Last updated on April 4th, 2023
An online betting glossary is one of the handiest tools you can have at your disposal as a bettor. Sports betting is rife with technical jargon that could quickly and easily confuse you and this can ruin the overall experience. It’s also vital to ensuring that you place the right kind of bet and stake that you want. Imagine thinking you’ve landed a massive accumulator, only to find you’ve got a fraction of the winnings you wanted because you placed the wrong bet! It’s your responsibility as the customer to know what you’re betting on and how you’re betting on it. You can’t complain to your sportsbook provider if you mess up a bet and lose your money, and that’s the harsh truth. But it doesn’t have to be that way, you can either brush up on your knowledge before you begin betting online, or wait until you find yourself struggling and seek some advice. If you’re new to sports betting online, or even if you’re not, there’s a good chance you’ll come across a term that you’re unfamiliar with. In that instance, all you have to do is simply refer to our betting glossary below to find its meaning.
Accumulator Another name for a parlay wager in which multiple selections are bundled together in one big bet. All selections must win for any return. This is hugely popular in sports betting as it offers the chance of huge wins. Across the Board A term used in horse racing that refers to placing equal bets on a horse to win, place and show in a race. Action Another term for having money on a particular bet. Also Ran Typically when an athlete, horse, or car that doesn’t finish in the first four places, they are referred to as an ‘also ran’. American Odds The common form of odds display for sporting events in the US. The odds are expressed with either a minus sign (-) or a plus sign (+) ahead of a number, which tells you how much you can win relative to how much you bet. The minus sign represents the favourite and the plus sign represents the favorite. Ante-Post These are odds that are posted 24 hours or longer before the event actually takes place. Very common in major horse races throughout the year.
Backdoor Cover This is when a team is trailing the points spread, but scores enough points late on in the event to cover the spread. Bad Beat A backdoor cover is a good example of a bad beat. It’s essentially when something unexpected happens late on and your bet loses as a result. Betting the Limit This is when you wager the maximum amount that the sportsbook operator will allow. Sometimes this will be different for different people, depending on their profit/loss margin. Betting Line The odds or point spread on a game or event. The quickest and easiest way to bet on the outcome. Bonus A special offer or promotion in which customers can benefit from free bets. New and existing customers can benefit from bonuses.
Canadian Line This is a combination of the point spread and the money line in an ice hockey game. Chalk or Chalk Bettors The chalk is a slang word for the odds on favorite. A chalk bettor would be someone who always backed the favorite. Closing Line The official betting line on a game or event right before the event begins and the line ‘closes’. Cover (Cover the Spread) A very common way to bet on sporting events in the US. A team is considered to have “covered the spread” if it wins by the margin (or “spread”) set by the sportsbook. The favourites have to win by a certain amount, whereas the underdogs only have to win or lose within the points spread.
Dime Line A betting line with a vig of 10%. For example, if the favorite is priced at -120, the underdog is priced at +110. Dog This is sometimes used as a shortened version of “underdog”. This is the team that is expected to lose the sporting event. Double Action Can be referred to as simply a “double” for short. It’s a bet that only pays out if another connected bet that precedes it wins, ties or is voided. Dual Forecast Commonly used in horse racing and motor racing. The bettor must successfully predict two of the final three finishing positions to win.
Even Money These are bets that are perceived to have a 50/50 chance of winning. Even money bets are paid out at 1 to 1, meaning you effectively double your money if you win. Exotic An exotic bet is any proposition bet that relies on a specific outcome, rather than which team wins the game. Exposure This is the total amount that a sportsbook stands to lose on a particular game or event.
Favorite This is the team, or player, that is deemed most likely to win. Fixed odds These are odds that will not change and are “fixed” in place. Futures Bet Very similar to an ante-post bet except the bet is usually placed at the beginning of the year or season on an outcome that won’t be settled until the division or championship is over.
Halftime Bet A bet placed at the halftime stage of an event, before the second half has begun. Typically found in sports like basketball, football and soccer. The lines will be different from before the event, based on the live score. Hedging Refers to placing a bet against your original bet. This is done to either moderate the risk, or guarantee a profit. High Roller A person who places regular, big money bets may be referred to as a “high roller”. Hook Sometimes a half point in a spread will be called a “hook”. For example, if a team is favored to win by a 5.5 spread, they could be referred to as laying “five and a hook”.
In-Game Betting Most, if not all, online sportsbooks will allow you to place bets while the event is in progress. This is also referred to as “live betting”.
Laying Points If you back the favorite to win by more points than the spread covers, you are “laying the points”. Laying the Odds Making a moneyline bet on a favored team to win and accepting worse money odds is known as “laying the odds”. Limit The maximum amount that a sportsbook will let you place on a bet. This can be different for certain people. Lock This is a slang term used to describe a bet placed on a favorite that is considered a guaranteed win. Longshot This is a bet that is considered to have very little chance of winning. Tend to offer the best odds and returns for your stake.
Middle (Betting the Middle) If the line on a game moves, you may be presented with the opportunity to “bet the middle”. This is essentially the same as hedging in that you can minimize your risk, or guarantee a profit. Money Line This is just a straight up bet on a team, or individual, to win a sporting event. There are no points spread to handicap the favorite, so you’ll get worse odds as result, but it does minimize risk. Moving the Line This can also be called “buying points” and refers to when a gambler trades better money odds for an extra half-points (0.5) on the spread.
Nassau A special type of combination golf bet that includes wagers on the front nine, the back nine and the entire match. Nickel Line A bet that has a 5 percent commission (vig). No Action When a bet is canceled or voided for any reason, with the wager, or stake, fully refunded.
Odds The odds represent the chances of each team or individual to win by a sportsbook. You can use the odds to find the favorite and the underdog. Off the Board When a sportsbook removes a betting line or option shortly before a game is set to begin. Often done when a last minute piece of information is acquired that affects the odds. Outlaw Line The earliest line set for a game or event. An outlaw line tends to only open to an exclusive group of gamblers. Over/Under A very popular bet due to its simplicity. The bet involves backing either over or under a certain amount of total points/goals in a game.
Parlay A parlay is a special type of bet that includes two or more different wangers, usually on multiple games. To win, all selections must win. Parlay bets are very popular, due to the huge payouts they offer. Pick ‘em A game where the two teams are thought to be evenly matched. As a result, there’s no points spread. Price The “price” is another term for the odds, or points spread, on a game. Prop Bets (Proposition Bets) These are special types of bets that generally rely on specific things happening in the game, rather than just the outright winner. Very similar to an “exotic” bet. Puckline (Puck Line) In ice hockey, the puckline combines a 1.5 point spread with moneyline-style odds. For example, a puckline of -1.5/+120 means for a bet to win, the team must win the game by at least two points. The second number represents the money odds. Punter A colloquial term for someone who gambles. Often used to refer to someone who gambles recreationally, rather than professionally. Push Another term for a tie in a game. Generally, this happens when the favorite wins by the exact amount of points as the spread. In this instance, the wager amount is returned. However, in some sports like soccer, a match can simply end in a tie. In this instance, it’s not a push and your bet is settled as a loss.
Risk-Free Bet Generally used a promotional gimmick by sportsbook operators to attract new customers. A risk free involves getting your wager returned to you if your bet loses. Runline (Run Line) A point spread used in baseball that is also combined with the money line odds. For example – -1.5/+1.5.
Spread A simpler, shorter way to refer to the point spread. Straight Up Winner A bet placed on a team to win the game outright, as opposed to covering the spread, is a “straight up bet”. Usually refers to betting the money line.
Taking Points (Taking the Points) This is the opposite of laying points. When you “take points” you’re betting on the underdog to win and get a margin of points that the team can lose by. Taking the Price (Taking Odds) The opposite of laying the price or laying the odds. Taking the price means you’re betting on the underdog and accepting favorable money odds. Teaser (Two-Team Teaser) Similar to a double bet. You combine your bets on more than one game and can adjust the point spreads to favor your teams. Both selections have to win and you’ll have to accept a lower payout should your bet win. Ticket Another term used for a bet or wager. Total (Points/Goals Total) This is a bet placed on the total amount of points scored in a game by both teams combined. Generally you’ll bet over or under a certain amount of points or goals in the goal.
Underdog The team or individual that is considered the outsider to win.
Value A term used when the odds are perceived to be incorrect and favorable for the gambler. Vig (Vigorish) The vig refers to the commission on bets that is charged by the sportsbook. Is also referred to as “juice”.
Wager This is another name for a bet, or stake. It’s the money you put down to place the bet.