What Is a Hold in Sports Betting?

A hold is a fundamental concept that influences both sportsbook economics and bettors. This introduction explains what hold is, why it matters, and how it affects your betting strategy, particularly with NBA examples.

Learn how to calculate hold percentages and apply this knowledge to refine your betting approach. Ready to enhance your betting decisions with a deeper understanding of sportsbook mechanics?

Let’s explore how various hold figures can shape smarter, more strategic betting choices.

Key Takeaways

  • Spot the best hold opportunities to elevate your game!
  • Learn how to calculate your hold percentage for your next sports betting sessions.
  • Try one of our effective hold betting strategies for higher winnings.

Understanding the Basics of Hold in Sports Betting

In sports betting, hold is a critical term that refers to the percentage of money a sportsbook retains on any given bet. It’s the difference between the total amount bet by players and what is paid out to them as winnings. Essentially, it represents the profit margin for the sportsbook on a sport event.

According to the Comprehensive Sports Betting Glossary by BetSmart:

The total amount of money a sportsbook expects to retain from all placed bets.

This metric underscores the financial health of betting operations and impacts the odds offered to bettors. Bettors often use a sports betting hold calculator to calculate their potential payout versus the sportsbook’s edge.

Understanding how to calculate the hold is vital for assessing the value of a bet. 

What is a Hold in Sports Betting? Examples of a Sportsbook Hold

The hold in sports betting is the sportsbook’s retained earnings from bets, and is crucial for its profit.

For example: In a Lakers vs. Celtics game, with a $1,000 bet on each team and even odds (-110), the sportsbook secures a profit through balanced betting.

The hold percentage, the difference between total bets and payouts, is the sportsbook’s profit margin.

This strategy ensures sportsbook profitability by setting strategic odds, highlighting for bettors the importance of seeking the best odds to understand the sportsbook’s advantage.

How to Calculate Hold Percentage in Sports Betting? 

Calculating the hold percentage is crucial for understanding the sportsbook’s edge in sports gambling. Here’s a simplified step-by-step guide to help you calculate the hold:

  1. Gather the Odds: Collect the betting odds for all possible outcomes of the event. This could be for any sport, including NFL games, where moneyline bets are common.
  2. Convert Odds to Probability: Convert the betting odds to a probability percentage for each outcome. Remember, probability = 1 / (odds + 1).
  3. Sum the Probabilities: Add up the probability percentages for all possible outcomes.
  4. Calculate the Hold: The formula to calculate the hold is: Hold Percentage (Sum of Probabilities − 1) × 100
  5. Use a Calculator: A sports betting hold calculator can simplify these steps, especially when dealing with complex betting odds. Simply input the odds, and the calculator will calculate the hold for you.

Professional bettor Dylan Mannah said:

Understanding the hold percentage gives bettors insight into the sportsbook’s edge. A higher hold means less value for you and me, the bettors. You always want to calculate the hold before placing a wager to make sure you get the best value.

By following these steps, bettors can gauge the percentage of money the sportsbook expects to keep, making more informed decisions on where to place their bets.

Sports Betting Hold Calculator

In the digital age, various tools and calculators help bettors understand sportsbook odds and calculate the hold, which is essential for assessing market value.

Below is a table of top online hold calculator tools for efficient hold percentage calculation:

Tool NameFeaturesWhy It’s Good
BetCalcComprehensive calculations for various bets, including calculating the hold percentageVerified by betting professionals
OddsJamSpecializes in high hold scenarios, offering insights into potential sportsbook advantagesEndorsed by experienced bettors
HoldMasterUser-friendly interface for quickly using their sports betting hold calculatorRecommended by sports betting educational sites

These tools offer tailored functionalities to calculate the hold percentage, helping bettors make smarter decisions and analyze sportsbook edges with precision and ease for effective betting strategy planning.

The Importance of Knowing About Hold as a Bettor

Understanding hold, the sportsbook’s retained profit from wagers, is crucial. A low hold means better value for bettors, whereas a high hold favors the sportsbook.

For example: Sportsbooks typically set odds to ensure a hold, as seen in point spread and parlay bets, where the payout odds don’t truly reflect the actual chances of winning.

By comparing holds across sportsbooks, I once switched to a sportsbook with a lower hold, boosting my parlay returns. Learning to find and exploit lower hold percentages is key to maximizing betting returns.

Strategies for Betting with Hold in Mind

Here are strategies to optimize your bets in light of different hold percentages:

  1. Seeking Value in Moneyline Bets: In a moneyline example, comparing two odds from different sportsbooks can reveal a high hold on one platform versus another. Betting refers to finding value, and by selecting the book with a lower hold, your potential payout increases.
    • Pros: Maximizes returns to make a profit.
    • Cons: Requires extensive comparison and may limit options to certain sportsbooks.
  2. Calculating True Odds: Use the formula where implied odds add up to 100 to simply divide the individual odds by the total to find the true odds. This method helps identify when a sportsbook’s representation of the percentage significantly deviates from the true odds, signaling a high hold.
    • Pros: Enhances the ability to spot overvalued lines.
    • Cons: Time-consuming and requires mathematical diligence.
  3. Arbitrage Opportunities: Identifying discrepancies between sportsbooks where the hold can make a profit by guaranteeing a win regardless of the outcome. This involves placing bets on all outcomes across different platforms, where the combined hold is in the bettor’s favor.
    • Pros: Secures profit regardless of the game result.
    • Cons: Requires significant capital and accounts across multiple sportsbooks.

Remember, sportsbooks retain a portion of wagers as the hold. However, by using strategies wisely, bettors can bypass high holds to find better value and improve their betting success.

Hold in Different Sports: NBA and Beyond

Hold variation by sport:

  • NBA Betting: When betting on the NBA, the sportsbooks incorporate a hold in every line, but percentages vary, sometimes offering strategic advantages in bets like moneylines versus point spreads. Games involving teams like the Charlotte Hornets might present lower holds, enhancing winning chances for informed bettors.
  • NFL betting / MLB betting: Compared to the NBA, these sports might feature different hold percentages, affecting betting strategies.
  • Other Sports (Soccer, Tennis): Holds can vary widely due to international betting markets and a vast range of betting options, from match winners to correct scores, providing numerous opportunities for strategic bets.

Savvy bettors find value in exploring diverse betting lines and markets, utilizing knowledge of hold percentages across sports to optimize their betting efficacy.

Applying the Concept of Hold in Sports Betting

Understanding how the hold affects a sportsbook’s profit margin and impacts bet values will enable bettors to spot markets with lower holds for better returns.

This guide clarified the concept of hold, its calculation, and its strategic importance in betting. Applying this insight will allow bettors to refine their approaches, seeking opportunities for enhanced returns.

How might understanding hold change strategies for live betting? To expand your strategy and delve deeper into betting dynamics, explore our betting 101 section.