What is a Sportsbook?


A sportsbook is a facility that accepts bets on a variety of sporting events. In the United States, most sportsbooks offer bets on football, baseball, basketball, hockey, golf, horse racing and combat sports. They can be found both online and in physical locations. Some are legal in all states, while others are only licensed in a few. Starting a sportsbook requires thorough planning and a large capital investment. Depending on the location and regulations, a sportsbook can be set up to operate in-house or by buying an outlet from another provider.

A number of factors influence the betting volume at a sportsbook, including seasonality and the popularity of certain events. Major events can draw a lot of money and cause the sportsbook’s point spreads to increase. The goal of a sportsbook is to price its bets with the true expected probability of winning. It does this by adjusting the odds for different bets and incorporating a profit margin known as the vig.

In addition to point spreads, a sportsbook may also offer total (over/under) bets on the combined scores of two teams. If the final adjusted score lands exactly on the betting line, the bet is considered a push and most sportsbooks refund all wagers on it, though some count them as losses on parlay tickets. Bettors who place a lot of totals are often referred to as “squares.” Some sportsbooks offer bettors the ability to buy half points on the over/under, which allows them to lower the total and adjust the odds.