How to Calculate Betting Margins?

Betting Margins

This article will try to explain how to calculate which odds in the bookmaker are worth playing and how betting margins work.

Nowadays, when there are many online bookmakers, it is pretty important to choose those sportsbooks that offer the lowest possible margin and thus behave fairly towards their customers. Why are margins important, how do betting odds work, and is it really important to choose the best possible odds? Of course, it is for several reasons. In the long run, you need every available advantage you can get over bookmakers to be able to make money on bookmakers.

In this article, we will try to explain how do sports betting odds work, how to calculate which odds in a bookmaker are worth playing, how margins work and why they are just as crucial for any serious sports bettor.

What is the Margin?

Simply put, the margin is the percentage advantage that the bookmaker has over the bettor. For that reason, when choosing your favorite sportsbook, it is essential to select an operator where the margins are lower and the odds are higher.

Margin is extremely important when choosing the best sports bookmaker in which to register. A large number of players do not pay attention to it but focus more on bonuses and promotions and the number of betting markets offered by the operator. Although these are extremely important segments, knowing about sports betting odds and margins should be at the top of the checklist if you want to make money on betting.

Here is an example:

In an ideal world, the odds for a tennis match between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal would be 2.00 – 2.00. Under these odds, neither the bookmaker nor the bettor would have an advantage, but there would be a 50% chance on each side. In betting jargon, this situation is called 100% market because this is a zero margin bet, which would be the best possible odds to play anyway.

Unfortunately, sportsbooks do not work this way. Every bookmaker has a margin, bigger or smaller, but it is simply the price that must be paid to play in a bookmaker, and that is how bookmakers make a profit. Because of that, it is essential to know how margins are calculated, and in that way, bookmakers will know whether some quotas are worth taking or not.

Of course, there are also automatic odds calculators, which can be found online; some of them are free, while others have to be paid for. We think that free calculators are good enough and that there is no need to pay for services for this service.

How to Calculate the Margin?

Margin calculation is a relatively simple mathematical equation.

(1 / odds of Federer) * 100 + (1 / odds of Nadal) * 100 = margin of the bookmaker

In our previous example, it was relatively easy to calculate zero (0) margin, but in real life, this is not the case. Usually, even the best bookmakers with the lowest margins are not even close to zero margins, but the industry standard is 5%.

For example, by randomly choosing a tennis match between two players (A and B) on the schedule today, we realized that two very respectable bookmakers have quite different margins.

The 22Bet bookmaker offers odds of 1.80 for the victory of player A, while it offers the odds of 1.90 for the victory of player B. If we use the formula for the margin, we will see that the margin here is a massive 8.13%. In the exact match, 1Xbet offers a odds of 1.87 for player 1 to win, while odds of 1.98 for player B to win. The margin at this bookmaker is 4.00%.

So, it is much more profitable in the long run to bet on tennis at 1Xbet, because they have twice lower margins than other bookmakers.

For this reason, it is necessary to constantly calculate margins, know how to calculate the odds, and play in bookmakers that offer the lowest margins on the market to increase your chances of long-term profit from sports betting.

Level of Odds and Margins

The logical question is how large a margin is acceptable and what is the range of margins in online sports betting.

The most respectable and best bookmakers have lower margins, and they move in some sports even up to 2%, which is really great. On the other hand, you can find bookmakers on the market whose margin is astronomical and goes up to 10%. But even that is much better than local bookmakers, whose margin on most sports is even over 15%. That is why it is much better to have sports betting accounts in online bookmakers than in local ones.

As we have already mentioned, the type of sport determines the height of the margin, and the lowest margins are in American sports, while the highest margins are in basketball, volleyball, and handball.


What is important to know is that before you start playing sports betting, learn and see where bookmakers make a profit and how they function comprehensively. Margins and odds are one of the ways that bookmakers make a constant profit in the long run.

When you know how to calculate the odds that are fair compared to the odds offered by the bookmaker, you will be at an advantage over many other bookmakers. Knowledge is power; use it to win this complex game called sports betting.