthy, southern alumni puts $1 million dollars on Alabama to cover the 30 points, you’ll see the line move away from Alabama -30.5, -31…etc.

This is where betting limits, especially for online books, comes into play. Without betting limits or juice, users could simply pool their money together, drive the line down and then unload at the favorable odds.

Finding Reduced Juice

An online sportsbook that offers -108 reduced “juice”

Several sportsbooks offer “reduced juice” as an incentive to play with them. This “usually” drops the vig from the standard -110 (or 10% of all money wagered) to -108 (8%) or even -106 (6%). While we are neither a gambling website, nor do we have any affiliation or partnership with any sportsbook, we strongly recommend reading over the recommended options on SportsBookReview.com before you decide where you are going to put your money.

RiskTo WinPayout
$100$92$192
Risk to win at -108 odds