Hold Calculator: How Much Do Sportsbooks Make On Every Bet?

hold calculator

e.g. -110

e.g. -110

It doesn’t matter what sportsbook you choose to bet on – they’re always trying to make as much profit as possible. Sportsbooks set every line very carefully, aiming to make money regardless of what bets win or lose.

The hold is also know as the “juice” or “vig”, and represents the margin of profit a book is hoping to earn on a particular market. Let’s look at a moneyline example using a $100 wager on an NHL game.

TeamMoneyline OddsPotential PayoutImplied Odds (Stake/Payout)
Toronto Maple Leafs-190$152.6365.52%
Seattle Kraken+160$26038.46%

Using the implied odds, we can find out what % chance of victory the sportsbook gives to each team. So, the Toronto Maple Leafs have a 65.52% chance of winning the game, according to this book.

What gets interesting is when we add these two numbers together: 65.52 + 38.46 = 103.98%. That number doesn’t add up to 100 like you’d expect – that’s because the extra 3.98% is the hold. It represents the percentage of all bets placed on this contest that the sportsbook will keep for itself, regardless of the outcome.

What is a hold calculator

The hold calculator exists to speed up your betting research process, calculating the sportsbook’s juice on any two odds you put in. It’ll compare the hold against the average for that given sport to instantly judge a matchup’s risk and implied probability of success. 

How do you use a sports betting hold calculator

All you need to use the calculator are two odds on either side of a market, like the moneyline or spread. Putting each team’s odds (ex. -190 and +160) into the two boxes above will immediately calculate the hold percentage, the sportsbook’s profit of all the bets made.

Naturally, the higher the hold, the more the sportsbook rakes in at the end of a contest. For that reason, bettors will want to avoid high hold percentages – your money is their money, after all. The average hold varies sport-by-sport, sitting anywhere from 2.5% to 4%.

Why is the sportsbook hold important

The hold is one of the first things a professional bettor looks at – simply put, the more bets you place with lower holds, the higher your chances are at making a profit. It’s an essential tool for bettors who want to take their wagering to the next level by making smart plays to avoid lines that are more likely to pay out the sportsbook.

How to calculate the sportsbook hold

Using our Leafs example above, we calculated the sportsbook’s hold by adding up the implied probability of winning for both teams. For each team, you simply divide your stake (ex. $100) by the total payout of a winning bet – for a -190 bet, that was 100 / 152.63 = 65.52%.

Doing the same for the underdog (100/260 = 38.46%) and adding them together, we found a total of 103.98%. Anything above 100 is the margin of profit a sportsbook will take home from the sum of all bets made. Remember, higher holds are less efficient for bettors!

One last note: holds of 0 exist for even markets, also know as a “pick ‘em” like two squads with -150 and +150 odds. This one’s a true coin toss even for the book.

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