In futures betting, there’s a measurement we can use to grade sportsbooks against each other.
It’s called “hold percentage,” and it’s calculated to determine how much juice each sportsbook is skimping off the top. (We’ll spare you the mathematical explanation behind hold percentage, but scroll all the way to the bottom of this post if you’re curious.)
A few rules regarding hold percentages…
1. The lower the number, the better. (For the customer, that is.) A lower percentage indicates that, overall, a sportsbook is offering rather generous payouts across the board. A higher percentage means the sportsbook is keeping more for itself. Most of the time, you’ll see numbers ranging anywhere between 10 and 50 percent.
2. You still have to shop around for the best line. Just because, for instance, the LVH SuperBook has the best hold percentage of any Las Vegas sportsbook in 2013 Super Bowl futures odds does NOT mean they’ll offer the best payout on every team. For that, you’ll want to skim through this post.
3. Hold percentages vary by sport. Some sportsbooks in Las Vegas are happy to have more exposure on some sports rather than others. So, use the lists below on 2013 Super Bowl futures odds as a general guide, NOT the be-all-end-all.
* * *
Below are the rankings for the best places to bet 2013 Super Bowl futures odds, both in Las Vegas and at several notable offshore sportsbooks.
Notice that the top four offshores—one of which, Pinnacle, is unavailable to U.S. customers—are all better than the best Las Vegas sportsbook. In fact, some Vegas books (ahem! Treasure Island!) are laughably bad, with 12 teams listed at 10-to-1 odds or worse.
- LVH: 26.18%
- Wynn: 28.29%
- William Hill: 30.11%
- South Point: 31.32%
- Golden Nugget: 35.60%
- Caesars: 39.08%
- Stations: 39.80%
- MGM: 41.76%
- Cantor: 44.89%
- Stratosphere: 50.51%
- Orleans: 51.78%
- Treasure Island: 62.59%
- 5Dimes: 11.90%
- Pinnacle: 16.84%
- Bovada: 23.36%
- BetOnline: 25.68%
- YouWager: 27.80%
- Sportsbook: 29.73%
- Bookmaker: 39.66%
*For those interested, the hold percentage is configured by adding all of the implied probabilities for each team together. Implied probability is the percentage needed to break even over a long period of time at any given odds. For example, someone betting at +200 odds would need to hit exactly 33.33 percent of the time to break even. Therefore, the implied probability at +200 is 33.33 percent.
Once you’ve added all those up, it will result in a number like 120.62%. We’ll call that “x.” The hold percentage is then determined by using the formula 1 – (1/x).