What is Reduced Juice?
You should try to explore every possible avenue for maximizing the potential returns on your sports wagers. This is a good idea even if sports betting is just something you do for a bit of fun. It's especially important if you're serious about making consistent and long term profits.
There are some obvious ways to maximize your returns when betting on sports. These include learning as much strategy as possible, and working on improving your fundamental betting skills. There are other options too, some of which a lot of bettors don't even know about.
One such option is betting with reduced juice. This is something that every serious bettor should be aware of, but there's a surprising amount of confusion and misconception regarding the term reduced juice. We say surprising because the basic concept is very simple. And yet there are plenty of people who don't really understand it all. There also those who think it's only for high rollers, which is simply not true.
The purpose of this article is to explain exactly what reduced juice betting is. We also look at its pros and cons, and compare it to using the bonuses and free bets that are available from any betting sites. For those of you who already understand the concept, we start the article by covering where to bet if you're looking for reduced juice.
Where to Bet With Reduced Juice
You have two options when looking to bet online with reduced juice. These are as follows.
An account with a specialist reduced juice site is almost essential if you're anything more than the most casual of sports bettors. It's unlikely you'll want to do ALL of your wagering with such a site though. In any case, there are not many high quality examples of specialist reduced juice sites.
So it's also worth having an account with one or more of the other sites that offer SOME reduced juice lines. You'll understand the reasons why we recommend this approach once you've read the whole of this article. For now, here are top recommendations for reduced juice betting sites.
Reduced Juice: An Explanation
Let's start with the word juice. You're probably familiar with the term vig, or vigorish, if you've been betting for any length of time. This is a term used to describe the commission that's effectively charged by bookmakers on each and every bet that they take. Juice is simply an alternative word used to describe the same thing.
If you've never heard of vig or juice at all, or really don't understand the terms, then you should read our article on how bookmakers make money before proceeding.
If you know what juice/vig is, then you should also know that minimizing how much of it you pay should is a good thing. It should directly help you to win more money. Or, at the very least, it should help you to lose less.
In basic terms, this is what reduced juice betting is all about. It's simply a way to pay less juice.
Let's use an example to illustrate this further. We'll use football, as it's the most popular sport to bet on in the US. As you probably already know, a significant percentage of football betting is done on the point spreads. The "standard" odds for a point spread are -110. So for a match between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins, you might see a sports betting site offer the following line.
Regardless of which team you choose to bet on here, the odds mean you need to risk $110 for the chance of winning $100. Most bettors are used to these odds. A reduced juice betting site, however, might offer the following line for the same game.
Can you spot the difference?
The odds are better at this site. At -105, you only have to stake $105 for the chance of winning $100. This might not seem like a big difference, but over a large number of bets it can have a significant impact on your overall profit or loss.
Based on this fact, it should seem fairly obvious that reduced juice betting is a good thing. Don't rush to join a reduced juice betting site just yet though. You should first understand that things are not quite as clear cut as they seem.
Pros & Cons of Reduced Juice Betting
The above example highlights the main advantage of reduced juice betting. You have to risk less money to win the same amount. To put it another way, you get a better return relative to your stake on all winning bets. We started this article by explaining the importance of maximizing your returns, and betting with reduced juice clearly helps to achieve this.
There's another big advantage of using reduced juice betting sites too. You'll typically be able to bet more. A traditional betting site might limit you to staking $1-2,000 on each wager.But the limits at a reduced juice betting site might be $5,000, $10,000 or possibly even higher. This is a real benefit if you're a winning bettor and want to stake higher amounts.
Reduced juice betting sites are not without their disadvantages though.
These sites are obviously making lower margins on each wager they accept, due to the lower commission. This has to be offset somehow. Generally speaking, it's via some or all of the following.
- Lower bonuses (or none at all)
- Less special offers and promotions (or none at all)
- Sharper lines
- Poor customer support
Some bettors are prepared to accept these disadvantages in exchange for paying less juice. And it may be that you are too. It's important to be aware of them though, and they should certainly influence your decision about where to bet.
Comparing Reduced Juice to Bonuses
One of the disadvantages of using a reduced juice betting site that we mentioned above is the lack of bonuses. This is perceived by many to be the biggest disadvantage of all, in fact.
But is that much of an issue to miss out on some bonuses when you're paying less big?
Let's find out.
We'll now compare the net results of wagering with reduced juice with the net results of wagering with a bonus.
Many sports betting bonuses are issued as free play credits, not as cash. When you wager with free play credits, only your winnings are returned and not your stake. For example, when using cash, a successful $110 wager at odds of -110 would return a total of $210. This is the $100 in winnings plus the original $110 stake. When using a bonus, you'd be using $110 of your free play credits. The return is just the $100 in winnings.
For the purposes of this hypothetical comparison, we're going to assume we've just been issued a bonus of $400 worth free play credits. We've then decided to make ten equal wagers of $40 using those credits. Each wager is at -110 odds.
Let's say we managed a 60% win rate with those wagers. So we've won six, and lost four. Each winning wagers has returned $36.37. Our total return is therefore $218.22 (6 x $36.37).
So far so good. We're $218.22 up. But free play bonuses tend to come with rollover requirements. These require us to wager a certain amount before we're allowed to withdraw any proceeds of our free play credits.
Typical rollover requirements are six times the amount of the bonus. This would leave us with a total of $2,400 to wager before we've "cleared" the bonus (6 x $400). We decide to increase our stakes to $60 per wager, in order to meet these requirements more quickly.
To wager the full $2,400, we'd need to make 40 wagers at $60 stakes (40 x $60 = $2,400). Let's say we make these wagers all at odds of -110 again, and we achieve a 55% win rate. As we're betting with cash rather than free play credits, the total return on a $60 wager at -110 will be $114.55.
- We've wagered a total of $2,400
- With a 55% win rate, we've won 22 of our 40 wagers.
- Our total return in is $2,5210.10 (22 winning wagers at $114.55 each).
- Our overall profit is $120.10 ($2520.10 in returns less the $2,400 wagered).
If we add the profit here to the money made from our free play credits, we've got a total profit of $338.32. We've met the rollover requirements, so that is now "our" money.
Now let's see what would have happened if we'd have made the exact same sequence of bets using a reduced juice betting site. We've got no bonus, but the odds are all at -105.
First we do the ten wagers at $40 each, winning six of them.
- Ten wagers of $40 each = $400 risked
- Profit per winning wager at -105 = $38.10
- Return from six winning wagers = $468.60
- Profit = $68.60
Our profit at this stage is less than the $218.22 we made when using free play credits in the earlier example. But what happens when we do the next set of wagers?
- 40 wagers of $60 each = $2,400 risked
- Profit per winning wager at -105 = $57.15
- Total return per winning wager at -105 = $117.15
- Return from 22 winning wagers = $2,577.30
- Profit = $177.30
The profit of $177.30 here is greater than the $120.10 profit we made from the same wagers in the earlier example. But our total profit across all wagers using a reduced juice site is $245.90. Compared to the total of $338.32 we made when using free play credits and then meeting the rollover requirements.
So what does this tell us?
The obvious answer is that playing with a bonus is better than using a reduced juice betting site. But it's actually not that simple. This is just one hypothetical example. A different set of wagers, with a different set of results, could easily make a similar comparison favor reduced juice betting.
And we're actually not trying to convince you either way. You don't need to choose reduced juice betting over betting with a bonus, or vice versa. There's nothing wrong with doing both. As with betting in general, it's all about trying to do the right thing in the right situation. There are no definitive rules regarding the best overall approach.
The purpose of this article was to provide some insight into what reduced juice betting is, and how it compares to betting using bonuses. This is useful information for any bettor.
We also wanted to make the point that reduced juice betting has both advantages and disadvantages. We do recommend betting with reduced juice in the right circumstances, but we don't advise using a reduced juice site for ALL of your betting. You should also make the most of the bonuses and other benefits that traditional betting sites offer.
Remember that there's one big advantage in using a range of online betting sites. It makes it easier to compare odds and shop for the best lines. In the long run, this can make a much bigger different to your overall profit than reduced juice betting or bonuses.