What is Juice in sports betting?

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One of the main sources for doubt for bettors in general are the sports betting terms, that are very complicated on some situations. On this article we will speak about the juice, its definition, as well as how it works in reality.


The initial objective of anyone who starts their adventure in sports betting is definitely making money. We can treat it as a hobby, or even as a leisure activity, or we can be purely professional, but at the end of the day, we all want to be profitable.

That is also the purpose of a bookmaker. If everyone was profitable, would the bookmakers go bankrupt? Well, in the long term yes, but there is a determinant aspect that always makes bookmakers have profit, and that is called juice! Explaining it in a simplified fashion, Juice is sort of a portion, that the bookmakers take off to ensure their profit, independently of the outcome of the event.

On each event, the bookmakers make calculations regarding the odds of a certain occurrence happening and then they offer the odds. Let’s take a heads or tails scenario for exemple, where the probability for each side to win are 50%. For this event, the fair odds would be 2.00. On this calculation, we divide 100 by the odds (100/2 = 50) and we see that the probability of each outcome is actually 50%.

Result: Tails!


Imagining a hypothetical situation where a core of 10 people all bet with the same value. If 6 people were to bet on “Heads”, the bookmaker would profit, while if most of them had bet on “Tails”, the bookmaker would lose money, and if there was the same number of bets on each side, the bookmaker would be unharmed but wouldn’t make a profit either.

The bookmaker can’t afford to depend on the betting volume on each event to have profit or loss. Have you already heard that famous expression: “the house always wins”? Well, that’s exactly the definition of juice!

On this “Heads or Tails” example, the bookmaker wouldn’t offer the same odds. But they would apply the juice, removing a considerable portion of the total amount, with the percentage varying from one bookmaker to the other. On this case, the odds could be offered in a different way…


Odds: Heads 1.90 | Tails 1.90

On this case, since the bookmaker modified the odds, we do the same calculation we did above. The odds for each result are now 1.90, dividing by 100, we would have a probability of 52.63%, which combined would be a total of 105.26%

How is it possible for this calculation to result in more than 100%? Well, these extra 5.26% are the profit from the bookmaker (juice), that in the long term means they have a (very) positive balance.

That way, on a hypothetical situation where there are 5 bets on each side, with an amount of 100$, the bookmaker would pay the profit of the 5 that won, they would take the money of the 5 they’ve lost and then at the end of the day they would still have a profit of 50$.

The bookmaker just needs to have some capital to support the market variations and at the end that will give them a lot of money.


Firstly, this shows that plans should be made for the long term and that your strategies and how you manage your bankroll will directly affect your final balance.

Juice shows us that there aren’t completely fair odds, and that this value will make you see a huge difference at the end of the day. With that said, we know one thing for sure: big and organized bookmakers will always profit, but that doesn’t mean you will be so lucky.

That way, it’s clear how important it is for us to value our capital and see that, in the long term, that little amount represented by the juice on our famous “win and lose” streaks will bring us great harm.

money flying

This ends up showing us in reality how a poorly managed bankroll is destined to fail. A high betting volume tends to increase more the chances we have of losing than winning, because the juice means with every bet, our necessity of having a better hit rate increases.

The objective here was explaining how the juice affects us and how to deal with it. I hope this serves as incentive so that we can value our bankrolls more and understand that each entrance should be very considered, with good analysis and correct decisions for its majority.

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