Line shopping is one of the most important aspects to winning at sports betting. The best lines are often found at reduced juice sportsbooks. In case you are not familiar with reduced juice or low fees, first understand that the industry standard when making coin flip (50/50) bets is to risk $1.10 for each $1.00 you want to win. Specifically, that is 1.91 decimal / -110 American odds. The reason it is not even money is because of the markup the bookmaker builds into the line to make a profit. This is referred to as his margin, or to the player as vig or juice.
Reduced Juice is when a book operates with lower margins than the risk $1.10 to win $1.00 base.
5dimes(.eu or .com) is the most famous U.S. accepted website offering this option. When players first join they are placed on the reduced juice rewards package. On game day only, under the betting menu headers of each sport, a selection option labelled “Reduced” is visible. If you select this for football or basketball you will find point spreads and totals are priced at -105 (risk 1.05 to 1.00). This is a huge savings over the -110 that is normally charged! In this article I explain why reduced juice is far better option than sports betting bonuses and start this off with a comparison.
5Dimes Reduced Juice vs. BetOnline Bonus
Betonline(.ag or .com) is a sportsbook many players use for their unlimited 25% reload bonuses. These are given as 25% of deposit match, issued as free play credits, carry a six-time rollover and are essentially available on any deposit size. To compare let’s say you deposit $400 and get a $100 free play. Your rollover is ($400+$100)*6=$3,000. That is the amount you will need to wager prior to withdrawal. Also note rollover is defined as the lower of the risk or to win amount.
How You Actually Lose on Bonuses
Next let’s say to clear this bonus you first wagered your $100 free balance as $10 to win $9.09 on 10 different bets. As point spreads are 50/50 on average you will win 5 of these bets netting $9.09*5=+$45.45. You will also have met $9.09*10=$90.90 in rollover, leaving $2909.10 remaining. To meet your rollover you make 100 bets of $32 to win $29.09. Again as point spreads are 50/50, on average you lose 50 times for 50*-$32=-$1,600 and win 50 times for 50*$29.09=$1,454.50. To recap your free play bets won you +$45.45, you lost -$1600 and won +$1454.50. That means you have lost a total of -$100.05.
Where Reduced Juice Differs…
When instead betting at 5Dimes the odds are -105. This means the $10 bets are $10 to win $9.52. Here you are betting with cash, so, if you win 50% of your bets as the implied odds state, 5 times you lose $10 for -$50 and 5 times you win $9.52 for -$47.60. That’s -$2.40 in losses. On the other bets $32 @ -105 is $32 to win $30.48. Here 50 times you lose $32 = -$1600, and 50 times you win $30.48 =+$1524. That’s -$76 on top of the -$2.40 we lost for a total of -$78.40.
Check that out! Point spreads are supposed to be 50/50 propositions and therefore is what recreational players should average. Here betting a 25% free play with 6 times rollover at standard juice, a player is expected to lose considerably more than if he bet with no bonus at all using -105 reduced juice.
For winning players the difference is even more significant. Let’s say you pick 54% winners. Using the same examples at BetOnline with the free play credits you win 5.4 of those bets for $9.09*5.4=+$49.09. You then win 54 bets for 54*$29.09=+$1,570.86 and lose 46 bets for 46*$32=$1472.00. If you total those you will see you’re up +$147.95 in profit. If you instead bet -105 5Dimes: 4.6 times you lose $10 for -$46, 5.4 times you win +$51.41, 54 times you win $30.48 for +$1645.92 and 46 times you lose $32 for -$1472. Those four total to +$179.33.
In short, the higher your win percentage is, the more money you will save having reduced juice over standard bonus offers. There is also the fact, when betting with bonuses you often are forced to rollover you balance many times prior to withdraw. When betting with reduced juice there is most often no rollover terms to meet. If you make a bet and win, you can cash out without restriction.
When Bonuses are Best
For serious sports bettors wagering as a source of income, always getting the best line is vital. Knowing how much juice is involved in that particular line is of no importance. This is because we are not using that book ongoing blindly, but rather only using them when the odds offered on that one particular bet are better than can be found anywhere else. In other words only the odds not the juice matter. With this in mind bonuses can be used as leverage.
For US residents, www.bovada.lv offers a 50% initial deposit match bonus up to $250 in free play credits. While their odds are full juice, they also VERY often do have the best line on one team or the other, due to their recreational player bias. When an NFL team is +6.5 at most sites it is not rare to see Bovada having the same team +7. Taking the bonus at their site is fine as there will be many opportunities to meet their reasonable 3-times rollover.
Even If You Jump Around “Whoring'”
Another situation is bonus whoring recreational sportbooks. There are many mom and pop type sportsbooks based in Costa Rica that service only US players, and accept only Western Union deposits (no credit cards). While the scams are a dime and dozen there are also semi-established ones that do run honest shops. I’m hesitant to give an example as such information becomes outdated quickly, but ONLY at the time I am writing HRWager and 1Vice are examples that come to mind.
These above mentioned sites are ran by owners who I believe have started with legit intentions. They however also probably run on shoe string budgets, and haven’t been around a long time. There is no guarantee these books will last. However, as their bonus offers are large, some players might feel the risks are outweighed by the potential reward. In such cases, quick *in and out* might be best. This can be done by making an attempt at arbitrage betting to hopefully lose the post up and bonus amounts into another website, before rollover is met. There are risks involved with that strategy, some of which are covered the linked article.
Outside of these exception reduced juice is best. If you are going to use one sportsbook only then the decision which to use is a simple one. If you are in the US go with 5Dimes. If you are outside the US, but bet mostly American sports, then Pinnacle is probably best. For those outside the US who bet mostly football (soccer), and perhaps also tennis, basketball, and local sports the best odds can be found with Asian bookies such as SBOBet, 188Bet, etc. But again, it is only when using one single book only (refusal to line shop) that bonuses are best ignored in favor of lower juice.
Author: Jim Griffin