Sports Betting Strategies – Understanding the Odds and Juice in a Sportsbook


A sportsbook is a place that takes bets on various sporting events. The payouts for winning bets vary depending on the type of event. Sportsbooks make money by charging a commission on losing bets, known as the vigorish.

To calculate potential payouts, add the amount you wagered to the odds and payout percentage shown on the sportsbook’s website. This can help you decide whether to place a bet or not.


The odds that a sportsbook offers for a particular bet are called lines. They can be either point spreads or over/under totals. A good understanding of these odds is critical to making informed betting decisions. For example, a difference of a half-point on a line may not seem like much, but it can make the difference between a bet that cashes or pushes.

The first set of sportsbook lines are known as the look-ahead numbers and usually open 12 days before the game kicks off. These are based on the opinions of a few sharp bettors but don’t go into a lot of depth. It’s important to shop lines at multiple sportsbooks. Many sites offer a consensus page that compares a number of sportsbooks’ odds in an organized way.


Odds are the foundation of sports betting and determine how much you can win on a bet. They can be displayed in different formats, but they always indicate how likely a sportsbook thinks an outcome will occur. Understanding how to read these odds and converting them into implied probabilities is essential to a successful sportsbook strategy.

Odds can be displayed in American, fractional, or decimal format and may seem confusing to newcomers to sports betting. However, the calculations behind them remain the same. With some practice, you can quickly convert odds into a percentage to determine your potential winnings.

Odds are calculated by a variety of factors and can vary widely from one sportsbook to another. Those differences are known as juice or vig, and they can make it difficult to be profitable.

Parlay bets

Parlay bets are a great way to increase your payout in a sportsbook. These bets combine multiple moneyline and point spread bets on the same game. They can also include totals, player props and other betting types. However, all of the bets must win for a parlay to pay out.

There is a common belief that parlays are “sucker bets.” This is simply not true. If you have the right combination of picks, you can win big with a parlay bet.

To place a parlay bet, select the games you want to include and click on “Parlay.” Most online sportsbooks make it easy to add multiple bets at once. You can also choose to include teasers or round robins in your parlay. Just be aware that these options are higher risk than a standard parlay.

In-game wagering

In-game wagering at a sportsbook allows players to place bets on the game as it unfolds. This type of betting is known as live betting and is available at most legal online sportsbooks in the US. Most of the same bet types, including point spreads, moneylines and totals, are offered as live bets. In addition, some sportsbooks offer a range of player and team prop bets, such as next drive bets in NFL games or player home run totals in MLB.

The odds for live bets are updated in real time using proprietary software. These algorithms factor in the desired advantage of each sportsbook operator and shift the odds accordingly. These changes are reflected by green or upward-facing arrows. These arrows can sometimes move disadvantageously, but this is just the nature of the betting product.


Juice in a sportsbook is the fee that the bookmaker charges for accepting a bet. It is also known as the vig or vigorish, and it is how the sportsbooks make money and keep their books profitable. It can be found on all bet types, including against the spread and futures markets.

The best way to find reduced juice is to check the sportsbook’s reputation and compare odds with other sportsbooks. You can also look for promotions and discounted juice offers. A good resource for comparing odds is BMR.

You can also spot reduced juice by checking the sportsbook’s commission fees on different bet types. The lower the commission fees, the better for bettors. It is especially important to look for reduced juice on prop bets.