Definition of Vig or Vigorish

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What is Vig or Vigorish in Sports Betting?

The vigorish, or vig for short, also called the “juice” or “take,” is the fee charged by the bookmaker for his services.

Vigorish is a Yiddish term derived from the Russian word for ‘winnings.’ It is what allows the bookmaker to generate profit on wagers regardless of the outcome of those bets. Traditionally, the vigorish is 0.5:11 or 4.55 percent.

Definition of Vig or Vigorish - Term - Sports Betting DictionaryTypically, a bookmaker does not try to win on individual bets. The risk is much too high. Instead, they aim to get equal betting on both sides of the event. This way, the wins and losses zero out, and the vig serves as the profit.

In sports betting, the vig is often built into the bet directly. This is why moneylines are often 110 or -110 rather than 100 or -100. That additional ten percent is the juice that the bookmaker will take from that series of wagers.

For example, the New England Patriots (-110) are playing the New York Jets (-110). One-hundred fans from each team ($11,000 per team) have bet. Whichever team wins, the bookmaker will keep $1,000 and pay out $10,000.

Understanding and overcoming the vig is a big part of being a successful sports bettor.

Sometimes, sportsbooks will run with reduced or no juice. These periods are a highly lucrative time for the bettors.