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Betting Vocabulary for Newbies

Get familiar with all the terminology used in the world of gambling.

Published on 15 Feb 2023

Anyone who has never placed a bet in their life will quickly learn that there is a certain vocabulary used in the sports betting industry. This must be mastered before venturing onto a bookmaker’s website. Get familiar with all the terminology used in the world of gambling.

What are the Types of Sports Bets and Definitions

Learn the ins and outs of sports betting, from parlays and teasers to prop bets and all the lingo you need to know.

Straight Bet

A straight bet is a single wager placed on the outcome of a game or event without regard to any spread or money line.

Futures Bet

Futures bets are wagers put on upcoming events, such as the outcome of the Super Bowl or Stanley Cup Final in professional football or ice hockey the following year.

Parlay Bet

A parlay bet is a single wager that combines the outcomes of two or more separate wagers into a single one. All of the player’s wagers will be for naught if he or she loses a single one. If the player is successful with all of the wagers in the parlay, the payout will be more than if the player had placed the wagers individually.

Propositions-Prop Bets

“Prop” bets, or proposition bets, are wagers on the results of certain scenarios within a game. Popular games with a lot of fans typically have props available. Sunday and Monday night NFL games, as well as other important collegiate bowl games, playoffs, and championships, fall under this category.

Teaser Bet

In football and basketball, a teaser is a sort of wager in which the player bets on multiple games when the point spread has been moved to the player’s advantage. A football player has the option of changing the point spread by 6, 6.5, 7, 10, or 14 points (10 and 14 point teasers ties lose). Sportsbooks typically offer 4-, 5-, and 6-point basketball teasers.

Round Robin Bet

A round-robin bet strategy is simply a sequence of parlays. The three-team parlay “round robin” is actually made up of two-team parlays (A + B, A + C, and B + C).

Money Line Bet

The money line is the point spread-free odds on a team’s straight-up victory. A three-digit number represents the money line. If the odds are -150, then the gambler must wager $150 to win $100, or $15 to win $10, and so on.

Point Spread

Point spread wagers account for a lion’s share of the sports betting market. For the favored side to “cover the spread,” they must win by at least the point spread margin. In most cases, 11-to-10 odds are provided for point spread bets. In order to win $100, a player would have to place a stake of $11, for a total payoff of $21.

Sports Betting Slangs

If you’re newbie in the sports betting industry and want to get a better understanding of this rapidly growing profession, continue reading to become familiar with some of the most prevalent lingo and phrases used in the industry.

  • Accumulator

Similar to a parlay, but more common in European markets, this involves tying together many wagers in the hopes of a higher reward. To collect on an accumulator wager, all of the individual wagers must also win.

  • Across the Board

Put money on the horse to win, place, and show.

  • Action

A bet.

  • Agent

A person who, for a fee, brings new consumers to a sportsbook

  • American odds

It is also called moneyline odds or US odds, and it is given in thousands with a plus (+) or minus (-) to show the favorite or underdog and the expected return. An underdog squad of 5/1 would be displayed as +500 in American odds.

  • Arbitrage

When a bettor backs the underdog and the underdog wins, depending on the odds offered by many bookmakers (often in the case of sports events).Asian Handicap

Because soccer games often end in a tie, Asian handicaps require the winning team to win by a certain amount. These advantages can be whole goals, half goals, or even quarter goals.

  • ATS

“ATS” stands for “Against the Spread” and is commonly used to describe a team’s performance in football or basketball when compared to the point spread.

  • Backdoor cover

Coverage at the final buzzer thanks to a late-game score.

  • Bad beat

Incredibly late-game betting losses that defy logic.

  • Bankroll

A fixed sum of money used for gambling.

  • Bankroll management

A plan based on the number and placement of wagers. Accounting for one’s financial resources is another name for financial management.

  • Beard

One who wagers on behalf of another. Also called a runner.

  • Betting exchange

The practice of betting against other players at agreed-upon odds rather than the house As a means of covering overhead, the exchange takes a modest cut of all wagers.

  • Bitcoin

This cryptocurrency is widely accepted at online sportsbooks. It is known for its fast transactions, lack of oversight, and complete anonymity.

  • Bonus

A bonus or other incentive issued by a sportsbook in an effort to attract new customers encourages depositing or boosting wagering on a particular sport or market. Usually, there are restrictions and requirements attached to this.

  • Book/Bookie/Bookmaker

Somebody who accepts wagers.

  • Buying points

Points added to a spread or total have a vig that is risk-adjusted.

  • Cash out

Withdraw the funds from your sportsbook account.

  • Chalk

The frontrunner in any odds.

  • Chalk eater

Someone who exclusively wagers on sure winners.

  • Chasing/Chase

Attempting to recoup a loss by raising the size of bets or betting unpredictably.

  • Circle/Circle game

Due to injuries, bad weather, or other factors, the stakes for a given game are reduced.

  • Closing line

The last odds posted for a game before bookmakers pull the plug.

  • Consensus

The most common position in a wager. As Seen On: The Jackets The percentage of bets that have been placed on one side is represented by the consensus.

  • Contrarian

Someone who takes a stand contrary to the majority view or the most widely held belief.

  • Correlated parlay

Betting on a heavy favorite to cover and another bet on a second team to win is an example of a connected parlay. With the team needing a lot of points to cover the spread, the over is a good bet.

  • Cover

The triumph of an underdog squad over the oddsmakers. Covering the spread is a common term for this.

  • Cross-sport prop

A proposition wager that incorporates the outcomes of two sports. Most wagers are placed on major sporting events like the Super Bowl.

  • Decimal odds

These odds, shown in decimal form, such as 1.91, are also referred to as European odds. For a $1 bet, the whole return (win plus initial wager) is displayed in decimal odds. Use our handy odds calculator to make the switch.

  • Dime

Money-wise, that’s equivalent to a $1000 bet.

  • Dime line

Refers to American odds where the spread between the two lines is ten cents. When converted to cents, the difference between -115 and +105 is $10.

  • Dog

An outsider or underdog.

  • Dollar

A wager of $100.

  • Double chance

A wager in which either of two outcomes can be considered correct. Betting on a team to win or draw at modified odds is a prominent betting option in soccer.

  • Draw

The opportunity to wager on a tie game or match is most common in soccer and mixed martial arts betting.

  • Early cash out

A feature of some online sportsbooks that lets you take some of your earnings before the entire wager is settled.

  • Earn

Percentage hold.

  • Edge

The perceived benefit a bettor has over the book.

  • European odds

European odds, sometimes known as decimal odds, use decimal representations such as 1.91. For a $1 stake, the whole return (win plus original wager) is displayed in European odds. Use our handy odds calculator to make the switch.

  • Even money

The placement of no juice or vigorish on a wager.

  • Exacta

A wager in which the winner and runner-up horses are selected in a horse race.

  • Exotic

Any kind of bet that isn’t a straight bet or a parlay. Also called a “prop” for short.

  • Expected value (EV)

A statistic used to predict long-term success or failure. Long-term success can be achieved by aiming for a positive expected value (+EV). Long-term losses can be anticipated from an EV of -.

  • Exposure

How much a sportsbook can lose on a game if the bets don’t win. Liability is another word for it.

  • Favorite

The favorite to triumph; the favorite team or player.

  • Field

Discovered in futures odds, this feature gives punters the opportunity to wager on events whose outcomes are not yet known but which are not limited to the odds offered by any individual club or player.

  • First-Half/First-Quarter line

A betting line that is based exclusively on the results of the first half of the game or the first quarter.

  • Flat

It means a -110 spread, when the house edge is -110 on both sides of a bet.

  • Form

Informational tabloid primarily used for horse races.

  • Fractional odds

Showing odds as a decimal, such as 3/1. When betting on a favorite, you receive $1 for every $3 you wager, whereas when betting on an underdog, you receive $3 for every $1 you wager. Typically used in the context of horse racing. Use our handy odds calculator to make the switch.

  • Getting down

Laying a wager.

  • Giving the points

Picking the winning horse.

  • Grand salami

A wager on the total number of points, goals, or runs scored throughout all games scheduled for a given day.

  • Halftime line

Post-halftime odds are those that are determined exclusively by the outcome of the second half of play. A second-half line is a variant of this term.

  • Handicapper

A person whose job it is to forecast the outcome of games based on a variety of criteria, including but not limited to statistics, injuries, weather, and news.

  • Handle

The sum of money bet on a sporting event, a specific sport, or the entire season.

  • Heater

Success one after another.

  • Hedge

Placing a wager on the opposing side of an existing one to ensure a profit no matter what the outcome.

  • High roller

One who regularly risks substantial sums of money on bets.

  • Hold

Payouts made by a bookmaker after covering losing wagers.

  • Home-field/Home-court advantage

A point spread that is regarded to be more favorable to the home team. In football, three points or a field goal is commonly associated with having home-field advantage.

  • Hook

The point difference between two teams is half a point (.5). In poker, the possibility of a push is nullified by betting with the hook.

  • In-play/In-game/In-running

Live in-play betting is possible because of dynamic betting markets that change as the game progresses.

  • In the money

In horse racing, a “placed” horse is one that comes in either first, second, or third (win, place, show).

  • Juice

The commission a sportsbook takes from each wager. Similar to vigorish or price. To give just one example, the “juice” on point spread bets is typically -110.

  • Key numbers

Because of the dramatic increase in stakes, this is a common occurrence in football (3, 6, 7, 10). These are the primary numbers around which point spreads are established.

  • Laying the price/points

Being partial to one side.

  • Layoff

Sportsbooks sometimes use prop bets with other bookmakers to spread their risk.

  • Liability

How much money can be lost by the sportsbooks if a certain bet is lost. It’s another name for exposure.

  • Limit

This is the highest possible wager.

  • Line movement

Variations in betting lines made by a sportsbook in response to changes in the handle, liability, injuries, trades, and weather.

  • Linemaker

One who decides the odds at a casino. A bookmaker is someone who takes bets.

  • Lines

The odds on a game (also known as the price).

  • Live betting

The equivalents of “in-play” include “in-game” and “in-running,” respectively. Placing wagers on the outcome of a game or race in real time.

  • Live odds

Constantly shifting odds markets.

  • Lock

It’s a term for a sure thing or a wager that can’t possibly go wrong.

  • Long shot

One with a low chance of success.

  • Matador

A disguise attempted in the waning seconds of play (also known as a backdoor cover).

  • Matchup page

A comprehensive page of statistics and information contrasting two teams in a game for the purpose of handicapping. Look at our NFL Predictions page as an illustration.

  • Middle/Middling

Putting money on both the winning and losing outcomes of a game at different odds. If a bettor played Chicago (-4) and Los Angeles (+6) and Chicago won by five points, the result would fall in the middle of the spreads, and the bettor would win both bets.

  • Money management

A betting method that specifies the amount per wager, the overall amount gambled, and the allocation of funds among several wagers. “Bankroll management” is another name for it.

  • Moose

A heartbreaking defeat in the nick of time.

  • Mush

One who has a string of bad luck in the betting department.

  • Nap

A sure bet for today. Nap comes from the card game Napoleon, in which a royal flush is the best possible hand.

  • Newbie/Noob

One who is unfamiliar with sports betting.

  • Nickel

In the context of wagering, $500

  • Novelty odds

Betting exchanges for things that aren’t sports, such the Academy Awards, television, and the latest pop culture fad.

  • Odds-on favorite

A heavy favorite with a price lower than even money (+100), or a -101 or higher odds.

  • Oddsmaker

One who determines the wagering lines in sporting events. A linemaker is another name for this type of person.

  • Off-the-board (OTB)

A sporting event in which bookies refuse to take wagers due to insufficient information (often due to player injury or bad weather).

  • Opening line

The opening line is the sportsbook’s initial set of odds for a certain event or market.

  • Out

A place where wagers are made.

  • Over

Placing wagers in excess of the posted total.

  • Overlay

When the player has better odds than the house has in a wager.

  • Over/Under

Many bettors enjoy placing wagers on whether the final score will be Over or Under the posted total, a market known as the Over/Under or totals bet.

  • Past post/Past posting

A wager is placed after the beginning of a contest.

  • Payout

Profit from a wager.

  • Pick/Pick’em (PK)

A close game when the point spread makes it impossible to select a winner other than the outright winner.

  • Professional handicapper

A gambler who makes a living off of wagers on sporting events.

  • Public/Public money

Used to characterize the majority of bettors (casual gamblers).

  • Puck line

In ice hockey, the Puck Line functions similarly to the point spread in other sports. standard of 1.5 goals.

  • Punter

One who wagers on sporting events. In the UK, you’ll hear this expression more often.

  • Puppy/Pup

An outsider or underdog.

  • Quarter lines

A betting spread that is based entirely on the results of the first 15 minutes of play. Quarter lines on the second, third, and fourth quarter outcomes will be available for wagering during the game itself.

  • Reduced juice

Sportsbooks may advertise reduced vig rates (less than the normal -110 flat fee), such as -105 per side.

  • Reverse line movement

When more money is being placed on the other side of the bet, yet the line is advancing in the opposite way.

  • Rotation number

Rotation numbers are unique identifiers for each betting choice.

  • Run line

In baseball, the point spread is known as the run line. In most cases, 1.5 runs will do.

  • Runner

A person who wagers on behalf of another. Generally referred to as a beard.

  • Scalper

A method of increasing the likelihood of a victory and guaranteeing a profit regardless of the outcome by placing bets on both sides of a wager at various odds (often at different sportsbooks or on a betting exchange).

  • Scamdicapper

A charlatan who guarantees impossible odds of winning.

  • Score

The victory was decisive.

  • Sharp

One who regularly engages in sports betting and typically does it at a high level of expertise.

  • Sharp money/Sharp action

Bets made by experienced gamblers.

  • Soft line

A line that the sports bettor believes to have value.

  • Sportsbook

A location (real or virtual) that accepts and pays out wins from sports wagers. To find the best local online sportsbooks, have a look at our top listings page.

  • Square

Someone who is new to betting on sports.

  • Steam

This occurs when a lot of money is bet on one side of the game, causing the line to shift quickly.

  • Straight up (SU)

A wager on a team’s complete victory. A bet on the moneyline is simply another name for this type of wager.

  • Superfecta

A wager in which the winner, runner-up, and finisher are all chosen for a horse race.

  • Sweat/Sweating

A wager that must be settled at the very last minute.

  • Taking the points

Taking a chance on an underdog.

  • Tapped out

No more available funds; broke.

  • Tilt

Bets are made erratically as a reaction to losses. Betting while angry, or “tilting” in poker lingo.

  • Total

A wager on whether or not the total number of runs, points, or goals scored in a game will be more than or less than the posted total by the bookmaker.

  • Tout (service)

One who deals in game picks, either for profit or for free.

  • Trends

Both short- and long-term performance trends are taken into account, with the latter being measured against the spread or the Over/Under in a betting scenario.

  • Trifecta

A wager in which the winner, runner-up, and place-getter are all chosen in a horse race.

  • Tweeners

That sportsbook whose odds are exactly even with those of every other book.

  • Under

Bets placed below the over/under line.

  • Underdog

Who is predicted to come out on the losing end.

  • Underlay

The one in which the house has a statistical advantage over the bettor. Contrary to an overlay.

  • Uniforms


  • Value

An overlay

  • Vig/Vigorish

The house takes a commission, called the vig or vigorish. “juice” is another name for this.

  • Wager

A bet.

  • Wise guy

One who bets with skill or as a career. Smart money is another name for a savvy investor.

  • X-sport prop

A two-sport prop bet, in which the outcomes of both sports are considered. Major events, such as the Super Bowl, are prime betting opportunities. A cross-sport prop is a term used in many different types of sports.

  • Yankee tax

A cushion added to the odds for favored teams by bookmakers in anticipation of heavy wagering on certain selections. Taking its inspiration from the New York baseball team’s names.

  • Zebras

Referees or officials

Where to Bet on Sports?

You may rely on sportsbooks, bookmakers, bookies, and turf accountants to provide you with the most up-to-the-minute odds on wagers including the National Football League, Major League Baseball, electronic sports, ice hockey, and horse racing. There are more than two hundred online bookies operating across the world, thus, Free Betting Reviews compiled a list of the five best bookmakers to assist you in selecting the top sportsbooks possible.

  • MyBookie
  • bet0bet
  • CyberBet
  • Stake
  • Ole777

There is a vocabulary exclusive to the world of sports betting. Save your passion for your bets if you’re new to sports betting and don’t know what people are saying. By becoming familiar with these phrases used in sports betting, you will be able to become a more skilled sports bettor and steer clear of typical betting mistakes.

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