One of my go-to pieces of advice for punters is to always shop for the best lines. I harp on this ad nauseam but it really is that important. If you think about it, how many sports betting strategies can you honestly categorise as both simple and effective? It’s the closest thing we have to a magic bullet in online sports betting.
Reduced juice sports betting sites are a perfect fit for this strategy. In short, what they do is charge upwards of 50% less commission on all wagers. Instead of paying 10/11 (-110) for your even money lines, you only pay 20/21 (-105). That is a major discount and if you consistently take advantage of it, it is mathematically guaranteed that your results will be better. Note that I am not saying that this will turn you into a long-term winner with no other effort on your part, but it will improve your results even if you make no other adjustments in your strategy.
Best Reduced Juice Bookmakers
Let’s begin with a look at a few online bookmakers that are known to frequently host discounted lines.
The idea of “reduced juice” seems to be more of a thing in the United States, but I do know of a few bookmakers from other parts of the world that are also home to reduced juice specials. I have also included a couple of betting exchanges in this list because exchanges are very often home to the best lines thanks to the fact that the market sets the odds.
If you’re not familiar with the betting exchange betting model, I have a nice page that lays it all out here. Basically, a betting exchange hosts wagers between you and other people. The bookmaker does not set the line – the market does. The book simply charges a small commission on every winning bet instead of competing against the customers. This model exposes exchange books to less risk and they can therefore get by on lower profit margins, which in turn results in discounted lines for the customers.
Why Reduced Juice is Such a Good Thing
Online sportsbooks turn a profit by building their lines in such a way that a profit is usually guaranteed. They do so by offsetting the lines just a bit so that no matter which team wins, the book can use the money from the losers to pay off the winners and still have a little left over as profit.
For example, let’s take a perfect even money wager such as betting on the outcome of the coin flip at the beginning of a football game. In a perfect world, your potential payout for such a bet would be equal to your risk. You would bet £100 for a chance to win £100. That’s not how it works in real life.
In the real world, the odds on an even money event are normally 10/11 (or -110). These odds show that you must risk £110 for a chance to win £100. Your risk is just a tad higher than the potential upside. It is more complex to figure the juice for wagers that aren’t exactly 50-50, but that’s the basic idea.
We may not like that the juice even exists in the first place, but the sportsbooks do have bills to pay too. As punters, we understand this is how it works and we strive to turn a profit knowing that we must earn enough to overcome the juice.
Reduced juice sportsbooks simply charge less of a commission. The much-loved “nickel line” offers that we find some time to time offer a 50% discount. If we go back to the coin flip example, the odds would be 20/21 (or -105). Now, you would be asked to risk £105 for every £100 in potential winnings. Saving £5 may not seem like much, but remember that’s a 50% discount. It adds up over time.
Lower Betting Limits
It’s not uncommon for bookmakers to also reduce the maximum bet on any reduced juice lines they offer. Lower juice exposes bookmakers to greater risk because it lowers the profit margin per wager and is also attractive to the types of sharp punters that are more likely to spot mispriced lines and hammer the book.
One site that I use from time to time limits all reduced juice wagers to $500 per bet. This probably won’t be a problem for the majority of people, but it’s worth keeping in mind if you like to bet bigger than that.