Sports Betting Terminology

Sports Betting Terminology – know before you wager

It’s important to know your sports betting terminology when making your online sports bets.  The terms are simple and easy to understand.  You don’t want to make a wagering mistake, because once you “pull the trigger” on a sports bet ….. it can’t be undone!


A valid wager or bet. Having action means having a bet that is going to win or lose. In baseball, action means that the bet counts even if the starting pitchers change. For an ‘If’ bet, action means that the wager continues on to the second bet if the first bet wins, ties, or if the game is canceled.
Added games
Games that aren’t on the regular Vegas rotation. They usually involve smaller schools that are harder to gain information on; therefore, they are added later than other lines in the same sport. In order to offset the lack of information, added games are restricted.
Against the spread (ATS)
A bet that is decided by adding points to the underdog or subtracting points from the favorite after the game is played, as opposed to a bet on the actual result of the game (i.e., which team will win, without taking the point spread into consideration). For example, if you bet against the spread that the Pittsburgh Steelers (-4) will beat the Seattle Seahawks, the Steelers will have to win by more than 4 points for you to win your bet. See also cover the spread.
To risk money on the outcome of an event.
A person who places a bet.
See bookmaker.
A slang term for a bookmaker.
A person or company that accepts bets against the lines created by linesmakers.
A slang term for a $100 bet.
A slang term for the favorite.
Chalk player
A person who usually bets on favorites and rarely bets on underdogs. See also dog player.
Combo bet
See parlay.
Correlated lines
When a pointspread or runline are within close proximity of the game total (for example the pointspread is 14 and total is 30) they are referred to as “correlated”. In these situations, if one wins it is considered likely that the other will also win. Because of this likelihood correlated lines cannot be included together in a parlay. In Baseball runlines and totals are always correlated because the sport is naturally lower scoring. Soccer pointspreads and moneylines are also always correlated for the same reason and therefore these lines can never be parlayed. In Football and Basketball, where correlated lines are less frequent, we identify those lines that are with a blue box. Two or more lines surrounded by this blue box (and therefore correlated) cannot be included in the same parlay.
Cover the spread
To win after the score is modified by the point spread. For example, suppose the point spread is Seattle Seahawks +4, Pittsburgh Steelers -4.  If the final score is Seattle 12, Pittsburgh 15, Seattle has “covered the spread” because The Steelers ONLY won by 3 points.  See also against the spread.
Cross-sport parlay
A parlay that includes lines from more than one sport, league, or portion of the game.
Dime bet (dime)
A slang term for a $1,000 bet.
Dime line
The dime line charges only half the juice of standard football/basketball bets. A -140 favorite would usually make the underdog +120 on a 20-cent line, but with the “dime line” the underdog would be +130
See underdog.
Dog player
A person who usually bets on underdogs. See also chalk player.
Dollar bet
A slang term for a $100 bet.
Double bet
A wager for twice the size of one’s usual wager; also known as “double pop” or “doubling up”.
Due for
A term referring to a team that is considered to be overdue for a win or loss in their next event. Many bettors like to play “due for” situations.
A betting advantage, which may be real or perceived.
Even money
A wager in which the payout amount matches the risk amount — no vigorish or juice is laid (i.e., the odds are 1/1).
Usually refers to a sporting event, but can be anything on which people can bet.
Exotic wager
Any bet other than a straight bet or parlay (e.g., teasers, ‘If’ bets, reverses, round robins).
The team or entry expected to win a particular event. See also underdog.
An option where in a given list of odds featuring players’ names, represents all other players not specifically listed who are competing in the event. If a player in the field wins, the field is declared the winner for wagering purposes.
Fifth inning line (5 inn.)
A bet placed on only the first five innings of a baseball game.
Fifty cents
A slang term for a $50 bet.
First half bet (1H)
A bet placed on only the first half of a football or basketball game. The score at half time is used to settle wagers.
Four majors
Golf’s most prestigious events: the Masters, the US Open, the PGA Championship in the US, and the British Open.
Bets placed, or odds posted, on the outcome of a future event. Futures are usually on major events such as the Super Bowl, the World Series, or the Stanley Cup.
Getting down
Making a wager or bet.
Getting value
Getting the best odds on a betting proposition.
Grand salami
The number of goals scored in all the hockey games played on a particular day. You can bet on whether the grand salami will go over/under.
Grand slam
The four most important tournaments in tennis: the Australian Open, the French Open, the US Open, and Wimbledon.
Half a dollar
A slang term for a $50 bet.
Half time bet (2H)
A bet placed on only the second half of a football or basketball game. The score from halftime until the end of the game is used to settle wagers (overtime included).
A person who studies, rates, and wagers on sporting events and/or races.
Predicting the outcome of events.
The total amount of money taken by a book on an event.
Betting on the opposite side of an original bet in order to cut losses or guarantee winning a minimal amount of money.
Holding your own
Neither winning nor losing, just breaking even.
Home team
The team playing in its own town.
 A half point added to football and basketball point spreads.
Hot game
A game that is drawing a lot of action on one side by knowledgeable handicappers.
The casino, sportsbook, or bookmaker.
‘If’ bet
A wager that links together two straight bets, where progressing to the second bet is dependent on the first bet winning. If the first bet wins, the second bet is placed; if the first bet loses, however, the second bet isn’t placed.
The bookmaker’s commission. Also known as the vigorish or vig.
Key numbers
Numbers that frequently arise in sports and affect wagering outcomes. For example, three is a key number in football because almost twenty percent of all NFL games end with a three-point differential.
Laying the points
Betting on the favorite in a point spread event. See also taking the points.
Laying the price
Betting on the favorite in a moneyline event. See also taking the price.
The maximum amount accepted by a sportsbook before the odds and/or the points are changed; also, the “cap” on what you can wager.
The current odds on a particular event; something that a player can bet on.
The person who establishes the odds on an event. In order to determine the official favorite and underdog for the event, the linesmaker analyzes statistics and trends, reads injury reports, and gets a feel for how bettors feel about the two teams. .
Line quality
Whether a line is normal, restricted or correlated. A line may be restricted because of injuries, weather conditions, or any other factor that causes the bookmaker to think the line may move drastically. Restricted lines or restricted games are enclosed in a red box, cannot be parlayed, and have lower than usual betting limits. A blue box around the lines means the game has lines that are correlated, and the event is subject to restricted wagering options. You will not be able to Parlay any line within another line from the same event, however you can parlay lines from this event with lines in other events.
Listed pitchers
The pitchers that are listed to start a game.
An easy winner. (Actually No Such Thing!)
A team or horse that isn’t expected to win.
To bet both sides of a game at different prices with the hope of winning both wagers. For example, suppose you bet the favorite team at -1.5 with one sportsbook and then take +3.5 with another sportsbook. If the game ends with the favorite winning by 3 points, you will win both bets or “middle the game”.
A bet on the actual result of an event (i.e., which team will win, without taking the point spread into consideration). Moneyline odds are quoted using either a positive or a negative number. A negative number indicates the favorite, and the odds show how much money you must wager to win $100. A positive number indicates the underdog, and the odds show how much money you will win on a $100 wager. The team you wager on just has to win the event.
Multiple straight bets placed at the same time. The bets can be from the same or different sports, leagues, or portions of the game, and the wager amounts can be the same or different for each bet.
Multi-sport parlay
See cross-sport parlay.
A slang term for a $500 bet.
No action
When a bet is canceled because either the event didn’t happen (e.g., a rained-out game) or certain conditions weren’t met (e.g., the listed pitchers didn’t start the game). All money is refunded as if you never placed the bet. See also push.
The likelihood, according to a bookmaker, of an outcome occurring.
Same as a linesmaker.
Off the board
Game or event on which the sportsbook is no longer taking bets.
One dollar
A slang term for a $100 bet.
Opening line
The earliest line posted for a particular event.
A wager in which you predict that the combined score of both teams will be above a specified total. See also under.
When the odds of a given wager favor the bettor rather than the house.
An extension to a tied contest at the end of regulation play that lasts until either a winner is determined or the maximum overtime periods expire.  Wagering types played continue into the overtime games.
A single bet that links together two or more individual bets (from the same or different sports, leagues, or portions of the game) and is dependent on all of the bets winning. If any one of the bets in the parlay loses, the entire parlay loses.
Past performance
An accurate record of the performance of specific teams or contestants when participating in events similar to those scheduled.
Pick ’em game (pick or PK)
An event where there isn’t a favorite; the teams are evenly matched.
See bettor.
Point spread
The handicap, or head start, that the linesmaker gives to the underdog for betting purposes. The favorite must win by more than the spread for bets on the favorite to win. The point spread isn’t necessarily the linesmaker’s predicted margin of victory. Instead, it’s the linesmaker’s opinion of what number will be required to split the wagering evenly on both teams. See also runline.
An event that has been canceled and rescheduled for a later date.
To bet a larger amount than usual.
The moneyline odds or point spread.
Proposition bet (prop)
A wager with two or more outcomes that are not directly related to the final score of an event. Proposition bets can be on sporting events, politics, and various other topics (e.g., How many field goals will be made? Who will win the next election?).
When an event ends with no winner or loser for wagering purposes. All money is refunded as if you never placed a bet. A moneyline bet is graded “Push” if the final score of the event is tied. A point spread bet is graded “Push” if the point adjustment creates a tie. A total bet is graded “Push” if the final combined score matches the specified total.
Quarter line (1Q, 2Q, 3Q, 4Q)
A bet placed on a specific quarter of a football or basketball game. Overtime does not count towards 4Q wagers for Basketball and Football.
The total amount you are paid on a winning bet.
When you place a reverse bet, two ‘If’ bets are placed for you – one in the original order and the other in reverse order.
Round robin
A convenient way to create multiple parlays at one time. You can select between three and eight lines and then combine them in parlays of two to six teams.
Run down
All the lines for a specific date, sport, or time.
Baseball’s version of the point spread. The runline typically adds 1.5 runs to the underdog (+1.5) and subtracts 1.5 runs from the favorite (-1.5).
People who study team plays and/or practices and report their findings to handicappers.
To bet both sides of a game at different prices such that there is at least one score that will give you a win on one bet and a push (tie) on the other.
The two teams playing in an event: the underdog and the favorite.
See straight bet.
Smart money
Sides that are bet on by more knowledgeable handicappers.
Sport player
A person who waits for what he thinks is an unusually strong wager.
A person or company that accepts bets on sporting and other events.
See point spread.
Standard line
When the price (or juice) is -110 for both teams (or -105 for dime lines), it’s considered to be a standard line. If a point spread is at the standard line then it will be displayed with just the spread for simplicity, no juice attached. So, an NFL point spread showing New Orleans -7 could also be read as New Orleans -7 (-110)
Stanley Cup
The best-of-seven National Hockey League (NHL) series where the Eastern Conference and Western Conference champions meet to determine the NHL champion.
The amount of the bet.
When a betting line starts to move quite rapidly. Most “steam games” don’t necessarily reflect objective circumstances; rather, they are games that a mass of bettors are drawn to for some reason.
A bookie.
Straight bet
A wager on the outcome of a single event or game.
Straight up (SU)
A bet that only requires the team to win the game outright without applying a pointspread to the outcome.
Sweetheart teaser
A special teaser that combines either three or four football or basketball wagers where you can adjust the point spread or total even further.
Taking the points
Betting on the underdog in a point spread event. See also laying the points.
Taking the price
Betting on the underdog in a moneyline event. See also laying the price.
A combination of two to ten American football or basketball wagers in which you adjust either the point spread or the total in your favor in exchange for a lower payout. Like a parlay, winning the bet is dependent on all of the wagers winning.
A wager.
See push.
The combined scores of both teams involved in an event. Rather than betting on which team will win the event, you can bet on whether the game will go over (o) or under (u) the specified amount.
A person who sells his expertise on sports or horse wagers.
A wager in which you predict that the combined score of both teams will be below a certain total. See also over.
The team or entry expected to lose a particular event. Also known as the “dog”. The underdog has a positive sign or no sign at all in front of its odds.
Vig or vigorish
The bookmaker’s commission. Also known as juice.
What some players say after winning a bet.
Wise guy
A sophisticated and successful sports bettor.
The price of a heavy favorite. For example, if you bet the Red Sox as a -240 favorite, you “lay the wood” with the Red Sox.


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