Sports Betting Terms for Dummies- A Complete Glossary

sports betting terms

Sports betting is evolving day by day due to the advancements in technology which alters the online sportsbooks to a great extent. With a newer understanding of how the sports betting industry works, one needs to be rather aware of the little things surrounding the business. Along with a basic understanding of how sports betting works, a person who intends to wager must understand the sports betting terms. These terms are in use by punters throughout the world. However, some of these words may sound foreign to a lot of participants. Hence, this comprehensive glossary will acquaint you with the most common sports betting terms. With this knowledge in mind, everything in the gambling industry will make much more sense.

Here are some of the most popular sports betting terms:

A

Accumulator: a  type of bet which combines several events into one allowing the bettor to wager on multiple things at the same time. This bet only pays out in case of a win on all fronts. Accumulator also identifies as parlay or combo bets.

Across the border: this is another type of bet which is most commonly associated with horse racing. The 3 types of betting in horse racing are win, place and show. Across the border is a metaphor which means placing the same amount of money on all 3 bets.

Alternate lines: this is a very common affair which varies from sportsbook to sportsbook. A lot of people notice that odds differ on various sportsbooks. This phenomenon defines as alternate lines. This is when the odds for the same game vary on different sites. This provides different options to customers so they can choose what suits them best.

American odds: a particular way of displaying odds which is specific to the US. These odds are available in the form of a number along with a positive or negative sign. American odds are more commonly famous as Moneyline odds.

Ante-post: this type of betting is in affiliation with horse and greyhound racing. Due to the nature of the sports, punters can bet beforehand, which can be days or in some cases even months before the event. This type of betting identifies as ante-post.

Arbitrage: using this technique of betting which requires placing a bet on all possible outcomes, makes for a ‘sure bet’. Which means no matter the outcome, there will be a guarantee of some sort of profit.

Asian handicap: this is a betting condition which makes the game fairer according to critics. Asian handicap works in a way where the stronger team will have to achieve a higher goal than the underdog.

B

Backdoor cover: when an underdog team or player rises to the occasion and covers the point spread. This does not include winning the match but merely concerns the spread.

Bad beat: this term is a part of Texas hold’em glossary as well which means the unfortunate event where a sure bet loses.

Banker/bank bet: this bet is a bet which guarantees profit which is the reason for the titular name. This is possible if the bettor wagers on the favourite.

Bankroll: the amount of money a person reserves for wagering.

Beard: an incognito bet on behalf of a person who does not wish to place bet themself.

Betting unit: this is the relative size of an average bet a person makes. It can vary from person to person depending on their play style.

sports betting terms
A good pint of beer and high odds – Recipe for the perfect football match – Image source: Flickr

Betting exchange: another sort of betting which excludes sportsbooks. In betting exchange, punters bet against each other on different events. Ordinarily, there is an exchange operator who supervises the bet.

Betting limits: depending on the choice of betting medium there will be betting limits set. These limits define the minimum and maximum amount of bet one can place.

Bonus: there are numerous bonus offers available on sportsbooks. These offers give rewards based on different milestones.

Book/bookmaker/bookie: the organization which provides odds for customers to place bets on.

Booking points: this bet refers to the number of red and yellow cards shown in a match.

C

Canadian: this is a betting system which allows for multiple bets to take place at the same time. A total of 26 bets are available to bettors including doubles, trebles, four-folds, etc.

Canadian line: this form of bet basically consists of two types of bets: Moneyline and puck line or point spread.

Chalk: one of the sports betting terms which refers to the favourites of that particular event.

Chalk player: a player who constantly bets on the favourites.

Circle game: this is the circumstance in which the amount of the bet is lowered due to special occurrences- an injury, a weather change which makes play impractical, etc.

Clean sheet: this is a metaphorical term in use for teams which do not let their opponents score a goal. Hence, the team successfully maintains a ‘clean sheet’.

Closing line: the point spread when the match begins.

Closing line value: the value of the closing line is the amount of bet where the line closes.

Contrarian: this is a betting technique which allows bettors to understand the statistics deeply so they can bet on the unpopular team. This decision could prove to be successful if the team is credible enough.

Correct score: this is the final score prediction which customers can bet on depending on which one they believe has the most likely to come true.

Cover: this is a result of the final score which is directly correlated to the point spread.

D

Dead-heat: in simple sports betting terms, dead-heat means a tie. Various sportsbooks have different payouts in case of a dead heat.

Decimal odds: another way of displaying odds. This type of odds system is in use in Europe, which provides odds in a decimal format.

Dime: a $1000 wager is more commonly known as a ‘dime’.

sports betting terms
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Dime line: the profit margin of sportsbooks is known as the dime line. Usually, this reads as ‘10 cent line’ or ‘20 cent line’ difference.

Draw no bet: this is an advantageous bet popular opinion. The bet removes the option to bet on a draw which means the person can bet on home or win. In case of a draw, the bet returns to punter which results in a no win-lose scenario. However, the bet will lose if the home team loses.

Dog player: another name for an underdog team/participant, which is not favourite to win.

Doubles: a double bet. To win this bet, both the results should be in favour of the punter.

Double chance: a bet which offers to bet on 2 outcomes out of a total of 3. The options consist of win-lose, win-draw, lose-draw, lose-win, draw-win, or draw-lose.

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E

Each way: this type of betting style is most commonly in use with horse racing. It combines two bets into one. Consisting of the ‘win’ and ‘place’ bet. The payout is based on the position of the horse in the race.

Early cash out: with this option, the punters can take back a certain amount of their original bet before the event ends. The payout amount depends on the chances of a win which can vary.

Edge: a common sports terminology which refers to the advantage of a team/player.

European handicap: an advantage which is given to the underdog while simultaneously being taken away from the favourites.

Even money: a bet which has an equal payout.

Exacta: if anyone is into betting accurately, this is the best for them. Exacta bet allows the bettors to bet on the first two positions in horse racing.

Exotic bets: these bets come under the prop bets category which allows bets on unusual outcomes and often have higher payouts.

Expected value: this is a simple calculation which allows the bettor to determine the winnings and losses per bet.

Exposure: this is the account of losses a sportsbook or bookmaker might lose on a specific event.

F

Favourite: the most popular team/player to win the match or event.

Final four: the last 4 teams in the NCAA tournament.

First goal min: this is the bet which allows punters to predict the time of the first goal and wager on it. The goal is irrelevant to the team scoring it.

First goal/team to score: a bet which further predicts which team will score the first goal. In this bet, time is irrelevant.

First half bet: as the name suggests this bet is specific to the result of the first half of the game.

Fixed odds: these are the odds which do not change once they have been revealed. Therefore, it is easier to calculate odds when placing the bet.

Flat betting: this is simply a betting style which involves the bettor placing equal amounts of bets on each play. It is irrelevant to any profit or losses.

Fractional odds: another way to display odds is the fractional format. This style is more popular in the UK, where the displaying method is using a fraction for odds and even payout options.

G

Getting down: another term for placing a wager is getting down.

sports betting terms
Bettin is an important part of many subcultures

H

Half/full time: this bet predicts the result at the end of each half: the first and the second half.

Handicap: this is a betting technique which can attract punters to wager on obvious games with a twist. The bookmakers give the favourites a disadvantage so the people may take up the chance to bet on the underdogs.

Handle: this refers to the amount of money a sportsbook acquires from the people on a specific event.

Head-to-head: a betting type which allows the person to bet on two outcomes for the game. This identifies as head-to-head in sports betting terms.

Hedging: this is a strategy which is used by many to keep the losses in check by investing. This accomplishes the purpose that the difference remains low between winnings and losses.

Home field: this is the playing arena which belongs to one of the participating teams. Homefields have advantages which include a familiar place along with a large number of supporters in the audience.

Hook: a term which refers to ‘half a point’.

I

In the money: a term which refers to the positions which will have payouts. This is usually in association with horse racing.

J

Joint favourite: as the name suggests, this is when two teams have the same ranking and both are considered favourites.

K

Kelly criterion: this is a strategy in use by most punters who wish to minimize their losses and tactfully increase chances of winning by using a specific formula.

sports betting terms
A huge sportsbook of Nevada – Image source: Flickr

L

Lay: some people call this betting on the underdog. However, it may differ due to technicality. A lay bet is to wager on a team to not win the match. If the team loses, the person wins the bet.

Listed pitcher: this bet is related to baseball which involves the pitcher. To make a listed pitcher wager, a person may bet on the names provided by the sportsbook. On the coincidental occasion, if the pitcher upon which the wager takes place, does start the game, then the bet is successful.

Live betting: in-game betting or live betting is the sort of betting which takes place during the game. This is a rather intense spectacle since it involves odds and payouts changing during the course of the game.

Lock: another way to categorize a sure bet. Lock betting is not a definitive term which can vary from person to person depending on who they believe will win.

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M

Margin: in margin betting, the various number of outcomes are divided into different criteria. In this bet, the two criteria are: one is naming the winner and the margin by which the team/player will win.

Martingale system: a betting strategy which seems a little aggressive to some bettors. In a martingale system, the bettor will double their bet after losing one. This strategy is more popular in recovering losses.

Matched bet: these are free promotional wagers which a person utilizes for a chance to gain more profit.

Middle bets: these are the betting options which allows bettors to have a higher chance at winning. These options involve the same game but with different bets.

Mobile betting: this is also famous as online betting using any electronic device such as mobiles, tablets or computers.

Money line: this also identifies as American odds, which is a way of displaying odds. Money line odds are different from other odds because they represent negative and positive values.

Multi corner: one of the sports betting terms for football is multi-corner. This refers to spread which displays the number of corners which will take place during a football match. There are different options for half time and full time with respective spreads.

N

Nickel: a nickel bet is the one which totals to a $500 wager.

No offer: simply a situation where there are no bets available for a sports event.

Non-runner: this term is affiliated to horse racing. A non-runner is typically a horse which is on schedule to run in a race but eventually does not. This is especially an unfortunate situation in the ante-post betting.

Novelty bet: this betting type refers to non-sports events such as a political or entertainment bet.

The world of sports betting is way more complex than many people think – Image source: Flickr

O

Odds: the most famous term in the sports betting terms is ‘odds’. This is the method which determines the likelihood of any event. Bettors can calculate payouts based on odds for a bet.

Odds-on-favourites: in comparison to underdog bets, bets on favourites are less profitable in case of a win. Therefore odds-on-favourites might present a higher chance of a win, but less profit.

Off the board: in some cases, the odds are taken ‘off the board’ when a participant is no longer in the running.

Opening line: the point spread when the match ends identifies as the opening line.

Outcome: this is the result of any bet but typically this refers to the result of the entire match. In some cases, the outcome of the tournament also falls under this.

Overlay: when a particular bet which is deemed not good enough to win, yet bettors still consider betting on it- this is known as an overlay.

Over: this is one of the two bets, over and under which fall under the same category. In these bets, the sportsbooks define the limits. For instance, an over 1.5 goals mean to count the bet as successful, the team has to score 2 goals or more.

Overround: another one of the sports betting terms which refers to the profit margin of the sportsbooks. This margin is irrespective of the outcome.

P

Pari-mutuel: an innovative way of betting which involves collecting all the bets and forming a pool. The winnings distribute according to a system which depends on the winners and the total number of participants.

Parlay: another name for accumulator or combo bets which gives the bettor a chance to wager on multiple bets. A parlay bet only pays when all the bets in the combo are successful.

Patent: similar to a parlay bet, however, a patent bet allows the bettor the advantage of betting on 7 bets. These 7 bets include 3 single bets, 3 double bets and one treble. A more positive side to a patent wager is that it still pays out even if only 1 bet is successful.

Pick’em: this type of bet is different from most since it does not have any favourite or underdog teams. Moreover, the teams do not have point spreads or margins. The bettors simply have to ‘pick’ the team they believe will win.

Player props: a part of the prop bets in a sports event. Player props make room for more betting options by including bets on players to do something, like getting a yellow card or scoring the winning goal.

sports betting terms
You can bet on many different sports online

Point spread: one of the sports betting terms which are used to entice bettors to make bets not only on the favourites but also allows underdogs to be taken into consideration. A point spread gives an advantage to the underdogs which makes the game more interesting to bet on.

Power ranking: this is the rating which assists in the calculating of the point spread. This is based on different factors which take into account the performance of the team/player over the last few games.

Price: another way of saying odds.

Puck line: a term which is in use in NHL betting. Puck line means betting on the point spread which covers the number of goals scored during the game.

Punter: a person who bets. This name is common in the UK.

Puppy: a more innocent approach for an underdog team.

Push: also known as a tie. In case of a push, the money returns to the bettor, but it also depends upon the conditions of sportsbooks.

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R

Reduced Juice: this is a metaphorical term which refers to the profit sportsbooks and bookmakers make on every bet. Sometimes sportsbooks offer discount bets which guarantee a win, which is referred to as reduced juice.

Reverse line movement: this is the betting pattern which goes against the line yet receives the most number of bets.

Return on investment: ROI is the amount of money that is returned to a bettor from the entire investment.

Roundabout: this bet consists of 3 wagering options which include 3 singles and 3 any to come (ATC) double bets.

Round robin: this bet is completely known as round robin parlay. This is because in this bet multiple parlay bets can take place on several teams.

Runner: this term refers to typically a horse who is scheduled to run at a race. A runner is also a person who places a bet for someone else.

Run line: this is a point spread in baseball which allows bettors to place a bet on the number of runs which will be scored in a match.

S

Score bet: one of the sports betting terms most widely used. This refers to the score tally at the end of the game or in between halves.

Sharp money: a sharp money bettor is someone who the sportsbooks take seriously. This is due to the fact that these bettors take their wagering seriously and not as a hobby.

Shortening the odds: this is when odds change due to high traffic betting which depends on the likelihood of the bet.

Spread betting: a type of betting in which the outcome is predicted based on the accuracy of the event.

Square: someone who does not take betting professionally and only as a leisure activity.

Stake: the betting amount.

Straight up: an outright win on part of a team disregarding the point spread.

Steam: this kind of betting is similar to shortening of odds. When odds change due to a lot of betting, it identifies as steam.

Sure bet: a bet which has the guarantee of a win.

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T

Take the points: this is when a punter wagers on an underdog team/player. The bettor ‘takes the points’ which the sportsbooks and bookmarkers offer.

Take the price: similar to taking points, in this, the bettor accepts the price or odds which a sportsbook is offering.

Technical knockouts: the abbreviation for this is TKO which means elimination or knockout in boxing.

Three-way: any bet which has 3 possible outcomes- win, draw, or lose- is a three-way bet.

Tissue price: these are the odds which a sportsbook offers at the very initial stage of odd listing.

Tips: professional suggestions and advice regarding betting.

Tipster: someone who gives tips.

Totals: this is the total score with relation to over and under betting.

Tout: a term which usually refers to scam artists who sell picks which do not coincide with the point spread.

True odds: the actual likelihood of something happening is known as true odds.

U

Under: a bet which predetermines the total number of goals which can not exceed the given limit.

Underdog: the team which does not have a good chance of winning.

V

Value betting: a betting strategy in which bettors identify the advantage over the sportsbook and utilize it to wager smartly.

W

Wire to wire: one of the popular sports betting terms in basketball is wire-to-wire. This refers to a team leading in at the end of a quarter.

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