How to Calculate Betting Margins?

September 2, 2021
How to Calculate Betting Margins?

Becoming a profitable sports bettor is not easy. Many of our readers have asked us what the secrets of success are. In our opinion, the most important thing is to be educated and disciplined. That’s why we decided to write a series of articles about online betting strategies and systems. This article will explain how to calculate which odds at betting sites are worth playing and how betting margins work.

Nowadays, with many online bookmakers, it is vital to choose sportsbooks that offer the lowest possible margin and thus behave fairly towards their customers. Why are margins important? How do betting odds work? Is it essential to choose the best possible odds? Of course, it is for several reasons. You need every available advantage over bookmakers to profit from betting in the long run.

Today, we will explain how 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.

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Finding the ideal betting site is the first step in achieving your sports betting goals. On our portal, there are a large number of reviews in which we explain all the advantages and disadvantages of certain brands. If you don’t want to read them all, we have prepared several recommended online sportsbooks for you. All of them are legal and accept players from many countries.

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What is the Betting 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 betting site to register. Many 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 significant segments, knowledge about 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. Consequently, there would be a 50% chance on each side. In betting jargon, this is 100% market. 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. That is simply the price that must be paid to play in a bookmaker, and that is how bookmakers make a profit. So, it is essential to know how margins are calculated. In that way, bettors will know whether some odds are worth taking.

Of course, you can find online automatic odds calculators. Some of them are free, while for others, you will need to pay a subscription. 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 a zero (0) margin. Usually, even the best bookmakers with the lowest margins are not even close to zero margins. The industry standard is 5-8%.

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 an 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. Also, to play in sportsbooks 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. Also, what is the range of margins in online sports betting?

The 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. It is similar to online casino games, as every game has a different margin.


It is essential to know that before you start betting on sports, learn and see where bookmakers 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. Knowledge is power; use it to win this complex game called sports betting.


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Author MilosNS

MilosNS is our senior content writer, SEO guru, and first ever tipster who started working with us, and he is still here. He is a well-known name in the sports betting industry, and his knowledge about anything betting related is vast. If you have any questions, or doubts, MilosNS has the answer for you.

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