The Basics of a Sportsbook


A sportsbook, whether online or in a brick-and-mortar facility, is a place where people can bet on sporting events. It offers a variety of betting options and can be an excellent source of fun. However, you should understand the basics of a sportsbook before you start placing your bets. Here are some of the most important things to know:

A 3-Way Bet

A 3-way bet is a type of bet that allows you to win by either team winning, team A or team B winning or a tie. The odds on a 3-way bet will always be higher than the odds on a two-way bet because there are more outcomes to consider. This makes it more difficult to make money on these types of bets, but there are a few strategies you can use to increase your chances of success.

Odds (Positive & Negative)

A sportsbook uses different odds to attract bettors and make profit. The most common are American odds, which show how much you’d win if you placed a $100 bet on the team with positive (+) odds and how much you’d have to bet to win $100 if the team had negative (-) odds.

Total (Over / Under) Bets

Over/Under bets are wagers on the total combined score of teams in a game, including overtime and extra innings. An over bettor wants the combined score to be greater than what the sportsbook set the total at, and an under bettor wants the combined score to be less. If the total is exactly what the sportsbook set, the bet is a push and the bettor’s initial stake is returned. Most sportsbooks refund pushes, although some count them as losses.

Lock & Moneyline Bets

A lock bet is a bet that is considered to be a sure thing by the bettor. A moneyline bet is a type of bet where you are placing a wager on which team will win the game or match. Some sportsbooks offer a lower juice on moneyline bets to attract more bettors, but it’s not a requirement to place one.

Futures Wagers

While a traditional bet is based on an upcoming event, a futures wager has a long-term horizon. For example, a bet that a team will win the Super Bowl in the upcoming season would be a futures bet. These wagers are typically available all year round, but the payouts decrease as the season progresses and it becomes more difficult to predict a winner. If you are new to making futures bets, try placing a few small bets with low limits to get familiar with the process before you start placing larger wagers. Remember that the best way to avoid losing your hard-earned money is to follow good betting habits and be responsible. Also, don’t be afraid to ask the sportsbook staff if you have any questions. They are there to help! Lastly, be sure to read the fine print before you place your bet.