What is a hold and why would I want to find low hold lines, you’re probably wondering. To start with – what is hold in sports betting? The percentage of money that sportsbooks keep for each dollar wagered is referred to as the hold. The amount of hold (percentage) changes based on the market, type of bet, which sportsbook you’re wagering on and more. As example of how hold varies, some sportsbooks apply more hold to futures wagers than others, due to the uncertainty of the outcome of these markets. Sportsbooks must carefully balance the hold percentage, as too high a hold will cause bettors to lay their action elsewhere.
So, what are low hold lines? Simply put, low holds are betting markets with a lower hold percentage. Sportsbooks don’t operate in a vacuum, and thus most markets will be offered across different books, often with different lines and odds. When comparing odds between books for a given bet, we can calculate the hold percentage by finding the best possible odds on each side of a given bet from different sportsbooks. The lower the hold across the lines between books, the better it is for the bettor. With a low hold line, you are paying less to the book in “juice” (the amount a sportsbook takes on your bets).
Ideally, you will want to look to place wagers on markets with low holds. These bets will pay out a larger percentage to the bettor as opposed to the sportsbook, which is one tool in producing greater long-term profits. That said, low holds present opportunities bettors in other ways to make profits.
Lines with a small percentage of juice between two or more books are what we call low holds. There is no set percentage of juice for lines to be considered a low hold, but we generally look for low holds with no more than 4-6% juice, often much less. Many times, we can find low holds with a hold percentage of 0%. As mentioned, low holds can be very beneficial to the bettor. We can use low holds for arbitrage bets (if the calculated juice is negative, this low hold is an arbitrage opportunity – see our arbitrage lines article) and free bet conversions (an optimal free bet conversion is simply a low hold with long odds on the free bet side). Additionally, low holds are useful to help you play through deposit bonuses, earn status with sportsbooks and with promotions. Low holds present you opportunities to make bets on opposite sides of an event with minimal or no loss (and no risk).
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Say a sportsbook is offering a promotion where if you bet $100 on a certain team’s moneyline in a game, you will get a free bet based on the performance of that team’s star player. You want to take advantage of this promo, as you think they’ll do well in the game, and you’d like to get the free bet. But you’re not sure their team will win, and you don’t want to risk $100 for a chance at a free bet. So, you find a low hold – one where there is relatively little juice between the moneyline of the team you want to bet on and the other team’s moneyline – and you place a corresponding wager on another sportsbook to offset your initial moneyline wager (make sure you are placing the other bet on another sportsbook, even if you find a low hold on the same sportsbook; betting on both sides of an event is almost always against the terms and conditions of a promotion and will likely get you noticed by the sportsbook).
This process – betting both sides of a low hold event on different sportsbooks, can be useful for deposit bonuses where you have a play through. Deposit bonuses are one tool that sportsbooks use to either attract new customers or retain current customers. Deposit bonuses are often free money, but require you to “play through”, or bet, a certain amount of cash to “clear” the bonus (in other words, turn the bonus funds into real cash that you can withdraw). For example, FanDuel may offer you a deposit bonus of $1,500, with the condition that you must bet through that amount three times ($4,500 total) for this bonus money to clear. Like with promotions, low holds let you place offsetting wagers with minimal loss (or no loss – a 0% hold percentage means you’ll return the same amount for either bet you make, so you will neither profit nor lose money on the wagers), so you can play through your bonuses with little risk, and easily turn these into cash!
Using the same strategy, low holds are great for achieving status on sportsbooks as well as earning rewards (DraftKings has DK Crowns, Caesars has Caesars Rewards Credits, etc.). Betting low holds allows you to generate a lot of play on multiple books at the same time, again with little loss. Rewards can often be redeemed for merchandise, experiences and even site credit. Achieving status and VIP is also very beneficial to bettors, as these levels often come with enhanced promotions and perks.
Finding low holds is more challenging, and that’s where our Low Hold Lines scanner comes into play. Our low hold scanning tool finds the best low holds available across the major sportsbooks and presents them to you sorted by hold percentage (“juice” – you can also sort by sport, teams, bet game type/market, sportsbook and odds).
Just as with our Arbitrage Lines scanner, find the opportunity you want to bet on and click on the calculator. This will bring up the Arb/Kelly calculator; the lines for both sides of the bet will auto-populate. Simply enter how much you plan to bet on one of the lines (this will often be dictated by which side of a bet you need to wager on for a promotion). The Arbitrage Calculator will tell you how much you should bet on the other side and will show both the total bet amount and the profit amount. With low holds, the profit amount will either be $0.00 (in the case of a 0% hold) or negative (or positive for an arb). Again, the scenarios will describe how the math works for your bets depending on the outcome. Decide if the profit/loss amount is something you are willing to take on. Otherwise, head back to the Low Holds scanner to look for another low hold.