Sports Betting Glossary 2020

You may be a veteran sports bettor or a complete newbie, but either way we're going to bet that you won't be familiar with absolutely all the sports betting terminology listed here. We've trawled the highways and byways to come up with an extensive list of sports betting phrases, from the everyday to the lesser known.

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A
Acca
Abbreviation. See Accumulator.
Across The Board
When you make an Across the Board bet, you're staking your money that a horse will either win (1st place), place (2nd place) or show (3rd place).
Action
A term used to describe the act of taking part in online gambling or sports betting.
Accumulator
A bet that takes in several selections, and requires each individual selection to win. See also Parlay.
Arbitrage
This is the practice of both buying and selling the outcome of the same game on different markets. You would do this when the prices are not equal and therefore you're guaranteed to profit no matter what the result.
ATS (Against The Spread)
An ATS bet indicates that you're taking a bet where a points handicap in place. For example the less favored team (the underdog) may have a positive points spread so as to make them equal to the favorites.
B
Back Bet
A bet where a single outcome will determine the win.
Backdoor Cover
When a team score points at the end of the game, unexpectedly covering the points spread total.
Bad Beat
When you lose on a bet that appeared to be a sure thing.
Beard
An individual betting on behalf of someone else. See also Runner.
Betting Exchange
A form of real money betting with odds offered by fellow bettors, rather than bookmakers. Bets are subject to commission.
Betting Slip
A confirmation of your bet.
Bettor
A person who bets real money on sports.
Book
A common industry abbreviation for sportsbook.
Bookmaker
Also called Bookie. A professional gambling outfit that offers odds on real money bets.
Buck
This is a wager of $100.
C
Chalk
The Chalk is another way to describe the favorite - the team or athlete most likely to win the game or contest.
Chalk Player
A bettor who generally backs the favorite to win.
Circled Game
This a game where bookmakers set lower limits. This may be due to unusual circumstances such as inclement weather or a spate of injuries which makes the outcome especially uncertain.
Cover
To cover the spread means to win while a point spread is in place. For example if you bet on an NFL team with a spread of -7.5, the team must win by at least 8 points for you to be able to collect your winnings. Likewise, if the bet was on a team with a +3 spread, the team must lose by no more than 2 points in order for you to win.
D
Dead Heat
When a result is tied.
Decimal Odds
The Odds system used throughout Europe.
Dime
This refers to a bet of $1,000.
Dog
Slang for underdog. Used to describe the person, team or horse, considered to be the outsider.
Dog Player
A bettor who normally favours the underdog.
Double Bet
A wager twice the size of a bettor's typical wager.
E
Edge
The advantage a bookmaker or a casino has over the bettor.
Even Money
When the amount you stand to win is the same as the amount you wager.
Exchange
Abbreviation of betting exchange. A way of betting where you take odds offered by other bettors.
Exotic
A wager other than a straight bet, accumulator or parlay.
Exposure
The maximum amount of cash a bookmaker could potentially lose on a result.
F
Favorite
The team, horse, or person predicted to win.
Field
In proposition or prop bets, bettors may be able to bet the field, referring to all teams or players not specifically listed. For example, the top ten teams may be listed to win a competition, and after that you may have the option to bet the field, which means that you believe an unlisted team will win.
Figure
The amount of money owed to a bettor or a bookmaker.
First Half Bet
A bet made on just the first half of a match, game or similar.
Fixed Odds
Odds that won't change no matter what.
Fractional Odds
The Odds system used in the United Kingdom.
Futures
A futures bet is one made on an event which will happen in the (relatively) distant future. For example, a bet placed on the team to win a championship or league would be a futures bet.
G
Getting Down
Sang term meaning to make a bet.
Grand Salami
This is a slang term related to over/under bets. In this case, the grand salami means the over/under total for the number of scores across all the games in a given league on one day. For example there could be a bet on the number of goals scored in the English Premier League on a particular Saturday.
H
Half Time Bet
A bet that only covers the second half of a game, match or similar.
Handicapper
A person who studies betting strategy and statistics to improve their predictions.
Handicapping
The act of using statistics and insight to better determine the winner.
Handle
The total cumulative pot of money bet on a single event.
Hedging
You've probably heard the expression to 'hedge your bet'. It basically means to place a wager on the opposite side of the bet you've already made. This is also known as 'laying' your bet, and can be done through betting exchanges. This is done to guarantee a profit no matter what the outcome, although obviously the profit is reduced.
High Roller
Someone who bets big stakes.
Hook
: A spread bet is one where a handicap is placed on a given team, which the bettor must cover. For example the Patriots may be 7.5 point favorites over the Cardinals. The hook is that extra .5 which takes the margin over a standard one touchdown difference.
Hot Game
An event drawing the attention of Handicappers.
I
In-Play Odds
Odds that are offered once a sports event has already started.
In-Play Bet
A bet made while the action is happening live in real time.
J
Juice
This is another word for the commission that bookmakers earn on any bet which is wagered. This commission is factored into the odds, which will favour the sportsbook.
K
Key Numbers
These numbers are the most common margins of victory. For example, in football teams usually win by a margin of either 3 or 7, the standard scoring units.
L
Laying The Points
Betting in favour of the favorite to win by forfeiting points.
Laying The Price
Backing the favorite by laying money odds.
Layoff
When a bookmaker plays money at a rival to reduce its own liability.
Limit
This is the maximum amount a bookmaker will accept on a particular match or event. bookmakers will set limits so as not to risk a major loss if betting is one-sided.
Lines
Abbreviation of Moneyline. The odds system used in the USA.
Linemaker
See also Oddsmaker. The person responsible for establishing betting lines.
Live Odds
Odds that update as the game or match takes place.
Live Bet
A bet you make while a game or event is in play.
Lock
Some might say that these don't really exist in sports betting, but a lock is a supposed guaranteed winner of a particular event, or at the very least a big favorite.
Long shot
An outside bet, for example made on the underdog.
Lose
When your bet doesn't work out and you forfeit your original stake.
M
Matched Bet
When you place a lay bet against the outcome you also made a back bet on.
Middle
This is when you've placed a bet on both sides of a game and still have a chance to win both of them. This can happen when you make a spread bet. For example if you bet on the Raiders at +7.5 to beat the 49ers, and you also bet on the 49ers to win at -3. If the 49ers win by between 4 and 7 points you collect both bets.
Moneyline
The name of the odds system U.S bookmakers use. See also Lines.
Mush
Slang name for a bettor who is regarded to be bad luck.
N
Nickel
This is a bet of $500, related to the 'dime' bet of $1,000.
No Action
When there is 'no action' it means that the bet has been cancelled, and the bettor will get a refund of his stake.
O
Odds
The system a bookmaker uses to show you the return you can expect to make on real money wagers.
Off The Board
A game or event comes 'off the board' when unforeseen circumstances, such as extreme weather, cause it to be cancelled.
Over/Under
When you bet the total points a team will score, being less than a specified number.
P
Parlay
Also known as an accumulator, the Parlay is a bet on multiple different sporting events. All of these must win in order for the bet to be won, making it a risky but potentially lucrative wager.
Pick 'em
A game where neither team is favorite.
Point Spread
This is the amount of points which the sportsbook decides to deduct from the favorite or give to the underdog. For example the Patriots may be -10 versus the Browns, who are conversely given +10. This makes the game more even in terms of placing bets.
Press
The act of wagering a bigger stake than usual.
Profit
The amount of money you can expect to make on a bet (minus your original wager).
Prop Bet
A bet which is on something other than the outcome of the game, such as which team will score first. Prop bets are widely used in live in-play betting.
Puckline
As the name suggests, this refers to a hockey bet. The puckline is a point spread of -1.5 or +1.5 for the favorite and underdog respectively.
Puppy
Another term for dog or underdog.
Push
If there is no winner or loser in betting terms, this is called a push. For example, if the Patriots are ten point favorites and win by exactly 10 points, this is a push. Also in a game like blackjack, a push is where you have the same score as the dealer.
R
Return
Your bet winnings plus your original stake.
Round Robin
Three or more teams in a two team parlay.
Run Down
The odds offered on a specific event.
Runner
Someone who places bets on behalf of someone else. See also Beard.
S
Scout
Someone who holds out for the best odds.
Sharp
An experienced bettor who is 'au fait' with betting strategy.
Sides
Both teams taking part, the favorite, and the underdog.
Single Action
A bet that's only made if the one before it wins.
Sportsbook
A bookmaker (or bookie) that offers odds on the outcome of sports events and takes real money bets.
Spread
Abbreviation for Point Spread.
Stake
The amount of cash you bet. See also Wager.
Steam
This is a bookmakers term for a quick change in the betting line. This will happen when a significant number of wagers come in on a particular team or competitor.
Straight Bet
A bet on a single outcome coming true. See also back bet.
Square
An 'in' term for an inexperienced bettor.
T
Taking the Points
When you take the points spread being offered at a bookmaker and bet on the underdog.
Taking The Price
Backing the underdog and taking money odds.
Teaser
A bet similar to a parlay but which gives the bettor improved odds.
Ticket
A betting slip showing your bet, including your stake and odds.
Tie
A result that means no bets are lost or won, because the points total was equal to the team's score.
Total
The combined value of points both sides score in a game.
Totals Bet
A bet made on the predicted points total of a game.
Tout
A person offering their betting expertise for money.
True Odds
The actual statistical fixed odds of a given outcome occurring.
U
Underdog
The horse/individual/team/ considered to be weaker. See also Dog.
V
Value
Getting the best possible odds.
Vigorish
This is another word for the sportsbook's commission or 'juice'. The vigorish or vig is the commission built into the odds which are offered to bettors on a specific sporting event.
W
Wager
The amount of money you put on a bet. See also Stake.
Welch
To not pay up on a losing bet.
Win
When you guessed your selection correctly and the bet you made comes in.
Wise guy
A bettor with a lot of knowledge about the sport.