Margin Betting Term Meaning

When betting, you will often hear the term ‘margin’ mentioned. In fact, margin is one of several terms that has multiple meanings, so let us explain them, then you will know what other punters are talking about next time you catch it being used.

The first usage of the betting term margin can apply to the ‘bookmaker’s margin’, often referred to as Vig or Vigorish. This is the amount that a bookmaker adds to his odds which will result in a profitable market if all possible outcomes are priced competitively. 

MatchMoney Line
New York Mets 2.30
Philadelphia Phillies 1.67

To calculate the margin in a two-way market, you must:

  • (1/Decimal Odds Option A) x 100 + (1/Decimal Odds Option B) x 100
(1/2.30) x 100 = 43.47% + (1/1.67) x 100 = 59.88%
  • 43.47% + 59.88% = 103.35%
  • Margin = 3.35% 

The margin is the amount over 100 (or 100%), which for the example above is a very respectable 3.35%. 

Margin is also used for ‘Winning Margin’ bets. For these, instead of betting on the head-to-head (match result/money line) market, the bettor must evaluate the margins offered and the adjusted odds to decide which holds the most value

If he believes Melbourne will win comfortably by 40+ points, then taking 6.25 is a wise bet. This betting market should not be confused with points spread. There is no handicap involved. The respective teams must first and foremost win the match, the margin of victory (how many clear points) is calculated next.

TeamHead-to-Head OddsMarginMargin Odds
Melbourne 1.60 1 - 39 points 2.25


40+ points 6.25
Collingwood 2.30 1 - 39 points 2.65


40+ points 8.00


draw 51.0

Many different sports allow for winning margin betting markets. Football and ice hockey have winning margins in relation to goals (scored), NFL, NBA and rugby matches have a winning points margin and baseball uses a winning runs margin. It depends on the bookmaker you bet with as to the exact offering of sports and markets.  

You may also hear this term when a bettor is talking about the amount of spread within a O/U market. For example; the Washington Redskins are -8.0 vs the New England Patriots +8.0, so the margin (aka, the spread) is 8 points for this match and market.