GLOSSARY OF SPORTS BETTING/WAGERING TERMS
Across the Board: A method of wagering on a horse to win, place and show.
Action: Having a wager on a game.
Added Game: A game that is not part of the regular Las Vegas scheduled rotation. Oftentimes this will be a rescheduled game or the second game of a doubleheader.
Against the Spread (ATS): Refers to taking or laying points (aka the spread) as opposed to taking a game straight-up.
Arbitrage: The simultaneous purchase and sale of the same game in different markets to profit from unequal prices.
Backdoor Cover: When a team scores points at the end of a game to cover the spread unexpectedly.
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).
Bankroll: The available funds you have to bet with.
Beard: Someone who places bets but is looking to conceal their identity. Often times it is someone who is a sharp and wants to remain anonymous.
Betting Line or Line: Also known as the odds or point spread.
Bookmaker/Bookie: A sportsbook or person who accepts wagers on games – both legal and illegal.
Book: This is short form for the term “sportsbook,” which is a company that takes bets on sporting events and various other things.
Buck: $100 (as in a “buck” bet).
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.
Canadian Line: A combination pointspread and moneyline in hockey.
Chalk: The odds-on favorite in a sporting event or horse/greyhound race.
Circle game: A game for which the betting limits are lowered, usually because of injuries and/or weather.
Closing line: The final line before the game or event begins.
Consensus Pick: Derived from data accumulated from a variety of sportsbooks in PickCenter. 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 the spread, it has to win by more than the spread; an underdog covers by winning outright or losing by less than the spread.
Dead Heat: When two or more horses finish in a tie.
Dime: A bet of $1,000.
Dime Line: When a betting line has “juice” or “vig” at 10 percent.
Dog: Short for underdog, this is the team which bookmakers assume will lose the game.
Dog Player: A bettor who mostly plays the underdog.
Dollar: Jargon for a $100 bet. Usually used with bookies; if you bet “five dollars,” that means a $500 wager.
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.
Double Action: An “if bet” that is processed when the precedent bet wins, ties or cancels.
Double Bet: A wager for twice the size of one’s usual wager; also known as “double pop” or “doubling up.”
Edge: An advantage. Sports bettors might feel they have an edge on a book if they think its lines aren’t accurate.
Even money: Odds that are considered 50-50. You put up $1 to win $1.
Exotic: Any wager other than a straight bet or parlay; can also be called a “prop” or “proposition wager.”
Exposure: The maximum amount of money a sportsbook stands to lose on a game.
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.
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.
Fifty Cents: $50.
Figure: The amount owed to or by a bookmaker.
Final Four: The remaining four teams in the NCAA basketball tournament.
First Half Bet: A bet placed only on the first half of the game.
Fixed: A participant in a particular game who alters the result of that game or match completely or to a partially predetermined result. The participant did not play honestly or fairly because of an undue outside influence.
Futures Bet: A wager for some future event, such as betting a team before the season to win the Super Bowl or World Series.
Getting Down: Making a sports wager.
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.
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.
Handicapper: A person trying to predict the winners of an event.
Handicapping: This is the process of researching, analyzing and predicting a sports betting event. Those who do this type of evaluation before betting are known as handicappers, or are handicapping the game.
Handle: The amount of money taken by a book on an event or the total amount of money wagered.
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.
Hook: A half-point. If a team is a 7.5-point favorite, it is said to be “laying seven 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.
Hot Game: A game that is drawing a lot of action on one side from knowledgeable handicappers.
In-Play: Also known as live betting, in-play betting involves wagering on a sporting event while the event is still in action. For example, bettors can place a wager on the point spreads, alternative point spreads, money-lines, and totals while odds are constantly changing during the game.
Juice: The commission the bookie or bookmaker takes. Standard is 10 percent. Also called the “vig or vigorish.”
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.
Laying the Points: When you bet the favorite against the spread.
Laying the Price: Betting the favorite by laying money odds.
Layoff: Money bet by a sportsbook with another sportsbook or bookmaker to reduce that book’s liability.
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.
Lines: A synonym for betting odds, which can refer to a point spread, moneyline or totals.
Linesmaker: The person who establishes the original and subsequent betting lines. Also known as “oddsmaker.”
Listed Pitchers: A baseball bet which will be placed only if both of the pitchers scheduled to start a game actually start. If they don’t, the bet is cancelled.
Lock: A guaranteed win in the eyes of the person who made the wager.
Longshot: A longshort refers to a team or side that is considered unlikely to win. In other words, they are a large underdog.
Middle: When a line moves, a bettor can try to “middle” a wager and win both sides with minimal risk. Suppose a bettor bets one team as a 2.5-point favorite, then the line moves to 3.5 points. She can then bet the opposite team at 3.5 and hope the favorite wins by three points. She would then win both sides of the bet.
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.
Move the Line: A player pays an additional price to receive half a point or more in his favor on a pointspread game.
Mush: A bettor or gambler who is considered to be bad luck.
Nickel: A $500 bet. Also sometimes referred to as “nickel” bet in slang terms.
Nickel Line: A sports wagering line where the juice is five percent.
No Action: This is when a bet is cancelled and the stake is returned to the bettor. There could be a number of reasons for this, such as the actual event being canceled as well or the match failing to reach specific benchmarks. For example, a rain-shortened baseball game that only played five innings.
Odds: General term for the betting lines or point spreads.
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: When a book or bookie has taken a bet down and is no longer accepting action or wagers on the game. This can happen if there is a late injury or some uncertainty regarding who will be participating.
Over: This is when the combined total score of the two sides goes above the set total for the 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.
Outlaw Line: The earliest line in sports betting. This is an overnight line that only a handful of players are allowed to bet into.
Parlay: When a bettor makes multiple bets (at least two) and ties them together, you need multiple events to all win for higher payouts. This is a risky proposition, but potentially very lucrative.
Pick ‘Em: A game with no favorite or underdog. The point spread is zero, and the winner of the game is also the spread winner.
Point Spread: This is the margin of victory for a game determined by the oddsmaker. Sportsbooks use this to create action on both teams. The favorite will have to win by more than the margin the oddsmakers set. If the Broncos are favored by 2.5 against the 49ers, they must win by 3 points or more for a win. If they only win by 2, they didn’t cover the spread and those who bet the 49ers will win.
Press: To wager a larger amount than usual.
Price: The odds or pointspread.
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.
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.
Puckline: This is a point spread in hockey that is always set at 1.5 goals. You can either bet on one team to win by more than 1.5 (two goals or more) or bet a team with +1.5, which means they can lose by one goal or win the game, and you’d win that side of the bet.
Puppy: The underdog.
Push: When a result lands on the betting number and all wagers are refunded. For example, a 3-point favorite wins by exactly three points. Return on investment (ROI): In PickCenter, ROI is the amount that a bettor should expect to get back on a spread pick.
Real Time Odds: Live lines that update immediately as sportsbooks adjust their lines.
Reverse-Line Movement: Betting line movement that contradicts the public betting percentages. For example: if Team A is receiving 80% of the public bets as a 7-point favorite yet the line drops to -6.5, this is an example of reverse line movement. This indicates that sharp money is taking Team B.
Return on Investment (ROI): A performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment.
Round Robin: A series of three or more teams in 2-team parlays.
Run down: All the lines for a specific date, sport, time, etc.
Run Line: In moneyline sports like baseball or hockey, you can take the equivalent of a spread — the run/puck line. This alternative allows you to add runs for the underdog, or subtract them from the favorite. This means that a favorite has to win by at least two runs for you to win your bet, while an underdog could either lose by one run or win straight-up to win the bet. The benefit of this is that you can bet more lucrative lines on favorites, but because baseball and hockey are such low-scoring games, this can be a risky proposition.
Runner: An individual who places a bet on behalf of another person.
Scouts: Person(s) who waits for what he thinks is an unusually strong wager. Also known as a “sports player.”
Sharp: A professional or smart bettor who is well-researched and well-informed.
Side: The two teams or athletes playing – the underdog and the favorite.
Single Action: An “if bet” that’s processed only if the precedent bet wins.
Spread: This is short form for the term “point spread.”
Square: A casual gambler. Someone who typically isn’t using sophisticated reasoning to make a wager.
Steam: When a line is moving unusually fast. It can be a result of a group or syndicate of bettors all getting their bets in at the same time. It can also occur when a respected handicapper gives a bet his followers all jump on, or based on people reacting to news such as an injury or weather conditions.
Straight up: The expected outright winner of the money line in an event or game, not contingent on the point spread.
Store: A bookie or sports betting establishment.
Straight Bet: A wager on just one team, athlete or horse.
Taking the Points: Betting the underdog and its advantage in the pointspread.
Taking the Price: Betting the underdog and accepting money odds.
Teaser: Betting multiple teams and adjusting the point spread in all the games in the bettor’s favor. All games have to be picked correctly to win the wager.
Ticket: A sports betting wager.
Tie: A wager in which no money is lost nor won because the teams’ scores were equal to the number of points in the given line.
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.
Totals Bet: A proposition bet in which the bettor speculates that the total score by both teams in a game will be more or less than the line posted by the sportsbook.
Tout (service): a person (or group of people) who either sells or gives away picks on games or events.
Tout – Someone who sells his/her expertise on sports wagering.
Under: When combined final score by the two teams or entities involved finishes below the total posted by the odds makers.
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: We consistently report sports betting wins/losses according to units won or lost. We recommend betting one unit per game, which refers to a standard monetary measurement — typically between 2-4% of your bankroll. For example if your bankroll is $1,000, one unit is between $20 and $40. Then if you noticed a system that has won 15 units over the season, you could easily calculate your earnings by taking the units earned and multiplying them by your standard betting unit (in this case, $20 x 15 units = $300).
Value: Getting the best odds on a wagering proposition; the highest possible edge.
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.
Wiseguy: Another term to describe a “sharp” or “smart” bettor. Often times, this is a professional who is well-informed and knowledgeable.