May 24, 2024

Sportsbook Betting

1 min read


A sportsbook is a legal and convenient way to make wagers on your favorite teams. It offers a variety of betting options and has an extensive customer service staff to help you decide which bets are best for you. It also offers a variety of bonuses and promotions to entice new customers.

The aim of this paper is to develop a statistical framework by which the astute sports bettor may guide their decisions. Theoretical treatment is complemented with empirical results that instantiate the derived propositions and shed light on how closely sportsbook prices deviate from their theoretical optima (i.e., those that do not permit positive returns to bettors).

Sportsbooks set odds for bets in order to balance the action on both sides of a particular bet, and to collect the 4.5% profit margin from each bet they accept (the vig). In doing so, sportsbooks must estimate the median outcome with high precision, since betting on an incorrect side will yield a negative expected return.

In addition, sportsbooks must take into account the tendencies of bettors and public opinion. For example, bettors tend to favor home favorites and to jump on the bandwagon of perennial winners, a phenomenon that can be exploited by sportsbooks through the use of point spreads. In such cases, the sportsbook will propose a line that exceeds their estimated median by a large margin in order to attract a preponderance of bets on the side that maximizes its excess error rate.

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