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Sports Betting Terms

Listed below, you'll find a glossary of sports betting terms. When sitting in a Las Vegas sportsbook, you will often times hear jargon, lingo and words that are better defined as slang rather than terms that you'd find in a dictionary. We definte them all here! enjoy!

Action: A baseball bet where no specific pitchers are designated. Also a term used to describe bets, as in “I have action on the Packers game.”

Arbitrage: Taking both sides of a bet in the event of a discrepancy with the lines, which makes either side of the bet a sure profit regardless of the outcome.

ATS: Abbreviation for “against the spread.”

Back Door Cover: When the winner of the game is no longer in question and the favored team is covering, only to have the underdog score late meaningless points to cover the spread.

Bad Beat: When a bet that looks like a winner unexpectedly loses.

Bonus: Offer of perks made by online sportsbooks to entice customers.

Bookmaker: A person who accepts bets.

Buck: Slang for $100.

Chalk: The favorite.

Chalk Player: A bettor who typically takes favorites.

Circled Game: A game on the board where the limits are lowered, as are the different options of how you can bet the game.

Cover: To beat the point-spread.

Dime: Slang for $1000.

Dime Line: A typical -110 line on a side or total.

Dog: An underdog.

Double Bet: A wager that is for twice the amount normally bet by a player.

Edge: A perceived advantage in a betting scenario.

Even Money: A wager where you stand to win the exact amount that you wagered.

Exotic: Wagers that fall outside the area of simply picking a side.

Favorite: The side considered more likely to win.

First Half Bet: A bet that covers only first-half action.

Futures: Bets made on events that lie ahead in the future by weeks or months.

Get Down: To make bets.

Halftime Bet: A bet focusing on what happens in the second half of a game.

Handicapper: A person who analyzes sporting events from a wagering standpoint.

Handicapping: The act of analyzing a game in relation to the odds.

Handle: The total amount of money bet on a game or the total take of a bookie.

Hedging: Making opposite bets to the ones you originally made in situations where you can either minimize losses or guarantee winning some money.

Hook: A half-point on a spread, for example a 6.5-point line can be referred to as “six-and-a-hook.”

Juice: The bookie’s automatic commission for taking bets. Be sure to check out our article on where you can find reduced juice betting. This is second only to picking winners when it comes to betting on sports. It cuts the vig down in half and will save you an ENORMOUS amount of money.

Laying: To be giving points. If you take the Packers -9, you are “laying 9 points.”

Layoff: When a bookie receives a disproportionate amount of bets on one side and he bets with another bookie to minimize his risk.

Lines: Another word for odds or point-spreads.

Lock: A supposed sure winning bet.

Longshot: A big underdog.

Middle: In the event of a different spread among different book, a player might attempt to middle the bet, which means have the result fall in between the two spreads so that he wins both wagers.

Money Line: A bet that does not have a point-spread, but simply focuses on who wins the game straight-up.

Moving the Line: When bets come in disproportionately on one side, forcing the bookmaker to make the other side more attractive to bettors by making the line more favorable.

Mush: A person who is a jinx when it just seems impossible to win when they’re around.

Nickel: Slang for $500.

Nickel Line: A line with reduced juice or “vig,” where it’s -105 for sides instead of the more customary -110. Find this awesome offer at 5 Dimes Sportsbook.

No Action: When a bet is not on or there are conditions of the bet that unless met, will result in a bet that is “no action.”

Off the Board: A game that is not available for betting.

Over-Under: Betting not on who will win the game, but whether the combined score of the two teams will be higher or lower than the number posted by the bookie.

Parlay: A multi-way bet with multiple bets that must all win in order for the parlay to be a winner.

Pick-’em: A game where neither team is favored and the point-spread is zero.

Point Spread: An amount of points afforded to the underdog team to make it even with the favored team.

Pressing: Making bets to atone for losses.

Prop Bet: A bet that is within an event, such as which quarterback will throw for the most yards in a game.

Price: Another word for odds.

Push: To tie in a bet and get your original wager back.

Round Robin Parlay: A parlay where all the different combinations of the teams you picked are parlayed based on how many teams you pick and how many teams you want on each parlay.

Run Line: A baseball bet where you are either lay or take 1.5 runs.

Sides: Picking teams against the spread.

Soft Line: A perceived vulnerable point-spread or odds.

Spread: Another word for the point-spread.

Square: A sports bettor who is weak in his picks.

Steam: When a lot of people bet one side and the line moves rapidly.

Straight Bet: Binary bets, where there are only two choices of equal reward.

Straight Up: When a team wins or loses with no concern for the point-spread.

Taking: When you bet on a team that is receiving points.

Teaser: A multi-way bet where you must win all the bets to win, just like a parlay. You can move the line in your favor, but in exchange for less-enticing odds than a parlay.

Totals: Betting on scores rather than sides.

Under: When the combined score of a game is less than the number posted by the book.

Underdogs: Teams or sides whose chances of winning are determined to be less than their opponents.

Value: A wager that is perceived as having a better chance of winning than the odds or point-spread posted by the book. Speaking of value, most bettors take baseball season off which makes absolutely no sense, as you can bet on MLB underdogs, hit less than 50% of your bets and still turn a tidy profit! Check out Loot's article on the value of betting baseball underdogs.

Vigorish: Also known as “vig,” it is the commission a bookie makes for accepting your wagers.

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