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BETTING TERMS

Betting Dictionary


The following is a list of common sportsbook betting terms. If you have any questions, please visit our Help page or FAQs section.

Action
A sports betting wager, a bet.
ATS
“Against the spread”. The act of taking points rather than laying points. Also, used in trend betting: “Dallas is 5 and 0 against the spread versus teams who scored 21 points or more in their previous game”.
Bad Beat
A difficult loss. “That’s a bad beat. You had it won until the final seconds.”
Bankroll
The amount of money a bettor has set aside for betting purposes.
Beard
An individual that places bets on behalf of the sports bettor so as to conceal the identity of the sports bettor.
Bet
A bet on the outcome of an event.
Bookmaker/Bookie
A person or organization that accepts wagered money (action) on the outcome of an event. 
Buck
A term that refers to a $100 bet.
Buying Points
The act of a bettor “buying” points on top of the set spread in order to push a bet more into his or her favor.
Chalk
The favorite in either a sporting event or horse race.
Chalk player
A sports bettor or horse race handicapper who continually bets on favorites.
Circled Game
A game where the betting action has been reduced.  Circled games are not allowed to be a part of teaser or parlay bets.
Cover
A point spread victory. “Not only did Chicago win, but they covered the spread last night.”
Dime
A $1000 bet.
Dog
The underdog in an event.  The team most likely to lose the event.
Dollar
Refers to $100.
Double Action
Also referred to as an “if bet”.  A bet is placed.  A second bet is automatically placed “if” the first bet wins, ties, or cancels.
Double bet
Doubling the amount usually wagered. “I like Boston so much tonight that I’m putting $200 on them to cover instead of my usual $100.”
Edge
Can refer to an advantage for either side in a betting event or to an actual bettor.
Even Money
Refers to odds being 1 to 1. Can also refer to the lack of juice or vig being charged on a particular bet. “The sportsbook isn’t charging any juice on New Orleans to win. I’m getting them at even money.”
Exotic
Any wager in sports betting that isn’t a straight bet, or wager for or against the point spread, or parlay.  In horse racing, an exotic bet is any bet that’s not a win, place or show wager.
Exposure
The money that a sportsbook stands to lose on an event.
Favorite
In both sports betting and horse racing, the favorite is the expected winner.  Point spreads and odds reflect the extent to which the choice is favored.
Fifty Cents
Refers to $50.
First half bet
Betting only on the outcome of the first half of a sporting event.
Future bet
A bet placed on the outcome of a major event that’s to occur in the future. “I made a future bet on I’ll Have Another to win the Kentucky Derby last fall.”
Gamble/Gambling
To bet, or betting, on the outcome of an event.
Half a dollar
Refers to $50.
Halftime Bet
Making a bet at halftime on the outcome of the second half of a sporting event.
Handicapper
An individual that studies stats and rates teams or horses before making bets.
Handicapping
Studying stats and rating teams or horses in order to try and correctly predict the outcome of a sporting event or horse race.
Handle
The total amount of money taken by the sportsbook on an event. In horse racing, handle refers to the total amount of money accepted for bets on all races at that particular track on that day. “The handle at Santa Anita Park today was over a million.”
Hedging
The act of placing a bet on the opposite side of the main bet in order to cut potential losses.
Hook
A half point added to a football or basketball betting line.
Hot game
A game that’s drawing a lot of money to a single side.
Juice/Vig
The commission paid to the sportsbook, or bookmaker, in order for them to accept the bet.  The juice is often times 10% of the amount wagered.
Laying the points
Betting on the favorite by giving the points. “I’m laying the points on the Eagles. They should easily cover that -4 point spread.”
Limit
The maximum amount that a sportsbook will allow you to bet on a single event.
Line
The betting line, point spread, or current odds on an event.
Linesmaker/Odds Maker
Also referred to as odds maker, a linesmaker establishes and then changes the point spread or current odds.
Listed Pitcher
A baseball bet which will only processes if the “listed pitchers” start the game.
Longshot
Another term for underdog, or dog, in sports betting. In horse racing, longshots are determined by the odds on the horse. “This horse is going off at 6 to 1 instead of the 3 to 1 morning line. He just became a longshot.”
Money Line
Odds expressed in terms of dollars instead of a point spread.  Moneyline odds are expressed in terms of $100.  For instance, if Indianapolis is +140 and Denver is -150, the moneyline is stating that for every $100 wagered on Indianapolis the profit will be $40.  For every $150 wagered on Denver, the profit will be $50.
Morning line
In horse racing, the odds set by the particular track’s linesmaker for each horse in every race.
Nickel
Refers to $500.
No Action
A sporting event or horse race where there are no wagering winners or loser .
Odds
A numerical number placed on the likelihood of a particular event occurring.  For instance, if the odds are 5 to 1 on a horse to win a race, the chances of that horse winning the race are 1 out of 5.  If the race were run 5 times, the odds imply that the horse would win it once.
Off the Board
A game on which the sportsbook won’t accept any bets.
Opening line
The odds set by the linesmaker at the start of wagering.  Also referred to as the earliest line.
Over
A sports bet that refers to the total score of a game going “over” a set amount. “I bet over the total of 202 in the Detroit versus Cleveland game last night.”
Parlay
A bet that involves at least two teams covering a point spread, or winning, for the bet to be successful.  Parlay bets pay more than single bets.
Pick'em/Pick
Refers to a sporting event where neither team is favored.
Point Spread/Spread
The predicted scoring differential between two teams in a sporting event.  “The Cowboys are favored by 5.5 points in this game.  I think that they cover and win by 6.”
Price
Refers to the odds or point spread.
Prop/Proposition bet
A unique bet or a bet on a unique event.  An example of a prop bet is betting on the color silks worn by the jockey riding the horse that wins the Kentucky Derby.  Another example of a prop bet is betting on who will win Best Picture at the Oscars.
Puppy
Refers to the underdog in an event.
Push/Tie
When the outcome of an event produces no winner and no loser.  The sportsbook keeps the juice or vig when the outcome is a push.
Racebook
The part of a sportsbook, or casino, or bookmaking operation that accepts bets on horse races.
Round Robins
A way to bet multiple 2-team parlays at one time.
Run Line
A baseball bet that uses a spread instead of the moneyline.
Scores
Winning bets.
Sides
The two teams in a sporting event.  The favorite and the underdog.
Sportsbook
An organization, company, that accepts bets on sporting events. Also, the part of a casino that accepts bets on sporting events.
Straight et
Refers to a bet on a single team or horse.
Straight up
The act of a team winning the game “straight up”, regardless of point spread. “I know that Buffalo is the dog in this game, but I don’t need the points. I think that they win it straight up.”
Take the Points
Betting on the underdog by accepting the points.
Teaser
A special bet in sports betting where the point spread is adjusted.  Teasers involve at least two sporting events.  The payoff on teaser bets is much lower than that on a parlay bet.
Ticket
A sports betting wager.
Total
The combined score of both teams at the end of the game.
Tout
Someone who sells their opinion, as an expert, on sports betting events.
Trends
Trends are statistics that are grown out of  a specific set of circumstances.  Example:  Washington is 18 and 2 against the spread in their last 20 games played indoors.
Under
A sports bet that refers to the total score of a game going “under” a set amount. “I bet under the total of 202 in the Detroit versus Cleveland game last night.”
Underdog
The opposite of the favorite. The supposed loser in an event. “Romney’s cutting into Obama’s lead, but he’s still the underdog in the election.”
Value
Receiving odds on a sporting event or horse race that are higher than what they should be. “Zenyatta’s offering great value in this race at 3 to 1. Her odds should be no higher than 8 to 5.”
Wager
A bet, risking money on the outcome of an event.
Wise guy
Refers to a well-informed bettor.  A sports bettor who, due to supposedly inside information, is in the best position to make a profitable bet.