The Basics of Sports Betting at a Sportsbook


A sportsbook is a venue where people can place bets on various sporting events. They accept cash or vouchers, then pay out winnings if the bet is won. In some states, sportsbooks can also be found at casinos.

Bookies make money by setting odds for bettors to choose from. They do this by calculating the odds of a game and setting a handicap that almost guarantees them a return in the long run.

There are many different types of bets you can place at a sportsbook, including straight bets, totals, and spreads. Understanding the basics of these bets will help you make more informed decisions.

Straight bets are bets that a team or individual will win a specific sporting event. They’re often called “moneyline” bets, and they’re a popular option for bettors.

Totals are bets that predict how many runs, goals, or points will be scored in a game. They’re typically more popular than other bets, and they allow you to get more bang for your buck.

In a game between the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks, for example, a sportsbook might set the totals at 42.5. If you think the Rams will win by more than 43 points, you’d bet on the Over, and if you think the Seahawks will win by more than 42, you’d bet on the Under.

There are currently more than 20 US states with legal sportsbooks, and the Supreme Court’s ruling in May 2018 has opened the doors for them to expand across the country. However, the law prohibiting them in some states is still on the books. If you’re looking to place a bet, make sure you’re doing it legally and securely.