How Sportsbooks Earn Money

A sportsbook is a place where people make wagers on sports events. It can also offer a variety of betting options, such as moneylines and spreads. These types of bets require a higher risk, but they provide better odds than straight bets. People can place their bets online, over the phone or in person at a sportsbook. They can also choose from a variety of bonuses and promotions. Some of these include free bets and no deposit bonuses.

The main way that sportsbooks earn money is by collecting a margin on bets. This is known as the vigorish, and it helps cover operating expenses and pay out winning bettors. A standard vig is 10%, but it can vary depending on the sportsbook.

To calculate the vig, sportsbooks use a formula to determine how much a bet should be worth to the sportsbook. The formula takes into account the amount of money that is bet on a particular team, and how much the bookmaker is expected to win on each bet. It also takes into account the number of bets that are made on both sides of a game. This allows the sportsbook to make a profit regardless of the outcome of the game.

Sportsbooks also attempt to balance bettors on both sides of a contest by pricing the odds of each event so that it is close to a centered game. This is done by adjusting the line for point-spread bets and moneylines to reflect the actual expected probability of a certain outcome. In the long run, this ensures that sportsbooks will have a positive revenue margin.

Another way that sportsbooks try to balance action is by moving lines in response to early limit bets from sharp players. These bets are often placed shortly after a sportsbook posts the opening numbers on a Sunday, and they can cause the lines to move substantially before the game starts. This is why some sharp bettors prefer to place their bets at sportsbooks that accept early limits.

In addition to moving lines in response to early bets, sportsbooks adjust their lines in an effort to attract more money on a given side. For example, if the Lions are getting an overwhelming amount of money on their side against the Bears, the sportsbook will move its line to discourage Detroit backers and attract Chicago bettors.

It is important for sports fans to research a potential sportsbook before placing a bet. Look for one that is licensed and offers a good range of wagers. It is also helpful to find out if they offer live streaming of horse racing and other sporting events. Then, they can decide if it is worth taking a chance on a new site.