Gambling 101: What is Juice?

Our Gambling 101 series continues with an explanation of what "juice" is, why it matters to oddsmakers and why it should matter to you.
Author:
Publish date:

Most people enjoy a healthy intake of juice, except when it comes to sports betting. Also referred to as a commission or vigorish, let’s break down this sports betting term.

What is Juice on Betting Odds?

On most action, sportsbooks don’t want a vested interest in the final result of competitions they offer odds on. Instead, a bookmaker’s main goal is to get equal action on both sides of point spread and game total options they post. While prices vary depending on the sport and betting option, the most common juice amount is ten cent pricing (-110). On every $110 wager, bookies pay out $100 to the winning side and collect $110 from the losing side.

How Do Bookmakers Profit From Juice?

While a $10 profit may not appear impressive, the total handle on a single bet can be a million dollars or more. If there is $500K wagered on both sides of a two-way (-110) betting option, bookmakers pocket $45,454 in risk-free profit. That’s a good gig if you can get it. If a sportsbook has too much risk on one side, they often adjust the juice to attract action on the other side. In the example below, the books were trying to bring in money on Houston. By adjusting the odds to -105, bettors only needed to invest $105 to win $100.

NFL Point Spread Juice:

Houston Texans +10 (-105)
Kansas City Chiefs -10 (-115)

Bettors Should Shop Around For Lowest Price Juice

Price shopping is an important part of a proper bankroll management. Just as one would do when buying a vehicle, bettors should check the juice at several sportsbooks before placing their bets. Winning a $1000 wager with (-105) juice returns a $952.38 profit. The return drops to $869.57 on bets with (-115) juice and lost returns add up substantially over the long run.

For bettors with access to online betting price shopping has never been easier. The point spread odds displayed below illustrate that. Bettors receive added value betting Carolina (-110) with the first set of odds while Las Vegas (-105) has better priced juice in the second set of odds.

MORE GAMBLING TERMS YOU NEED TO KNOW