What Is Hold? Sports Betting Terms Explained

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In the realm of sports betting, the term “hold” carries significant weight. It refers to the percentage of total wagers that the sportsbooks, like BetMGM and Fanduel, expect to retain as profit. This concept shows the sportsbook’s inherent edge over bettors, based on the expected income from a set of wagers.

How Hold Works

To get a better idea, let’s take a closer look at how the hold works:

Example Calculation: Consider a scenario where bettors collectively place $10,000 in wagers across various sports events. The sportsbook, skillfully setting odds and lines, foresees paying out an average of $9,500 in winnings to bettors. Consequently, as a result, the sportsbook’s projected profit, or hold, amounts to $500.

Expressed as a Percentage: Hold is usually expressed as a percentage of the total wagered amount. In the last example, the hold translates to 5% ($500 profit divided by $10,000 total wagers).

Variable Hold: It’s essential to recognize that hold is not set in stone; it can go up and down. Different sportsbooks may maintain varying hold percentages, and specific bets placed can also influence these percentages. Diverse bet types and events may yield different hold outcomes.

Factors Influencing Hold

Several factors come into play when determining the hold percentage for a sportsbook:

  1. Betting Volume: The total amount wagered on a specific event or in a given timeframe can impact hold. Higher betting volumes may lead to more stable hold percentages.
  2. Odds and Lines: Sportsbooks set odds and lines strategically to influence hold. Adjusting these factors can impact the expected hold.
  3. Bettor Behavior: How bettors place their wagers, including the types of bets they prefer, can influence hold percentages. Sportsbooks often manage their offerings to optimize hold.
  4. Event Popularity: The popularity of a sporting event can affect hold. High-profile events may attract more bets, which can influence the hold percentage.

Optimizing Betting Strategies

Understanding hold is crucial for bettors looking to improve their strategies. It provides insights into the sportsbook’s edge and helps bettors make informed decisions. By factoring in hold percentages, bettors can assess the value and potential upside of their wagers.

Hold is a fundamental concept in sports betting, reflecting the sportsbook’s expected profit percentage, so it’s not a fixed number but rather a dynamic factor influenced by various elements. Bettors who grasp the nuances of hold can enhance their betting strategies and make more informed choices in their pursuit of success in the world of sports wagering.

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Eamonn KeenanEamonn Keenan
Eamonn Keenan, with a Digital Arts Degree from the University of Tampa, brings over a decade of sports betting experience to his role as Creative Director at BettingHero.com. Starting with Betting Hero in the Fall of 2020, Eamonn has been deeply involved in the industry, assisting customers with major sportsbook and casino operators like BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings, and others. A self-proclaimed sports fanatic, he has a keen interest in professional hockey, MMA, NFL, NCAAB, NCAAF, and MLB. Eamonn enjoys researching teams and players to predict game outcomes, highlighting his passion for sports betting.