How to calculate Football Betting Margins

How to calculate football margins


All bookmakers offer betting on Football, but they don’t all bet to the same margins. This is where the bookies try to lock in a profit and make their money. As a punter you need to be aware that the higher a bookie’s margin is for a particular event, the worse the value is to you. In this article we will explain a simple formula you can use to determine which betting site is offering the best value on any given football match. Note the examples given are for the "1X2" or "Match Result" markets, but the same formula can be applied to any betting market on any match.

Suppose we take the match between Arsenal and Everton at the Emirates as an example, and compare the odds offered by William Hill and Paddy Power.

Football match betting margin comparison


To calculate each bookies margin here we make the following calculation using the decimal odds:

William Hill: 100/1.32 + 100/5.8 + 100/11 = 102.09%

Paddy Power: 100/1.25 + 100/5.5 + 100/10 = 108.18%

One simple calculation shows us that there is a huge difference in the betting margins of these two firms, with Hills offering a better price on all three outcomes for the match result, and betting to an ultra competitive margin of 102.09%. Where as Paddys are betting to a stingy 108%!

Now let’s say we also look at the betting for Leicester v West Ham:

Football match betting margin comparison


And we calculate the margins again using the decimal odds:

William Hill: 100/1.8 + 100/3.6 + 100/5.2 = 102.56%

Paddy Power: 100/1.66 + 100/3.6 + 100/5 = 108.09%

Once again William Hill are offering much better value with a low margin of just 102.56% and better prices on two of the outcomes, and the same price on the other outcome over Paddy Power. Now imagine if we want to place a £10 double bet on Everton to get a shock win at Arsenal and Leicester to beat West Ham. The value of betting with the low margin firms such as Paddys becomes even more apparent:

William Hill: £10 @ 11.00 x 1.80 = £198

Paddy Power: £10 @ 10.00 x 1.66 = £166

So we would be better off to the tune of £32 if we placed this bet with William Hill. And that’s just on a double. The difference in your returns will keep growing as you add more and more selections and the extra value offered by the low margin bookies is compounded.

The lesson is, make sure you shop around and look at the prices before placing your football bets, particularly if you place accumulators. And remember, it’s not always a case of the largest firms who shout loudest with the biggest tv marketing campaigns offering the best odds.


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