The vig in sports betting refers to the vigorish, which is how a sportsbook guarantees profit from offering sports betting odds. It is also often known as the juice or a margin in sports betting circles.
Put simply, the vig is the cut that the sportsbook takes from every losing bet. The cut is reflected in the odds offered as bettors place their wagers, and includes a percentage that automatically goes to the house in the event of a losing bet. Different sportsbooks set the vig at different levels based on a variety of factors, including the bet type, the popularity of the market, and the sportsbook’s experience in dealing with a particular market.
Some leagues are considered riskier for sportsbooks than others, particularly if a sportsbook is offering odds on a league or sport for the first time or doesn’t have the same level of oddsmaking experience in that field as they do for other sports. In cases like these, the sportsbooks may increase the size of the vig to offset their margin for error when setting the odds.
Sportsbooks also use the vig to manage their risk if one side of a bet is receiving an unexpectedly large amount of betting action. In order to help spread the risk, they can either tweak the point spread or adjust the vig. This could mean increasing the vig for the popular pick, or a reducing the vig for the less popular pick.
Sportsbooks can also reduce the vig as a means of attracting betting action on a big event. Typically, the big sportsbooks tend to offer very similar odds on the major events, but a time-limited reduction in the vig could attract crucial additional action that helps to earn additional revenue.