Sports Betting Glossary

Across the Board: A wager on a horse to win, place and show.

Action: A wager on a game or sporting event.

ATS (Against the Spread): A reference to a particular team’s record for how it does against the point spread, more commonly referred to as “the spread.”

Book: Short for “sportsbook,” it refers to a place of business that takes sports wagers.

Bookmaker/Bookie: A person who takes sports wagers.

Buck: A $100 bet.

Buying Points: When a player pays additional money to receive a half-point or more in their favor. This is mostly seen on football bets when the spread is near 3 or 7 points.

Chalk: The favorite. If a player is called a “chalk” bettor, they like to bet on the favorite.

Circled Game: A game with restricted betting options, typically due to injuries.

Cover: Beating the point spread. A bet wins because it “covers the spread.”

Dead Heat: Two or more horses finishing in a tie.

Dime: A $1,000 bet.

Dog: Short for “underdog” – the team the bookmakers predict will lose.

Dog Player: A player who likes to bet on the underdog.

Dollar: A $100 bet.

Edge: A player’s perceived edge if they feel the spread is inaccurate or the odds are otherwise in their favor.

Even Money: A bet without any odds or vig/juice.

Favorite: The team the bookmakers predict will win.

Field: In some proposition bets, bettors are allowed to “take the field.” This refers to betting on all team or player options not specifically listed as a betting choice.

Futures: A bet placed on an event that takes place in the future, like betting on the winner of the Super Bowl before the NFL season has begun.

Halftime Bet: A bet placed during the second half of a game.

Handicapper: A person who studies and predicts the outcomes of sporting events.

Handle: The total amount bet on an event or group of events.

Hedging: Placing a bet on the opposite outcome from your original bet to minimize losses or guarantee a profit.

Hook: A half-point.

In-game or In-play Wagering: A type of wagering where players can place bets on games while they are in progress.

Juice: The commission the sportsbook or bookmaker takes from a bet. Also known as the vig.

Laying the Points: Betting the favorite and giving up the points.

Limit: The maximum bet taken by a book before they adjust the odds or point spread.

Lines: Another word for odds.

Lock: A guaranteed winner (in the opinion of the person placing the bet).

Longshot: An underdog seen as having little chance to win.

Middle: Betting both sides of a bet with a slightly different spread for each, giving the player a chance to win both bets.

Moneyline: A game that includes no point spread and instead involves posted odds.

Nickel: A $500 bet.

Nickel Line: A betting line where the posted vig (or juice) is 5 percent.

Off the Board: A game in which the bookmaker is no longer taking wagers. This can be related to injuries, weather or other event uncertainty.

Over/Under: A bet based on the total number of points scored in a specific event or the total number of wins for a specific team in a given season.

Parlay: A bet on two or more games or outcomes in which all individual bets must be correct for the parlay to win. The more individual bets placed, the higher the potential payout.

Pick’em: A game where there is no favorite.

Point Spread: The number of points by which a favorite must win for the bet to pay.

Proposition Bet (Prop): Betting on an individual or team outcomes within a selected event. Popular prop bets include the total number of passing yards, number of strikeouts for a pitcher and individual points scored by a basketball player.

Push: When a contest ends, and neither side of the bet wins. In this case, all wagers are refunded.

Real-time Odds: Point spreads and moneylines that adjust as soon as a sportsbook updates its lines.

Round Robin: A parlay that includes multiple winning combinations of the same bet. This is a way of protecting oneself against losing an entire parlay because one winner doesn’t hit.

Runline: Baseball is typically bet with a moneyline, but it can also be bet with a runline, which acts the same as a point spread.

Sharp: A professional or experienced and knowledgeable sports bettor.

Spread: Short for point spread.

Straight Bet: A bet on a single game or event, be it with a point spread or moneyline.

Taking the Points: Betting on the underdog and receiving the points.

Teaser: A bet on two or more teams where the point spread is adjusted in the player’s favor. As with a parlay, all selected teams must win for the bet to pay.

Ticket: A sports bet confirmed by the issuing of a physical ticket. This term also applies to online wagers.

Tie: More commonly called a push, a wager in which neither side of the bet wins and all wagers are refunded.

Totals Bet: A bet based on the combined number of points or runs scored by both teams. Another way to call an Over/Under bet.

Tout: Someone who sells their picks and sports betting expertise.

Underdog: The team the bookmakers predict will lose.

Vig/Vigorish: The commission the sportsbook or bookmaker takes from a bet. Also known as juice.

Wager: Any type of bet.

Wiseguy: A professional or experienced and knowledgeable sports bettor. Another word for “sharp.”