Sports Betting Terms You Should Know

Action: Slang term for having a betting interest or wager on a game or contest.

ATS: Abbreviation for against the spread. This acronym is usually followed by the record of a team that went against the oddsmakers’ lines during a specific time period.

Across the Board: A bet for horse racing placed on a horse to win, place, or show.

Agent: A middleman who places wagers at sportsbooks or with local bookies for a commission. Agents also usually handle payment of winnings or collection of losses.

Arbitrage: The practice of taking advantage of two different betting markets on the same event for a guaranteed a profit. This is also known as sure betting.

Added Game: A game that is not generally part of the sportsbook’s rotation. These usually involve smaller schools, contests lower than Division IA, or other lower-level leagues.

American Odds: Also known as moneyline odds, expressed in terms of amount that must be wagered to win $100. For example, 10% in moneyline odds would be $110 to win $100.

Back Door Cover: Points scored late in a contest that have no meaningful effect on the outcome of the game, except to cover the point spread.

Book: Abbreviation for sportsbook.

Bookie: Slang term for a bookmaker or sportsbook. Bookie generally refers to a local person that accepts sports bets rather than an offshore or regulated market online sportsbook.

Bookmaker: Formal term for a bookie, usually used in UK or European markets. It means a person or company who accepts wagers.

Buck: Slang term for a $100 wager.

Bankroll: Money set aside to gamble with on sports betting or other gambling games.

Beef: A dispute or claim a player has with a bookmaker or sportsbook.

Buyback: Money that comes in on an underdog after a favorite is heavily wagered to move the line.

Chalk: The favored team or athlete in a given contest or game.

Chalk Bettor: A player who bets a lot on favorites.

Circled Game: When a market’s bets are limited due to uncertainty. Circled games happen when late-breaking news comes out in regards to weather, injuries, or other unknown variables. Circled games will normally have an orange or yellow line circling the market.

Cover: Beating the point spread and winning your wager. Bettors who wins their bet might say, “I covered the spread.”

Canadian Line: Another name for a puckline. This is a combination point spread and moneyline wager on hockey markets.

Dime: Slam term for a $1,000 wager.

Dime line: A betting line that has a 10-cent difference between the underdog and the favorite. These are most common in baseball. An example of a dime line would be a favorite at -120 and the underdog at +110.

Dog: Slang term for underdog, means a team not favored to win.

Dollar: Slang term for $100 wager.

Degenerate: A compulsive, generally losing sports bettor.

Exposure: A sportsbook’s risk or amount of money on a given game, market, or proposition. If a sportsbook is “highly exposed” on a market, they stand to win or lose a lot on the outcome.

Earn: The hold percentage, also known as the total amount won by a sportsbook divided by the total amount booked.

Even money: A bet that has no juice or vig. The odds would be +100 in moneyline or American odds.

Exotic: A bet or market that isn’t a straight wager, parlay, or teaser. These include props, if-bets and reverses, propositions, and other types of wagers.

Favorite: The team or player that is considered the most likely to win according to the oddsmakers.

Five Inning Line: A wager that is placed on only the first five innings of a baseball game.

First Half Bet: Similar to a five inning line, this bet is only for the first half of a basketball or football game.

Figure: The amount owed to a sportsbook from a player or vice versa.

Freeroll: A situation in betting where you can either push or win, but not lose your bet. One might say they are “freerolling” their wager.

Futures: Bets placed on an event taking place sometime in the future. The most commonly bet future wager is the odds to win the NFL’s Super Bowl.

Halftime betting: Similar to first half betting, but these are posted at halftime and only involve the outcome of the second half of the game.

Handicapping: Researching sports and the bookmaker’s odds to make predictions about a specific game or event.

Handle: The amount of money, in dollar terms, which have been accepted on a game or specific market.

Hook: Slang term for a half-point.

Hedge: Placing a wager that goes against a previous bet to guarantee a profit or minimize risk.

Juice: The bookmaker’s commission on each wager placed, also known as the vigorish. The standard juice on each wager is 10%.

Layoff: A wager made by a bookie or sportsbook with another bookie or sportsbook that is done to balance action or reduce exposure.

Limit: The maximum amount that can be wagered on a specific market or event.

Line: Refers to the bookmaker’s odds on a particular event.

Listed Pitcher: A pitcher or pitchers listed to start an MLB baseball game by the oddsmakers. A bet will often be graded no action if a pitcher is scratched.

Lock: Supposedly an easy winner, but the term is often misused.

Linesmaker: A person at a sportsbook that establishes the original betting lines.

Long Shot: A team that is unlikely to extremely unlikely to win according to the betting line.

Middle: A situation that allows a gambler to win both sides of the same betting market. For example, if a player takes a team at -2.5 and also manages to grab +3.5 after a line movement – this would qualify as a middle.

Moneyline: Odds for a team or athlete to win outright, regardless of the point spread.

Money Management: Also known as bankroll management. A strategy used by sports bettors to manage their wagering funds.

MMA: Mixed-martial arts.

MVP: Most Valuable Player. Futures markets use the abbreviation for betting on the MVP for a specific season or game, like Super Bowl MVP Betting Odds.

Nickel: Slang term for a $500 wager.

Nickel Line: A betting line that has a 5-cent difference between the favorite and underdog. These are much rarer than dime lines. An example of a nickel line would be the favorite listed at -120 and the underdog listed at +115.

No Action: A bet where no money is lost or won.

Odds: the likelihood of a certain outcome as pegged by the sportsbooks.

Out: A bookie or sportsbook.

Offshore: The organized sports betting industry that operates outside the United States.

Off the Board: A game that bookies have pulled from their betting menu and don’t take action on currently.

Oddsmaker: Same as a linesmaker, someone who established and controls the movements of betting lines.

One Dollar: Slang term for a $100 wager.

Over/Under: Another term for a total. A wager on the number of points scored in a game or by a team. Bettors can wager “Over” or “Under” the oddsmakers’ total.

Overlay: A situation in betting where the odds are higher than they should be on a particular market. This is generally due to public betting action and can be advantageous for sharp bettors.

Parlay: A wager that involves multiple bets or legs, in which all must win to have a winning ticket. These offer higher payouts than placing individual wagers. In the event of a push on one of the bets, the parlay would revert to a lower number of teams. For instance, if you push one leg of a 4-team parlay, the parlay would then become a 3-team parlay.

Pick or Pick’em: Abbreviated as pk by sportsbooks, which means there is no favorite or underdog in a current game. One might say, “the game is a pick,” if there is no favorite in the minds of the sportsbooks. A game listed at pk still has attached odds, generally starting at -110.

Point Spread: The oddsmakers’ handicap or projected margin of victory between two teams or opponents.

Press: A larger than normal wager placed by a player. If a bettor is down a lot recently and bets big on a later game, one might say the bettor is “pressing” to try and regain their previous losses.

Price: The point spread, total, or moneyline odds.

Proposition Bet: Props, for short. A wager that is not dependent on the final score of the game. Player and team propositions are extremely common. These can be based on just about anything, such as which team will score first, the number of points a player will score, etc.

Public: Describes the sports betting masses as a whole. The public describes the average sports bettor, who is generally a loser. When someone says the “public” is heavy on a game, they’re referring to the everyday, unsophisticated sports bettor.

Puck Line: Same as a Canadian Line, listed above. A hockey betting market that is a combination between a point spread and a moneyline.

Push: When, from a wagering perspective, a game or contest ends with no winner or loser. Bettors from both sides have their bets refunded in such a case.

Quarter Line: A wager placed on a particular quarter in a football or basketball game. These markets are abbreviated with 1Q, 2Q, etc.

Rotation: The official list of games on the board by a sportsbook.

Risk: The amount bet on a game or wager.

Round-Robin: An easy way to bet multiple parlays at the same time.

Runner: Someone who places sports bets for another person.

Runline: Similar to a puckline but used in baseball. Basically, a combination point spread and moneyline.

Run Down: All the lines for the day or specified time frame.

Sharp: A sophisticated or highly informed sports bettor, the opposite of the public. If sharps bet a lot on a game, one might say, “there is a lot of sharp money coming in…”

Side: One of the two teams playing in a sporting event.

Spread: Shortened term for point spread.

Square: Similar to the public. A square is an unsophisticated or casual sports bettor.

Sportsbook: An organization or company that accepts sports wagers.

Standard Line: The -110 or 10% commission that is the standard vig or juice at a sportsbook.

Steam: One-sided action that results in a line movement on a market.

Straight Bet: A wager placed on a single market or game.

Stake: The amount of a wager placed.

Takeback: Slang term for betting the price of an underdog on the moneyline wager.

Teaser: Similar to a parlay but with the line adjusted in favor of the bettor. These can be utilized in both basketball and football. Like a parlay, all selections must win for the bet to cash.

Total: The combined number of points scored in a game by a both teams or a single team. Also, called the Over/Under.

Tout: Also known as a service. A tout is a person or organization that sells sports betting picks.

Ticket: A record of your sports betting wager.

Underdog: The team picked to lose in the minds of the oddsmakers, called the “dog” for short.

Value: The best odds or line available on a particular market. If you get the best price, you could say you “got value” in the current market.

Vigorish: The commission charged by a bookmaker. “Vig” for short and also called “juice.” The standard vigorish is -110 or 10%.

Wise Guy: A person who has a lot of handicapping knowledge and wins a lot betting sports.