Sports Betting Terms & Glossary

Sports Betting Terms & Glossary

To understand the meaning of common betting lingo and become a more knowledgeable bettor, see our full glossary.

Betting terms can be perplexing, particularly to newbies in the trade. This glossary defines the frequently used terms both on this website and in the entire betting industry.

Glossary: Common Betting Terms

Action – Any kind of stake placed.

Added Game – A sports event that is not contained in the usual Las Vegas rotation. Usually, added games are either the rescheduled ones or second games of doubleheaders.

Against the Spread (ATS) – laying or taking odds rather than taking a game straight up.

Arbitrage – The instantaneous buying and selling of the same game in various markets to gain from price differences.  

Bankroll – The betting money you have.

Sports Betting Terms & Glossary

Bookmaker – Someone qualified to create betting lines and take bets.

Buying Points – The act of giving out an extra payment to get a game at a friendlier price. Usually, bettors purchase points in football around such numbers as 3 and 7.

Chalk – The team that is favored.

Contrarian Betting/Betting Against The Public – This refers to placing a stake on games with uneven betting percentages.

Cover the spread – Refers to winning a bet that is placed against the spread. Let’s say you wager a 5-point favorite, and they win by seven. In such a case, you have covered the spread.

Dime – A stake worth $1,000.

Dog/Underdog – Refers to the team expected to be the least likely to win in an event.

Draw/Push – This occurs when the game results in a tie between the two sides, so there is neither a winner nor a loser. In such a case, bettors are refunded their stake.

Edge – When a bettor has a higher probability of winning than the odds given, the bettor has an edge.

Even Money/Evens – A bet with even odds (i.e., 1:1).

Favorite – The bookmaker’s anticipated winner in a gaming event.

Field – An aggregate term for all the members in a gaming event.

Future – This refers to wagers placed before the start of a sporting event, e.g., you can bet a Super Bowl future before the beginning of the season. If the selected teams take the title at the end of the season, you will be paid.

Hedging – Placing a bet or bets on the opposite side of a bet you made previously made. Hedging reduces loss or ensures you make some profit.

Hook – A half-point that is added to point spreads to avoid a break-even situation. For example, a bettor can purchase a hook around a number like 7 to get an odd of 7.5.

Grand Salami – A Grand Salami a total (also known as an over/under) posted by the bookmakers, not for a single game but the combined runs of each team in every event within a specific league.

Juice – Also called vigorish, or vig, this is the commission that bookmarkers charge for placing a bet. Usually, bookmakers offer -110. Therefore, to break even, a bettor needs to win 52.38% of the wager. However, some books reduce the juice to a range of -104 to -107.

Key Numbers – The most common margin of victory, such as 3 and 7 in football.

Limit – The maximum amount of a bookmaker can accept for a particular gaming event.

Lines – Lines are odds.

Middle – Happens when a bettor wagers on both sides of a game, so they have a chance to win both bets. For instance, if you wager on Team A +9.5 and Team B -6.5 and Team B wins by 7-9 points, you win both bets.

Moneyline –This is a bet that a participant will win a gaming event straight-up (i.e., without a specific spread). This usually happens in sports with very few scores such as soccer, baseball, and hockey.

Nickel – A bet worth $500.

Off the Board – It is when a bookmaker is not currently accepting bets on a particular game. It usually happens when there is uncertainty in the weather or the injury status of a player.

Over/Under/Totals Bet– A bet type on whether the total number of /goals/points/runs scored will exceed or fall under the bookmakers’ set number.

Parlay  (a.k.a accumulator) – A single bet that covers multiple selections (multiple bets that are tied together). All teams must win for a successful bet. Although risky, it is a very profitable proposition.

Pick ‘Em – This is an event where neither team is favored (i.e., an odd of 0 for spread based sports like basketball and football.

 Proposition Bet – A bet on a specific or unique aspect of a sporting event, rather than the outcome of the sporting event itself. It also goes by the name prop bet or a special.

Public Betting Percentage – Also called public betting trends. It shows the volume of bets placed at a sportsbook on one team vs. another.

Push – This is a tied bet. In moneyline gaming events, push occurs when the events end in a draw. On the other hand, in spread sports, push occurs when the favorite wins by the exact spread.

Real-Time Odds – Live lines that change as soon as sportsbooks change their lines.

Reverse-Line Movement (RLM) – This is the movement of odds against the public betting percentage. When the majority of bets are placed on one side yet the line moves in the opposite direction, that is an RLM.

Return on Investment (ROI) – A measure of how efficient an investment is.

Run/Puck Line – Refers to a line used for betting moneyline sports such as baseball and hockey. Here, one can increase runs for the underdog or reduce them from the favorite. Therefore, to win the bet, the favorite must win by not less than two runs. Also, one can win the bet if the underdog loses by one run or win straight-up. Although this can enable you to win more profitable lines on favorites, it can be an unwise proposition in low-scoring sporting events such as baseball and hockey.

Runner – A person who places wagers on someone else’s behalf.

Steam Move – A sudden variation in the sports betting marketplace. It results from heavy betting action stimulated by one or more of the top bookmakers. A steam move causes a drastic change in the odds.

Teaser – An exceptional type of bet in which the bettor is allowed to change the point spread or total for a sporting event. The more one adjusts the spread, the lower the odds become.

Tout – A person who advises the bettor on how to place bets, usually at a fee.

Units – A unit numerical constant value that is used to keep track of betting profits and losses without the use of monetary figures. Bettors use units to decide how to place bets.

Wager – Any kind of bet.

Where to Bet on Sports: Best Legal Sportsbooks

Since you’re now familiar with some common sports betting terms, it’s good to know where to place your bets. Definitely, you should place your wagers in a sportsbook with the most profitable odds.

Fortunately, in May 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled the federal ban on sports betting. Since then, betting operations have resumed in various states. Here is a complete guide here on the status of legal betting in various states. However,  Colorado, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and West Virginia are the most popular states when it comes to online betting.

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