Upcoming Match-ups

Sports Betting Terms Every Bettor Needs to Know


by jay

Updated Oct 4, 2019 · 3:57 PM PDT

sports betting tablet

You don’t have to be a sports betting expert to figure out what terms the “sharps” are using. Use this handy page as a catch-all reference for the language of sports betting.

Term Definition
Across the Board A way to bet on a horse to place, show, or win
Action A sports bet of any kind. Can also refer to the number of bets being placed on a certain event or line.
Angles Using historical factors from previous events
ATS (Against the Spread) Taking the spread into account when referring to the outcome of an event. Or, taking the points, instead of betting with the spread, or “laying” points.
Bad Beat When a sports bet fails unexpectedly.
Beard A friend/acquaintance/colleague who places sports bets in an effort to shield the identity of the real bettor.
Book Short for sportsbook. The establishment that accepts bets, and subsequently pays out winnings. Short
Bookmaker/Bookie Originally referred to the person that would accept bets on behalf of a larger organization. Now, this is just a different colloquialism for sportsbook.
Buck A $100 bet.
Buy (points) When a bettor pays extra to receive a half point or more extra, in his/her favor, on a point spread event.
Chalk The favorite.
Chalk Player A bettor who frequently bets on the favored outcome. They rarely place bets on the underdog.
Circled Game Refers to a game where the betting action is reduced. This usually happens in added games, bad weather, games with lots of injuries, propositions, or halves of games. Often, circled games cannot be included in parlays or teasers. Betting options will be restricted, as will limits.
Cover Winning a bet on the point spread, covering the required amount of points.
Dead Heat When two horses finish in a tie.
Dime $1,000
Dime Line A line where the “juice” or “vigorish” is 10%.
Dog Short for “underdog”
Dog Player A bettor who mostly bets on the underdog.
Dollar $100
Double Action A sports bet that is processed if the precedent bet wins, ties, or cancels.
Double Bet A bet that is twice the size of what the bettor normally wagers.
Edge Any advantage a bettor has in sports betting.
Even Money When neither side of an outcome lays any odds, or any “juice.”
Exotic A bet other than a straight bet (moneyline, spread, totals) or a parlay bet. Also referred to as “prop” or “propositional” bets.
Exposure The largest amount of money a sports book stands to lose on a game.
Favorite The team/outcome that is expected to win. Odds will always reflect the favorite.
Fifty Cents $50.00
Figure The amount a bettor owes to their sportsbook, or the amount the sportsbook owes to a bettor.
Final Four The four remaining teams in the NCAA’s March Madness tournament.
First Half Bet A bet placed on the winner of the first half of an NBA game.
Futures Bets placed on an event/outcome taking place at some point in the future. For example, if one was to bet on the prospective winner of the NBA championship at the start of the season.
Getting Down Placing a bet.
Grand Salami The cumulative total of goals scored in all the hockey games taking place on one day. The over/under is a frequently available betting option for the grand salami.
Half-A-Dollar $50
Handicapper Someone who rates, bets, and studies sporting events in order to predict future outcomes.
Handicapping An effort for a bettor to predict the outcome of an event/futures bet. Frequently involves data mining.
Hedging Placing wager on the opposite side of an outcome in order to minimize losses, or guarantee a minimum amount of winnings.
Hook A half point added to the spread or totals, in order to make sure that there are no ties.
Hot Game A game that is seeing a lot of action on one side because of handicappers.
Juice The commission that a bookmaker receives on bets. The juice is reflected in available odds.
Laying the Points Betting on the favorite by giving up points.
Laying the Price Betting the favorite by laying money odds.
Layoff A money bet placed by a book, at another bookmaker, in order to reduce its monetary liability.
Limit The highest amount a bookmaker will accept for a bet.
Lines An alternate term for odds.
Linemaker The person who works at a bookmaker, who is responsible for establishing betting lines. Also known as an “oddsmaker.”
Listed Pitchers A baseball bet that will only be fulfilled if both schedule pitchers actually start. If they do not, the bet is canceled.
Lock A sure thing.
Longshot The outcome perceived to be highly unlikely.
Middle To win a bet on both sides of the same event. Placing a bet on the underdog at one point spread, and the favorite at a different point spread, and then winning both sides.
Moneyline Betting on the outright winner of an event. No pointspread is involved.
Move the Line When a bettor pays a fee to get half a point (or more) in either direction on a point spread.
Nickel $500
Nickel Line A line at a sportsbook where the “juice” is 5% instead of the regular 10%.
No Action A wager in which money is neither lost or won.
Odds The likelihood of an event taking placing assigned by a sportsbook, indicated in numbers form. Odds are expressed with fractions, decimals, or through the American style.
Off the Board A game or outcome that a sportsbook will not accept a bet on.
Outlaw Line The earliest line on an event offered. Often an overnight line that only a small group of bettors are allowed to bet on.
Over/Under Betting either above, or below, the combined point total of two teams during a game.
Parlay Any bet in which at least two outcomes must succeed for the bettor to win. In a parlay, all selections must be correct in order to receive a payout on a parlay.
Pick ‘em A game in which neither team is favored.
Pointspread When a sportsbook predicts the scoring differential between two opponents.
Press Betting a larger amount than usual.
Price The odds, line, or point spread.
Prop Bet Known as a proposition bet, these special bets offered by sportsbooks on the outcome of various events. Can take the form of unique events within sporting events, politics, and entertainment. An example of a prop bet would be the winner of the opening coin toss at the Superbowl.
Puckline A nickname for the goal spread a sportsbook assigns to a hockey game.
Puppy The underdog.
Push A tie. There is neither a winner or a loser for wagering purposes.
Rollover The amount bettors must wager before their bonus money can be withdrawn. It is always expressed as a multiple of either the bonus amount or the amount of the bonus + your deposit.
Round Robin A bet involving three or more teams in 2-team parlays.
Run Down All of the lines available for a specific date, sport, or time.
Runline A nickname referring to the run spread on a baseball event.
Runner A friend, acquaintance, or colleague who places bets for another person.
Scouts A person who waits for what he or she perceives to be highly favourable odds.
Sharp A highly calculating, professional sports bettor.
Sides Refers to both the underdog and the favorite.
Spread Short for “point spread”
Square A novice sports bettor, someone who bets with their heart instead of their head.
Steam When the line starts to move rapidly.
Store A sports betting establishment.
Straight Bet Wagering on one single team.
Straight up Winning a game, disregarding any spread.
Systems Using trends from the past to calculate future outcome.
Taking the Points Betting the underdog and its advantage in the point spread
Taking the Price Betting the underdog and accepting the money odds.
Teaser A special type of parlay in which the bettor is allowed to modify the point spread or total of each individual event. The price of “teasing” is in lower payoffs.
Ticket A sports bet.
Total The total number of points, runs, or goals, scored during one particular game.
Totals Bet  A type of propositional bet
Trends Using historical trends to predict future outcomes of sporting events.
Underdog The team with lower odds of winning the game. Also known as the “dog.”
Unit The percentage of your overall bankroll that you wager on a given sporting event.
Value  Used to describe odds which are favorable to bettors. Specifically, value is found when the odds are better than the actual probability an outcome will occur. For example, if odds suggest a team has a 40% chance of winning but their chances are actually closer to 60%, the line presents value to bettors.
Vigorish The bookmakers’ commission on a bet. Also referred to as the “vig.” Also known as the “juice.”
Wise Guy A well-informed or knowledgeable handicapper or bettor.

Let's have fun and keep it civil.