SPORTS BETTING TERMS & GLOSSARY


Sports betting has its own language: from sharps and squares to chalk and dogs.

If you’re new to the sports betting scene and have no clue what people are saying, save your sweat for your bets. We make sense of sports gambling lingo with our complete list of sports betting terms.

We have an up-to-date glossary and sports betting dictionary, giving you simple definitions for more than 150 of the most popular terms and phrases.

Are we missing a worthy inclusion? Let us know and we’ll add new sports betting terms to our list.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
A
Accumulator
Used mostly in European markets, this is the same as a parlay , with multiple bets tied together for a larger payout. All bets in the accumulator must win to pay out.
Across the Board
Wagering on a horse to win, place and show.
Action
A bet.
Agent
A person that places customers into a sportsbook for a commission.
Alternative line
A different point spread point spread or total from the standard line with adjusted vig to reflect the risk of that line.
Back Door Cover
When a team usually out of the game scores meaningless points to cover the spread.
American odds
Also known as moneyline odds or US odds, American odds display in hundreds and thousands with a plus (+) or minus (-) to reflect the Favorite /underdog and expected return. If a team is listed as a 5/1 underdog, they would be shown as +500 in American Odds. Convert odds using our odds converter tool
Arbitrage
A strategy that involves betting on both sides of a wager at different odds – most often at different sportsbooks – to guarantee a profit regardless of result.
Asian handicap
Seen in soccer betting and created due to the abundance of matches that end in a draw, Asian handicaps are set in full, half, and even quarter-goal increments and must win by a certain number of goals.
ATS
An acronym for “Against the Spread,” often used when citing a team’s record against the point spread in football or basketball.
B
Backdoor cover
A last-second cover due to a late score at the end of the game.
Bad beat
An improbable betting loss that usually happens late in the game.
Bankroll
A determined amount of money used for betting.
Bankroll management
A strategy around the size of bets and how those bets are placed. Also known as money management.
Beard
A person who makes bets for someone else. Also known as a runner.
Betting exchange
A place in which bettors wager against each other and set their own odds rather than bet against the book. The exchange takes a small percentage of those bets as an operating cost.
Bitcoin
A popular cryptocurrency used by many online sportsbooks and celebrated for its transfer speed, lack of regulations, and anonymity.
Bonus
A prize or promotion offered by a sportsbook to entice new sign-ups, deposits, or increase action on a certain game or market. These often come with stipulations and rules.
Book/Bookie/Bookmaker
A person who takes bets.
Buying points
Adding points to a point spread or total, which comes with adjusted vig to match the risk.
C
Cash out
Withdraw your winnings from a sportsbook.
Chalk
The betting favorite.
Chalk eater
A person who bets only favorites.
Chasing/Chase
Trying to recoup money lost by erratically and rashly betting or increasing wager size.
Circle/Circle game
A game where the betting limits are lowered, usually due to injuries, weather, or other uncertainties.
Closing line
The final set of odds for an event before sportsbooks take it off the board for betting.
Consensus
The more popular side of a bet. The Covers Consensus shows the percentage of bets placed on one side.
Contrarian
Someone who bets against public opinion, consensus percentages, or the popular option.
Correlated parlay
A parlay in which the bets involved are connected in some way, such as parlaying a big favorite to cover and betting Over the total, knowing that the team will need to score a lot to cover the spread.
Cover
A team winning against the spread. Often referred to as “covering the spread”.
Cross-sport prop
A prop bet that includes results from two different sports. Most often bet during big events such as the Super Bowl.
D
Decimal odds
Sometimes referred to as European odds , these are displayed in decimal numbers such as 1.91. Decimal odds show the full return (win plus original wager) for a $1 bet. Convert odds using our odds converter tool
Degenerate
A compulsive gambler.
Dime
In betting terms, $1,000.
Dime line
Used when describing American odds with a 10-cent difference between the two lines. Viewed in dollar and cents, -115/+105 is looked at as $1.15/$1.05 – a 10 cent difference.
Dog
Dollar
In betting terms, $100.
Double chance
A type of bet that allows two options to be graded as a winner. Most commonly found in soccer, bettors can take a team to win or draw at adjusted odds.
Draw
Tie game or match, most often a betting option in soccer and combat sports.
E
Early cash out
An online sportsbook option to collect partial winnings before a bet has officially been decided.
Earn
Percentage hold.
Edge
The advantage a bettor may perceive to have over the book.
European odds
Sometimes referred to as decimal odds, these are displayed in decimal numbers such as 1.91. European odds show the full return (win plus original wager) for a $1 bet. Convert odds using our odds converter tool
Even money
A wager on which a side lays no juice or vigorish.
Exacta
A horse racing bet in which you pick the two horses to finish first and second.
Exotic
Any wager other than a straight bet or parlay. Also referred to as a proposition or prop.
Expected value (EV)
A measurement for expected wins or losses over the long term. Positive Expected Value (+EV) will provide long-term profits. Negative Expected Value (-EV) will provide long-term losses.
Exposure
The maximum amount of money a sportsbook stands to lose on a game. Also known as liability.
F
Favorite
The team or person expected to win.
Field
Found as an option in futures odds, allowing bettors to take all other options outside of the specific teams or player odds listed by the book.
First-Half/First-Quarter line
A set of odds graded solely on the first-half or first-quarter outcome of an event or game.
Flat
Refers to a standard -110 line on either side of a bet.
Form
A tabloid used for horse racing data.
Fractional odds
Displaying odds in fractions, such as 3/1. A 3/1 favorite pays out $1 for every $3 risked while a 3/1 underdog pays out $3 for every $1 risked. Most commonly found in horse racing. Convert odds using our odds converter tool
Futures
A futures bet is a type of wager placed on a long-running result, such as how many wins a team will have in a season or the odds to win the championship.
G
Getting down
Placing a bet.
Giving the points
Betting the favorite.
Grand salami
An Over/Under bet based on the collective points, goals, or runs scored for all the games on a day’s schedule.
H
Halftime line
A set of odds released at the half of a game based solely on the second-half result. Also known as a second-half line.
Handicapper
A person who studies factors such as statistics, injuries, weather, and news to predict the outcome of games.
Handle
The total amount of money wagered at a sportsbook, either overall, on a certain sport, or on a single game.
Heater
A winning streak.
Hedge
Wagering on the opposite side of an existing bet to guarantee a profit, regardless of the result.
High roller
A bettor that wagers large sums of money.
Hold
The amount of money the sportsbook wins after they pay out winning bets.
Home-field/Home-court advantage
A perceived point value in the spread favoring the host team. Home-field advantage in football is often perceived as three points or a field goal.
Hook
The half-point (.5) in point spreads. Betting with the hook eliminates the chances of a push.
I
In-play/In-game/In-running
Betting markets that constantly adjust during an event, allowing you to bet on a game while it’s being played live.
In the money
A horse racing term for a horse that finishes first, second, or third (win, place, show).
J
Juice
The cost of making a bet which is the commission the sportsbook holds. Also known as vig, vigorish, or price. For example, most point spread bets have -110 juice.
K
Key numbers
Usually seen in football, due to its scoring increments (3, 6, 7, 10). Point spreads are often set around these key numbers.
L
Laying the price/points
Playing a favorite.
Layoff
Money bet by a sportsbook with another bookmaker to reduce its liability.
Liability
The amount of money the sportsbooks stands to lose on a particular side of a bet. Also known as exposure.
Limit
The maximum amount of money accepted for one bet.
Line movement
Adjustments made to the betting odds by a sportsbook, based on the handle, liability, injuries, trades, weather, and other influencing factors.
Linemaker
Someone who sets the betting odds. Also known as an oddsmaker.
Lines
The odds of a game (also referred to as price).
Live betting
Also known as in-play/in-game/in-running. Betting on an event as it happens.
Live odds
Odds markets that constantly adjust during an event.
Lock
Used to describe an easy winner or a can't-lose bet.
Long shot
A bet with a small win probability.
M
Matador
A cover that occurs in the last moments of the game (also known as a backdoor cover).
Matchup page
A detailed page with stats and information comparing two sides of a game for handicapping purposes. Check out our NFL Matchups page as an example.
Middle/Middling
Betting both sides of a game at different price with the hope of winning both wagers. Example: If a bettor played Chicago (-4) and Los Angeles (+6) and Chicago won by five points, the result would land in the middle of those two spreads and the bettor would win both bets.
Money management
A system or set of rules bettors follow when it comes to the bet size, total amount risked, and how their money will be divided between certain types of bets. Also known as bankroll management.
Moneyline
A moneyline bet is a wager on the outright winner with odds based on a team’s chances of winning.
Moose
An extremely bad last-second loss.
Mush
A bettor who is bad luck.
N
Nap
The best bet of the day. From the card game Napoleon in which the “nap” is the best hand.
Newbie/Noob
A person who is new to sports betting.
Nickel
In betting terms, $500
Novelty odds
Betting markets on non-sporting events, such as Oscars, TV, or pop culture.
O
Odds-on favorite
An overwhelming favorite that is listed at a price higher than even money (+100), set at -101 or higher.
Oddsmaker
Someone who sets the sports betting odds. Also known as a linemaker.
Off the board (OTB)
A game that bookmakers are not accepting bets on (generally because of injuries/weather/uncertainties).
Opening line
The first set of odds posted for an event or market by a sportsbook.
Out
A place to make a bet.
Over
Betting above the projected total.
Overlay
A situation in which the odds on a game favor the bettor, rather than the house.
Over/Under
The Over/Under, also known as a totals bet, is a popular market where bettors wager on whether a final score will go Over or under the projected total.
P
Parlay
A parlay is a single wager placed on multiple bets. The more bets added to the parlay, the bigger the potential win. However, all bets involved must win for the parlay to pay out.
Past post/Past posting
A bet made after the start of a game or horse race.
Payout
Money won from a bet.
Pick/Pick'em (PK)
A very close game where neither team is favored by the point spread, allowing bettors to simply pick the outright winner.
Point spread
A point spread, or simply “the spread”, is a sports betting number made by oddsmakers at sportsbooks that serves as a handicap between two opponents. Because not all teams are equal in skill, oddsmakers use spread betting to level the playing field.
Price
The odds or line on a game.
Print sheet
A print sheet is a list of stats and information often found printed alongside the betting odds pages for that day’s games. Most sportsbooks offer print sheets.
Professional handicapper
Someone who bets on sports for a living. Covers Experts is a professional handicapper service.
Prop bet/Props
Short for proposition bet, a Prop Bet is a wager placed outside of the standard sides and totals, such as player performances or team stats throughout a game.
Public/Public money
Used to describe the casual gamblers which make up the bulk of the bets placed.
Puck line
The Puck Line is hockey’s version of the point spread. Usually set at 1.5 goals.
Punter
A sports bettor. More commonly used in the United Kingdom.
Puppy/Pup
Push
A tie. Your bet is refunded.
Q
Quarter lines
A set of odds solely graded on the outcome of the first quarter of a game. In-game betting will offer quarter lines on second, third, and fourth-quarter results.
R
Reduced juice
Often a promotion by sportsbooks offering shorter vig than the standard -110 flat rate, such as -105 per side.
Reverse line movement
When there are more bets on one side, but the line is moving in the opposite direction, indicating that more money is wagered on the other side.
ROI (Return on Investment)
Measurement for gain/loss on an investment relative to the amount invested.
Rotation number
The rotation number is an ID number assigned to each betting option available.
Round robin
A single ticket that consists of more than one parlay.
Run line
The run line is baseball’s version of the point spread. Usually set at 1.5 runs.
Runner
One who places bets for another. Also known as a beard.
S
Scalper
See arbitrage. A strategy that involves betting on both sides of a wager at different odds – most often at different sportsbooks or at a betting exchange – to increase win probability and guarantee a profit regardless of result.
Scamdicapper
A tout that gives outlandish promises about win percentages and expectations.
Score
A big win.
Sharp
A sophisticated or professional sports bettor.
Sharp money/Sharp action
Wagers placed by sharp or professional bettors.
Soft line
A line with perceived value by the sports bettor.
Sportsbook
A place (physical or online) that takes bets on sporting events and pays out winnings. Check out our top listings page for the best online sportsbooks in your region.
Spread
Short for point spread.
Square
A novice or new sports bettor.
Stake
Money wagered on a bet.
Steam
When large amounts of money are bet on one side of a game and the line moves rapidly.
Straight bet
One wager (as opposed to a parlay).
Straight up (SU)
Betting on a team to win outright. Also known as a moneyline bet.
Sucker bet
A bet with a low chance of winning or one with a high hold for the sportsbook.
Superfecta
A horse racing bet in which you pick the first, second, third, and fourth-place finishers.
Sweat/Sweating
A bet that comes down to the last second.
T
Taking the points
Betting on an underdog.
Tapped out
Out of money.
Teaser
A teaser is a type of bet where you get to adjust the point spread in your favor.
Tilt
Reacting to losses with erratic bets. Also known as “betting on tilt” in poker.
Total
A number put up by a bookmaker on a game where the player bets either Over or under the number of runs, points, or goals scored in that game.
Tout (service)
A person (or company) that either sells or gives away selections on games.
Trends
Short and long-term patterns in performance, often against the spread or Over/Under when used in betting context.
Trifecta
A horse racing bet in which you pick the first, second, and third-place finishers.
Tweeners
A sportsbook that has all its numbers in the middle of all other books.
U
Under
Betting below the projected total.
Underdog
The team or person expected to lose.
Underlay
A situation in which the odds on a game favor the house, rather than the bettor. Opposite of overlay.
Uniforms
Referees/officials.
V
Value
Vig/Vigorish
The vig/vigorish is an amount of commission kept by the house. Also called juice.
W
Wager
A bet.
Welch
Not pay out a bet.
Wise guy
A savvy or professional bettor. Also known as a sharp or smart money.
X
X-sport prop
A prop bet that includes results from two different sports. Most often bet during big events like the Super Bowl. Also known as a cross-sport prop.
Y
Yankee tax
An additional buffer that oddsmakers add when setting odds for popular or public teams, knowing that those teams will draw a lot of action. Named after the New York Yankees.
Z
Zebras
Referees.

Sports betting terms FAQs

SU means straight up or betting a team to win outright.

A pony is a horse in betting terms.

A nap is the best bet of the day.

There’s some belief the term bet is rooted in the French word “abeter” which means “to bait”, which was shortened to “abet” which means “to urge on or incite”.

A bet can also be called a wager or risk.

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