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Sports Betting Glossary - Terms and Descriptions

Here are some of the most common sports betting and gambling terms with definitions someone new to betting might need.

A

Accumulator – An accumulator is a common terminology in the European betting market. Accumulators are also known as “parlays” and refer to multiple individual bets tied together for a larger payout. All games in an accumulator must win in order for the bet to pay. 

Across the Board – A bet on a horse to win, place, and show. The bettor collects in three ways: 1) if the horse wins; 2) if second, two ways (place, show); 3) and if third, one way, losing the win and place bets. This strategy includes three bets.

Action – Can refer simply to a bet.

Agent – An individual who refers customers to a sportsbook for commission.

Alternative Line – Different point spread or totals options from the standard line to provide players with more variety of bets.

American Odds – Also known as U.S. odds. This system displays odds in the hundreds and thousands with a plus (+) or minus (-) rather than fractions. If a team is a 3/1 underdog, in American odds, that would be displayed as +300.

Arbitrage – A betting strategy that involves betting on both sides of a game separately to ensure a profit on at least one bet.

Asian Handicap – A system devised for soccer betting due to the number of games that tie. Asian handicaps are set in full, half, or quarter goal increments, and the chosen side must win by a certain amount of goals for the bet to payout.

ATS – Stands for “Against the Spread.” Used when citing a team’s point spread in football or basketball.

B

Back Door Cover – A last-second “cover” you place due to a change in the state of the game.

Bad Beat – When a game ends in an improbable manner causing you to lose. 

Bankroll – The amount of money you dedicated to betting

Bankroll Management – Also known as money management. A strategy to delegate your money for bets in the best way possible.

Beard – Also known as a runner. An individual who makes bets for someone else.

Betting Exchange – A location where bettors wager against each other and set their own odds. 

Bitcoin – The most popular cryptocurrency that many online casinos accept as an alternative form of payment.

Bonus – A promotion that many online casinos set up to attract new players.

Book/Bookie/Bookmaker – An organization, website, or person that accepts bets from players.

Buying Points – Changing the terms of a point spread or total bet.

C

Cash Out – The act of withdrawing your winnings from your account.

Chalk – The favored team in a game.

Chalk Eater – An individual who only bets on the favorite team.

Chasing – An unhealthy habit of constantly trying to recoup your losses through irrational betting or increasing bet size.

Circle/Circle Game – A game with lowered betting limits due to circumstances such as injury and uncontrollable uncertainties. 

Closing Line – The final odds of a game before a sportsbook closes betting.

Consensus – The popular selection of a bet.

Contrarian – An individual who goes against the popular tide of opinion for a bet.

Correlated Parlay – A parlay where the bet selections are related in some type of way.

Cover – Referring to a team beating the bookmaker’s given point spread.

Cross-Sport Prop – A unique bet that includes results from two different sports.

D

Decimal Odds – Also referred to as “European odds.” Odds are shown in decimal form rather than the American hundreds and thousands format.

Degenerate – A condescending term to refer to people who are addicted to gambling.

Dime – $1,000 in betting lingo.

Dog – The underdog.

Dollar – $100 in betting terms.

Double Chance – A type of bet where you can choose different types of outcomes. They are mostly seen on soccer bets. For example, you can bet on the X team and draw.

Draw – When the result of a match ends in a tie—mostly seen in soccer.

E

Early Cash Out – A special feature on select online sportsbooks where you can take out a certain amount of money before the match is finished.

Edge – A perceived advantage a bettor may have over a sportsbook.

European Odds – Also known as decimal odds. European odds display odds in either decimal or fraction form.

Even Money – A wager that gives the bettor back his or her original investment.

Exacta – A type of bet in horse racing where you pick both the first and second place horses. 

Exotic – Also known as a prop bet. Refers to any wager other than a straight bet or parlay.

Expected Value (EV) – A type of measurement to gauge expected wins or losses over time.

Exposure – Also known as liability. Refers to the maximum amount a sportsbook can lose on a single match.

F

Favorite – The team expected to win.

First-Half Line – A set of odds restricted to the first half of a game specifically.

First-Quarter Line – A set of odds restricted to the first quarter of a game specifically.

Flat – The most basic odd of -110 on either side of a bet.

Fractional Odds – Alternatively to American or European odds, players have the option to display odds in fractions instead.

Futures – A type of bet that focuses on a long-term result, for example, who will win the league or how many wins a team may get throughout the season.

G

Getting Down – Placing a bet.

Giving the Points – Betting on the team that is statistically most favored to win.

Grand Salami – Betting on the over / under odds for every single game on the day’s schedule.

H

Halftime Line – Also known as a second-half line. A set of odds is shown at the end of the first half of a game so bettors can bet on the second half.

Handicapper – An individual who studies statistics and circumstances of a match in order to predict the outcome.

Handle – The total amount of money wagered at a sportsbook on a certain sport, a single game, or overall.

Heater – When a team is on a winning streak.

Hedge – Wagering on the opposite team of an already existing bet to ensure you will win at least one of the two bets.

High Roller – An individual who bets with a large amount of money.

Hold – The amount of profit the sportsbooks make after paying out all players.

Home Field/Home Court Advantage – A perceived advantage given to the team that is playing in their own home arena or stadium. 

Hook – The half-point in point spreads (0.5). Having a hook eliminates any chances of a push (where the player gets their money back).

I

In-Play / In-Game / In-Running – A live game. Sportsbooks allow you to bet on live games while they adjust odds to match the current state of the match.

In the Money – When your bet hasn’t closed yet but all the terms are met for a win.

J

Juice – The cost of making a bet which goes to the sportsbook.

K

Key Numbers – Depending on the sport, points spread are based on certain key numbers. Since the scoring increments in football are 3, 5, 6, 7, and 10, point spreads are based on these numbers.

L

Laying the Price / Points – Betting on a favorite.

Layoff – The act of a sportsbook betting with another sportsbook to reduce its liability. 

Liability – Also known as exposure. The amount of money a sportsbook will allow itself to lose on a bet.

Limit – The maximum amount of money that is accepted by a sportsbook for a particular bet.

Line Movement – A sportsbook may adjust certain odds due to external circumstance, injury, and other influencing factors.

Linemaker – Also known as an oddmaker. An individual who sets the betting odds.

Lines – The odds of a game. Also known as price.

Live Betting – Also known as In-Play / In-Game / In-Running. Betting on a match as it’s live.

Live Odds – Odds that change as the match is being played.

Lock – When a bet is perceived as “easy” or “can’t-lose”.

Long Shot – A bet that doesn’t have a realistic chance to win.

M

Matador – Also known as “back door cover”. When you make a cover late in the match.

Matchup Page – A page that covers all statistics of a certain match between two teams. 

Middle / Middling – Making a specific bet on the same match that allows the bettors to win both at the same time. For example, if a bettor placed a bet for Lakers -4 and Warriors +7 and the Lakers won by 2, then both bets would payout.

Money Management – Also known as bankroll management. A strategy to manage and delegate money in your sportsbook account to maximize betting power.

Moneyline – Moneyline is the most basic bet one can make. Moneyline bets are predicting which team will win flat out.

Moose – A last-second loss that happened unpredictably.

Mush – A bettor who is superstitiously perceived to bring bad luck.

N

Nap – The best or most likely to win the bet of the day.

Newbie / Noob – An individual who is new to betting.

Nickel – $500 in betting terms.

Novelty Odds – Odds on events that are not sports, such as TV award shows or politics.

O

Odds-on Favorite – A heavyily favorited team that has a price higher than even money.

Oddsmaker – An individual who sets the sports betting odds.

Off the Board (OTB) – A game that has been called off and sportsbooks are no longer accepting bets for.

Opening Line – The odds shown at the start of a match.

Out – A location bettors can place a bet at.

Over – An odd where the bettor is betting above the projected total 

Overlay – When the odds favor the bettor rather than the house.

Over / Under – Also known as a totals bet. A popular odd where the bettor predicts whether the final score of a match will be over or under the projected total.

P

Parlay – Also known as an accumulator. A parlay is when the bettor wagers a single amount on multiple bets. Every bet has to win in order for the parlay to payout.

Past Post / Past Posting – A bet that is made after the start of an event.

Payout – The money that is earned from a winning bet.

Pick ‘Em – A game where both teams are evenly matched, allowing the bettor to pick the outright winner for profitable odds no matter which side they pick.

Point Spread – Also known simply as the spread. A point spread is created by the sportsbook as a handicap to a certain team. Sportsbooks adjust the point spread to create an equal betting field between two teams.

Price – The odds of a game.

Print Sheet – A sheet where necessary information is printed on for a certain match.

Professional Handicapper – An individual who bets on sports for a living.

Prop Bet / Props – A prop bet is a unique type of bet outside of point spreads and over/under. Prop bets can include almost every other type of bet, such as player points, half-time points, etc.

Public / Public Money – Used to refer to casual gamblers.

Puck Line – The hockey version of the point spread. 

Punter – A sports bettor, more commonly an individual who recklessly gambles.

Puppy / Pup – The underdog.

Push – When your bet results in a tie and the money is refunded to you.

Q

Quarter Lines – Odds that are confined to a specific quarter of a match.

R

Redeemed Juice – A common promotion among sportsbooks where the vig is shorter than the standard rate.

ROI (Return On Investment) – A way of calculating the gain and loss of a player’s betting history.

Round Robin – A ticket that has more than one parlay on it.

Run Line – Baseball’s version of the point spread.

Runner – Also known as a beard. Someone who places a bet for another person.

S

Scalper – Also known as arbitrage. A strategy that involves betting on both sides of a match with different odds to ensure profit.

Scamdicapper – An individual who constantly discusses unrealistic win percentages and predictions.

Score – A big win.

Sharp – An individual who is seen as cunning in terms of sports betting.

Sharp Money / Sharp Action – Wagers placed by a sharp individual.

Soft Line – Odds that seem valuable to a bettor.

Sportsbook – A place, either physical or online, that accepts money from bettors to place bets on and then subsequently hand out payouts.

Spread – The shortened term for point spread.

Square – Also known as a newbie or noob. Someone who is new to sports betting.

Stake – The money that is wagered on a bet.

Straight Bet – A single bet (as opposed to a parlay or accumulator).

Straight Up – When you bet on a team to win.

Sucker Bet – A bet that has a low chance of winning.

Superfecta – A horse racing bet where the bettor picks the first, second, third, and fourth-placed horses. 

Sweat / Sweating – A match that is close until the last second of the game.

T

Taking The Points – The act of betting on an underdog.

Tapped Out – When you run out of money.

Teaser – A type of bet where you can customize the point spread.

Tilt – When you react to losses by losing control and placing more irrational bets.

Total – A number set by the sportsbook where the players predict whether a match’s points, goals, or runs will be over or under that number.

Tout – A service that sells predictions to bettors.

Trends – Short and long-term patterns and statistics of an event.

Trifecta – A horse race bet where the bettor has to accurately predict the first, second, and third place horses.

U

Under – Betting below the total assigned by the sportsbook.

Underdog – The team that is not the favorite.

Underlay – When the odds of a match favor the sportsbook. Opposite of overlay.

Uniforms – Referees in a match.

V

Value – An overlay.

Vig / Vigorish – Also known as juice. The commission kept by the sportsbook.

W

Wager – A bet.

Wise Guy – A professional or sharp bettor. 

X

X-Sport Prop – Also known as a cross-sport prop. When a bet includes results from two different sports.

Y

Yankee Tax – When sportsbooks add additional juice to a popular match, under the assumption the match will attract a lot of attention.

Z

Zebras – Referees of a match.

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