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What is a ‘Margin’?

In sports betting and similar forms of wagering, the 'margin' is the bookmaker's equivalent of the house edge. Most bets placed through a gambling establishment will be inflated one way or the other, in order to balance the books by attracting a decent number of bets on each side, while still creating a profit for the book writer - whatever the match outcome.The 'margin' can also refer to the handicap spread in handicap betting - the difference between the two teams when separated by the points adjustment.

The ‘Margin’ Explained

'Margin' is a trading term used to describe the difference between the purchase and sale value - the proportion of a transaction which is profit for the trader. In sports betting, the trader is the bookmaker and the trade is the wager. Players who make bets are not only paying their stake for the bet, but they are also paying the bookmaker for the chance to play. This slight edge is made by adjusting the odds from their true value to some reduced value that favours the bookmaker but still has the chance of attracting players.The margin is also a way to describe the process of handicap betting. A handicap bet is one where a favourite team has points subtracted or their weaker opponent has points added, in order to 'level the playing field' and make bets more balanced. Betting on how much of a 'margin' the weaker team will win by is sometimes known as spread betting. These bets take the form of an 'over/under' decision. The player is not only accepting the bet to win, but also on the margin of victory for that team. This is a riskier bet but it rewards the player with a higher payoff if the prediction is correct.