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Sports Betting 101: Complete List of Betting Terms You Should Know

February 23, 2022 1748 0
Sports Betting 101: Complete List of Betting Terms You Should Know

Table of Contents

Are you ready to learn betting terms? 

Gambling is a risky business to be in, especially if you are just a new learner. If you want to win and earn money in gambling, you need to learn many things such as the game mechanics, its history, and the betting terms that can help guide you in making the right decisions. If you want to secure a win in betting, you need to be familiar with the important terms used in this activity. 

Part of the gambling industry is going digitalised, which makes betting a lot easier and faster with its fast transactions. This is an advantage that most players are enjoying, and it also helps the business become more successful.

If you want to become a successful bettor, here is a list of betting terms that you should know and understand to prevent confusion with your transactions.


Accumulator: Accumulator bets are bets that have more than one selection of a series of bets that requires the succession of each side to determine a winning ticket.

Action: Action is the term used as the amount placed on an available event or a live betting option. A lot of bookmakers will allow actions placed on most betting odds that they published.

Across the Board: Across the Board are bets placed on a horse to show, place, and win.

Added Game: Added Games are games included on betting boards following the main lists. It is usually added to provide public information and is common with college football matches. It can also be postponed matches. 

AET Odds: After Extra Time (AET) are odds posted on soccer games that have an added extra time after the game’s regulation time. This occurs if there are in-game stoppages and its odds are added in the live betting options.

Also Ran: The term describes an athlete, a greyhound, or a horse who was not able to finish a paying position in a race.

Alternate Lines: Refers to odds that are higher or lower than the main posted line. The game total and point spread are common bets in football and basketball.

American Odds: American odds include decimal odds and fractional odds, which also belong in a “big three.” The -110 American money lines are the same with 10/11 rational pricing and 1.91 decimal odds. These formats give a $100 profit on a $110 winning wager.

Ante-post: Ante-post are future odds on greyhound and horse races posted one day before the actual race. 

Arbitrage: Also known as ARB, arbitrage betting is a kind of betting where it has all possible results of a single game. This betting option is infrequent and is present only when sportsbooks have different opinions on the right odds for a game.

Asian Handicap: Asian handicap is most common in soccer, which starts at 0.25 goals and can progress to 2.0 goals. Ties and draws are not included in the options.

ATS: Against The Spread odds (ATS) are developed to make an equal action for all the participants of a match. 

Australian Open: Australian is the first of four men’s and women’s Grand Slam tennis tournaments held during the mid-two weeks of January.


Backdoor Cover: Backdoor cover happens during a score that assists bettors in covering a spread bet but will not have an impact on the game-winner. 

Bad Beat: Bad beat is a wager that is on the verge of winning but turns into a losing ticket. This happens when there are unexpected points in the end game. Bettors who place their bets on point spreads, money lines, and game totals will encounter a bad beat from time to time.

Bankroll: A bankroll is a player’s money deposited into an account or set aside for betting. It increases every time a player wins a wager and decreases every time they lose a bet.

Bankroll Management: Bankroll management is similar to managing a personal bank account. Bettors need to have good discipline in managing their bankroll and follow good practices such as shopping for the best odds value, setting wagering limits, and placing bets that a bettor can afford to lose.

Beard: Beard is referred to as a bet runner who manages bets for professional bettors to protect their identity in transacting with bookmakers.

Belmont Stakes: Horse race that is held on the first or second Saturday in June. The venue is at the Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, and it is considered one of the Triple Crown of thoroughbred racing.

Bet: A bet is any wager that involves money with a casino, a poker room, a racebook, or a sportsbook.

Betting Exchange: A middleman that profits from a small commission between a sportsbook and a wagerer. The exchange of bets for the two sides will stay listed until the bet is on. 

Betting Strategy: Bettors use different plans to get an advantage on bookmakers. Some of the basic betting strategies are bankroll management and having adequate information before placing bets.

Book: A book is a short-term for sportsbook or bookmaker, who offers odds and accepts wagers.

Bookie: Short term for a bookmaker.

Bookmaker: Also known as a linemaker, a bookmaker is a licensed person who accepts bets and sets daily betting odds. 

Breeder’s Cup: A horse racing series that involves Grade I thoroughbred championship horses, held on the first Friday and Saturday of November. There are different race tracks in the series.


Buy Points: Most bettors would purchase points via alternate point spreads and game totals. This strategy helps them to achieve a better line. Often, the juice pertaining to the odds improves for every bought point. 


Calder Cup: Given during a regular season of the NHL to the top-performing rookie player. 

CFP: Acronym for College Football Playoffs. This event determines the team that will become the NCAA football National Champion.

Chalk: Another term that bookies use to refer to a betting favourite. 

Chalk Bettor: A bettor whose bets consist of mostly chalks or favourites. 

Circled Games: These are matches with maximum betting amounts usually capped at low amounts. The games are often circled when bookies run into uncertainties, like weather disturbance, player injury, or rumour spread that may occur before a match. In such cases, a circling of prop options and opening odds also happen. 

Closing Lines: These refer to the posted final betting odds before the actual start of the game. 

Co-favourite: Often associated with futures odds, co-favourites happen when two or more sides come with similar odds of winning. One example is during the NBA Finals championships where two teams may have identical odds. 

Combine: Refers to the fitness test series scouts use to determine an amateur athlete’s skills and capabilities (i.e., NFL Scouting Combine). 

Commission: This sports betting term refers to the amount a bookie makes from the wagers placed with them. It can also refer to the amount a betting exchange will take from winning bets.

Commissioner’s Trophy: The name of the award given to the MLB World Series champion. 

Correct Score: This betting term refers to the bet made when guessing the potential final score for a given match. For example, a soccer match can have a score of 0-0 or 5-0. Getting an accurate score gives them winnings. 

Cover the Spread: A betting term that refers to the favourite wins and the match score is more than the point spread. For example, a winning score of 22-11 means that the winning bet covers a -10 point spread, However, if the score is 19-11, the bet doesn’t cover the spread and is referred to as a lost wager. 


Dime: Dime is a bet of $1000.

Decimal Odds: Decimal odds are customary in Europe that belongs in a “big three” group and also have American and fractional odds. A decimal line of 1.91 is equal to 10/11 in fractional pricing and -110 American odds. These three formats give a $100 profit on a winning wager of $110.

Dog: A Dog (short for the underdog) is considered as the side that would be least likely to win and tagged with extra pricing. 

Double Action: A double-action (also known as an “If bet”) will automatically accept the winnings and stakes from a successful bet that would cost a second betting chance.

Double Bet: A double bet is the amount of a bet that is twice the normal wager of a bettor. Players would sometimes double their bets when they have the confidence that their side would be better than the other.

Double Result: A single betting option that adds the game’s halftime score and end of the regulation score.

Double-header: A double-header is an event where there are two games played on the same day. This commonly happens with baseball, when a game from the previous day was postponed because of bad weather conditions.

Draw: Any match or contest that would end up having the same final score. This would result as a PUSH and shall return the original amount of bets to the bettors. 

Drift: Betting odds that increase upon posting the opening line. Drifting is a Moneyline that increases from +220 to +225 to +230.


Each-way: Each-way betting is common in horse racing, where it receives an amount and splits it on a horse that would finish second or first place. The bets will pay if the horse is able to finish first, and one bet will pay if the horse finishes second place. This means that the first-place winner has a higher return than the second-place win.

Edge: A bettor gains an advantage by performing meticulous research or learning good insights that the general people don't know.

EPL: English Premier League in the United Kingdom’s most popular football association. 

Even Money: Odds that give back the exact amount of the bet. A $100 bet on American (+100), Decimal (2.0), or Fractional (1/1) odds will give back a profit of $100.

Exotic Bet: Exotic bets are money lines, game totals, and point spreads betting options. 

Exposure: Exposure is the money that a bookmaker or a bettor can afford to lose on any bet.


Favourite: Any side of the competition that has a negative number price.

FIFA World Cup: FIFA World Cup is the most popular soccer tournament in the world. The event is held every four years and will have Mexico, Canada, and the US as venues for 2026. 

Final Four: The Final Four are the four teams in the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament with the best record. There would be two games before the National Championship game for the last four teams.

First Half Bet: A bet concentrated on the first half results of games like soccer, football, or basketball. The common first-half betting odds are Moneyline, game total, and spread options. There are also different players and team props included in the first half bets.

First/Last/Anytime Scorer: These are pre-game prop betting options available on a number of sports. The NHL recognizes the odds for skaters who will score their first and/or last goal, and their goals at any point of the game.

Fixed Odds: Once a bet is placed, and the acceptance of the bookmaker, the betting line becomes fixed odds. It is also a term for Moneyline odds.

Fractional Odds: Fractional odds are common in the United Kingdom, and are also included in the “big three” group, which also has American and Decimal odds. American odds has a -110 equal to a fractional line of 10/11, and decimal pricing of 1.91. This returns a profit of $90.91 on a winning bet of $100.

French Open: One of the men’s and women’s Grand Slam tennis tournaments, played in late May to early June. 

Futures Bet: A bet placed on a scheduled event in the future. This option is available for the Stanley Cup, NBA Finals, World Series, and Super Bowl. Futures bet is also offered in major horse races, golf tournaments, tennis tournaments, and soccer.


Game Total Bet: The over or under betting on the number of points, runs, or goals that will be recorded in a match or game. In baseball, if the game total is at 7.5 runs, bettors should make a decision if the total runs in that game will be under or over eight runs.

Graded Bet: A bet that bookies label as a loser, a winner, or a push officially after the game or competition ended. After a graded bet, push refunds or winnings will be paid out.

Grand Salami: Bookmakers make an over/under odds offer on the total number of runs/points/goals recorded in all the games of a particular league.  


Half Ball Handicap: Betting odds for soccer where 0.5 goals, more or less, will be the point spread.

Half-Time Bet: Half-time bets are bets placed on the result of the second half only of a game or a competition. Bettors can place halftime bets during the intermission or once the second half starts.

Handicap: Bookmakers set betting odds with a design to level the playing field. 

Handicapper: A handicapper is a bettor that conducts research about matchups before placing a wager. Applicable also to tipsters who create predictions on different sporting events.

Handle: Handle is the total amount of money that a bookmaker can accept on a single event or competition. 

Hart Trophy: A Hart trophy is an award given to the most valuable player in a regular season of the NHL.

Hedge: Hedge is a risk management tool that is common with a series of bets. It consists of placing wagers on the opposite side of a preliminary wager to create a guaranteed return. It is also used to reduce the chances of losing a wager. 

Holding Your Own: Refers to a bettor who is not winning or losing but on a break-even streak on a parlay.

Home Field Advantage: A benefit that a team may gain when they have a match held in familiar settings at their home arena.

Hook: A hook is a half-point included in the game total and point spreads odds. It gives a guarantee that a bettor will not be labelled as a push. 


If Bet: A part of a series of bets that consists of more than two wagers. A bettor can apply the stake and make a profit on a winning wager as a bet on a second match once the first bet is successful. 

In-Play Betting: Bettors can place their wagers after the start of the event. It is also known as LIVE betting, where bookmakers can post several in-play betting options in major sporting events.


Joint Favourite: Joint favourite is more than two sides posted that have similar betting odds happening on the same event.

Juice: Attached to a spread and total betting options set by bookmakers. If a team -3.5 (-110) against a team +3.5 (-110) has a $110k bet on both sides, bookies will profit $10K from the juice on the losing wagers.


Kentucky Derby: Kentucky Derby is the first jewel included in the Triple Crown of thoroughbred racing, which is held during the first Saturday of the month of May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. 


Larry O’Brien Trophy: Larry O’Brien Trophy is the award given yearly to the winning team of the NBA finals.

Laying Points: Placing wagers on a favourite. A bet on Dallas with a -2.5 point favourite against the LA Rams, is laying 2.5 points. Dallas must win the least points to have a winning ticket.

Layoff: Bookmakers and players use layoff to decrease the risk on a particular market. Bettors on a series of bets may have a chance to place a layoff wager on the two sides of the last open bet and create a guaranteed profit on their tickets.

Limit: Bookmakers create low and high betting limits that may differ in betting options and sporting events. Players should have the proper discipline to follow personal betting limits as part of managing their bankrolls.

Line: Bookmaker’s betting odds post.

Linemaker: A linemaker is a person or a group that is the same as a bookmaker. They set betting prices and lines every day.

Listed Pitchers: Listed pitchers are present in the daily baseball betting odds. Bets are usually voided if a listed pitcher doesn’t start the game, and the wagers are returned to the bettors.

Live Betting: Bookmakers offer live betting when a sporting event begins. Also known as in-play wagering, the totals and money lines will have a proper adjustment and will be posted again as the game plays out. 

Lock: Tipsters use the term lock to attract bettors into purchasing handicapping advice. 

Longshot: Recognized as an inferior side, also known as an underdog. The prices for longshot always have positive prices when displayed. 


March Madness: The National Championship tournament of the NCAA college basketball that is held yearly over mid-March to early April.

Master Tournament: The first major Grand Slam tournament of four golf tournaments that are held at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia in mid-April.

Middle: A bettor’s chance to cash tickets on both sides. It is their betting option to the middle when a spread point moves up or down before the match.

MLB: Major League Baseball is the most popular top-ranked baseball league in the world that has teams from Canada and the United States.

MLB Draft: An event where MLB teams choose players from high schools, colleges, and amateur baseball teams. The MLB draft has five rounds and the selected players will be designated to minor league teams.

MLS: Major League Soccer is North America’s most popular soccer league and has teams from Canada and the United States.

Moneyline: Bettors should forecast the winner of the match or a game without any point spread as their straight-up bet. Underdogs have a (+165) positive price and the favorites with a negative (-185) price.

Multiple Bets: Multiple bets are single bets that contain two sides or more on one ticket. Bettors must win all sides to cash multiple winning bets.

  • Double: A single parlay ticket that has two sides.
  • Treble: A single parlay ticket that has three sides.
  • Trixie: Three sides that create one treble bet and three double bets.
  • Patent: Three sides that create one treble bet, three double bets, and three single bets.
  • Yankee: Four sides that create four treble bets, six double bets, and one four-leg parlay.
  • Lucky 15: Four sides that create four treble bets, six double bets, one four-leg parlay, and four single bets.
  • Lucky 31: Five sides that create ten treble bets, ten double bets, five single bets, five four-leg parlays, and one five-leg parlay.

MVP: The Most Valuable Player award is given to the player that has an outstanding performance for the team during their regular season and the playoffs. It is also a popular futures betting option for bettors.


Nap: A nap is a recommended best wager by handicappers on an everyday betting card.

NASCAR: National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is the official car racing for stock cars.

NBA: The National Basketball Association is the most famous top-ranked basketball league in the world that has teams from Canada and the United States.

NBA Draft: An event where NBA teams choose amateur players from high schools, colleges, and amateur basketball teams. Held every June, the NBA draft has two rounds in selecting new players for the league.

NCAA: The National Collegiate Athletic Association is the ruling body of all USA college sports.

NFL: The National Football League is the top-ranked gridiron football in the world.

NFL Draft: An event where NFL teams choose their prospective college football players. The NFL Draft is a seven-round event that happens during April.

NHL:  The National Hockey League is the most popular hockey league in the world and has teams from Canada and the United States.

NHL Draft: An event where NHL teams choose their prospective college players and other professional European players in a seven-round draft.

No Action: Canceled betting options are marked as no action by bookmakers, where the original wagers are returned to bettors.

Novelty Bets: Special and prop betting options having bets that go beyond the standard Moneyline, game total odds, and point spread. The most common novelty bets are player and team propositions.


Odds: Betting lines for a variety of events offered by bookmakers.

Odds Formats: The three main odds formats are: Fractional (1/1), Decimal (2.00), and American (+100).

Oddsmaker: A group or a person that places betting prices and lines every day, like a linemaker.

Odds on Favorite: The one side that is considered more dominant compared to the other and has odds with a smaller value.

Odds Shopping: Studying the lines from different sportsbooks to determine the best-priced odds.

Off the Board: OTB games are shown on betting boards without the odds. If a star player is injured, it may affect the odds on board and might cause bookmakers to pull it out.

Outright Betting: Predicting a competition or a tournament’s winner.

Over Bet: The opposite of an Under bet on the total game options. 

Over/Under: The total number of points/goals/runs that will be performed in a game. Bettors will need to know if both teams will have a combined score that will go over or under the value. It is also known as game total odds.


Parlay: A multiple or an accumulator bet that contains two or more sides of a single bet. Each side needs to make a winning ticket. A parlay ticket will be voided if a selection ends as “push.”

Parlay Banker: A banker is a favourite side that forms the base of a parlay bet where other sides are added. 

Payout: A winning wager that a bettor collects. Once a bet is placed, the original stake is also included in the payout.

PGA Championship: Held in different golf courses in the United States in late May, the PGA Championship is the second major Grand Slam golf tournament of its season.

Pick’em: A betting option that has exactly the same odds on both sides.

Point Spread: Posted odds on a match that will level the playing field. The underdogs have a positive (+6.5) odds as their head start, while the favourites have a negative (-6.5) listed point spread.

Post Time: It is the exact scheduled start time of a race, where horses at the starting gate are all loaded.

Power Rankings: A ranking system that utilizes many different criteria to evaluate the teams of a particular league, from worst to best.

Preakness Stakes: The second jewel in the Triple Crown of thoroughbred racing, which happens on the third Saturday in May, two weeks after the Kentucky Derby. The event is held at Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore, Maryland.

Price: Also known as juice and/or betting odds offered by a bookmaker.

Proposition Bet: Also known as a prop bet, proposition bets are unique wagers that are available on many sporting events.

Proxy: A group of individuals, or an individual who places wagers for other bettors. They are linked with people who give their picks for non-Las Vegas residents that are committed to sports pools.

Public Money: The amount of bet on any betting option by the general public.

Puck Line: The point spread in a hockey game. Before the match starts, the underdogs receive +1.5 goals, while the favourite receives -1.5 goals.

Push: A bet that has a tied final result, and the original wagers are returned to the bettors.


Quarter Bet: Any bet placed before or during any quarter of a game. The first 12 minutes of the game will change the live betting odds.


Recreational Bettor: An individual that bets not often or chooses to bet on major or special sporting events only. Recreational bettor’s wagers are considered as public money and they are the opposite of a professional or sharp bettor.

Rotation Number: A figure that bookmakers assign to all betting options on the board. Bettors utilize the rotation number during placing their wagers, instead of team names at land-based sportsbooks’ betting windows.

ROY: The recognition of the best first-year professional player in many professional sports leagues. Betting on a player that will win the Rookie of the Year (ROY) is also a favoured futures betting option.

Run Line: Baseball’s point spread pricing, which the favourite has posted at -1.5 runs and the underdogs at +1.5 runs listing before the game starts. In live betting, the run lines decrease and/or increase during the game, influenced by the score of the game.


Second Half Bet: Any bet about the result of any game’s second half. Before the second half begins, bettors can place their bets or they can also make live bets during the continuation of the game.

Selke Trophy: Selke trophy is an award given to a forward that has the best defensive skills in an NHL regular season.

Sell Points: Selling points is a bettor’s option by using game totals and alternate point spreads. 

Sharp: An individual who is a professional sports gambler that utilizes their many resources to determine the chances of their bets. Sharps always gather information and shop around for the best offers before placing their bets.

Special: Identical to exotic and prop wagers, special bets are included to matches that are more than the common game total, spread betting, and Moneyline betting options. There are many offered special bets in major sporting events.

Spread Betting: Laying or taking points during a wager on a game or competition. 

Sportsbook: A popular shop for sports fans and bettors that takes bets on US events, provides giant screens to see the game and other special sporting events in the world. It can be a free-standing shop or assigned space in a land-based casino. 

Square: An individual who is considered as a recreational or novice player, which is also the opposite of a professional or sharp bettor.

Stake: The money that a bettor puts at risk in placing their wagers. Winning wagers will have the original stakes returned and plenty of bets are graded as a push.

Staking Method: Staking methods are different from one bettor to another There are players that designate their maximum stake limits on every bet they make while other players use their bankroll percentage as their wager.

Stanley Cup Trophy: An annual award to the best team in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Steam: The type of odds that quickly change because of a large number of wagers made by syndicates or sharp bettors.

Straight Bet: A solo bet on spread, Moneyline, or game total betting options.

Syndicate: A syndicate is a group of bettors that collects funds and bet on special events using their combined strategies and knowledge. These groups will often place large amounts of bets to advance a line and then place another larger bet on the new offer that they assisted in creating.


Taking Points: A bet that bettors place on the underdogs. If a bettor places a bet on Washington that has a +1.5 run line, they will be taking points on a baseball bet. 

Teaser Odds: To attract (tease) bettors, bookmakers move any line-up or down. Bettors can also tease odds on a solo game through alternate lines. They can make a parlay bet from a teaser card offered by a sportsbook.

Teaser Card: A teaser card is a list of all games posted daily for any specific sport. It also shows the odds that go higher or lower than the posted prices on the main betting board. Teaser cards need bettors to select two or more sides. 

Ted Lindsay Award: An award given to the most valuable NHL player. Active hockey players will vote for the best NHL player.

Ticket: Once a wager is accepted by a bookmaker, they will issue a receipt as the bettor’s ticket.

Tip: An advice to bettors coming from handicappers and tipsters suggesting the best result of an event. Tips are helpful if bettors use them properly along with a good research plan.

Tipster: An individual or a group of people that provides betting advice for bettors. There are also tipsters that provide free sports betting advice, and there are those who would demand a fee for their services.

Triple Crown: The three horse races that form the thoroughbred Triple Crown racing series. It includes the Belmont Stakes, Preakness Stakes, and the Kentucky Derby.

The Open Championship: The fourth and final major Grand Slam golf tournament that happens every late July in the United Kingdom. It is also popularly known as the British Open or as The Open.

Three-way Odds: Betting options that consist of three sides and also consider ties as part of the betting options.

Two-way Odds: Betting options that consist of two sides and does not consider ties as part of the betting options.


Under: The opposite of over on game total wagering. If the total score of the Bulls and Celtics match is set at 240, bettors who place under bets need the combined total score of 239 points or less.

Underdog: Considered to be the inferior side, underdogs have a positive number posting. 

U.S. Open (Golf): The third of the four major Grand Slam golf tournaments that happens during late June at different golf courses in the United States.

U.S. Open (Tennis): The fourth and final men’s and women’s Grand Slam tennis tournaments. The event is played in late August and early September, over two weeks of intense competition between the best tennis players. It is held at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, New York.


Vezina Trophy: An award given to the best goaltender in a regular season of the NHL.

Vigorish: Vigorish is another term for juice. The standard pricing is (-110), which needs bettors to bet $110 to earn a $100 return.

Vince Lombardi Trophy: An award given annually to the winner of the NFL Super Bowl.


Wager: A bet placed on any event offered by a racebook, casino, or sportsbook.

Westgate SuperContest: The Westgate SuperContest was established in 1988 as the ultimate handicapping challenge for football. It focuses on the regular season of the NFL and consists of three contests: the SuperContest Reboot, the SuperContest Gold, and the SuperContest.

Wimbledon: The third of four men’s and women’s Grand Slam tennis tournaments that happens in late June and/or early June, played over two weeks by the best tennis players. The tournament happens at the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club in London. 

Wise Guy: Individuals who are considered to be professional bettors, sharps, and handicappers, who have great knowledge of the sports they bet on.

Now that you have these sports betting terms, it would be easier for you to understand the concepts that can help you increase your chances of winning big. 

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