Betting Terminology

  1. Betting Terminology
  2. Betting Terminology Explained
  3. Betting Terminology Spread

Whether you’re a beginner who needs sports betting explained or a veteran who just wants to brush up on sports betting terms and sports betting terminology, this is the ultimate guide to bringing in the big bucks from betting on sports. Other Horse Racing Betting Terminology to Know. A Win Bet – Exactly what it sounds like: A bet to select the winner of the race. A Place Bet – Pays you back if the horse you select finishes first or second in the race.

Like many other industries, the sports betting world has its own jargon and many terms, lingo can be confusing. Our Sports Betting 101 Glossary provides a quick and simple definition of often-used terms that you may read on or hear at your local sportsbook.

Sports Betting Resources and Terms

Action: Any bet.

Added Game: A matchup that is not part of the daily betting rotation. 'Added Games' are often make-up or rescheduled games that were expected to be played on a previous date. In pro baseball, it's likely Game 2 of an unscheduled double-header from a rainout.

Alternate lines: 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.

Betting Terminology

ATS: Against the spread

Arbitrage: Savvy bettors who try to scalp the market by playing both sides of a particular matchup, with hopes of cashing a middle. The hope is to guarantee getting money back regardless of the outcome.

Bankroll: The total amount of money a bettor can spend on a betting app.

Beard: Messenger bettor, used at brick and mortar casinos and sportsbooks if the real bettor wishes to remain anonymous.

Beef: Dispute

Betting Trends: Stats that show the total amount of money wagered on a game

Buck: $100

Buying Points: Paying additional money to move the point-spread in a direction of your preference. Often used in football, bettors will buy 'on' or 'off' key numbers to avoid losing by a point or two.

Chalk: Favorite in a game by a large margin

Chalk Eater:Bettor who is known for betting on the favorites consistently

Churn: The effect of betting and rebetting money, similar to Arbitrage

Circle Game: Game where action is limited due to uncertainties about weather, injuries, etc

Cover: Win by more than the point-spread

Dime: $1,000

Dollar: $100

Dog: Abbreviation for Underdog, team expected to lose the game

Draw: A tie, used often in Soccer and sometimes in Boxing or Mixed Martial Arts

Earn: Practical hold percentage

Edge: Advantage

Even Money: When a selection has no juice or vig involved. A $100 wager will win $100, while normal wagers would make bettors lay $110 to win $100.

Exotic Bet: Action other than a straight bet or parlay, often unusual bets you won't see in many places. Can be listed under prop bets in sportsbooks.

Exposure: The amount of money the house actually stands to lose on a game or a race.

Extension: The amount of money the house theoretically will risk losing on a game or a race.

Favorite: The team in a sports betting matchup that is expected to win. In football and basketball, the favorite gives points while in moneyline sports, the favorite has to lay a higher price in order to cash a ticket.

Figure: Amount owed by or to a bookmaker

Firing: Betting a lot. A player who is 'firing' is wagering large sums

Fractional Odds: Not used commonly in the United States. These are odds used mainly in Europe. Odds are listed in fraction form (1/10) instead of as a moneyline (-100).

Futures: Wagers where bettors can invest in the future outcome of a team to win a particular event, even if it isn't in the near future. Example – bettors often choose a team to win the World Series or Super Bowl and receive higher payouts based on the numbers from the oddsmakers depending on how far out the event is.

Grand Salami: A popular NHL wager where bettors handicap the total number of goals scored in all games for one day. Some sportsbooks may offer alternate versions for home, away, or periods of games during the day. Some sportsbooks may offer a similar bet for runs in Major League Baseball but this is mostly used in hockey.

Gross Win: Win before expenses

Handicapper: One who studies sports and predicts outcomes of teams and players.

Handle: Total amount of bets taken

Hedge: Bet the opposite of your original wager in order to reduce the amount of action you have on a game

Hold: The percentage the house wins

Hook: Half point in point-spreads, as in 'lost by the hook'

Home Field Advantage: Edge the home team is expected to have as a result of familiarity with the playing area, favorable demographics and effect of travel on the visiting team

Hoops: Basketball

Hot Tip: Information the bookmaker is not yet privy to

In-Game Wagering: The ability to bet on a sporting event after the game has already started and until it concludes.Also known as live betting.

juice: Bookmaker's commission, most often refers to the 11 to 10 football bettors lay on straight wagers; vigorish

Key Numbers: Most often heard in pro football, the key numbers are the most common margins of the final outcome. The key numbers in the NFL are 3, 7 and 10 points.

Layoff Bet: A wager made by one bookmaker with another to help balance his action and reduce his potential risk or losses

Limit: Bet the opposite of your original wager in order to reduce the amount of action you have on a game

Betting Terminology

Line: The betting proposition on a game and/or payoff odds on the bet

Live Betting: See In-Game Wagering. Becoming more popular as most betting apps seem to have this feature now.

Lock: An easy betting win.

Long Shot: Large underdog

L3, L5, L10: Last Three, Last Five, Last 10

Marker: Credit offered at Casinos.

Moneyline: Used often in sports like baseball, hockey and soccer -- these odds are set on the straight up winner of the matchup. There is no point-spread with moneylines. Just pick the winner!

Middle: To win both sides of a game. For example, if you bet the underdog +3 1/2 and the favorite - 2 1/2 and the favorite wins by 3, you've MIDDLED the book. The book has BEEN MIDDLED.

Neutral Site: Arena, court or field where neither side has a home field advantage. For example the Super Bowl most years.

Nickel: $500

Odds: Numbers used to determine the favorite and underdog of a sporting match. Unless the game is a pick 'em, there is always a favorite or underdog.

O/U: Over/Under

Off the Board: Game where bets are no longer being accepted. This often happens when there is unknown about a key player's injury status.

Overlay: When the odds on a proposition are in favor of the bettor rather than the house

Parlay: A bet with two or more teams where all the teams must win for the bettor to be successful. The more events in a parlay, the more money there is to cash in on but the harder it becomes to win the wager.

Past Post: To make a bet after an event has started

Pick or Pick'em: A game where neither team is favored

Point-Spread: A number or line set by oddsmakers to provide an advantage or disadvantage based on the margin of victory or defeat for the teams in the matchup. There is always a favorite (-) and an underdog (+). The most popular type of betting in the United States, mainly used in both football and basketball.

Practical Hold Percentage: The amount won by a bookmaker divided by the total amount booked

Press: To bet a larger amount than usual

Public Dog: When betting trends lean heavily to an underdog

Public Trends: Betting Percentages showing money and ticket count for games

Puppy: Underdog

Push: Tie. The bettor doesn't win or lose money, almost as if the bet didn't happen (Parlays not included).

(ROI): Return on Investment.The amount of money you win on a wager, or your return on your investment or stake.

Reverse-Line Movement: When a line (point-spread) moves in the opposite direction of the betting percentages. Some pundits believe you can follow sharp money with reverse-line movement, especially when the trends and lines differ drastically.

Round Robin: A series of parlays. A three-team round robin consists of one three-team parlay and three two-team parlays

Rundown: Line update

Run-Line: A popular pro baseball wager where the favorite (-1.5) must win by two plus runs to win or the underdog (+1.5) must win or lose by less than two runs to win.

Runner: See Beard

Score: To win a lot of money

Scratch: Withdraw or cancel

Sharp bettors: Money wagered by bettors be 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.

Side: To win one side and tie the other. For example, if you lay -2 1/2 and take 3 on the same game and the favorite wins by 3 you have SIDED the book. The book has been SIDED

Steam: When the odds change because of the money wagered on a game or participant is primarily one-sided for a team. Some bettors will chase the steam thinking the other bettors know something they may not but instead they are just mostly all following the trend.

Straight Bet: A bet on just one team

Sucker Bet: Bet with a large house edge

system: When bettors and handicappers develop angles based on historical or seasonal stats.

Take a Price: Bet the underdog, take the points

Tapped Out: Broke, busted, common result of pressing

Teaser: A wager used in football and basketball that allows bettors to combine two or more selections together while adjusting the points on those selections.

Tissue Price: The initial odds offered by the sportsbook. This price is usually considered a much fairer deal for the bettor.

Toke: A tip or gratuity

Toss Up: Game where the line is close to a pick-em and either side is expected to win.

Tout Service: A business that sells opinions on sporting events

Trend: Daily, Weekly and Seasonal angles that bettors and handicappers often follow or fade in their wagers.

Triple Sharp: The sharpest of the sharp, (Note: There is no such term as 'Double Sharp')

Unit/s:Amount bet on a game.

Wager: A bet

Win Totals: A future wager that allows bettors to handicap the number of victories and losses of a team during the course of a regular season.

Underdog: The team in a sports betting matchup that is not expected to win. In football and basketball, the underdog receives points while in moneyline sports, the 'dog can net a positive return if it wins.

Underlay: When the odds on a proposition are in favor of the house

Value: An overlay

Wire-to-Wire Commonly seen in the NBA, a bet where a team will lead after every quarter for the entire game.

The time has come. Circa is soon opening the largest sportsbook in Vegas history, a sportsbook so big that the casino is built around it. And with the upcoming opening, it’s time to get back to basics and make sure you know everything there is to know about sports betting. Whether you’re a beginner who needs sports betting explained or a veteran who just wants to brush up on sports betting terms and sports betting terminology, this is the ultimate guide to bringing in the big bucks from betting on sports.

There is a lot of sports betting terminology to go through, but below are 40 of the basic definitions you should know.

Sports Betting Terms and Definitions



Action: This refers to any wager of any kind.

Against the Spread: Betting on the point spread in a particular matchup as opposed to the moneyline. Instead of focusing on who wins, this bet focuses on how teams play against a given spread.

Alternate Lines: Odds that are either higher or lower than the main posted line.


Bankroll: This is simply the number of available funds you have to bet with.

Three card poker odds. Bookmaker: The person or organization who is properly licensed to create the lines you bet on, as well as take bets.


Chalk: Betting on the favorite.

Closing Line: Where the point spread is at the start of the game.

Cover: A term related to betting against the spread. You win when you “cover” the point spread. If you bet on a three-point favorite and they win by seven, the spread has been covered.


Draw: This is when a game falls exactly on the spread, not over or under. No one wins in this scenario.

Drift: Moneylines that grow longer after the opening line is posted.


Edge: A betting advantage gained through research or having insights that are not known publicly.

Even Money: A wager that returns the same amount as was risked. For example, wagering $100 would win $100.


Favorite: The expected winner in a game or event.

Field: In many prop bets, you can bet on something that isn’t listed. This means you can pick a team or player to win that’s not specifically listed on the betting form.

Fixed Odds: Set odds in which once a wager is placed, the odds don’t change.

Future: You don’t necessarily have to bet on a game or event right before it starts. Many betters place a wager on a team to win the Super Bowl before the season even starts.


Grand Salami: Over/Under odds that are placed on the total goals/runs/points scored in all of the games, from a specific league, on any given day.


Handicapper: An analyst who observes sports events to predict the winning team or player.

Hedging: A tactic that allows you to bet on the opposite side of the wager you already place. This can help stem your losses a bit.


Juice: A small commission attached to the odds set by bookmakers. Another term for vigorish.


Laying Points: The act of placing your bet on a favorite.

Lines: Another way to refer to betting odds.


Middle: Cashing tickets on both sides of a betting option when a point spread moves up or down prior to a match.

Moneyline: A term mostly for sports like baseball and hockey. Because there’s so few runs or goals scored, this allows you to bet on whether a team is going to win or not.


Off the Board: An event you can’t bet on. Sometimes, sportsbooks will take an event out of the betting possibility because there’s something affecting the game, like the weather.

Opening Line: The first point spread available for a game.

Over/Under: The total amount of points or runs scored in the game. A number will be given. Let’s say it’s a baseball game and the over/under is six. If you bet the under, you’re banking on the two teams scoring a combined total of fewer than six runs.

Betting Terminology Explained


Parlay: A bet where bettors aren’t necessarily restricted to just one bet. You can tie at least two together and all the events need to happen to get the payoff. It’s hard to pull off, but it comes with a potentially massive payday.

Pick ‘Em: A bet that takes place when the teams are so close, no individual one is favored. This just means the line is zero.

Point Spread: Odds posted on a game to help indicate favorites indicated with – odds, and underdogs indicated with + odds.

Proposition Bet: Better known as a prop bet, this is a wager on something other than the outcome. It can be something related to the game, like the over/under on rushing yards, or something silly, like how long the national anthem will take to be sung.

Proxy: An individual or group who places bets for non-local bettors who may be unable to place bets in person.

Push: This is when there’s no winner at the end of a contest, usually when the favorite wins by the exact spread.


Real-Time Odds: Odds aren’t stagnant. They move back and forth based on new information. These are the live lines that reflect that movement.


Sharp: Professional sports bettor who uses vast resources to determine wagers.

Stake: The amount of money a gambler risks when placing a bet.


Tip: Betting advice offered by tipsters and handicappers to predict the most likely outcome of an event.

Tipster: A person or group who offers sports betting advice.


Underdog: Sometimes referred to as the “dog,” this is who bookmakers think will lose.


Wager: This refers to any type of bet.

Applying the Sports Betting Terminology

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Betting Terminology Spread

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