Sports Betting Hold Calculator

The hold percentage is the margin the sportsbook takes on both sides of the game. By calculating the hold, you can determine what percentage of the time you would need to be correct on that bet to make money long term.

Hold Calculator

Hold in sports betting refers to the percentage of money that sportsbooks keep for every dollar wagered. The percentage will vary by wager type.

In a perfect world for sportsbooks, they would have even money on both sides of a game, and then simply collect the hold.

Books will make more money in the long run from higher hold percentages, but risk turning off customers.

Calculating Hold

To understand hold, you first need to understand implied probability.

An event in the real world with two outcomes, like a coin flip, might have 50/50 odds. Those probabilities add up to 100%.

But in sports betting, it’s different. Once you convert odds to probabilities and add them together, you’ll get a number greater than 100%. That's because a sportsbook charges you a tax on every bet to take your action.

Hold is really just the probability of all the outcomes of an event added together, minus 100. Whatever is leftover is the hold. Hold should be relatively low (less than 5%) for an event with two outcomes, like an NFL point spread.

For some futures markets with dozens of outcomes, it can be as high as 50%

How to Remove Hold

Removing hold from a sportsbook’s odds can give you a clearer picture of how your projections match up.

Simply divide one team’s implied probability by the sum of all implied probabilities to create true odds.

Let’s say you’ve betting the Yankees at +150, and your book is dealing the Red Sox at -175.

The implied probability for the Yankees is 40%. For the Red Sox, 63.65%. Add those together to get 103.65%.

Divide 40 by 103.65 and you arrive at 38.6%, which is the true probability of the Yankees winning based on these odds.