Sports Betting Glossary of Terminology
In an effort to help our readers understand the language of sports betting, the following is a comprehensive sports betting glossary with clear, straight-forward definitions to both common and less customary terms used in live and online sports betting.
Accumulator: An accumulator is a series of bets that begins with a single bet on an event. If the first bet is won, the winnings become the bet for the next pre-selected event, and so on.
Across the Board: This is a bet made on a horse race, where the bettor wagers equal amounts on each outcome of win, place and show.
Action ““ When any type of bet is made on a sporting event, it is called ‘action’.
Added Game: Most sporting bets are derived from the standard rotation in Las Vegas. Added games are those offered in addition to the standard rotation to accommodate a wider range of bettors.
Against the Spread (ATS): To bet against the spread is to take extra points, as opposed to betting the favorite, with the spread, and giving up points. In a basketball game, for example, the spread might be 3 points. If the winning team was on the spread, but only won by 1 or 2 points, those who bet against the spread would get 3 points, thereby having the higher score and winning the bet.
Ajax: This is a slang term often used in the UK to reference the betting tax.
Also Ran: This term refers to any racer who did not finish in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th position.
Angles: Relates to a betting style in which the bettor uses statistical data from previous events to calculate an educated prediction of future outcomes.
Ante-Post: AKA “Futures“?, Ante-Posts are odds placed on an event that has yet to happen. This term generally relates to horse racing. Taking early odds can have much higher payouts, but are riskier because the event may never happen. For instance, betting on a horse to win the Triple Crown even though the second of three necessary races has yet to occur.
Any to Come (ATC): When a bettor makes multiple bets, they can choose to auto-stake any winnings from those bets on ‘any to come’. Their winnings would automatically be added to the original wager of the next upcoming event they have already bet on.
Arbitrage: When two or more bookies or sports betting sites offer different odds on the same event in such a way that the bettor could place a bet on one side at one sportsbook, and a bet on the other side at the other sportsbook, and be guaranteed to make a profit.
Beard: A slang term used to identify a person who places wagers for a sports bettor. A beard is used to conceal the identity of the true bettor.
Bet: To risk something of value on the impending outcome of any event; aka wager or gamble.
Blind Bet: A term in horse racing that refers to a secondary stake placed by a bettor in an effort to shield the bettor’s larger, primary wager on a high-odds outcome. The more bets that are placed on an outcome, the lower the odds become. Thus bettors can attempt to take everyone’s attention off of the primary bet with a ‘blind bet’.
Book: The term book refers to the calculation of all bets and odds on each competitor, tallied to ensure that the bookie or bookmaker draws a profit.
Bookie: An entity, most often a person, that accepts sports bets.
Bookmaker: An entity, most often an established company, that accepts sports bets. Same as Sportsbook.
Buck: A sports betting wager of 100 units (i.e. $100, â‚¬100, Â£100); aka Dollar.
Buy Points: A sports bettor will sometimes have the option to pay a higher price in order to buy additional spread points for a match; generally sold as half a point or more.
Canadian Line: This term refers to betting on Canadian ice hockey, where bets are placed on a combination of money line and point spread.
Chalk: This term refers to the ‘favorite‘ to win.
Chalk Player: This is a person who most often bets on the Chalk (i.e. the favorite to win).
Circled Game: A circled game is one that the bookie deems unsuitable for teaser or parlay bets. They are most often proposition bets, added games, bets on quarters or halves, contests where bad weather is expected or key players are injured, etc.
Client: A person who purchases angles (outcome prediction data) from a handicapper or tout.
Clocker: In sports betting, this refers to a person who times the track speed of horses over a period of time to predict the outcome of future races.
Close: When a horse race is about to begin and all bets are calculated, the close refers to the closing price at the start of the race. In the UK, it is often referred to as the Starting Price, a rather confusing term because it refers to the start of the race, not the start of the betting price.
Cover: This sports betting term refers to a winning bet made on the point spread.
Daily Double: This is a common high-end horse racing bet where the punter must stake a wager on horses to win two specific races. If either horse loses, the bet is lost.
Data Mining: This is when a bettor, or more commonly a handicapper, analyzes a mass volume of statistical data to determine the most potentially profitable bets on upcoming sporting events.
Dead Heat: This occurs when two racing contestants (i.e. horses, cars, dragsters, etc.) tie, finishing the race at the exact same time.
Dime Bet: A sports betting wager of 1,000 units i.e. ($1,000, â‚¬1,000, Â£1,000).
Dime Line: A line wager with 10% juice or vigorish.
Dog Player: This is a person who most often bets on the Underdog (i.e. the contestant perceived as least likely to win).
Dollar: A sports betting wager of 100 units (i.e. $100, â‚¬100, Â£100), aka Buck.
Double Action: This is a bet that generates a secondary bet only if the primary bet wins, ties or is canceled.
Double Bet: When a regular bettor has a standard stake at which they normally place all bets, to place a Double Bet is to bet twice the normal amount. It is also sometimes referred to as Doubling Up or a Double Pop.
Double Pop: See Double Bet.
Doubling Up: See Double Bet.
Even Money: A bet with even odds, paying 1 to 1, with no juice involved.
Exacta Bet: A bet on the first two horses to win and place in a race, in no particular order. For example, a bet on horse 5 and 8, where either horse 5 or 8 comes in 1st place, and the other finishes 2nd.
Exotic: Another term for a prop or proposition bet in which a bettor places a stake on something other than a parlay or straight bet. For instance, a bet on the first team to score in a football match, rather than the winner of the game, would be an exotic bet.
Exposure: This term relates to the maximum sum of money a bookmaker could lose on a single sporting event.
Favorite: The team or contestant that is favored to win an event; aka chalk.
Fifty Cent Bet: A sports betting wager of 50 units (i.e. $50, â‚¬50, Â£50); aka Half a Dollar.
Figure: The amount owed to a sports bettor or bookie.
First Half Bet: A self-explanatory term that relates to a wager on the score at the end of the first half of a contest.
Form Player: This is a person who most often makes wagers based on the past performance of the contestants competing.
Furlong: A term of measurement that equates to 220 yards, or Â¼ of a mile, used in horse racing.
Futures: These are odds posted in advance by sports books to allow bettors to place wagers on upcoming events, particularly major events like the World Series, Super Bowl, World Cup, even political elections. For example, one could wager on who will compete in the next Stanley Cup before the play-offs occur. In horse racing, futures are called ante-post.
Gamble: To risk something of value on the impending outcome of any event; aka bet or wager.
Getting Down: To place a wager or take action on a sporting event.
Goliath: A massive multi-bet comprised of 247 total wagers that include 8 different selections across various events; twenty-eight doubles, fifty-six trebles, seventy 4-folds, fifty-six 5-folds, twenty-eight 6-folds, eight 7-folds and one 8-fold.
Grand Salami: Most often an over/under bet on the total of all goals scored in all hockey games played on the same day.
Gross Win: The total of a bettor’s winnings across multiple wagers, before calculating the cost of bets all and juice.
Half a Dollar: A sports betting wager of 50 units (i.e. $50, â‚¬50, Â£50); aka Fifty Cent Bet.
Half Time Bet: A sports betting term that relates to a wager on the score during the second half of a contest, disregarding all points scored in the first half.
Handicapper: This is a person who data mines, researching and analyzing mass statistics to present educated guesses on the outcomes of future sporting events. Handicappers who sell their picks are called touts.
Handicapping: The analysis of statistical data performed in an effort to correctly predict the outcome of future events. Handicapping is sometimes performed by bettors, but most often by handicappers or touts who sell their predictions to sports betting enthusiasts.
Handle: The total of all bets taken by a bookmaker.
Hedging: When a bettor places bets on both sides of a single event to minimize losses or guarantee a small win.
Hold Percentage: The percentage-based amount of money kept by a bookie after assessing all bets taken over a period of time; usually calculated on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
Hook: When the spread is a half-point, most often found in American basketball and football games.
Hot Game: A sporting event that draws heavy one-sided action due to the predictions of reliable handicappers.
In the Money: This term refers to the horses that finished in a position that results in winning bets, generally the 1st, 2nd and 3rd, and occasionally the 4th, placing horses.
Joint Favorites: When two competitors in a multi-competition, such as a horse race, are equally favored to win.
Jolly: (see Favorite)
Juice: The commission taken by a bookmaker, generally 5%, but it can vary anywhere from 4% to 10%; aka vigorish.
Laying the Points: To place a bet against the spread, giving up points to bet on the favorite to win.
Laying the Price: Using money line odds to bet on the favorite.
Layoff: When sports bettors place heavy wagers in favor of one side, such as on a hot game, a bookmaker may place a hedging wager with another bookmaker to reduce liability.
Limit: The maximum wager allowed at the given odds or spread. In some cases, the bettor is allowed to bet more, but the odds and/or point spread may be adjusted.
Lines: The present odds or point spread on sporting events.
Linemaker: The person or company responsible for setting and subsequently adjusting the lines of sporting events.
Listed Pitchers: The pitchers listed to start in a baseball game. When sports betting on a baseball game with listed pitchers, if the pitchers listed do not start the game, the wager becomes null and void.
Lock: When a contestant is so heavily favored they are considered a surefire winner.
Longshot: When a contestant is so heavily disfavored to win that the odds become very high, attracting more bettors. This term generally relates to horse racing or other contests where point spreads do not apply.
Middle: This occurs when a bettor is able to bet two sides of a contest via flexible lines with two different bookmakers and win both bets.
Money Line: A way of presenting the odds in reference to 100 betting units, rather than fractional odds. Money Line odds are displayed in terms of money with a negative (-) or positive (+) number. When the number is negative (-) it refers to the amount of money to be wagered in order to win 100 units. When the number is positive (+) it refers to how much money will be won for wagering 100 units.
Morning Line: A projection of probable odds on upcoming sporting events.
Move the Line: When a bettor places additional stakes in order to improve the point spread in their favor by a half-point or more.
Mutuel Pool: A horse racing term that references the sum of all bets in a particular category (win, place, show, double, exacta, trifecta, etc.)
Nickel: A sports betting wager of 500 units (i.e. $500, â‚¬500, Â£500).
Nickel Line: A sports bet with 5% juice.
No Action: A wager that is void, such as a listed pitchers bet on a baseball game where the starting pitcher is changed before the start of the game (i.e. a wager where no money is won or lost).
Odds: A numerical evaluation of the likelihood of the predicted outcome of a contest. The odds are the bettor’s chance of winning a sports bet.
Odds Against: When the odds pay greater than even money; such as a 4 to 3 payout as opposed to 1 to 1.
Off the Board: Any contest in which a bookmaker will not take wager, or action.
Opening Line: The original line posted for a sporting event that all bettors can take advantage of.
Outlaw Line: The very first line posted for any sporting event, posted overnight and available only to a minimum number of bettors before the Opening Line is posted.
Over/Under Bets: An over/under bet is placed on a specific number in one or more sporting events, where the bettor chooses that the total will be over the designated number, or under the designated number. This could apply to many situations, such as the total of soccer goals scored in a single day, or the combined number of points scored by both teams in a basketball game.
Parlay: A multi-event bet that involves two or more contests where the bettor must chose each victor correctly. If any of the contests are lost, the entire bet is lost, but if all win the payout is much higher than straight bets on all contests.
Pick ‘Em: Similar to joint favorites, where neither contestant is favored over another.
Point Spread: When a bookmaker predicts the outcome of a sporting event, they will place points on one side to even the odds. The underdog is given additional points. The point spread will be a half-point or more. For example, if a bookmaker predicts the final score in a basketball game to be 95 ““ 98, the underdog will generally be given a point spread of 2-1/2, 3 or 3-1/2 points.
Power Ratings: A statistical evaluation of one contestant’s strength versus another’s.
Press: For an avid sports betting enthusiast, this means to make a larger bet than one normally does.
Price: Relates to the point spread or odds on a sports bet.
Proposition Bet / Prop Bet: These are unique bets that fall outside of the mainstream sports betting wagers, like straight bets and parlays. A prop bet can be offered on various outcomes, such as the first team to score in a basketball game, whether a pitcher will pitch a no-hitter over a certain number of games, or if a football team will score more TDs than field goals in a game.
Puckline: This refers specifically to sports betting on ice hockey, where instead of using a Canadian Line, bets are placed solely on a point spread.
Punter: A sports bettor or regular gambler.
Puppy: A slang term for underdog.
Push: A tie, where there is no winner or loser of a sports bet. For example, if the point spread is 2 and the underdog loses by 2, the outcome is a tie, resulting in a push.
Round Robin: When a bettor wagers on 3+ teams in a 2-team parlay.
Run Down: The complete menu of betting lines for a categorical roster, such as a single sport, starting time or full day of events. For instance, a run down of all betting lines on sporting events that begin at noon.
Run Line: This references the way odds are displayed for baseball games, using a “run line”? point spread as opposed to money line.
Runner: A person who places bets for a sports bettor.
Scouts: Sports betting enthusiasts who only wager in the event of a hot game.
Sharp: A professional or veteran sports bettor with a history of success.
Sides: The teams or contestants competing in a two-sided sporting event.
Single Action: A bet that generates a secondary bet only if the primary bet wins, as opposed to double action where the secondary bet is made if the primary bet wins, ties or is canceled.
Sportsbook: An entity, most often an established company, that accepts sports bets. Same as Bookmaker.
Spread: See point spread.
Square: An inexperienced, novitiate sports bettor; beginner.
Steam: A betting line that attracts a lot of attention where wagers are being made at a rapid pace. Unlike a hot game, where there is a clear favorite, steam games have no distinct reasoning behind their strong appeal.
Store: In sports betting, this term relates to an established bookmaker or sportsbook.
Straight Bet: A simple bet on a single team or contestant to win.
Straight-Up: To win a bet without any need of the relative point spread. For example, if the underdog is given 3 points, but wins by 7, it is a straight-up win to bet the underdog.
Systems: To use a specific technique of predicting winners for an extended period of time. A punter may use a certain handicapping system for placing all wagers.
Taking the Points: Same as against the spread; to bet on the underdog, taking added points for an advantage.
Taking the Price: To bet on the underdog, taking the favorable money line odds.
Teaser: A parlay wager where the bettor is able to adjust the point spread to their advantage, sacrificing the size of the potential payout to do so.
Ticket: The physical receipt for a sports betting wager. At a land-based sportsbook, the ticket is generally required to cash in a winning wager. Online sportsbook maintain computer records thus physical tickets are not required.
Tie: See Push.
Total: The combined score of a two-team match over the duration of the entire event. For example, if the final score in a baseball game, including extra innings, is 5-7, the total is 12.
Totals Bet: A bet on the total score of a two-team contest. A totals bet is placed as an over/under bet. The linemaker will set a line, a predicted total, and the bettor will choose whether the total will be over or under that line.
Tout: A handicapper or sharp who charges a fee for giving advice.
Trends: Expected outcomes for a single team or contestant based on past performance.
Underdog: A team or contestant that is heavily projected to lose an event.
Value: To bet on the most advantageous odds for a specific event is to achieve value. If three different bookmakers offer three different lines, the bettor gets value by taking the highest paying odds or most appealing point spread.
Vigorish: The commission taken by a bookmaker, generally 5%, but it can vary anywhere from 4% to 10%; aka juice.
Wager: To risk something of value on the impending outcome of any event; aka bet or gamble.
Wise Guy: An expert handicapper with a strong track record for positive returns.