Is Lower Vig Always Better?

You'd think a lower vig is always better, right? But it's not always.

Here's an example:

Sports book #1 has standard vig of 110 to 100.

Sport book #2 offers 105 to 100.

Sports book #1 is one of the oldest online books. It has a long history of fair play and fast pay outs.

Sports book #2 has only been in business for a year. The Internet is filled with complaints about them taking months to pay winners, or not paying them at all.

Which sports book would you rather bet with?

Would you rather bet with the one with the higher vig and the better reputation?

Or would you rather bet with the one with the lower vig and the worse reputation?

This isn't some fairy tale. It happens all the time.

What about when you find opportunities to place bets locally with other sports bettors with no vig?

What can go wrong in this situation?

Place bets with people instead of businesses, and you're the one forced to collect on your wagers when you win.

Don't be surprised if you get stiffed often.

In most jurisdictions, it's illegal to bet on sports.

Even in the places it's legal, you're supposed to do it with licensed operations.

When you're doing business illegally, you have little recourse when you get stiffed.

That's not the only problem.

If you're a winner, fewer non businesses will take your bets

Should you place bets with your friends?

This is an issue of personal preference issue. I keep all of my wagers with friends in a different category in my mind than my professional wager. I'll bet with my friends, but only small amounts. I know they're comfortable with those bet sizes.

My friendships are more important to me than a few bucks. I never let a situation arise where money can get in the way.

Sports Betting for a Bonus

Many online sports books offer bonuses to get you to try their gambling platform. These bonuses are cleared in different ways, depending on the type of bonus and the terms and conditions.

Take bonuses into consideration when you consider different vigs. Read the terms to learn how each bonus is cleared.

Here's an example where playing for a reduced vig may not be the most profitable use of your gambling dollars:

You can place a wager at 110 to 100 while you are clearing a bonus.

OR you can place it at 108 to 100 at a different book with no bonus.

You received a $1,000 bonus that clears $5 for every $110 bet you place.

If you place your bet at 108 to 100, you'll either end up with 100 in winnings or lose 108.

If you place your wager at the other sports book you will either win 105 or lose 105.

The bet at 110 to 100 with the bonus is clearly a better wager. The bonus, in this case, effectively makes the vig zero.

Reaching the Betting Limit

You might run into something else if you're a winning overall bettor:

Some sports books that won't accept all of the action you want to get down.

You'd place as much as you can at safe and reliable books with lower vig.

But you might be forced to wager a portion of your action at a higher vig in order to get all of the money in play that you want.

When you're just starting to bet sports seriously, this may seem like a problem you'll never have.

But if you are one of the sports bettors who find that they can consistently win in the long run, you'll eventually find yourself looking to get as much money down as you can.

If you knew you could win 55% of the time, wouldn't you want to bet as much as you could without risking going broke on a bad run?

There are ways to determine the best bet size in order not to risk going broke in this situation, but let's say you have 100 million dollars.

Even the most conservative bet sizing would call for a bet of at least one million per game.

Can you get that much down on one game?

Maybe on the Super Bowl, but it will be next to impossible on other games.

Here's another example:

If you are a winning baseball bettor, how much do you think you can bet per game during the regular season?

I'm sure the information is available at the different sports books, but the point is that if you could get a million down on one side of a regular season baseball game it would create all kinds of issues.

Sports betting is a market. Anything that happens to upset the market can have unintended consequences. Pay outs may be held and investigations may be conducted.

You can see that you may very well be forced to pay higher vig to get down as much action as you want.


Everything else being equal, a lower vig is better.

But everything else is rarely equal.

Consider all of the variables when determining if a low vig or no vig wager is the best way to place your bet.