- With sportsbooks having different suppliers and operators, betting lines won’t be the same at every sportsbook.
- Because sportsbooks are open to varying tax rates from their state government, they may pass this onto the gamblers.
- Offshore sportsbooks help in finding betting odds that are more reasonable when local matchups are happening.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Now that betting is legal in a dozen states with a thirteenth on the way, many bettors are trying to figure out how to beat the system.
The sportsbooks around the country are all independently operated, which means their betting lines and odds may be different depending on where you are. For example, a bettor in New Jersey may see the odds for the Giants or Jets to win cost much more than a bettor in Mississippi. If not based around the odds, they may also see a spread that is a few points higher – in favor of the Jets/Giants’ opponent.
As each local resident is enticed to take action on their hometown team, the sportsbooks adjust the lines in order to keep a balanced book. Because a sportsbook’s goal is to pay out the winners with the losers’ money and keep the vigorish as their revenue, local sporting events can cause the books to charge much more on each line.
A standard wager is -110, (risking $110 to win $100) while some books will throw odds on standard bets as low as -105 or up to -120 or higher.
To break even at the -110 rate, bettors must accurately predict 11 out of every 21 wagers (52.38%). But what happens when the local lines are only offering action for -120? Even though the change only seems minute, that near 10% increase in costs means you have to get 18 of every 33 wagers (54.55%) correct to break even.
This is where shopping lines and finding the best value comes into play. Sports betting, just like any retail operation, is about buying low and selling high. While sports betting doesn’t necessarily allow for the selling of wagers, the focus should always be on buying low.
With this, bettors in areas where multiple sportsbooks are present (Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Philadelphia, Biloxi) are eligible to scan the betting odds from all of the sportsbooks in the area. Mobile betting makes the ability to shop lines a breeze, though some sportsbooks—such as those in Pennsylvania—will restrict your access if you are located within another gambling establishment.
For those without multiple options or mobile betting from the state-licensed books, they should look into signing up with an offshore account. These legal outlets are still available for players in states that have legalized sports betting and will generally always have better odds on your local matchup.
Because these venues accept action from all over the world, the lines are less likely to be affected by your neighborhood bettors.
Another thing that most people must be on the lookout for is taxes. These state-licensed sportsbooks must pay Uncle Sam a portion of their revenue (which is different in every state) in taxes. It’s a joke to think they pay this without transferring some of the costs to the gamblers, which could cause another spike in vigorish.
No matter what state you play in (or through offshore sports betting sites), you will have to pay taxes on your winnings. But, if you are playing in a state with a higher tax bracket (Rhode Island, Delaware, Pennsylvania), they may be more inclined to have you pay both their taxes and your taxes with the increased vigorish.
Keep in mind that some players will also have to pay a state income tax, as only a handful of states have no state income tax and, of these states, only Nevada at the current moment has launched legalized sports betting.
With all of this information, it should make finding the best betting opportunity a priority for any experienced or beginning gambler. Just remember, what may not look like a massive increase in the juice, could be the difference of major profits at the end of your betting season.
Michael spends most of his time betting on over/unders and analyzing algorithms in attempts to beat the book. His focus on statistics comes from an early understanding of mathematics as well as knowledge of opportunity costs. Michael enjoys playing basketball and reading about the NBA whenever he has the free time. When he is not writing, he can be found in Mississippi hitting the sportsbooks and enjoying a margarita… on the rocks, no salt.