Market percentage is one of the most important, yet misunderstood concepts in gambling. In this article we will discuss what exactly a market percentage is, and how you can use it in your everyday betting. Now that we know an odd is a representation of probability, and how to calculate odds from probability, we can use this knowledge to work out how much vigorish is being charged by the bookmaker for a market.

Those who read our article on what an odd is would have see we used the example of a Tiddlywinks match between the Sydney Stars and the Canberra Razors. In our example the closing prices for the match were $1.48 for the Stars (representing a 67.5% chance of winning), and $2.66 for the Razors (a 37.5% chance of winning). If we add up the probability of each of the betting options (Stars win and Razors win), we get the total probability of the market, which is the market percentage.

But if you look closer the total probability represented for this market you’ll realise that it totals 105%. How can there be a 105% chance of the teams winning a match? As we saw in the video on calculating odds, 100% probability means the event is certain to happen. So why is there an extra 5%?

This additional 5% is the vigorish charged by the bookmaker. Vigorish (aka vig, juice, cut or take), is a premium charged on top of a bet to ensure that if a bookmaker is successful in balancing their book on an event they will make money regardless of the result. Vigorish for sports books can range anywhere from 1% to 10%, and generally the higher the vigorish the more difficult it is for punters to make a profit on a market as the additional percentage added decreases the available odds. This additional percentage beyond 100% is also known as the overround.

From a punter’s perspective you can think of a market percentage as the cost of winning $100 if you bet proportionally on each outcome. So using our Tiddlywinks example, it would cost us $105 (the total market percentage), to win $100, a loss of $5. Conversely, for the bookmaker the market percentage shows how much money the bookmaker will collect if they lay $100.

Now we know what a market percentage is, how can we apply it to our punting? Knowing the market percentage is a great way to quickly see how much “value” there may be in a market, as well as compare bookmakers to get the best available prices. Bookmakers such as Pinnacle Sports work on low market percentages which will generally deliver better prices to punters, while betting exchanges often trade at close to 100% in big markets such and the English Premier League. Understanding market percentage also opens up the possibility of arbitrage betting, which is covered further in our arbitrage betting article.

While quite a basic concept, understanding what a betting market percentage is can be vital in ensuring you profit long term from your punting. Simply adding up the total probability of the different options and calculating a market percentage can give you at a glance how much value you are likely to find from a bookmaker, or in the case of arbitrage betting, how much value the entire market provides.

About The Author

Daniel is the founder, owner and editor of Sport Betting Insider. When he's not writing content for SBI you can usually find Daniel cheering for the Sydney Roosters, spending Sunday nights watching Daniel Ricciardo, wishing he owned a Baggy Green, or at Canberra Stadium.

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