Glossary of sports betting terms


If you are looking for a sports betting term that is not included here please let us know in the comments.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T U V W X Y X

2 ball and 3 ball: Golf betting to predicting a player from a group of 2 or 3 players to shoot the lowest score.

5 fold: When preceded by a number, a fold indicates the number of selections in a multiple bet. A 7-fold would be a multiple with 7 selections, all of which must win for the wager to be successful.

50:50: A betting market with no favourite. An even match-up meaning odds are the same on all selections similar to “flip of a coin”, “pick’em” and “toss up”.

A

 

Accumulator: A bet that consists of 2 or more selections, the payout from a winning bet is placed on the next bet and all bets must win for the wager to be successful. Similar to “all up betting”, “multiple bet” and “parlay”. See our page parlays – multiple bets – accumulators.

Action: Bets being made. Or in the case of baseball “action bets” will stand no matter if the listed pitches starts the game or not. Opposite of “listed pitcher”.

All in: A bet which will stand even in the case of scratching or withdrawal of the selection or any other circumstances which might usually warrant a refund, i.e. no refunds given.

All up: A bet that consists of 2 or more selections, the stake and winnings of 1 bet are placed on another bet and all bets must win for the wager to be successful. Similar to an “accumulator”, “multiple” bet and parlay. For more information see parlays – multiple bets – accumulators.

American oddsAmerican odds are either expressed as a negative (-) number or a positive (+) number. Negative (-) numbers are used for bets of less than even money, such as a favourite to win in a two outcome market. A negative (-) number is how much you would have to stake to win 100 mBTC.

Positive (+) numbers are used for bets at greater than even money such as for an underdog to win. Positive (+) numbers are how much you will win if you stake 100 mBTC.

American odds have been superseded by decimal odds. Similar to U.S odds. For more information see decimal, fractional and american odds.

Anchor: A strong key bet included in most combinations within a multiple bet. Similar to “banker”.

Ante post: Futures betting for the result of an event that is still a long way off where the final field my not yet be known.

Arbitrage: Making a series of bets on an event guaranteeing you a profit no matter what the outcome. Similar to “Dutch book”, “green book” and “trading”. For more information see arbitrage betting, trading and hedging.

B

 

Back: To bet on an outcome to happen. Opposite of “lay”.

Backed in: A bet selection which has been heavily backed causing a reduction in the odds. Similar to “come in” “firm” and “shorten”. Opposite of “drift” “go out” and “lengthen”.

Bad beat: A tough unlucky betting loss.

Banker: A strong key bet included in most combinations within a multiple bet. Similar to “Anchor”.

Bankroll: Amount of money set aside for betting. Betting account balances.

Beard: (American) Someone betting on someone else’s behalf so that the sportsbook will not know the identity of the actual bettor. For example after a bettor is banned from betting if “his wife” immediately opens a betting account it can be assumed this is a beard account. Similar to “bowler”.

Best of it: Being at an advantage in a betting scenario. Having better value than whoever you are betting against. Also used to mean having a lucky streak. Similar to “edge” and “value”. Opposite of “sucker bet”,  and “worst of it”.

Bet back: Hedging to reduce risk. If a sportsbook accepts too many bets on 1 team they will have to pay out too much money if that team wins so they will place a bet on that team themselves with another sportsbook.

Bet the field: To back all possible outcomes except the favourite. For example “Tiger or the field” means you can bet on Tiger Woods to win the tournament or you can bet on the field made up of every other player.

Betting exchange: Internet based companies which broker bets between their customers acting as an intermediary between people who want to bet that something will happen (backers) and people who want to bet that something won’t happen (layers). For example BetBTC (review) and Fairlay (review). For more information see how betting exchanges work.

Book: Ledger of odds and bets taken on a market. Short for “sportsbook”, “bookie” and “bookmaker” someone who offers odds and accepts bets.

Bookie: Someone who offers odds and accepts bets. Short for “bookmaker” and “sportsbook”.

Bookmaker: Someone who offers odds and accepts bets. Similar to “sportsbook”. Abbreviated to “bookie” or “book”.

Bowler: Someone betting on someone else’s behalf so that the sportsbook will not know the identity of the actual bettor. For example after a bettor is banned from betting if “his wife” immediately opens a betting account it can be assumed this is a bowler account. Similar to “beard”.

Buck: (American) A $100 wager. Similar to “spot” or “ton”.

Buy points: (American) When a bettor accepts worse odds to receive half a point or more in his favor on a point spread bet or total points over/under bet.

C

 

Canadian: A multiple bet consisting of 5 selections in different events put into 26 different combinations. The bet breakdown is 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 four-fold multis and 1 five-fold multi. Similar to “supper yankee”.

Canadian line: A combination point spread and money line in ice hockey.

Chalk: (American) A favourite, the team perceived most likely to win. Opposite of “roughie” and “dog”.

Closing price/closing line: The odds on a selection at the time the market is closed due to the event starting. This is considered the most efficient and accurate representation of the selection’s probability because it is set at the time when the most information about the event and previous bets is known. Opposite of “opening price”.

Come in: When the odds on a betting selection get lower over time. Similar to “backed in”, “firm” and “shorten”. Opposite of “drift”, “go out” and “lengthen”.

Correct score: Betting on the final score of the game. For example Australia 1 Germany 3.

Cover the spread: When the favourite wins by more than the point’s spread handicap they have covered the spread. for more information see points spread and asian handicap explained.

D

 

Dead heat: When 2 or more competitors finish exactly even. In a betting market where the draw or tie is not an option dead heat rules apply.

Usually bets on the equal winners will be paid out at the full value of the winning ticket divided by the number of equal winners. So if there are 2 winners you get half what you would have got if your selection alone won. Bets on the other selections will be losers.

Decimal oddsOdds expressed as a number where the number is the amount your winning bet returns for every unit you stake. This is the payout so it includes the original stake plus the profit. for more information see decimal, fractional and american odds.

Dime: (American) $1000 bet. Similar to “gorilla”.

Dividend: Return/payout from a winning bet.

Dog: (American) The underdog in a betting proposition. The team perceived most likely to lose. Similar to “outsider” and “roughie”. Opposite of “chalk” and “favourite”.

Double: 2 leg multiple bet. Both bets must win for the multi to be a winner.

Do your nuts: Lose your bank role betting. Similar to “taped out”.

Double result: Halftime/fulltime result betting where you pick the result of the game at halftime and fulltime.

Drift: When the odds on a betting selection get higher over time. Similar to “go out” and “lengthen”. Opposite of “backed in”, “come in”, “firm” or “shorten”.

Duce: the number 2 sometimes used to mean $200.

Dutch book: To bet on a number of selections in a market guaranteeing yourself a profit whatever the outcome. Similar to “Arbitrage”, “green book” and “trading”. For more information see arbitrage betting, trading and hedging.

E

 

Edge: A betting advantage usually gained by having superior knowledge or being in a mathematically advantageous position to whoever you are betting against. Similar to “the best of it” and “value”. Opposite of “unders” and “the worst of it”.

Even money: A bet in which the profit you make if you win the bet is equal to the loss you make if you lose the bet. Decimal odds of 2.00. Fractional odds of 1/1. American odds of +100.

Exotic bet: Any bet other that a straight win bet.

Exposure: The maximum amount of money a bettor or sportsbook has at risk, i.e. how much you stand to lose if all your bets lose.

F

 

Field: The group of possible bet selections in a market. For example the FIFA world cup winners market has a field of 32 national teams.

In the case of “back the field” to back all possible outcomes except the favourite. For example “Tiger or the field” means you can bet on Tiger Woods to win the tournament or you can bet on the field made up of every player other than Tiger.

Firm: When the odds on a betting selection get lower over time. Similar to “backed in”, “come in” and “shorten”. Opposite of “drift”, “go out” or “lengthen”.

Fixed odds: Betting condition that the odds at the time of placing the bet are the odds that the bet will be settled at no matter what changes in the odds occur after the bet is placed.

Flat line: Point spread betting where no half point/0.5 is added to the spread. Opposite of “hook”.

Flip of the coin: A betting market with no favourite. An even match-up meaning odds are the same on all selections. Similar to 50:50, pick’em” and “toss up”.

Form: A team’s recent past performances that should be considered for betting on their next game.

Fractional odds: Odds expressed as 2 numbers with a / in between them. The first number is the amount you stand to win if you stake the second number and the second number is the amount you need to stake to win the first number. Fractional odds have been superseded by decimal odds. For more information see decimal, fractional and american odds.

Futures: Betting market posted well in advance of the event outcome. Such as betting on who will win the Super bowl or the English Premier League before the start of the season.

G

 

Get on: Place your bet. Similar to “get down”.

Getting down: (American) Place your bet. Similar to “get on”.

Go out: When the odds on a betting selection get higher over time. Similar to “drift” and “lengthen”. Opposite of “backed in”, “come in”, “firm” and “shorten”.

Goliath: A multiple bet involving 8 selections in different events over 247 bets. The bet breakdown is 28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70 four-folds, 56 five-folds, 28 six-folds, 8 seven-folds and 1 eight-fold.

Good oil: Information about the likely outcome of a betting market before the event. Similar to “mail”.

Good thing: A sure winner. Similar to “moral”.

Gorilla: $1000. Similar to a “dime”.

Green book: Making a series of bets on an event guaranteeing yourself a profit no matter what the result. On beting exchanges like BetBTC (review) and Fairlay (review) a green what if figure indicating profit will display below each bet selection; hence the expression a green book. Similar to “arbitrage”, “Dutch book” and “trading”. For more information see arbitrage betting, trading and hedging.

H

 

Half face value of the ticket: In a 2 way dead heat where no draw or tie was available for betting bettors who bet on one of the equal winners recieve 50% of what they would have received if their selection alone won. The face value of a winning ticket is the full payout, stake plus winnings.

Halftime/fulltime: Betting on the result of a game at both halftime and fulltime. Similar to “double result”.

Halftime result: Betting on who will be in front (or the draw) at half time.

Handicap: Deducting points from the favourite in order to make a one sided event even and more interesting for betting. Similar to “point spread”. Opposite of “head start”. For more information see sports bet types explained.

Handicapper: (American) A serious sports bettor who studies events before betting.

Handle: (American) Total amount of bets taken on an event. Similar to “turn over”.

Head to head: Betting on which team will win a game. Similar to “money line” and “straight up”. For more information see sports bet types explained.

Hedging: Betting against your original bet to reduce or eliminate the amount you can lose on an event. For more information see arbitrage betting, trading and hedging.

Heinz: A multiple consisting of 57 bets involving 6 selections in different events. The bet breakdown is 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 four-folds, 6 five-folds, and 1 six-fold.

Hook: (American) The half point/.05 added to points spread or total lines to avoid the possibility of a tie. Opposite of “flat line”.

Hot customer: Knowledgeable and successful bettor. Sportsbooks will watch his bets closely and even change their odds due to his bets. Similar to “sharp” and “wise guy”. Opposite of “mug” and “square”.

I

 

Index betting: Form of betting where the amount wagered is multiplied by the number of points a team or competitor wins or loses by. For example you win ฿0.1 for every point your selection wins by or lose ฿0.1 for every point your selection loses by.

J

 

Juice: (American) The edge in favour of the sportsbook. Similar to “vigerish”. For more information see understand odds as probability with overround.

L

 

Large: Thousand dollars; 1 large is $1000, 3 large is $3000 et cetera. Similar to “gorilla”.

Late mail: Final thoughts and selections of tipsters or late news that affects the probability of an outcome occurring.

Lay: To bet against an outcome. If you back Spain to win with a sportsbook, by taking your bet the sportsbook is laying the Spain.

Lay off: Lay bet made to reduce liability on an outcome you have already backed. Similar to “bet back” and “hedge”. For more information see arbitrage betting, trading and hedging.

Line: (American) The current odds or point spread on a particular event.

Line maker: (American) The person who establishes the original betting odds and point spreads.

Listed pitcherBaseball betting condition which stipulates that both pitchers scheduled to start (listed) must start the game for bets to stand. Opposite of “action bet”.

Lucky 15, lucky 31, lucky 63: Multiple bets containing the mentioned number of bets.

M

 

Mail: A selection of betting tips, opinions and information from a supposedly knowledgeable source.

Market: a group of possible outcomes available for betting on an event.

Money line: (American) Odds on which team will win the game. Similar to “head to head”. For more information see sports bet types explained.

Monkey: $500. Similar to “nickel”.

Moral: An absolute certainty for betting. Similar to “good thing”.

Mug: Bettor with little ability who is prone to loosing. Similar to “square”. Opposite of “hot customer”, “sharp” and “wise guy”.

Multiple bet: Combining a series of individual bets into 1 large bet. This has the effect of multiplying the odds but can also mean if only 1 of the bets loses the whole multiple is lost. Abbreviated as “multi”. Similar to “accumulator”, “all ups” and “parlay”. For more information see parlays – multiple bets – accumulators.

N

 

Nickel: (American) $500. Similar to a “monkey”.

O

 

Odds against: Odds greater than even money. A bet where your stake is less than the amount you hope to win. The odds of an underdog.

Odds on: Odds of less than even money. A bet where your stake is more than the amount you hope to win. Odds of a favourite in a 2 outcome betting market.

Off the board: A game on which the sportsbook will not accept action due to injuries, weather or an unusual amount of large suspicious bets.

Off the books: Bets made but not recorded on the sportsbooks books, usually illegal.

On the nod: A betting transaction between a punter and sportsbook without money changing hands. A credit bet.

Opening price: The odds on a selection when the market is first open for betting. This is considered the least efficient and least accurate representation of the selection’s probability because it is made when the least information about the event and previous bets is known. Opposite of “closing price”.

Outlay: The money a bettor wages to get his bet on. Similar to “stake”.

Over/under: Most commonly betting on whether the total points scored in a game will be over or under a predetermined number. The same concept can be applied to any countable element in a game such as will there be over or under 4.5 quarterback sacks in an NFL game.

P

 

Pari mutuel:A form of wagering in which all money bet is placed in a pool then divided up (less taxes and deductions) among those who made winning bets. Similar to “totaliser”.

Parlay: Combining a series of individual bets into 1 large bet. This has the effect of multiplying the odds but can also mean if only 1 of the bets loses the whole multiple is lost. Similar to “accumulator”, “all up” and “multiple bet”. For more information see parlays – multiple bets – accumulators.

Patent: Multiple bet consisting of 7 bets comprising 3 selections from different events. The breakdown is three individual bets, three 2-folds and one 3-fold.

Pick ‘em: A betting market with no favourite, an even match-up meaning odds are the same on all selections. Similar to “50:50”, “flip of a coin” and “toss up”.

Player: Bettor, gambler, customer of sportsbook.

Plunge: A large volume of bets suddenly being made on a selection.

Point spread: Used to make the game even by adding points to the score of the underdog or subtracting points from the favourite. Abbreviated to “spread”. Similar to “handicap”. For more information see sports bet types explained.

Pony: $25.

Pre post: Odds at the start of an event.

Price: The odds.

Push: Bets being refunded due to exceptional circumstances or a tie if a tie was not one of the original betting options.

R

 

Roughie: A selection at high odds which is considered to have a small chance of winning. Similar to “underdog” and “outsider”. Opposite of “chalk” and “favourite”.

Round robin: (American) All possible combinations of a multiple bet.

Rundown: Updates of all odds, lines, point spreads and scores.

S

 

Scalper: (American) One who attempts to profit from the difference in odds from one book to the next by betting both sides of the same game at different prices. Similar to “arbitrage”. For more information see arbitrage betting, trading and hedging.

Set the board: When a sportsbook completes the information shown on the betting board by listing each betting selection and their respective odds.

Settling: Resulting of a bet where the sportsbook pays out the winning customers. Also when the balance of credit bets is paid out to bring the sportsbook and customer back to even.

Sharp: (American) Knowledgeable and successful bettor. Sportsbooks will watch his bets closely and even change their odds due to his bets. Similar to “hot customer” and “wise guy”. Opposite of “mug” and “square”.

Shorten: When the odds of a selection decrease, usually because a lot of money has been wagered on that selection. Similar to “backed in”, “come in” and “firm”. Opposite of “drift”, “go out” and “lengthen”.

Single: Straight bet. Opposite of “accumulator”, “all up” and “multiple” bet.

Smart money: Money that is bet by the more knowledgeable and profitable bettors.

Spot: $100. Similar to “buck” and “ton”.

Sportsbook: someone who offers odds and accepts bets. Abbreviated to “bookie”. Similar to “bookmaker”.

Spread: Abbreviation of points spread. Used to make the game even by subtracting points from the favourite. Similar to “handicap”. For more information see sports bet types explained.

Square: Unsophisticated gambler. Similar to “mug”. Opposite of “hot customer” “sharp” or “wise guy”.

Stake: The amount wagered by the bettor. This is the bettors “risk” or “outlay”.

Starting price: The price/odds of a bet selection at the start of the event.

Steam: (American) Heavy action on one selection that is changing the odds.

Straight bet: A simple bet on just one team.

Straight bet: Betting to win only.

Stop loss: Used in index betting and trading to limit your losses on a bet. For example NFL stop loss 30 means you can only win or lose 30 times your stake in NFL games.

Sucker bet: Bets with a large house edge. Opposite of “value”. For more information see understand odds as probability with overround.

Super yankee: A multiple bet consisting of 5 selections in different events put into 26 different combinations. The bet breakdown is 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 four-folds and one 5-fold. Similar to “ Canadian”.

T

 

Tapped out: (American). Lose your bankroll betting. Similar to “do your nuts”.

Teasers: (American) A point spread multiple bet combining 2 or more games and giving the bettor a fixed number of additional points in his favour. The more legs you put in your teaser the more points you can move the lines in your favour.

Ton: $100 similar to a “buck” and a “spot”.

Toss up: A betting market with no favourite, an even match-up meaning odds are the same on all selections. Similar to “50:50”, “flip of the coin” and “pick’em”.

Totaliser: A form of wagering in which all money bet is placed in a pool then divided up (less taxes and deductions) among those who made winning selections. Similar to “pari-mutuel betting”.

Totals: Abbreviation of total points/total goals/total runs et cetera. Betting on whether the total points scored in a game will be over or under a predetermined amount. Similar to “over/under”. For more information see sports bet types explained.

Tote odds: The dividend converted to odds returned by a pari-mutuel betting system.

Tout service – A business that sells tips, opinions and information on sports bets.

Tray: 3 or $300.

Treble: 3 way multiple bet.

Turnover: Total amount of bets wagered with a sportsbook. Similar to “handle”.

U

 

Unbackable: A bet selection which is so likely to win a sportsbook will not offer any odds on it.

U.S odds: U.S. odds are either expressed as a negative (-) number or a positive (+) number.

Negative (-) numbers are used for bets of less than even money, such as a favourite to win in a two outcome market. A negative (-) number is how much you would have to stake to win 100 mBTC.

Positive (+) numbers are used for bets at greater than even money such as for an underdog to win. Positive (+) numbers are how much you will win if you stake 100 mBTC.

U.S odds have been superseded by decimal odds. Similar to “American odds”. For more information see decimal, fractional and american odds.

V

 

Value: Getting higher odds on a betting proposition than would represent the true probability. Similar to “the best of it” and “edge”. Opposite of “the worst of it”.

Vig/Vigorish: (American) The edge and commission in favour of the sportsbook. Similar to “juice”. For more information see understand odds as probability with overround.

W

 

Wise guy: (American) Bettor with important information before the sportsbooks are aware of it. For example, a bettor who pays a team doctor to tell him whether a star player will play or be out injured before this information is made public. The wise guy will place his bets accordingly before the sportsbooks can change their odds.

Or simply a knowledgeable and successful bettor. Sportsbooks will watch his bets closely and even change their odds due to his bets. Similar to “sharp” and “hot customer”. Opposite of “mug” and “square”.

Worst of it: Being at a disadvantage in a betting scenario. Having worse value than whoever you are betting against. Also used to mean having an unlucky streak. Opposite of “the best of it” and “edge”.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T U V W X Y X

If you can’t find the sports betting term you are looking for in this glossary please let us know in the comments section.

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