Glossary of Sports Betting Terms

There's a fair amount of slang and jargon used in sports betting. It is really useful to understand what these words and phrases mean, so we have compiled this sports betting glossary to help. You don't necessarily need to learn all these terms, but you may like to use this glossary as a reference tool for when you encounter something you don't understand.

A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z
A
Accumulator:

A bet which includes multiple selections, which must all be correct for the bet to win.

Action:

A slang term for betting in general. For example; the bookmaker saw plenty of action on the game.

Against The Spread:

Placing a bet where the outcome will be decided by a point spread.

Arbitrage:

A scenario where the odds available on a single betting market make it possible to make more than one bet and guarantee a profit.

Asian Handicap:

A specific type of handicap betting that originated in Asia and is popular for soccer betting.

B
Bad Beat:

Losing a bet in unlikely, and particularly unlucky, circumstances.

Banker:

A wager that's considered almost certain to win.

Bankroll:

A sum of money allocated for betting purposes.

Betting Exchange:

A betting platform that eliminates the need for a bookmaker, allowing bettors to bet directly against each other.

Bettor:

A person making bet(s).

Bookie:

A commonly used abbreviation of bookmaker.

Bookmaker:

An individual or an organization which takes bets in a professional capacity.

BR:

A commonly used abbreviation of bankroll.

Buck:

A slang term for a $100 bet.

Buying Points:

The act of paying to receive half a point or more in your favor for a point spread wager.

C
Canadian Line:

A betting line used in ice hockey, which combines point spread and moneyline betting.

Chalk:

A slang term for the favorite.

Chalk Player:

Someone who generally backs favorites.

Circled Game:

A game where the betting action is limited by the bookmaker.

Combination Bet:

A term for any wager containing more than one selection.

Cover The Spread:

Winning a wager placed against the point spread.

D
Decimal Odds:

One of the three main formats for expressing odds. Commonly used by sports betting sites.

Degenerate:

Someone who gambles frequently, and often recklessly.

Dime:

A slang term for a $1,000 bet.

Dime Line:

A betting line with 10% vigorish.

Dog:

An abbreviation for underdog.

Dog Player:

A bettor that tends to bet on underdogs.

Double:

A wager consisting of two separate selections.

Drifting:

A term used to describe odds that are lengthening (getting higher).

E
Each Way:

A two part wager. The first part of the wager is on the selection to win and the second part of the wager is on the same selection to finish in the top few places.

Edge:

A term used to describe an advantage of some kind. For example, bookmakers have an edge over bettors due to the vigorish they charge.

Even Money:

Odds where you stand to win an amount equal to your stake. +100 in moneyline format, 2.00 in decimal format, 1/1 in fractional format.

Exotic Wager:

A term used to describe a non-standard bet.

Expected Value:

A theoretical measure of how much a wager is likely to win in the long term.

F
Favorite:

The selection in a betting market which is most likely to win.

Field:

A term to collectively describe all possible selections in a betting market.

Fin:

A slang term for a $50 bet.

Fixed Odds:

Odds agreed when a wager is placed. They don't change even if the odds for the relevant selection move in the future.

Form:

Recent results of a team or an individual.

Fractional Odds:

One of the three main formats used for expressing odds. Commonly used in the United Kingdom.

Futures Bets:

Wagers which are placed on an outcome happening some time in the future.

G
Get Down:

A slang term for placing a wager.

Grand Salami:

A wager specifically for ice hockey, on the total number of goals in all of the ice hockey matches on a specified day.

H
Handicap Betting:

A form of betting where a bookmaker will hypothetically add points or goals to the underdog for the purposes of deciding the outcome.

Handicapper:

A bettor who pays close attention to statistics and other key factors in order to try and make accurate predictions.

Hedging:

The placing of wagers against previously made wagers, to help reduce risk or guarantee profits.

Hook:

A half point element used in point spreads and totals betting.

I
If Bet:

A wager consisting of at least two separate bets joined together by an if clause that determines the wager process.

Implied Probability:

The theoretical likelihood of a particular outcome, based on the odds on that outcome provided by a bookmaker.

J
Juice:

The margin/profit that bookmakers build into the odds they offer.

L
Lay:

The act of accepting a wager - e.g. a bookmaker lays bets to bettors.

Laying The Points:

The act of placing a point spread wager on the favorite.

Laying The Price:

The act of placing a moneyline wager on the favorite.

Lengthening Odds:

Odds that are getting higher.

Line:

The odds offered by a bookmaker, or the point spread offered.

Linesmaker:

The person(s) setting the odds/lines at a bookmaker.

Lock:

A wager considered almost certain to win.

Long Odds:

An alternative term for high odds.

Longshot:

A selection in a betting market that's considered to have a very small chance of winning.

Lump On:

A slang term for placing a bet.

M
Moneyline Bet:

A simple type of wager on a selection to win the relevant match/event.

Moneyline Odds:

One of the three main formats for expressing odds, commonly used in America.

Moving The Line:

The act of paying to receive half a point (or more) in your favor for a point spread wager.

Multiple:

A term used to describe any wager which contains more than one selection.

N
Nickel:

A slang term for a $500 bet.

O
Odds:

Determine the potential payout of a wager.

Odds Against:

Odds that are higher than even money, meaning you can win an amount higher than your wager.

Odd Compilers:

The person(s) setting the odds/lines at a bookmaker, and adjusting them as necessary to create a balanced book.

Odds On:

Odds that are lower than even money.

Off the Board:

When betting market is off the board, the bookmaker is taking no more bets.

Opening Line:

The first line available for a sports event.

Outsider:

A betting selection that has only a small chance of winning.

Overround:

The profit that bookmakers build into their books.

Over/Under Bet:

A wager on the total number of something (such as points or goals scored in a match). The bookmaker sets a total and you wager on whether the actual total will be over or under.

P
Parlay:

A wager containing multiple selections, all of which must win for the wager to pay out.

Payout:

The sum of money received from a bookmaker following a winning wager.

Permutation Betting:

A form of wagering which covers multiple selections in different combinations.

Pleaser:

A point spread wager containing multiple selections where the spread for each selection is moved against the bettor.

Point Spread:

A type of betting where the bookmaker allocates points or goals to the underdog, to create a theoretically level playing field. The points allocated are also referred to as the point spread.

Press:

To wager a larger than normal stake.

Price:

An alternative term for odds.

Pricing the Market:

The act of setting the odds or lines for a betting market.

Prop Bet:

An abbreviation of proposition bet.

Proposition Bet:

A wager on a specific outcome in a sports event, such as the first player to score.

Punter:

A slang term for a bettor, a person.

Puppy:

A slang term for the underdog.

Push:

A tied wager, where the stake is returned to the bettor.

R
Return:

The sum of money received from a winning wager.

Run:

A betting line used specifically in baseball.

S
Sharp:

A slang term for an experienced, professional, or skilled bettor.

Short Odds:

An alternative term for low odds.

Shortening Odds:

Odds that are getting lower.

Single:

A wager with one selection.

Smart Money:

Wagers placed by bettors that are either very experienced or have information not readily available.

Special:

A wager on a specific outcome in a sports event, such as the first player to score.

Sportsbook:

An alternative term for a bookmaker.

Spread:

An abbreviation of points spread.

Spread Betting:

A type of betting where the amount the bettor wins or loses is determined by the margin which the value of a specified outcome varies from the expected value quoted by a bookmaker.

Square:

A slang term for a novice bettor, or one that generally loses money.

Stake:

The sum of money wagered.

Steam:

Describes a substantial move in a betting line or odds, usually caused by the amount of money being wagered.

Sucker Bet:

A slang term for a "bad" bet, one that significantly favors the bookmaker.

T
Teaser:

A point spread wager containing multiple selections where the bettor can adjust the spread for each selection in their favor.

Totals Bet:

A wager on the total number of something (such as points or goals scored in a match). The bookmaker sets a total and you wager on whether the actual total will be higher or lower.

Traders:

The person(s) setting the odds/lines at a bookmaker, and adjusting them as necessary to create a balanced book.

Treble:

A wager consisting of three separate selections.

U
Underdog:

The selection in a betting market which is least likely to win.

V
Value Bet:

A wager where the theoretical likelihood of winning is greater than the odds suggest.

Vig:

A commonly used abbreviation of vigorish.

Vigorish:

The margin/profit that bookmakers build into the odds they offer. It comes from the Russian term for winning: vyigrysh.

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