Sports Betting 101: Understanding What the Juice or Vig Is

LeBron James drinking juice
Learn about what the juice, or vig, is when it comes to sports betting (photo credit: Imagn/USA TODAY Sports)

Once you’ve learned what the point spread is, you may ask yourself what the number such as “-110” or “-120” is that appears next to the spread because isn’t the idea behind a point spread to handicap teams evenly?

This number is commonly known as the “vig,” short for vigorish, or the “juice” on the bet. It’s the price the sportsbook charges for taking the bet. In most cases when it comes to point spread betting, the number will be -110, which equates to a 10% vig or juice. This is the commission the sports book takes for accepting to take a wager.

As an example, let’s say the New England Patriots are -8 against the New York Jets, who are then +8. Both sides can be listed at -110 and that means that if you were to wager $110 on the Patriots, and they win by 10 points, you would win $100 because they covered the spread. You’re not getting an even-money return on your wager, but rather the house keeps a $10 commission. This is the vig or the juice.

Sometimes, instead of moving a point spread number, oddsmakers will adjust the juice on a line, going up to -115 or -120, or down to -105. This means you would pay more or less of a commission on the bet depending on the juice that’s offered.

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