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Sports Betting Glossary

  • Across the Board – Wagering on a horse to Win, Place or Show.
  • Action – Generic term for the amount of bets placed on a game or sporting event. Also refers to a baseball wager with no pitchers listed.
  • ATS (Against the Spread) – A term used to indicate the betting result of an event that takes the point spread into account.
  • Bad Beat – A loss that appeared to be a win before taking a turn for the worse.
  • Beard – Somebody who places bets for you but conceals their identity.
  • Book – Short for “sportsbook,” a book is an establishment that accepts wagers on sporting events.
  • Bookmaker/Bookie – A group or individual that takes bets on a sporting event.
  • Buck – A $100 wager or “buck” bet.
  • Buy Points – The ability a bettor has to pay for a half-point or more off the spread.
  • Chalk – The favored team or athlete, also known as the favorite.
  • Circled Game – A game in which there are lower limits due to injuries or weather.
  • Cover – The act of winning by enough to beat the point spread, in which case you have “covered the spread.”
  • Dime – A $1,000 wager or “dime” bet.
  • Dime Line – A betting line in which the “juice” or “vig” is 10 percent.
  • Dog – A shortened version of underdog, the team expected to lose.
  • Dollar – Similar to a “buck” bet or $100 wager.
  • Edge – The perceived advantage a sports bettor has before wagering.
  • Even Money – A bet without “juice” or “vig” associated with it (i.e. bet $100 to win $100)
  • Favorite – The team or individual expected to win a sporting event based on the point spread or moneyline.
  • Futures – A bet on a sporting event taking place well into the future, such as wagering on a team to win the championship during the regular season or even preseason.
  • Handicapping – Researching sports and specifically statistics to try and pick winners. People that handicap sports are known as “handicappers.”
  • Hedging – Betting on the opposite side of a current wager to minimize losses or guarantee a small profit.
  • Hook – A half-point.
  • Juice – Commission that the sportsbook earns on bets wagered.
  • Laying the Points – Betting the favorite by giving up points ATS.
  • Limit – The highest amount of money a sportsbook will take on a single bet.
  • Lines – Another word used for odds to describe a point spread or moneyline.
  • Linemaker – Someone who sets the original or opening line on a sporting event, also known as an “oddsmaker.”
  • Listed Pitchers – The pitchers in a baseball bet that must start for action. If one or both of the pitchers do not start, the bet is void or cancelled.
  • Lock – A supposed easy winner or large favorite.
  • Longshot – A team or athlete that is considered unlikely to win or large underdog.
  • Moneyline – A wager selecting a team or athlete to win straight-up without a point spread involved.
  • Nickel – A $500 wager or “nickel” bet.
  • Nickel Line – A betting line in which the “juice” or “vig” is 5 percent.
  • No Action – A wager that is cancelled with money refunded back to the bettor.
  • Off the Board – A game bettors cannot currently wager on due to certain circumstances.
  • Over – When the amount of combined points/goals/runs scored by two teams finishes above the total posted by a sportsbook.
  • Over/Under – A bet on whether the combined points/goals/runs scored by two teams will go Over or Under a number specified by the sportsbook (also called the “total”).
  • Parlay – A bet in which multiple sporting events are selected, each of which must win in order for the parlay wager to pay off.
  • Pick’em – A game in which there is no favorite or underdog and the side simply needs to win straight-up without a point spread.
  • Point Spread – A set amount of points determined by the oddsmaker that the favorite gives or the underdog takes as a handicap to make the game more even.
  • Puckline – A point spread of -1.5 or +1.5 in a hockey game with additional moneyline values for the favorite and underdog, respectively.
  • Prop Bet – An exotic wager on a game or sporting event beyond the side and total.
  • Push – When a game ends with no winner or loser from a betting perspective, landing right on the number based on the point spread or total.
  • Runline - A point spread of -1.5 or +1.5 in a baseball game with additional moneyline values for the favorite and underdog, respectively.
  • Sharp – A “smart” bettor who seemingly knows more about wagering strategies.
  • Side – The team (favorite or underdog) a bettor wagers on to win and cover ATS.
  • Spread – Short for “point spread.”
  • Straight Bet – A single wager on just one team or athlete.
  • Square – A “novice” bettor who is generally characterized as the “public.”
  • Steam – A rapid change in the betting line due to heavy wagering.
  • Taking the Points – Betting the underdog by receiving the points ATS.
  • Teaser – Like a parlay, but the point spreads are adjusted more to favor the bettor, giving less on a favorite or taking more on an underdog in exchange for a lower payout.
  • Total – The combined points/goals/runs scored by two teams in a sporting event.
  • Under – When the amount of combined points/goals/runs scored by two teams finishes below the total posted by a sportsbook.
  • Underdog – The team or individual expected to lose a sporting event based on the point spread or moneyline.
  • Vigorish – Another word for bookmakers’ commission or “juice” aka “vig” for short.
  • Wiseguy – Similar to a “sharp” or “smart” bettor who is well-informed and knowledgeable.