Sports Betting Dictionary | 🥇Study Up!

The world of online sports betting is vast and complex. It is important to have some stars to guide your journey. This list of important betting terms is extensive, if not exhaustive.

Read our list of sports betting terms to become the best, most confident gambler you can. Our list of over 200 sports gambling terms will take you from zero to hero

Sports Betting Vocabulary

Accumulator

Accumulators are also known as parlays, combos, or multis. They are single bets that fold many bets into one. If one single bet fails, the entire parlay is lost. 

Added game

Added games are extra games that are included due to popular demand. They are sometimes meant to replace other canceled events, but not always. 

AET

Added Extra Time refers to the time added to the clock at the end of a soccer game. It is based on stoppages for injuries and other stoppages throughout the match. 

Alternative Lines

Alternative Lines let you raise or lower the match odds with the corresponding price change of course. 

American Odds

Based on a unit of 100, American odds are alternatives to decimal or fraction odds. Positive odds mark underdogs, and negative odds are favorites. Placing $100 on (-200) will earn you $200

Ante-post

Also known as futures, these bets are placed well in advance of the event. This means increased risk and reward, as it comes with more unknowns.

Arb

Arbitrage

Arbitrage is a betting strategy that takes advantage of discrepancies between the odds posted at different bookmakers. In this strategy, the bettor wagers on both sides of an event, at different bookmakers, guaranteeing a return, no matter the outcome.

Asian Handicap

A variation on spread betting, Asian Handicaps go from ¼ to multiple goals. Mostly associated with soccer, Asian Handicapping does not allow for ties.

ATS

Betting Against the Spread means betting for the underdog, according to the lines offered at the bookmaker. 

Banker

Used in parlays, Bankers are the bedrock of bet. They are safe bets around which parlays are often built.

Best-price percentage

The Best-price percentage is the percentage chance of winning. So a match with even odds has a 50% best-price percentage.

Bet

Actual or promotional money used to make wagers.

Betting exchange

Betting exchanges are sites where you can bet against other bettors, rather than against the house.

Betting strategy

Betting strategies are collections of tactics used to give bettors an edge over bookmakers. Common betting strategies include Sandwich Games, Safe Bets, and Home Dogs.

Bonus

Rewards given to plays from online betting sites. They are often rewarded when signing up, when betting on certain days, or fulfilling some other stipulated requirement. 

Book

This is a nickname for any site that offers odds and the opportunity to bet on sporting events.

Bookie

Bookies set the prices at a sportsbook. Booke is short for Bookmaker and Linemaker.

Canadian line

Combinations of moneyline and against-the-spread betting, offered on ice hockey.

Chalk

Another word for the favorite to win any wagered match. 

Circled game

Circled Games have maximums placed on how much you can risk. This is meant to reduce potential losses at betting sites where the outcome may feel predetermined. 

Closing line

Closing lines are the last odds offered before they close and an event starts. They will often differ from opening lines.

Co-favorite

Two or more teams priced at the same odds. This is common in futures or ante betting.

Commission

This is the money bookmakers take to stay in business. It is also known as juice or vigorish.

Correct score

Correct Score wagers predict the exact score at the end of any game. It is most common in soccer.

Cover

Short for “covering the spread,” cover refers to the betting result on a point-spread wager. For the favored team to cover, they have to win by even more than the point spread. 

Decimal odds

Decimal odds are a way to represent odds, in addition to American and Fractional odds. Smaller odds represent the favorites. 

Dime

Dime is slang for wagers worth $10, $100, or $1000. It can also refer to wagers placed at (-110) where the juice is 10% of the wager. 

Dog

Dog is an insiders’ term for the more common “underdog.” It refers to the side of the wager or match less likely to win. 

Double action

A Double Action is muli-wager bet. These bets require bets to be won, tied, or pushed for the next bets to be considered.

Double bet

This is a bet on two wagers. The winnings from the first is rolled over to the second bet. Like parlays, you must win both to win the double bet.

Double result

Common across most sports, these wagers bet on the winner at halftime and at the end of the game. For example: Green Bay Packers win at half/Minnesota Vikings win at Full time. 

Double-header

These mainly happen in baseball. Doubleheaders are two games played on the same day between the same two teams. 

Draw

Any match ended in a tie. Also known as a push, in sports betting, original wagers are returned.

Drift

Drift refers to the slow growth of odds. 

Each-way

Bookmakers offer each-way bets to spread risk for bettors. It consists of a win bet and a place bet. You can bet on a horse to win, and then also on that horse to place in a number of positions.

Edge

Another word for advantage. It can refer to information or smart strategies that gives a play or team an advantage.

Even money

Even Money refers to any wager that returns the same amount as the original wager. The bettor may win or lose the same amount as the original risk.

Exotic

Exotics are neither parlays, or straights. They are also referred to as props or special bets. They are often more fun.

Expected goals

Expected goals refers to a guess of how many goals one or both sides will score during a match.

Expected value

Expected Value refers to how much a bettor can expect to win after betting the same odds across a number of wagers.

Exposure

Exposure refers to how much the bettor stands to lose if the wager goes south. 

Favorite

The favorite is the opposite of the underdog. Favorites are the team or wager most likely to win.

First half bet

This bet allows you to bet on who will be ahead at the end of the first half. It is a common wager available in most sports. 

First/last goal scorer

This bet allows you to bet on who or which team will make the first or last goal in a soccer match.

Fixed-odds betting

Fixed-odds will not change after you place your bet. In other words, the closing line will not change your bet. 

Fractional odds

One way, in addition to Decimal or American, of representing odds. Fractions set at 2/1 are equivalent to +200 in American odds.

Future

Refers to wagers placed well in advance of a contest. They have higher risk and reward, due to increased uncertainties.

Grand Salami

Grand Salamis are also known as over/unders. These bets are on how many points will be scored and typically must be placed before the beginning of the match.

Half time bet

Bets placed at halftime on who will win the second half of the game. 

Half-ball handicap

Wagers where odds are placed at half-points. If you bet on the Vikings to win by 2.5 points, they must win by three or more to have a winning bet. 

Handicap

As a way of leveling out odds, a handicap is set by the bookmaker to make wagers more competitive than the matches.

Handicapper

The person who sets, bets on, or predicts a handicap.

Handicapping

Predicting the outcome of an event with pre-determined odds.

Handle

The total amount of wagers that a particular bookmaker will accept on a particular event.

Hedging

Hedging is when you bet on the other side of your original wager. This guarantees a return and reduces overall risk. 

Holding your own

Is an economic outcome where the bettor has neither lost nor won any money over a period of time. 

Home field advantage

The edge a team has when they play where their team is based. This is attributed to being more comfortable in training, travel, and housing, as well as to the energy of the fans.

If bet

Multi-wager bets in which each wager must win for the following wager to be placed. 

In-play betting

Also known as live betting, in-play betting is when you bet on an event that is currently underway. Odds change throughout the match, and frequently. 

Joint favorite

When at least two units such as players or teams are seen as equally likely to win.

Juice

Juice refers to the commission bookmakers take off of winning bets. It is also known as vigorish. 

Kelly Criterion

A formula created by John Kelly used to maximize profits in the scientific approach to sports betting.

Landing on three/seven

This is the most common score differential in football.

Laying the points

This refers to placing a spread wager on the favorite. The term refers to how these bets level the field because the wager essentially starts the game with points on the board. 

Layoff

A strategy by which bookmakers reduce their exposure. If a large bet comes in, they may place bets in other bookmarks as a form of insurance. 

Limit

The maximum or minimum that a bettor can wager. Bookmakers and players can both set wagering limits. 

Line

Bets that handicapped to make both sides equal.

Linemaker

The employee at the bookmaker who creates the odds.

Listed pitchers

The pitcher who will start a baseball game. If the listed pitcher changes, bets are often voided, with the money being refunded.

Live-betting

Also known as in-play betting, live-betting is when you can place wagers on an event while it is happening.

Lock

Term that refers to a safe bet. It is said to be “locked in” as a win. In reality, very few bets can be certain.

Longshot

Also known as betting for the underdog. Longshot bets are less likely to win, but will have higher rewards if they do.

Margin

Can refer to two different concepts. Either the point spread or the bookies commission on a match.

Match bet

Any wager on a bet with two sides in a head-to-head match-up.

Middle

Middling involves placing two bets. One of them is placed after the spread changes. This way, you win no matter the outcome, and you will win even more if the game’s outcome is in the “middle” of your two wagers.

Moneyline

A very direct wager, where the winning team determines the outcome of the wager. The score is irrelevant.

Multiple: Any bet that has multiple bets folded into it. They are also referred to as parlays, combos, or accumulators.

Double: One parlay on two different sides.Treble: One parlay on three different sides. Trixie: Four bets on three sides: Three doubles and one treble.Patent: Seven bets on three sides: Three doubles, three singles and one treble.Yankie: Eleven bets on four sides: Sic doubles, four trebles, and one four-bet parlay.Lucky 15: Fifteen bets on four sides: Six doubles, four trebles, four singles, and a four-bet parlayLucky 31: Thirty-one bets on five sides: five singles, ten doubles, ten trebles, one five-bet parlay, and five four-side parlays

MVP

Stands for Most Valuable Player. 

Nap

The best bet on any match. It is also known as a “lock.” A sure bet.  

No action

A wager that is voided. It is pulled from the board and funds are returned. 

Non-runner

This is the horse racing-specific term for a no action wager. If the race does not happen, original bets are returned. 

Novelty bet

Proposition bets that are difficult to predict using standard betting tactics.

Odds

The balance of advantage on any bet. This will also determine the risk to reward ratio.

Odds format

Choose from the three most common odds formats: America, decimal, or fractional.

Odds on favorite

The side that is perceived to be most likely to come out on top.

Oddsmaker

The person, often a dedicated staff or employee at a sportsbook, who calculates and set the odds. 

Off the board

Any upcoming match without odds posted is considered to be off the board. Unexpected changes such as injuries or weather can amke bookmakers place an OTB where the odds would normally be. 

Outright betting

A form of ante or futures betting. In outright betting you bet on the league’s champion even before the season starts. 

Over

Betting that the total points scored in a game by all teams will be more than the number given by the bookmaker. 

Overbroke

Markets where the odds are in favor of the bettors, rather than the bookmakers. 

Overround

Markets where the odds are in favor of the bookmakers, rather than the bettors. 

Over/Under

A fixed number set by the bookmaker representing the total points scored in a match. You can then bet if you think the total will be over or under that ore-set number.

Parlay

A combination of multiple bets folded into a single wager. 

Payout

This is the amount you win, plus your original risk, on a successful wager.

Pick ’em

A betting option where the odds are the same on both sides.

Point Spread

The pre-set number set by the bookmaker representing the gap between the winning and losing team. 

Post time

The time that horses and greyhounds are scheduled to leave the gate, starting the race.

Power Ranking

The standings that order all the teams in the league from best to worst. The decision is arrived at combining a number of statistics.

Price

This is the amount it costs to play a particular bet. It is based on odds and reward.

Prop (proposition) bet

Bets that do not have to do directly with the end result. They are exotic bets that become even more popular during major sporting events. 

Public money

Large sums placed on the favorites.

Puckline

The number of goals that an underdog must stay within or a favorite must win by, to cash a winning ticket.

Push

Any bet that ends on a tie or directly on the spread. If neither side can be said to have won or lost, it is a push, and the original stakes are returned.

Quarter bet (see first half, second half bet)

Any bet that is made on based on a first, second, or third quarter.

Rag

A slang term for the underdog.

Reload bonus

Additional funds credited to accounts at online sports books when a deposit is made.

Rotation number

The number a bookmaker assigns to a bettor, primarily used in Las Vegas.

Round Robin

A type of parlay of at least three legs that covers all possible wagers. 

Run line

A handicap, against-the-spread baseball wagering option. Normally set at 1.5 runs at the start of the game, they change during live betting. 

Scalping

Hopping between sportsbooks to take advantage of price and bonus differences.

Second half bet

A bet on what will happen after the first half of a match. You can normally find these bets in live betting after the end of the first half. 

Sell

When a bet is seen as being posted too high. 

Sharp

An experienced bettor who knows how to make profitable bets.

SP

The starting price is the opening odds for greyhound and horse races.

Special

Another term for bets that are not covered by moneylines, against the spreads, and game totals. Also known as props.

Split-ball handicap

Two handicap bets on a single wager that have different values. Betting Chicago Bulls +3.5 and +1.5 means that if the actually point difference is 2, you win one and lose the other. 

Sportsbook (general term)

Another name for a bookmaker. Where odds are posted, bets are accepted, and fun is had.

Sportsbook (at a casino or other offline venue)

Common at Las Vegas resorts, offline sportsbooks are structures where bettors go to place sports bets. 

Spread

The number of points at the end of the game, as estimated by the bookmakers. It is the benchmark for a number of bets. 

Spread betting

Any betting option with points set up by the bookmaker. You can bet for or against the spread.

Stake

Also known as “risk,” it is the amount you wager on any given bet. 

Staking method

A way to calculate the proper amount on every wager in order to maximize profits from betting.

Stanley cup

The trophy given to the winner of the NHL playoffs.

Steam

Refers to odds that move very quickly as news comes out, or favorites become available. 

Straight bet

Refers to single bets. They are in opposition to accumulators.

Taking the points

Another way to refer to the underdog. A bettor is taking the points by betting against the favorite.

Teaser

A type of parlay where the odds move slightly (are “teased”) in your favor. 

Ticket

The receipt from the bookmaker showing your bet. Hold onto it to cash in your winnings.

Tie

When neither side wins, often resulting in a push, thus returning the stakes to the bettors.

Tip

A hint or insight offered by a tipster as to the best wagers to make.

Tipster

Professionals who provide tips.

Total

The number a bookies sets as the amount of points in a given match. 

Totals bet

Any bet on the amount of points scored by all teams in a given match.

Tout

A professional betting tipster who charges a fee.

True odds

Used by bookies to make the final score even between favorites and underdogs.

Under

Any wager that ends beneath the number set by bookies. This can measure goals, points, totals, and more. 

Underdog

Opposite of the favorite. The underdog is expected to lose a match.

Value

Bettors get value when they bet outside the expected. A sharpie will find lots of value bets.

Vigorish

The commission bookies take from winning bets. 

Wager

Paying money to buy odds from a bookmaker, also known as a bet. 

Important Leagues and Competitions

NHL

The National Hockey League is the most important professional hockeyLeague in North America. The teams are based in both Canada and the United States

NBA

The National Basketball Association is the largest North American professional basketball league. Founded in 1946, the league has teams in Canada and the United States. 

MLS

Major League Soccer is North America’s premier soccer professional league. Founded in 1996, it grows in popularity every year. 

MLB

Major League Baseball is the oldest of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada.

NFL

The National Football League is the premier football league in North America. Founded in 1920, today it is the most popular North American league.

Hart Trophy

The Hart Memorial Trophy is awarded every year to the “player judged most valuable to his team.” Members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association make this determination.

Vezina Trophy

The Vezina Trophy is awarded every year to the goalkeep “adjudged to be the best at this position.” It is named after Georges Vèzina, who died in 1926 of Tuberculosis. 

Selke Trophy

The Frank J. Selke Trophy is awarded annually to the NHL forward who demonstrates the most defensive skill. A poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association makes this decision. 

Ted Lindsay Award

The Ted Lindsay Ward used to be known as the Lester B. Pearson Award, and it is awarded to the NHL’s most valuable player as judged by the NHL Players’ Association.

Calder Trophy

The Calder Memorial Award is awarded annually to the most proficient rookie in the NHL. 

Vince Lombardi Trophy

The Vince Lombardi Trophy is given to the winner of the Super Bowl and is named after the Green Bay Packers quarterback who led his team to win the first two Super Bowls. 

Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy

Formerly known as the Walter A. Brown Trophy, the Larry O’Brien Trophy is awarded to the winner of the NBA Finals. 

Rose Bowl (stadium)

The Rose Bowl Stadium is located in Pasadena, California and is a National Historic Landmark. Built in 1922, it is most famous for hosting the Rose Bowl Game.

Rose Bowl Game

Usually played on January 1, the Rose Bowl is the oldest operating bowl game in NCAA football. It has been the highest attended college football game since 1945.

The Grand National

The Grand National is the most valuable horse race in Europe. First founded in 1839, the race covers nearly 7 kilometers and is a handicap steeplechase. 

Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is a horse race almost always held on the first Saturday in May. It caps the Kentucky Derby festival and is known as “the most exciting two minutes in sports,” and is the most attended North American horse racing event.

Triple Crown

The Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing is awarded to horses that win the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes.

Canadian Triple Crown

The Canadian Triple Crown is awarded to horse who win The Queen’s Plate, Prince of Wales Stakes, and Breeders’ Stakes. It has been awarded since 1959.

Breeders Stakes

A horse race first run in 1889, it is today the third leg of the Canadian Triple Crown. It is also the longest of the three races. 

March Madness

March Madness is the single-elimination NCAA basketball tournament that happens every Spring to determine the National Champion. It is common practice to predict the outcome of the tournament by filling out brackets. 

NCAA

The National Collegiate Athletic Association is a non-profit organization that regulates college sports at over 1200 institutions across the USA and Canada. 

Draft

The major sports leagues organize drafts a few months before the start of the regular season. These events allow teams to restock their rosters by recruiting new players, often straight out of college.