Sports Betting Terms

Navigate the world of sports betting with ease. This blog covers your ultimate list of sports betting terms, empowering you to make informed wagers.

Sports Betting Terms

A bet or a wager.

Against the spread
The outcome of a game including the point spread. For instance, a team favored by -5.5 must win by at least 6 to cover the spread.

A gambling strategy that involves placing bets on all possible outcomes of a game/event in order to guarantee a profit.

Backdoor Cover
This is when a team covers their side of the spread in the last minutes of the game. Often times a backdoor cover happens when the actual game is a blowout or winning is out of reach, yet the spread or line of the game is still at play.

Bad beat
A bad beat is when a bettor has a wager that is seemingly decided as a winner, then in the last few moments, the switch gets flipped in an unseen way to change the projected winning bet into a losing one.

Bankroll - The amount of money one has set aside for sports betting. It is important to set aside a bankroll and stick to it, to avoid spending money outside what you are comfortable losing/have tied up in gambling.  

A place where bettors can place bets on the outcome of sporting events.

An organization or a person that accepts and pays off bets on sporting events based on agreed-upon odds.

BTTS- Simply a term meaning "Both Teams to Score". This is a popular bet made in the soccer/fútbol realm.

Buck - a $100 bet.

Buy Points- This is an option given by sportsbooks where the bettor can increase or decrease the spread or game total. As you move the spread/total the price of the bet will reduce or increase in payout.  

Cash Out- This is where a sportsbook allows the bettor to settle a bet before the outcome of the event finishes, usually for a payout less than the full winnings.

Chalk - the favorite in a game.

Closing Line Value (CLV) - This is the comparison of what number you bet a line compared to what that line closed at before the start of the game. If you bet an over at 44.5 for a Monday Night Football game on Thursday but it closes at 47.5, your bet would hold good value.

Consensus - the percentage of the betting public on each side of a certain game.

Cover - The result of a point-spread wager. For an underdog, this means the team loses by less than the spread they were given.

Dime - A term referring to a $1,000 wager.

Dollar -A term referring to a $100 wager.

Edge - The ability to find bets that are perceived to have a higher probability of winning than the odds you were given.

Even/Even Money - When a bet is +100, referring to the payout of the wager being the same as the stake that is bet.

Expected Value (EV) - A loaded term, that at its base is measuring the gap in the probability between a bettor's expectations and the book that set the line.

Fade - When you take the opposite side of another bettor's wager.

Favorite - The team that is expected to win in a given matchup. This is why the favorites in a wage have to win by a certain amount set by the books with their spread.

Future bets - A bet that will be settled later in the future. These are usually for bets like Championships, season-long awards, or how many wins a team will win over the course of a season.

Handle - The amount of money in wagers that are accepted by a a book. For example, if a book has $1,000 of wagers on a game, that is the handle. If the home team has $600 of wagers on them, they have 60% of the handle.

Handicapping - This is the practice of trying to predict the result of a game.  

Hedge/Hedging - To protect yourself from loss by betting both sides of an event or outcome. This practice is often used in parlays when you have one leg left to win, and the bettor bets the other side to guarantee profit.  

Hook - The half point of a total, point spread, or player prop. To "lose by the hook" is to lose by .5 of your wager.

In-game wagers - Wagering on a game as it is happening. Also known as a "live" bet. The lines of a game are constantly changing as the game unfolds.

Juice - The percentage of a wager the sportsbook keeps for accepting your wager. When a betting line is -110, the book will keep 10% of the winnings of the wager rather than it being a 1-to-1 payout.

Limit - The maximum amount a sportsbook will accept on a bettors wager.

Lock - A guaranteed winner bet in the perception of the bettor.  

Long shot - A bet with a low possibility of winning. For instance, a heavy underdog winning a game or a parlay with numerous legs are bets with low chance of winning.

Moneyline/Moneyline bet - This is simply a bet on which team/side will win the game or match.

Nickel - A five hundred dollar wager.

No action - A wager that gets returned/refunded by the sportsbook due to it being deemed "no action". For instance, if you placed a wager on a baseball game that is contingent on the starting pitcher and the pitcher is scratched from the game, the wager would be refunded.

Oddsmaker/Linemaker - One who predicts and figures out the likely outcome of an event. They use this information to set the line for the event.

Off the board - When a sportsbook takes a bet type off their book, thus restricting anyone from placing a wager.

Over - When an event has more points, goals, or runs than the line that is set.

Parlay - A bet type with two or more outcomes that are contingent on all selected wagers needed to win. Each added "leg" to a parlay will increase your potential winnings but lower your chance of winning the bet.

Pick'em - When a sportsbook views two teams as evenly matched. Rather than setting a spread for the game, it would typically be listed as a "pk" which would be picking the winner.

Player Prop - Betting on a player's stats in a game. Most books allow you to bet the over/under on a player's yards, points, or goals.

Points spread - The margin of victory in a game. The team favored in a game needs to not only win but win by the given spread.

Puckline - This is the term for spread betting in hockey games.

Proposition Bets / Prop Bet - A wager that is not directly related to the outcome of a game. For instance, you can bet on the tail toss or even the color of the Gatorade at the Super Bowl.

Push - A bet where there is no winner or loser on a wager. If the spread is -7 for a game, and said team wins by 7, it would be a push. In these cases, the sportsbook will refund the bettor the wager amount.

Reverse Line Movement - This is when a line moves in the opposite direction from the majority of the bets. Typically, a line will move along in favor of public money, except in the cases of reverse line movement.

Runline - This is the term for spread betting in baseball games.

Sharp - This is an experienced, informed, and successful sports bettor.

Steam - When a betting line moves suddenly on virtually almost every sportsbook.

Taking the points - A term for betting the underdog with the spread.

Teaser - A type of bet that a bettor is able to pair alternative spreads or totals together with adjusted odds. If two teams have a -10 spread, a six-point teaser would allow one to pair them together at -4.

Total bet (over/under) - A bet type that you take either the over or under the set line for the total points scored by both teams in a game.

Under - When an event has more points, goals, or runs than the line that is set.

Underdog/Dog - The team that is not expected to win a game.

Wager - Another term for the word "bet".