Sports betting lingo can be confusing, especially those new to the industry. The glossary below contains many of the most commonly-used terms, concepts and strategies that you will see on this site and across sports betting as a whole.
Action – The form of money at stake in a bid to earn more, also know as a wager.
Added Game – A game that is not part of the regular Las Vegas rotation. Oftentimes this will be a rescheduled game or the second game of a doubleheader.
Against the Spread (ATS) – Refers to taking or laying points as opposed to taking a game straight-up.
Arbitrage – The simultaneous purchase and sale of the same game in different markets to profit from unequal prices.
Bankroll – The amount of money you have set aside for sports betting.
Bookmaker – An organization or individual who is licensed to create odds/lines and take action from bettors.
Buying Points – Paying an additional fee in order to get a game at a more attractive price. Often times bettors will buy points in football around key numbers such as 3 and 7.
Chalk – A a significant favorite to win.
Contrarian Betting – Finding value betting against the public.
Cover – The betting result on a point-spread wager. For a favorite to cover, it has to win by more than the spread; an underdog covers by winning outright or losing by less than the spread
Dime – A bet size of $1,000.
Dog – Short for underdog, this is the team which Bookmakers price at less likely odds to win.
Draw – If a game falls exactly on the spread, there is no winner and bettors will receive their money back. This can also referred to as a Push.
Edge – The ability to find bets that have a higher probability of happening than the odds you receive.
Even Money – A bet where you are not paying any vigorish (i.e. +100).
Favorite – The team or individual expected to win a particular event.
Field – In proposition (prop) bets, bettors are often allowed to bet the field. This refers to an accumulation of all the teams or players that are not specifically listed.
Future – This refers to bets that come down in advance of an event. For example, one can bet a Super Bowl future prior to the beginning of the season by selecting which team(s) they believe will win the championship. A bettor receives payment at the end of the season if their selection did claim the title.
Hedge – A method to reduce risk and secure winnings for a specified bet. In sports, it means betting the opposite side of your original wager in order to either try to middle the game, or to reduce the downside exposure of the original wager.
Hook – The half point on a point spread or total. For example, if a point spread is 6.5, the hook is . 5. If the point spread is 7 points, there is no hook.
Juice – The cut a sportsbook takes from every bet. Typically, Sportsbooks offer -110 odds, which means that you need to win 52.38% of your bets to break even.
Key Numbers – This represents the most common margins of defeat, and is used frequently in football where many games end with one team winning by a multiple of three or seven.
Limit – The most money a sportsbook will take on a single event.
Lines – Another term for the point spreads, or odds.
Middle – This occurs when you bet on both sides of a game and have an opportunity to win both bets. For example if you bet on Team A +10.5 and Team B -7.5, you win both bets if Team B wins by 8-10 points.
Moneyline – In sports like baseball, soccer and hockey, there are so few runs/goals scored that it doesn’t make sense to only offer a spread. Instead, these sports offer a moneyline in which you bet on whether or not a specific team is going to win outright.
Nickel – A bet size of $500.
Off the Board – A game or event that Sportsbooks will not allow you to bet on. Typically, a game is taken off the board if there is uncertainty surrounding a player’s injury status, the weather, or during live betting.
Over/Under – This refers to the total amounts of points/goals/runs that will be scored in the game. If both teams combine to score more than the total, the over wins. If they combine to score fewer, the under wins. This can also be referred to as the Total.
Parlay – Multiple bet selections on a single betslip. All selections must win, in result higher payouts than a straight bet.
Pick ‘Em – An instance in which neither team is favored. In spread based sports like basketball or football, this is a line of 0, which typically has odds of -110 on both sides.
Prop – A bet on something other than the outcome of a game. Common prop bets include an over/under on points scored, passing yards, or strikeouts by an individual player.
Public Betting Percentage – These numbers represent real bets placed at real sportsbooks. These percentages are integral for our betting against the public philosophy.
Push – When a contest ends without a designated winner.
Real Time Odds – Live lines that update immediately as sportsbooks adjust their lines.
Reverse-Line Movement – Betting line movement that contradicts the public betting percentages. For example: if Team A is receiving 80% of the public bets as a 7-point favorite yet the line drops to -6.5, this is an example of reverse line movement. This indicates that sharp money is taking Team B.
Return on Investment (ROI) – A metric used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment.
Run Line – In moneyline sports like Baseball or Hockey, you can take the equivalent of a spread — the run or puck line. This alternative allows you to add runs for the underdog, or subtract them from the favorite. This means that a favorite has to win by at least two runs for you to win your bet, while an underdog could either lose by one run or win straight-up to win the bet. The benefit of this is that you can bet more lucrative lines on favorites, but because baseball and hockey are such low-scoring games, this can be a risky proposition.
Runner – An individual who places a bet on behalf of another person.
Steam Move – A sudden, drastic and uniform line movement across the entire sports betting market.
Teaser – A non-traditional wager, which you're able to adjust the point spread or total for a game. The more you change the spread, the lower the payout becomes.
Tout – An individual who sells their picks or their sports betting expertise to others.
Units – We consistently report sports betting wins/losses according to units won or lost. We recommend betting one unit per game, which refers to a standard monetary measurement — typically between 2-4% of your bankroll. For example if your bankroll is $1,000, one unit is between $20 and $40. Then if you noticed a system that has won 15 units over the season, you could easily calculate your earnings by taking the units earned and multiplying them by your standard betting unit (in this case, $20 x 15 units = $300).
Wager – Any type of bet.