Calculating Sports Betting Margins

Before we dive into this blog post, let’s start with a brief summary of what margins are in sports betting. Margins are basically how bookmakers make a profit. They do this by accepting bets on a given market, and adjusting the odds to attract bets in the right proportion. This allows them to secure a profit regardless of the outcome.

The margin that sports betting sites apply on their betting odds should be the number one information a long-term bettor should know to help increase long-term profits. This is because lower margins favour the bettor, and larger margins reduce the bettors profits. Think of it this way. One friend offers you 2 dollars for a correct prediction on the outcome of a match between Virtus.Pro and NaVi, another friend is willing to offer you the same bet, but will pay you 10 dollars instead of 2 dollars if you correct predict the outcome. Looking at it this way, you can clearly see what is more enticing, and ultimately, more profitable. This is exactly why you should know the exact margins on the odds you are taking.

What Are Margin Values?

Now we will go ahead and take a look at what margin values actually mean. For this, we will use a heads-or-tails scenario to explain. Let’s say you and a friend bet \$1 each to win \$1. If it is ‘heads’, you make \$1 and vice versa. Under these conditions, it is a fair betting market i.e. no one holds an edge on the odds.

In betting, this is called a 100% market, which gives no advantage (aka margin) to either the bettor or the ‘bookmaker’. Hence, a 100% market is a market with zero margin. If, however, you were betting on a coin toss with a friend looking to make some money off you, that market percentage would be greater than 100%. The amount by which the margin values rises above 100% is the size of the margin the bookmaker holds over bettors.

This is essentially how all betting sites run, but what’s most important for you to know, is the margin they are applying in the market of your interest. This is what determines the odds, and ultimately your potential betting profit. If you want an easy way to calculate the margin applied to a bet, just use our margins calculator right on our site.

Summing it all up

You should be running through these calculations before you place any bet. Further, to really maximise your profits, you should be checking several betting sites and compare their margins. This will allow you to pick the one with the smallest margins, thereby increasing your potential winnings. Getting in the habit of this is important, and will pay off in the long run.

The best news here is that you don’t have to manually calculate any of the bets and their margins as we have our own margin calculator right on this site. Simply plug in the bet odds from the event you are interested in, and this handy calculator will do the job for you.