How to Calculate the Margin of Favor on a Bet

You’ve probably heard the expression ‘favor with [insert noun here]’, which means that you have a lot of supporters in the palm of your hand. In betting, this is known as ‘being in the margin of favor’ or ‘being favored’. It is usually used in reference to sports wagering where bettors are interested in knowing how much money they can win or lose on a specific sporting event. The amount of money that can be won or lost on a single wager varies by sport, with American football being the most popular game to bet on, and horse racing being the least popular. For this reason, we will use the example of American football to illustrate how to calculate the margin of favor.

Step one: Identify the teams

The first step in calculating the margin of favor on an American football bet is to identify which teams you will be favoring (or not favoring) in the upcoming game. You can go through the following list and decide which teams you will be backing:

  • Arizona Cardinals
  • Atlanta Falcons
  • Baltimore Ravens
  • Buffalo Bills
  • Carolina Panthers
  • Chicago Bears
  • Cincinnati Bengals
  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Denver Broncos
  • Detroit Lions
  • Green Bay Packers
  • Houston Texans
  • Indianapolis Colts
  • Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Kansas City Chiefs
  • Los Angeles Chargers
  • Los Angeles Rams
  • Miami Dolphins
  • Minnesota Vikings
  • New England Patriots
  • New Orleans Saints
  • Oakland Raiders
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
  • St. Louis Rams
  • San Diego Chargers
  • Seattle Seahawks
  • Tennessee Titans
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Washington Redskins

You should try to pick a few games per week that are close to market value. You can use the services of a reputable betting parlor to help you out with this step, or you can do some research in advance to find the lines on your own. Either way, make sure you choose teams that are playing multiple games per week so that you can track their form accurately.

Step two: Identify the point spreads

Once you have your list of potential winners and losers, you will need to determine the point spreads for each game. There are different ways to do this, but the simplest approach is to use a service like OddsShark.com, which provides you with all the betting lines for all games that you’re interested in. You can enter the teams’ names in the appropriate fields and hit ‘submit’ to generate a complete spreadsheet of available point spreads for each game.

Step three: Calculate the vigorish (fee)

After you have all the point spreads for the upcoming games, you can begin calculating the ‘vigorish’, or commission, that you will need to pay to the bookmaker to get the lines in your favor. For this example, we will use TopBet.com as our sportsbook and will assume that we are placing a standard bet on an even game (i.e. an ‘over’ or ‘under’ bet).

In our case, the bet will be placed on the Arizona Cardinals vs. the Atlanta Falcons. The vigorish on these types of bets is usually between 2% and 5%, so in this case we would need to add 36.38 to our bet to make it a winning bet. Therefore, our total stake would be 43.38.

When placing a bet with a bookmaker, make sure that you declare your stake before the match begins. Most sportsbooks will require you to do this in order to avoid suspicion. Once the game ends, you can retrieve your stake.

Step four: Place your wager!

Once you have all your information ready, it’s time to place your wager. Before doing so, you should confirm with the bookmaker which games you will be using and ensure that they are operating within your native country’s laws. The last thing you want to do is to find out that your wager is not legal where you live because of its large size and that you will be punished severely for it. In our case, since we are using a TopBet.com account, we will be placing our wager using the online casino option. Once you have selected your games and have paid the required fees, it’s time to collect your winnings.

Congratulations! You have successfully calculated the margin of favor on a bet. You will need to add up all of your winnings from multiple wagers to get a complete picture of how much you have won or lost on this particular venture. You can use the service PayPal.com to easily send money to your bank account, or you can mail a check to the address on record with the bookmaker.

Being in the margin of favor on a bet is a good thing, as it usually indicates that you have the upper hand in a wager. It is a good concept to keep in mind when placing bets on sporting events, but it can also be used as a general rule for evaluating your personal financial situation. If you find that you are consistently winning or losing big money on certain wagers, this could be a good indicator that you should be taking a closer look at your overall financial situation and determining if you are making appropriate investments for your portfolio.