Sportsbook 101 – The Basics of Sports Betting

Sportsbook 101 – The Basics of Sports Betting


A sportsbook is a place where you can place bets on a variety of sporting events. They can be found online or in brick-and-mortar locations, and they accept both cash and credit card payments. You can also place bets with your phone or tablet via a sportsbook app.

How Do Sportsbooks Work?

A sportsbook accepts bets on a range of different sporting events, including basketball, baseball, hockey, horse racing, and soccer. Its business model is based on the fact that it takes money from its customers, and then pays out winning bettors as well as keeping a portion of that money in reserve to cover losses. This process is called vigorish, or vig for short.

In the United States, sports betting has been legal since May 2018. However, only a few states allow it, and some have outlawed it entirely. Thankfully, the United States Supreme Court has now overturned PASPA, allowing more states to legalize sports wagering.

Whether you are a novice or an expert at sports betting, knowing the basics of how sportsbooks operate can help you win big. There are a few basic terms that you need to know before placing your first bet, and it’s always better to start by doing some research online or talking to a friendly clerk at the counter.


Depending on the type of bet, the payout you receive will vary. Some sportsbooks will show you the actual amount of money that you won, while others will tell you how much you can expect to win in total. You can also find odds and payout formulas online or on a calculator, which will let you determine the potential payout of a bet before making it.

Over/Under Bets

Choosing a bet on the over/under can be a great way to pick out a match that you think is over-valued, and will offer more value in terms of winnings. Typically, Over/Under bets will have odds that are higher than those on the exact number of runs/goals/points that the two involved teams will combine for by the end of the game.

The over/under total is the most common type of bet offered by sportsbooks. It is simple to place: simply predict how many runs/goals/points the two teams will score by the end of the game.

Over/Under bets are popular in sports like football and basketball, but they are available in a wide range of other sports too. For example, you can place an Over bet on a game between the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks that has a total of 42.5 points. Alternatively, you can place an Under bet on a game between the Rams and Seahawks that has a total of 42 points.


When choosing a sportsbook, it’s important to consider all the different types of wagers they offer. For instance, you may want to only place bets on college football games, or you may want to make sure that they accept certain payment methods, such as PayPal or Venmo.