Sports Betting Glossary
Before you start throwing your money into markets and getting too confident as a novice bettor, it’s best to know the simple terms that you’ll see on a day to day basis as a sports bettor. Only then can know when it’s time to put money on the line.
To help out the newbies, we’ve compiled a sport betting glossary with some of the more common words and phrases.
Once you’ve read and digested the following, you’ll be able to talk to the punters like a pro.
Let’s get started…
Across the Board – Betting on a horse to win, place, and show. – If the horse comes in 2nd, you collect the Place and Show payoffs. If the horse comes in 3rd, you collect on the Show bet only. Since this is actually 3 bets combined, a $1 bet “across the board” will cost $3. Win/Place, Place/Show: These are simply 2 bet combinations of Win/Place and Place/Show, respectively.
Arbitrage Bets – A technique where a bettor places a wager on each possible outcome with a few different bookmakers. By taking advantage of the differing odds from one bookmaker to the next, the bettor hopes to generate a profit regardless of the result of the market.
Bookmaker – Also known as a bookie, this is a person/entity that accepts wagers on various sporting events, either online or in-person.
Buck – Betting talk for $100.
Buying Points – When a bettor pays extra money in order to adjust the point spread in his or her favor.
Canadian Line – Commonly used in ice-hockey, this is a combination of the money line and point spread betting.
Chalk – The favorite to win in any game..
Covering the Spread – Winning a bet against the point spread. When a favourite “covers the spread,” they have won by a margin that is enough to overcome the point handicap imposed by the spread. (eg. Boston Celtics -7.5…..Boston must win by 8 points or more to overcome the spread).
Dime – Betting talk for $1,000.
Dollar – Betting talk for $100.
Even Money – A wager that doesn’t include vigorish or odds. Generally can be considered at -110 odds.
Fifty Cents – Betting talk for $50.
First Half Bet – A wager that only applies to the first half of a sporting event. (eg. Boston Celtics to score 55 points in the fist half).
Futures Bet – Betting on something in advance. A common example is wagering on the winner of the Super Bowl prior to the start of the NFL season or the NBA MVP prior to the start of the NBA season.
Half-a-Dollar – Gambling talk for $50.
Hedge – The concept of hedge betting involves placing bets on a different outcome, or outcomes, subsequent to an original bet in order to create a situation where there is a guaranteed profit, irrespective of whether the original bet wins or loses. Often done during the last leg of a parlay, where you will bet against you last leg to guarantee profit.
Juice – Also known as the “vigorish,” this is the commission that a bookie makes for accepting a wager. Some bookmakers take less, eg. 5Dimes and Pinnacle.
Bet Limit – The maximum bet amount that can be wagered on a single market before the bookmaker alters the odds.
Money Line – A wager where no point spread is involved, essentially betting on one team versus another, win only the outcome. A +180 team is an underdog that pays $180 on a $100 bet. A -180 team is a favorite that requires a $180 bet in order to win $100.
Multibet – Same as a parlay.
More about Multibets here.
Nickel – Betting talk for $500.
Oddsmakers – The people who creates the betting lines used by bookmakers.
Off the Board – A sporting event or market that isn’t being offered by a bookmaker. Often you can call and request to net on these.
Parlay Bets – A wager on two or more markets combined. If the first bet is a winner, then the initial bet is put towards the following bet. In order to collect money from a parlay bet, all picks must win. These wagers are difficult, but the payouts are much larger and higher risk.
More on parlay bets here.
Point Spreads – Bets where the favorite team is given a final score handicap, while the underdog team sees an increase in their points handicap. The adjusted handicap of a team determines whether the player wins or loses.
More on point spread betting here.
Prop Bets – Bets that challenge the player to predict the outcome of an event within a standard game/match. eg. James Harden to have 9 assists, or Alex Ovechkin to score 2+ goals.
Push – A bet that ends without a winner or loser. eg. If a total Lines market in a game of NBA is 225.0 and the game ends with a final score of 225, this is a Push, and these bets are sometimes refunded, depending on the bookmaker.
Reduced Juice Bets – When a sportsbook offers a lower commission fee on wagers. (Most commonly offered by Pinnacle and 5Dimes).
Runline – Often used in baseball bets in place of the moneyline.
Sharp – An experienced bettor who doesn’t make silly mistakes and often earns a decent income from Sports Betting.
Spread – A shortened term for “point spread betting”.
Steam – A betting line that moves quickly in one direction. This is often seen in championship boxing, where the general public place a large amount of money on a particular fighter.
Store – A location where sports betting wagers can be made (legal or otherwise) .
Straight Bet – A bet on a single horse, team, or player.
Teaser Bets – A bet on two or more teams within a single market where the line for each has been moved to favor the bettor. In order to win a teaser, the bettor must get each choice right.
Totals Bet – Also known as the “Over/Under,” this form of betting has the bettor to predict whether the combined score of two teams will be higher or lower than a number determined by the bookmaker.
Tout – A person or service that sells picks on upcoming games (Don’t buy tips is our best tip).
Underdog – Also referred to as a “dog,” this is the team/player that’s considered most likely to lose in a H2H market.
Unit – The percentage of a bettors “bankroll” that they are willing to allocate to a bet. Usually Units are measured in confidence. eg 1 Unit = $10, 5 Units = $50. More on Betting Bankrolls here.
Vigorish – Also known as “cut,” “take,” “vig,” or “juice,” this is the fee a bookmaker skims for accepting bets.
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