On Wall Street, day traders call it "points." In sports books, bettors call it "vig," which is short for "vigorish."
In either case it’s the cost of making a bet (or investment), and the goal is to get it as cheaply as possible.
Toward that end, Cantor Race and Sports at the M Resort have launched a new sports betting concept called "Inside Wagers," in which sharp bettors can wager on NFL games – sides, totals and money lines – for very little, in any, vig.
The new betting concept was just approved for a field trial by Nevada gaming regulators.
Traditionally, sports books charge a 10 percent commission or "vig" on NFL bets. Thus, a bettor would have to risk $110 to win $100, regardless of whether they’re laying or taking the points.
On Sunday, for example, the Chargers are a 7-point favorite to beat the Rams. Whether you take the points with St. Louis or lay them with San Diego, the cost is –110 either way.
That 10 percent commission is an arbitrary amount, says Cantor Gaming’s Andrew Garrood, adding that bettors shouldn’t always be locked into a 10 percent surcharge.
"There’s certainly nothing etched in stone that says you have to charge – or pay – a 10 percent commission on a sports bet," Garrood said.
Garrood said bettors won’t pay the 10 percent vig under Cantor Gaming’s new Inside Wagers.
Using the Chargers/Rams game as an example, Cantor might post the game, Chargers –7 (–103) and the Rams +7 (+103).
Notice that not only is the commission reduced (from –110 to –103) when laying the points, it’s actually a positive amount, +103, when taking the points (bet 100 to win 103).
The only other cost of the bet is a fixed fee of 2½ cents, up to a maximum of 2½ percent, applied to all Inside Wagers.
The same type of betting model would be used for game totals – a reduced commission schedule applied to, say, a 45-point over/under total for the Chargers/Rams game.
But perhaps one of the most attractive features of Cantor’s Inside Wagers is when betting a team’s money line, which is technically a decimal equivalent for the odds of a team winning its game.
For example, a +400 money line is equivalent to 4-1 odds (bet $1 to win $4, for a total of $5). A –400 money line equates to odds of 1-4 (bet $4 to win $1, for a total of $5).
In the Chargers/Rams game, the money line odds, depending on the sports book, are –330 on the Chargers, and +270 for the Rams.
Under Cantor’s Inside Wagers, the gap in the money line odds would be eliminated and computed, depending on the betting action, to an equivalent sum, say, –300 on the Chargers and +300 on the Rams.
Once again, the only cost is the fixed fee assessed on all Inside Wagers.
Note that Cantor Race & Sports’ Inside Wagers, recently approved by Nevada’s Gaming Control Board, is a special betting option and not part of the regular rotation.
"Even though special rules apply, we believe this is the most efficient mechanism for sports bettors," Garrood said. "Bettors will benefit from a much reduced vig."
In order to participate, players must sign up for a sports wagering account, which will entitle them to bet into several Inside Wagering "windows," which will open for limited periods of time, beginning Thursday and continuing through Monday.
This year, the Broncos are odds-on favorites to win the West again, but they aren’t nearly as heavy a choice as in the past when they were 1-4 picks at this juncture last season and 2-9 in 2013.