Common Sports Wagering Terms

sports wagering terms and sports betting lingo – In a new world that you must familiarize yourself with using the lingo in order to know how to bet effectively.

Sports Wagering Terms

Action: This refers to having a bet on a particular sporting event. Many novice bettors feel the need to have “action” on a game.

Angles: This refers to any betting trends that might be associated with an upcoming event. If a certain “angle” stands out in the handicapping process, the bettor may have more confidence in the wager.

AOPR: This is an abbreviation for Average Opponent Power Rating (AOPR). Sports bettors use power ratings to measure the quality of a particular wagering line.

ATS: This is an abbreviation for Against The Spread (ATS). An ATS record measures how successful a team is at covering the point spread.

Bad Beat: A term that bettors refer to when a wager is lost in a difficult manner. Controversial officiating calls or critical turnovers/errors are among the factors that can lead to a bad beat.

Beard: This refers to somebody that places a wager for another person to conceal the real bettor’s identity. A “beard” enables the professional sports gambler to bet without being noticed by the bookmaker.

Common Sports Wagering Terms

Bet Limit: This refers to the amount of money that the bookmaker will accept on each event. Sportsbooks will have house limits for each sport. Generally, limits will be higher for point spread or side bets than for over/under or total wagers.

Common Sports Wagering Terms

Book: This refers to a person or establishment that accepts wagers on sports events. The term “book” can be associated with an online sports betting operation, a legal casino in the state of Nevada or an illegal bookmaking business.

Bookie: A slang term for book. Most of the time, the word “bookie” is used in reference to an illegal or neighborhood bookmaker as opposed to a Nevada or online bookmaker.

Bookmaker: Another term for book or bookie.

Buck: In the sports betting community, buck is a term used to indicate a wager of $100. A bet of ten “bucks” would equate to $1,000.

Chalk: A term that is used to indicate the team or individual that is favored to win in a particular sporting event. Because many novice bettors like to wager on favored teams, they are often known as “chalk” players.

Circled: This refers to an event that has reduced betting limits. Games can be circled due to injuries, suspensions, or extreme weather conditions. Most circled games are reduced by half the regular limit.

Cover: A term that is used to describe the team that wins against the point spread.

Dime: In the sports betting community, a dime is a term used to indicate a wager of $1,000. A bet of five “dimes” would equate to $5,000.

Dime Line: This refers to a money line betting format. When a dime line is used, there is a ten-cent price difference between the favorite and underdog. This system is most commonly used in baseball.

Dog: A slang term for the word underdog. In a sports wagering line, the “dog” is the team that is not favored to win a game.

Common Sports Wagering Terms

Early Money: This term refers to the initial wagering action that occurs when a point spread is first posted on a game. Most of the early money comes from professional sports bettors. With early money wagers, bettors can potentially take advantage of some soft odds before the numbers become more settled.

Edge: This term refers to a situation when a bettor has a supposed advantage over the bookmaker on a particular game.

Sports Wagering Terms

Exotic: These are non-standard bets that are different than the more common point spread and over/under wagers. Some examples of “exotic” bets are parlays and teasers.

Fade: In the sports betting community, this term refers to a conflicting wager against another player’s action. When a high percentage of bettors are on one side for a particular game, some players will feel compelled to “fade” the other side.

Favorite: This term refers to a team that is expected to win a particular sporting event.

Common Sports Wagering Terms

First Half Bet: This refers to a wager that is determined by the halftime score in a game.

Franklin: This is a term used to describe $100. The origin is based on Benjamin Franklin’s picture being used on a $100 bill.

Gamble: To wager or bet an amount of money on the outcome of a sporting event.

Halftime Bet: A wager that is placed on the second half of a sporting event. At halftime, the bookmaker will post a new set of odds for just the second half of the game and any overtime periods that might be played in the contest.

Handicap: This refers to the process of breaking down and analyzing a point spread before placing a wager.

Handicapper: A term used to describe an individual that analyzes betting odds. Most of the time, a “handicapper” is known as someone that sells picks or betting advice to the public.

Handle: This refers to the total amount of money that a bookmaker has accepted on a particular game or event. The term “handle” is often used when a large number of bets are accepted on a marquee sports event, like the Super Bowl.

Hook: A slang term that means a half-point in a wagering spread. For example, “six and a hook” would be used to describe a 6.5-point spread.

If Bet: This refers to a wager that can only be placed if another separate bet is successful. For example, a Monday night football wager will only be allowed if the bettor won his bet on the Sunday night game.

Juice: This refers to the commission or vigorish that bookmakers gain on losing wagers. For most point spread wagers, the “juice” is ten percent. If a bettor wins, the vigorish is included in the payout.

Laying: A term that is used to describe a wager that is placed on the favorite. When supporting a favorite, the bettor will “lay” or give points to the opposing side.

Common Sports Wagering Terms

Linesmaker: A term for someone that sets odds on sporting events. A lines maker may not necessarily book action. Many lines makers will sell betting odds to sportsbook operations.

Longshot: A term that is used to describe a team that is unlikely to win a sports event. For example, a club that won a championship right after a losing season would usually be viewed as a successful “longshot” squad.

Middle: This occurs when successful bets are placed on each side of a sporting event. If there are big adjustments in a point spread, a bettor has the opportunity to get favorable odds on each side to “middle” the bookmaker with the right outcome.

Money Line: This is a betting line that is used for determining the winner of a sports event. For a money line or straight-up wager, there are no points involved in the odds.

Odds: These are the betting lines that are used for a sports event.

Oddsmaker: Another term that refers to someone that sets odds on sports events.

Off the Board: This refers to a situation when betting is closed on a game. When a game is off the board, there is usually an uncertain situation involving a key player or some potential weather conditions that could dramatically affect the contest. Most of the time, a contest will be off the board for only a temporary period.

Opening Line: This refers to the initial point spread that is released by the bookmaker. Many professional sports bettors will target opening lines to gain some favorable wagers before the odds settle in.

Online Sportsbook: A sports betting operation that offers wagering services through the Internet.

Over: This occurs when the score exceeds the betting total for a sports event.

Common Sports Wagering Terms

Over/Under: In the sports betting community, this term is used to refer to the wagering total for a sports event. A player can wager that the score will go over the posted total or under the figure.

Parlay: This is a type of wager that features two or more bets on a single ticket. While the payout odds on a parlay are more favorable than a single wager, the bettor cannot lose any of the plays on a parlay ticket for the bet to win.

Parlay Card: This is a unique form of parlay wagering. While regular parlays are played from the regular lineup of betting events, a parlay card contains fixed numbers that aren’t adjusted once the initial card is made available for wagering. The majority of parlay card wagers are placed on football games.

Past Post: This is a term that refers to any wager that is placed after a sporting event has started. A past post occurs most often in horse racing due to the frequency of bets that are placed right before the start of the event.

Pick: When neither team is favored in a point spread, the game is listed as a pick. In this situation, the bettor will simply “pick” which team will win the game.

Press: In the sports betting community, this term refers to a bettor that begins to wager more aggressively than normal. Most of the time, this occurs when the player is eagerly trying to recoup some lost bets.

Common Sports Wagering Terms

Price: This term is used to reference the particular odds on a game or event.

Prop Bets: These are unique wagers that aren’t related to the standard point spread or money line bets on teams. Most proposition (prop) bets are matchup wagers that are focused on the outcomes of individual players in a game.

Puck Line: This term is used for a unique type of hockey bet. When a puck line is used, the favored team is installed at -1.5 goals while the underdog club is listed at +1.5 goals.

Common Sports Wagering Terms

Puppy: This is another term used to describe a team that is not expected to win a sports event.

Push: This occurs when a score will fall exactly on the point spread or total for a game. When there is a push, the bettor receives a refund on his wager.

Revenge: A common handicapping angle that is used by bettors. A revenge game will occur in certain rematch contests between the same two teams. In theory, the club that lost the previous matchup will be more inspired by the potential for “revenge” than the other squad.

Reverse: This is an if bet variation that involves two separate wagers using the same two clubs.

Rundown: This term is used to reference the schedule of games and events that a bettor can select from at a sportsbook.

Run Line: A type of baseball wager that is similar to the puck line in hockey. With the run line, the favored team (-1.5 runs) must win the game by at least two runs while the underdog squad (+1.5 runs) must win the contest or lose by just a single run.

Sharp: A term used to reference a professional or savvy sports bettor. When the odds on a particular game are discussed in betting circles, it is fairly common for players to inquire about where the “sharp” money is going on a game.

Shill: An individual that promotes a business under the premises of not being directly associated with the company. In reality, the “shill” is being paid to promote the organization.

Smart Money: This refers to bets on an event that is placed by professional or sharp sports bettors.

Sportsbook: This refers to a business or establishment that accepts wagers on sports events.

Square: This term is used to describe novice or public sports bettors. Most “square” bettors aren’t very successful. In most cases, these types of players will bet on favorites.

Steam: This occurs when there is brisk action on one particular side of a betting line. A “steam” play will cause the odds to rapidly shift.

Stiff: This refers to an individual that avoids paying off gambling debts. These individuals are most often associated with neighborhood bookmaking operations.

Straight Up: This is another term that is used to reference a money line wager. There are no points involved in a straight-up bet.

Syndicate: These are a group of professional bettors that join together to wager on sports events. With additional intellectual and financial resources pooled together, many gambling “syndicates” have done quite well over the years.

Systems: These are wagering formulas that players reference before making a bet. A betting “system” is usually tied to a set of statistical parameters.

Teaser: This form of wager consists of two or more bets on a single ticket. When this type of bet is placed, the bettor can “tease” or add points to each of the teams that are selected in the wager. Like a parlay, none of the bets on the ticket can lose for the wager to be successful.

Total: These are odds related to the number of points that two teams combine to score in a game. A total is also known as an over/under wager.

Trends: This refers to a pattern of results that teams might develop that are related to betting outcomes. Many bettors will follow these “trends” when a wager is placed.

Under: This occurs when the combined number of points in a game is less than the posted total.

Underdog: This refers to the team that is not expected to win a particular sports event.

Upset: This occurs when an underdog team defeats a favored opponent in a game.

Common Sports Wagering Terms


Wager: This refers to a bet on the outcome of a sports event.

Wiseguy: This is an individual that is known to be a smart or savvy sports bettor. Most “wiseguys” are professional bettors.

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