Sports Betting Glossary
Action: Any wager placed on a sporting event, e.g., the total score or the outcome of a game.
Against the Spread (ATS): Laying points (the spread) instead of taking a game straight up.
Arbitrage: A gambling strategy involving a bettor placing wagers on all possible sports match outcomes. A bettor who participates in arbitrage betting or arbing is looking to lock in a guaranteed profit, with the profit margins typically being minimal.
Backdoor Cover: A score that unexpectedly occurs late into a game, helping an underdog cover the spread. This does not change the game’s outcome.
Bad Beat: A term derived from poker, referring to the instance when a strong hand with high odds of winning still loses. In sports betting, the term refers to when a bettor loses a bet they were close to winning. This term is often used when the betting result is determined late in the game resulting in the bettor losing his bet.
Bet Slip: An area containing a bettor’s selections. In conventional terms, a bet slip is a piece of paper bettors use to fill in their selections when placing bets at a bookmaker. On sportsbook sites and apps, a bet slip is where selections are made, and bet amounts are appointed. Bet slips also serve as bet receipts for bettors.
Chalk: The favorite in a game. Those said to be “chalk” bettors usually bet on the favorite.
Consensus: Refers to the percentage of the betting public on each side of a match. Some bettors bet against the “public money,” i.e., whichever sports team more bettors have placed bets on.
Dog: The abbreviation of the term “underdog”.
Draw: Also referred to as a push. When a game falls exactly on the spread, no winner is declared, and bettors receive their placed wagers back.
Edge: An advantage a bettor may feel they have on a sportsbook via thorough research of a team or game. An edge is a supposed value in a sports wager.
Even Money: Often called 50-50 odds, these are odds returning the same amount as the initial wager. For example, if the odds were even money in a game, a winning £1000 bet would see a return of £1000 in profit.
Favorite The favored team to win any game or competition. Every horse race, for example, will have a horse that is listed as the favorite.
Futures Bet: A bet on something that takes place longer-term than a bet on a single event or game. Examples of futures bets include pre-season bets on whether a team will win a championship or which sportsperson will win awards or score the most goals for the season.
Graded Bet: Also referred to as a settled bet. This is a bet that is officially declared a winning, losing, or push once an event has ended.
Handicapper: A slang term used for a bettor who studies and places wagers on sports matches.
Hook: A half point added to a point spread. In this case, a 3.5-point spread is commonly referred to as a three and a hook.
In-Game Wagers: A service provided by sportsbooks where bettors can place multiple wagers in real-time while the game progresses.
Juice: The commission a sportsbook makes for taking a bet. Also called vigorish or vig.
Laying Points: Betting on a favorite to win a match. If a bettor bets on a team that is a +6.5 favorite, the bet wins if the team wins by 7 points or more.
Limit: The maximum wager accepted by an operator. For instance, if a sportsbook has a £10,000 limit, it will accept that bet but decide to adjust the line before the user can bet again.
Long Shot: A sports team or player with a low probability of winning a match or contest.
Moneyline: A simple straight bet placed on a match’s outcome. In this case, the point spread is substituted by odds. Underdogs have positive odds, while favorites are listed with negative odds.
Mush: A bettor considered to have bad luck.
No Action: Bets that are canceled by sportsbooks and returned to bettors. Sportsbooks grade bets as “no action” when a match is canceled, or a minimum amount of gameplay has not been recorded to adhere to the house rules. This is likely to happen in cases where a player selected did not feature or if a horse race is severely altered or canceled.
Oddsmaker: An individual who sets the odds on a game. This term is often synonymous with “bookmaker”, and the same individual will often perform the role at a given sportsbook. It can also be separate if the oddsmaker sets the lines for the designated people who will book the bets.
Off the Board: A game or match bettors cannot place wagers on.
Over/Under: Also called the total, this refers to the total points/runs/goals to be scored in a game. If both competing teams combine to achieve more than the total, the over wins; If they score fewer points, the under wins.
Parlay: An accumulated bet involving bettors making multiple (at least two) bets and tying them together. The payouts of parlay bets are larger compared to a bet on a single game because each bet must win for a parlay to pay out.
Pick ‘Em: A match involving no favorite or underdog.
Proposition (aka Prop): An exotic or special bet not usually found on the betting board, e.g., the amount of yards a player will gain or which team will score first. Sometimes considered a game within a game, these are particularly popular during major sporting events.
Runner: An individual who makes bets on behalf of another person, also called a beard.
Square: A casual bettor or someone who typically does not use informed reasoning to place bets.
Straight Up: A bet placed when the bettor simply needs a team to win a game outright with no point spread involved.
Teaser: A bet combining multiple matches and allowing the bettor to move the odds of each match involved in the wager.
Tout: A person or group selling or giving away picks on sports games or events.
Underdog: A team that is expected to lose straight up. Underdogs are listed with positive odds.
Wager: A bet.
Wiseguy: A seasoned bettor. Also called a sharp.