How Does a Sportsbook Work?


A sportsbook is a place where people can make wagers on sporting events. In the past, bettors would have to approach a bookmaker in person to make their bets, but today, sports betting can be completed online or via a mobile app. Regardless of how bettors choose to place their bets, the sportsbooks that accept them all operate under a similar business model.

Sportsbooks earn operating margins through two major routes. The first is by setting odds that differ from the probability of an event happening, which offers them a financial advantage over bettors. This margin is known as the vig or juice, and it allows sportsbooks to earn profit in the long run.

The other way that sportsbooks earn an operating margin is by accepting bets that offset those placed on their own lines. This is known as market making, and it allows sportsbooks to balance the risk on both sides of a bet. This is also how they can offer bettors a variety of betting options, such as moneylines and point spreads.

One of the most popular types of sports wagers is a straight bet, which is a bet on a single outcome. For example, if you think the Toronto Raptors will win an NBA game, you can make a straight bet on them to beat Boston. Another type of wager is a prop bet, which is a bet that involves a specific aspect of the game or match. For example, you can make a prop bet on whether UFC heavyweight Francis Ngannou will win his fight against challenger Ciryl Gane.