Accumulator – This is similar to a parlay in that it involves a series of bets in one wager. Each of the bets must win in order for the wager to win. If one leg of an accumulator loses the wager loses.
Action – A wager of any kind.
Added Game – A game that is not part of the regular Las Vegas rotation. Oftentimes this will be a rescheduled game or the second game of a doubleheader.
Alternate Lines – All sportsbooks offer lines (point spreads) on sporting events. 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.
American Odds – American odds are displayed differently than the rest of the world. Moneyline odds are shown as + or – a number in the US. Outside of the US, the same odds might be presented with a decimal point or by a fraction. Example: Yankees +400 American odds would be 5.0 or 4/1. The bettor takes home the same amount of money if the wager wins.
Arbitrage – This betting strategy involves placing a wager on all possible outcomes of an event so that that there’s a guaranteed profit regardless of the winner. This is best done with moneyline or futures wagers in the US and will usually take place across multiple sportsbooks.
Asian Handicap – An alternative way to bet soccer where the better team is “handicapped” to be the favorite. This form of betting was started in Asia.
Against the Spread (ATS) – Refers to taking or laying points (aka the spread) as opposed to taking a game straight up
Bad beat – Losing a bet you should have won. It’s especially used when the betting result is decided late in the game to change the side that covers the spread. Also used in poker, such as when a player way ahead in the expected win percentage loses on the river (last card).
Backdoor Cover – This is a popular term for a team that covers a point spread late in a game. The team with the late cover may or may not affect the actual result of the game, just the wager.
Banker – A banker is a European wager similar to a round robin bet in the US. Different teams are placed in a “system bet” to make different “accumulator” (parlay) bets.
Bankroll – Total amount of money a bettor has to place wagers.
Beard – This is a person who places a wager for another person who wishes to remain unknown.
Betting Exchange – A betting platform where people wager against one another instead of betting against a sportsbook. The exchange operator takes a small percentage of winning wagers. This is often seen as the most efficient market for sports betting.
Betting Unit – A betting unit is the amount of a typical wager. Bettors may have different sized bankrolls and a unit is a way to share how much was bet without giving away a specific dollar amount. For example, a high roller might have a unit size of $10,000 per wager while a low roller has a unit size of $20 wager per wager.
Bonus – Sportsbooks offer a financial bonus to customers for a variety of reasons. A signup bonus is the most popular way to incentivize bettors to use a certain sportsbook.
Book – Short for sportsbook or bookmaker; person or establishment that takes bets from customers.
Bookie – A person who accepts bets illegally and charges vig.
Bookmaker – A person who is licensed to create betting lines and take wagers.
Buying Points – Paying an additional fee in order to get a game at a more attractive price. Often times bettors will buy points in football around key numbers such as 3 and 7.
Chalk – A term for the team that is the favorite in an event. This team or player is usually a big favorite. The chalk is the expected winner by a large margin.
Circle game – A game for which the betting limits are lowered, usually because of injuries and/or weather.
Closing Line – This is simply where the point spread is when the game begins.
Consensus pick – Derived from data accumulated from a variety of sportsbooks. The pick, and its percentage, provides insight as to what side the public is taking in a game.
Contrarian Betting – Also known as betting against the public, contrarian betting finds value by betting on games with lopsided betting percentages.
Cover – The betting result on a point-spread wager. For a favorite to cover, it has to win by more than the spread; an underdog covers by winning outright or losing by less than the spread.
Dead Heat – Another way to say that there is a tie in a finishing position. Sportsbooks have different rules on how to pay in the event of a tie or dead heat in an event.
Decimal Odds – This is a different way to present odds than Americans are used to. They’re sometimes called “European odds” since this is how odds are listed with European sportsbooks. The math is easier to figure out for most bettors than US moneyline odds. Decimal odds are derived from a simple calculation of the amount bet x odds.
Dime – A bet of $1,000.
Dog – Short for underdog. This is the team that is not expected to win.
Double Chance – This is a European sports betting term mostly used for soccer betting. A double chance wager allows the bettor two opportunities to win a bet. For example, a result in soccer can be a win, loss, or tie. A double chance bettor may combine two of the three results instead of just one. This gives the bettor twice the chance to win the wager.
Dollar – Jargon for a $100 bet. Usually used with bookies; if you bet “five dollars,” that means a $500 wager.
Double Pop – A European way of saying that a bettor will bet twice the normal amount. In the US this is known more often as doubling up.
Draw – Also known as a push. If a game falls exactly on the spread, there is no winner and bettors will receive their money back.
Early Cash Out – A way for bettors to settle a wager for a certain dollar amount before the event is over. This is a way to lock in a profit at a smaller value than the wager would ultimately pay.
Edge – The advantage a bettor has against the sportsbook (or vice versa).
Even Money – A wager that pays the same as was risked. An even-money sports bet is listed as +100 or -100 in a sportsbook. Unlike traditional -110 wager, there’s no vigorish paid to the sportsbook. A bettor risks $100 to win $100 instead of wagering $110 to win $100.
Exacta – Choosing horses to finish first and second in a race. This is sometimes, but rarely, offered for other competitive sports.
Exotic Wager – These are non-traditional sports bets. Exotic wagers aren’t point spread, moneyline, or futures bets on a certain event. This kind of wager is often listed as a prop bet in a sportsbook.
Expected Value – This is a calculation used by a bettor to determine whether a wager should win or lose over time. Positive expected value (EV) bets over time is a good way to become a winning sports bettor.
Exposure – The amount of money a sportsbook potentially could lose for a specific event. For example, sportsbooks might have a lot of exposure (money at risk) on one team winning a championship versus another.
Favorite – The expected straight-up winner in a game or event. Depending on the sport, the favorite will lay either odds or points. For example, in a football game, if a team is a 2.5-point favorite, it will have to win by three points or more to be an ATS winner.
First Half – A derivative bet that can be placed on a sport that has two halves. Football and basketball are the most popular sports to place a first half wager. In soccer, this might be called a “half time result.”
Field – In proposition (prop) bets, bettors are often allowed to bet the field. This refers to an accumulation of all the teams or players that are not specifically listed.
Fixed Odds – These are the odds that most sports bettors will experience. Once a wager is placed, the odds are set and don’t change. Horse bettors might experience a change in odds from parimutuel betting.
Flat Betting – Simply put, this is a betting system where all wagers are the same. A bettor doesn’t change the wager amount based on wins, losses, or any other outside opinion. The wager is usually a percentage of bankroll but could also be a fixed dollar amount.
Future – This refers to bets that come down in advance of an event. For example, one can bet a Super Bowl future prior to the beginning of the season by selecting which team(s) they believe will win the championship. A bettor receives payment at the end of the season if their selection did claim the title.
Fractional Odds – Another kind of odds used mainly in Britain and Ireland. Odds are listed in fraction form (1/5) instead of as a moneyline (-500) that US sportsbooks use.
Grand Salami – This typically refers to the over/under total for how many goals/runs will be scored across all games in a specific league.
Handicapper or CAPPER – A person who analyzes sports events to predict the winning team or player.
Halftime bet – A bet made after the first half ended and before the second half begins (football and basketball primarily). The oddsmaker generally starts with half of the game side/total and adjusts based on what happened in the first half.
Handle – The amount of money a sportsbook or sportsbooks take from wagers. This could be broken down by sport, region, casinos, and more.
Hedging – Betting the opposing side of your original bet, to either ensure some profit or minimize potential loss. This is typically done with futures bets, but can also be done on individual games with halftime bets or in-game wagering.
High roller – A high-stakes gambler.
Home Field – This the field (court, rink, etc.) where one team plays its games.
Hook – Another way to say half of a point. For example, a team may be a 3.5 point underdog. That could be called “three and a hook.”
In-game wagering – A service offered by books in which bettors can place multiple bets in real time, as the game is occurring.
Joint Favorite – When there are two favorites for an event. This is mostly used in England.
Juice – The commission the bookie or bookmaker takes. Standard is 7-10 percent. Also called the “vig/vigorish.”
Kelly Criterion – A popular bankroll management strategy for a bettor who seeks to limit losses while maximizing the amount won.
Key Numbers – This represents the most common margins of defeat, and is used frequently in football where many games end with one team winning by a multiple of three or seven.
Layoff – When a bookmaker reduces the risk of losing wagers by placing a bet with a different sportsbook(s). This typically happens when there is lopsided wagering on one side of a game and the sportsbook or a bookie want to alleviate potential losses.
Listed Pitcher – This is a baseball bet that is active only if the pitcher listed as the starter throws the first pitch of a game. If the pitcher doesn’t matter a bettor can place a wager on “action.” The latter wager will happen regardless of who starts the game to the team bet on.
Lines – Another term for the odds.
Limit – The maximum bet taken by a book. If a book has a $10,000 limit, it’ll take that bet but the book will then decide whether it’s going to adjust the line before the bettor can bet again.
Live Betting – Placing a wager on a game or event while it’s taking place. This is also known as In Play wagering.
Lock – Another way of saying that a team or player will be an easy winner. (Note: This isn’t always the case, no matter what a sports prognosticator or tout says.)
Margin – This is a wager where a bettor selects a team to win or lose by a specific number of points regardless of the point spread. For example, the Oakland Raiders will defeat the Los Angeles Chargers by 10-14 points. The Raiders must win by 11, 12, or 13 points for a win. A victory by 10 or 14 points is a push.
Martingale System – A gambling system where bettors doubles the amount of a wager after losses. This system can be used for sports and other forms of gambling (i.e. blackjack).
Matched Bet – When a bettor uses free wagers from a sportsbook operator to increase potential profit. This is a popular technique employed in new legal US sports betting markets as promotional offers are available.
Middle/Middling – Middling a sports bet is playing different sides of the same game. This gives a bettor multiple chances to win wagers on the same game.
Moneyline – In sports like baseball, soccer and hockey, there are so few runs/goals scored that it doesn’t make sense to only offer a spread. Instead, these sports offer a moneyline in which you bet on whether or not a specific team is going to win straight-up.
Moral – indicates an absolute confidence in a success of bet.
Mush – A bettor or gambler who is considered to be bad luck.
Nickel – Jargon for a $500 bet. Usually used with bookies; if you bet “a nickel,” that means a $500 wager.
Novelty Bet – Placing a wager on a non-sports event with a sportsbook. For example, placing a wager on the Oscars in New Jersey. These kinds of wagers are more popular overseas.
Odds-on Favorite – When a team or person is heavily favored to win a game or event. They often have very low odds paying much less than the amount wagered.
Oddsmaker (also linemaker) – The person who sets the odds. Some people use it synonymous with “bookmaker” and often the same person will perform the role at a given book, but it can be separate if the oddsmaker is just setting the lines for the people who will eventually book the bets.
Off the Board – A game or event that sportsbooks will not allow you to bet on. Oftentimes a game is taken off the board if there is uncertainly surrounding a player’s injury status or the weather.
Opening Line – This is the first point spread available for a game.
Over/under – A term that can be used to describe the total combined points in a game (the Ravens-Steelers over/under is 40 points) or the number of games a team will win in a season (the Broncos’ over/under win total is 11.5). Also used in prop bets.
Parlay – A wager in which multiple teams are bet, either against the spread or on the money line. For the wager to win (or pay out), all of them must cover/win. The more teams you bet, the greater the odds.
Pick ‘Em – An instance in which neither team is favored. In spread based sports like basketball or football, this is a line of 0.
Player Props – A player prop bet is a wager on an individual player to do something during a game. For example, which player will score first in a football game?
Power Ranking – (AKA Power Rating) – Creating a ranking score for each team so that a bettor, handicapper, or sportsbook can create a point spread. Experienced handicappers use their point spreads to compare with a sportsbook in order to find the best bets available.
Public Betting Percentage – This is the percentage of wagers placed by the general betting public.
Puck Line – This is a point spread of sorts based on goals scored during a hockey game. The base puck line for a game is often plus or minus 1.5 since there are so few goals scored. Sportsbooks might offer an alternative puck line with more or fewer goals scored.
Point spread (or just “spread”) – The number of points by which the supposed better team is favored over the underdog and vice versa.
Proposition (or prop) bet – A special or exotic wager that’s not normally on the betting board, such as which team will score first or how many yards a player will gain. Sometimes called a “game within a game.” These are especially popular on major events, with the Super Bowl being the ultimate prop betting event.
Puppy – Another way to say a team is an underdog in a game.
Push – When a contest ends without a winner. In a moneyline sport this happens if the game ended in a tie. In a spread sport, this happens if the favorite wins by the exact spread.
Public Betting Percentage – Also referred to as public betting trends, we offer real betting percentages from seven contributing sportsbooks. These numbers represent real bets placed at real sportsbooks. These percentages are integral for our betting against the public philosophy.
Reduced Juice – When a sportsbook lowers the vig on a game. For example, a sportsbook might offer -105 for a game instead of -110. This reduced juice will allow the potential for a bettor to take home more money if the wager wins.
Real Time Odds – Live lines that update immediately as sportsbooks adjust their lines.
Reverse Line Movement – When a line (or point spread) moves differently than the money wagered on the game or event.
ROI – ROI is an acronym for Return On Investment. The ROI of a sports wager can simply be calculated this way: (Gain from Investment – Cost of Investment) / Cost of Investment.
Round Robin – A wager that involves making multiple parlay bets at the same time.
Run Line – This is a point spread of sorts for baseball games based on the number of runs scored. The run line is typically plus or minus 1.5 since there are so few runs scored in baseball. Sportsbooks might offer an alternative run line with more or fewer runs scored.
Runner – A person who places wagers at a sportsbook for someone else. This person may also be known as a beard.
Sharp Money – Money wagered by sports bettors 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.
Sharp – A professional, sophisticated sports bettor.
Spread – Short for point spread.
Square – A casual and recreational sports bettor. This is someone betting on sports as a hobby. They’re not as respected by sportsbook operators as sharp or professional bettors.
Steam – This is when odds change because of the money wagered on a game or participant. Some bettors will “follow the money” or “chase steam” thinking the bettors know something they may not.
Straight Up – When a team wins or loses an event. The point spread isn’t involved with the winner or loser.
Take the Points – When a bettor places a wager on an underdog they are taking the points offered by the sportsbook.
Take the Price – Similar to taking the points. This is when a bettor takes the price on a game offered by the sportsbook. The bet is typically wagering a moneyline on the underdog.
Teaser – A special bet in which you are able to adjust the point spread or total for a game. The more you change the spread, the lower the payout becomes.
Tissue Price – The initial odds offered by a sportsbook. This price is usually considered to be the fairest price on a wager.
TKO – Abbreviation for a Technical Knockout in boxing.
Total – The perceived expected point, run or goal total in a game. For example, in a football game, if the total is 41 points, bettors can bet “over” or “under” on that perceived total.
Tout – A person who sells or gives away sports betting picks.
True Odds – True odds are the actual odds of an event happening. In sports betting this is the most accurate point spread or moneyline.
Underdog – The team that is expected to lose straight up. You can either bet that the team will lose by less than the predicted amount (ATS), or get better than even-money odds that it will win the game outright. For example, if a team is a 2-1 underdog, you can bet $100 that the team will win. If it wins, you win $200 plus receive your original $100 wager back.
Units – A measurement of the size of someone’s bet. … Because basic sports betting strategy tells us that you should be betting somewhere between 1-5% of your bankroll on each wager, it is generally accepted that a unit is equal to approximately 1% of your bankroll.
Vig/vigorish – The commission the bookie or bookmaker takes; also called the “juice.” Standard is 10 percent.
Wager – Any type of bet.
Welch – To not pay off a losing bet.
Wire-to-Wire – This is a wager that a team will lead at every quarter or for a specific number of quarters. Wire-to-wire bets are the most popular in basketball.Wiseguy: A professional bettor. Another term for a “sharp.”