How to Bet at a Sportsbook

A sportsbook is a place where people can make bets on different sporting events. It’s also known as a bookmaker, or bookie, and it can be found online as well as in physical locations. Regardless of where it is located, sportsbooks are heavily regulated to ensure they follow responsible gambling laws and prevent issues like underage and problem gambling. They also have to comply with state regulations, which differs in each jurisdiction.

The most common way to bet at a sportsbook is through a straight bet. This wager is on a specific outcome of an event, such as the Toronto Raptors beating the Boston Celtics or UFC heavyweight Francis Ngannou defeating Ciryl Gane. The sportsbook will then set the odds for each outcome. These odds are based on the probability of a team winning, with higher odds indicating a more likely victory and lower odds implying a closer margin of victory.

Betting volume at a sportsbook varies throughout the year, with certain types of sports having peaks of activity. This is especially true for sports that do not have a set season, such as boxing. In addition, the Supreme Court ruling that made sports betting legal in most states has boosted wagering at sportsbooks.

Because sportsbooks have a fixed cost to cover, they must take in enough action on both sides of a bet to balance the books. They do this by baking their cut into the odds on both sides of a bet, which is generally around 10%. Then, when one side of a bet loses, the sportsbook’s bottom line suffers. To mitigate this, sportsbooks often move lines to incentivize bettors to take a particular side of a bet in order to attract more action and keep their profits at a sustainable level.