Sports Betting 101 – Glossary Betting Terms

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Like many other industries, the sports betting world has its own jargon and many terms, lingo can be confusing. Our Sports Betting 101 Glossary provides a quick and simple definition of often-used terms that you may read on or hear at your local sportsbook.

Check out our selection of betting terms and their meaning below.


Action: Any bet.

Added Game: A matchup that is not part of the daily betting rotation. 'Added Games' are often make-up or rescheduled games that were expected to be played on a previous date. In pro baseball, it's likely Game 2 of an unscheduled double-header from a rainout.

Alternate lines: Some sportsbooks may offer different (or alternate) point spreads that pay different odds for the same game. These provide bettors more options to wager on certain games.

ATS: Against the spread

Arbitrage: Savvy bettors who try to scalp the market by playing both sides of a particular matchup, with hopes of cashing a middle. The hope is to get money back regardless of the outcome.

Bankroll: The total amount of money a bettor can spend on a betting app.

Beard: Messenger bettor, used at brick and mortar casinos and sportsbooks if the real bettor wishes to remain anonymous.

Beef: Dispute

Betting Trends: Stats that show the total amount of money wagered on a game

Buck: $100

Buying Points: Paying additional money to move the point-spread in a direction of your preference. Often used in football, bettors will buy 'on' or 'off' key numbers to avoid losing by a point or two.

Chalk: Favorite in a game by a large margin

Chalk Eater:Bettor who is known for betting on the favorites consistently

Churn: The effect of betting and rebetting money, similar to Arbitrage

Circle Game: Game where action is limited due to uncertainties about weather, injuries, etc

Cover: Win by more than the point-spread

Dime: $1,000

Dollar: $100

Dog: Abbreviation for Underdog, team expected to lose the game

Draw: A tie, used often in Soccer and sometimes in Boxing or Mixed Martial Arts

Draw No Bet: Check out the Draw No Bet Meaning

Earn: Practical hold percentage

Edge: Advantage

Even Money: When a selection has no juice or vig involved. A $100 wager will win $100, while normal wagers would make bettors lay $110 to win $100.

Exotic Bet: Action other than a straight bet or parlay, often unusual bets you won't see in many places. Can be listed under prop bets in sportsbooks.

Exposure: The amount of money the house actually stands to lose on a game or a race.

Extension: The amount of money the house theoretically will risk losing on a game or a race.

Favorite: The team in a sports betting matchup that is expected to win. In football and basketball, the favorite gives points while in moneyline sports, the favorite has to lay a higher price in order to cash a ticket.

Figure: Amount owed by or to a bookmaker

Firing: Betting a lot. A player who is "firing" is wagering large sums

Fractional Odds: Not used commonly in the United States. These are odds used mainly in Europe. Odds are listed in fraction form (1/10) instead of as a moneyline (-100).

Futures: Wagers where bettors can invest in the future outcome of a team to win a particular event, even if it isn't in the near future. Example – bettors often choose a team to win the World Series or Super Bowl and receive higher payouts based on the numbers from the oddsmakers depending on how far out the event is.

Grand Salami: A popular NHL wager where bettors handicap the total number of goals scored in all games for one day. Some sportsbooks may offer alternate versions for home, away, or periods of games during the day. Some sportsbooks may offer a similar bet for runs in Major League Baseball but this is mostly used in hockey.

Gross Win: Win before expenses

Handicapper: One who studies sports and predicts outcomes of teams and players.

Handle: Total amount of bets taken

Hedge: Bet the opposite of your original wager in order to reduce the amount of action you have on a game

Hold: The percentage the house wins

Hook: Half point in point-spreads, as in "lost by the hook"

Home Field Advantage: Edge the home team is expected to have as a result of familiarity with the playing area, favorable demographics and effect of travel on the visiting team

Hoops: Basketball

Glossary Betting Terms
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Hot Tip: Information the bookmaker is not yet privy to

In-Game Wagering: The ability to bet on a sporting event after the game has already started and until it concludes.Also known as live betting.

juice: Bookmaker's commission, most often refers to the 11 to 10 football bettors lay on straight wagers; vigorish

Key Numbers: Most often heard in pro football, the key numbers are the most common margins of the final outcome. The key numbers in the NFL are 3, 7 and 10 points.

Layoff Bet: A wager made by one bookmaker with another to help balance his action and reduce his potential risk or losses

Limit: Bet the opposite of your original wager in order to reduce the amount of action you have on a game

Line: The betting proposition on a game and/or payoff odds on the bet

Live Betting: See In-Game Wagering. Becoming more popular as most betting apps seem to have this feature now.

Lock: An easy betting win.

Long Shot: Large underdog

L3, L5, L10: Last Three, Last Five, Last 10

Marker: Credit offered at Casinos.

Moneyline: Used often in sports like baseball, hockey and soccer -- these odds are set on the straight up winner of the matchup. There is no point-spread with moneylines. Just pick the winner!

Middle: To win both sides of a game. For example, if you bet the underdog +3 1/2 and the favorite - 2 1/2 and the favorite wins by 3, you've MIDDLED the book. The book has BEEN MIDDLED.

Neutral Site: Arena, court or field where neither side has a home field advantage. For example the Super Bowl most years.

Nickel: $500

Odds: Numbers used to determine the favorite and underdog of a sporting match. Unless the game is a pick 'em, there is always a favorite or underdog.

O/U: Over/Under

Off the Board: Game where bets are no longer being accepted. This often happens when there is unknown about a key player's injury status.

Overlay: When the odds on a proposition are in favor of the bettor rather than the house

Parlay: A bet with two or more teams where all the teams must win for the bettor to be successful. The more events in a parlay, the more money there is to cash in on but the harder it becomes to win the wager.

Past Post: To make a bet after an event has started

Pick or Pick'em: A game where neither team is favored

Point-Spread: A number or line set by oddsmakers to provide an advantage or disadvantage based on the margin of victory or defeat for the teams in the matchup. There is always a favorite (-) and an underdog (+). The most popular type of betting in the United States, mainly used in both football and basketball.

Practical Hold Percentage: The amount won by a bookmaker divided by the total amount booked

Press: To bet a larger amount than usual

Public Dog: When betting trends lean heavily to an underdog

Public Trends: Betting Percentages showing money and ticket count for games

Puppy: Underdog

Push: Tie. The bettor doesn't win or lose money, almost as if the bet didn't happen (Parlays not included).

(ROI): Return on Investment.The amount of money you win on a wager, or your return on your investment or stake.

Reverse-Line Movement: When a line (point-spread) moves in the opposite direction of the betting percentages. Some pundits believe you can follow sharp money with reverse-line movement, especially when the trends and lines differ drastically.

Round Robin: A series of parlays. A three-team round robin consists of one three-team parlay and three two-team parlays

Rundown: Line update

Run-Line: A popular pro baseball wager where the favorite (-1.5) must win by two plus runs to win or the underdog (+1.5) must win or lose by less than two runs to win.

Glossary Betting Terms
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Runner: See Beard

Score: To win a lot of money

Scratch: Withdraw or cancel

Sharp bettors: Money wagered by bettors be that a sportsbook operator respects. Sharp money often comes from large wagers placed by professional bettors. It should be noted that not all large wagers are considered Sharp.

Side: To win one side and tie the other. For example, if you lay -2 1/2 and take 3 on the same game and the favorite wins by 3 you have SIDED the book. The book has been SIDED

Steam: When the odds change because of the money wagered on a game or participant is primarily one-sided for a team. Some bettors will chase the steam thinking the other bettors know something they may not but instead they are just mostly all following the trend.

Straight Bet: A bet on just one team

Sucker Bet: Bet with a large house edge

system: When bettors and handicappers develop angles based on historical or seasonal stats.

Take a Price: Bet the underdog, take the points

Tapped Out: Broke, busted, common result of pressing

Teaser: A wager used in football and basketball that allows bettors to combine two or more selections together while adjusting the points on those selections.

Tissue Price: The initial odds offered by the sportsbook. This price is usually considered a much fairer deal for the bettor.

Toke: A tip or gratuity

Toss Up: Game where the line is close to a pick-em and either side is expected to win.

Tout Service: A business that sells opinions on sporting events

Trend: Daily, Weekly and Seasonal angles that bettors and handicappers often follow or fade in their wagers.

Triple Sharp: The sharpest of the sharp, (Note: There is no such term as "Double Sharp")

Unit/s:Amount bet on a game.

Wager: A bet

Win Totals: A future wager that allows bettors to handicap the number of victories and losses of a team during the course of a regular season.

Underdog: The team in a sports betting matchup that is not expected to win. In football and basketball, the underdog receives points while in moneyline sports, the 'dog can net a positive return if it wins.

Underlay: When the odds on a proposition are in favor of the house

Value: An overlay

Wire-to-Wire Commonly seen in the NBA, a bet where a team will lead after every quarter for the entire game.

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+4.5 means a team is getting 4.5 points. In order to cash a ticket on a team +4.5, the squad would need to either win outright or lose by less than 4.5 points.


+550 in betting terms means a team is a heavy underdog, but you can get a big payout if it hits. A $100 wager on +550 odds would get you $550 in profit ($650 total payout).


The minus sign in betting indicates negative odds or a team losing points on the spread. The Patriots -100 or -1.5 would mean that they are the favorites, hence smaller payouts and no points being allocated.

Here is a list of great guides on how to bet on particular sports:

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