How Accuracy of Sportsbook Odds and Totals Are Determined

A sportsbook is a place that accepts bets on sporting events and pays out winnings. Depending on where you live, betting options may be limited by your state’s laws. However, many online sportsbooks are legally operated in states outside the United States and provide a variety of wagering options. Whether you’re looking for free sports picks or premium picks by the experts, there’s a sportsbook that’s right for you.

Sportsbooks set their odds based on the probability of an event occurring, so bettors can place bets on the side they think will win. This is why it’s important to shop around and find the best lines. It may seem like common sense, but some bettors never do this. For example, the Chicago Cubs might be -180 at one sportsbook but -190 at another. While this isn’t likely to make or break your bankroll, the difference in odds could add up over time.

Point-spreads and totals are designed to help sportsbooks balance the risk on both sides of a bet. This article explores the accuracy of these tools by analyzing 5000 NFL games. A statistical model is proposed that enables the upper and lower bounds on the accuracy of a bet’s expected profit to be derived. In addition, an empirical analysis of over-under bets reveals that the median score of a game is correctly estimated by the sportsbook’s proposed total for 86% of all matches. The accuracy of a bet’s expected loss is also bounded, and the conditions that are required to attain the upper bound are determined.