Betting Glossary

For you to understand the basics on gambling and sports betting, we’ve compiled the most common terms used by bettors and bookies. Go through our betting glossary to study them, or save the page as a reference whenever you encounter a term you don’t understand.



Accumulator– this is when there is more than one wager placed and combined. The success of this will depend on all options selected to win.

Action – In the gambling industry, this means any money that is bet on a contest or race. This is also used in other gambling activities, such as horseracing, or table games.

AET– this is called After Extra Time, usually used in football/soccer. This means extra time or overtime played if the game ties.

Against the Spread – Also called ATS, it is betting on one side of the point spread. This is also used to reference how a team does against the spread.

American Odds– This is the manner of which odds are displayed. American odds have a 100 unit base figure.

Arbitrage– This is to back up all selections in a given market, through different bookies. Some bettors do this to exploit any differences in price and yields a positive profit.


Backdoor cover– This is when a team scores points at the end of a game to cover the spread unexpectedly.

Beard– a third party bettor, keeps the bettor’s identity anonymous.

Bet– To risk money on a projected outcome of an event, where the return that is proportional to the likelihood is measured by odds.

Betting Line – This is known as the odds or point spread.

Bookmaker/Bookie – A person or a sportsbook that takes in bets for games, or even events.

Bookie Pay Per Head – This is a software that bookies use to manage their sportsbook easily.

Buying Points – This option will allow someone who bets to move the point spread for a better chance of a winning bet.


Canadian Line– This is combining Money line and points spread in a Hockey game.

Chalk– The favorite in the game/event. People who are “chalk” bettors typically bet on the favorite.

Closing Line– this is the last odds that are being offered before the market closes.

Correct Score– this is when a bettor correctly predicts the final score and the winning team of the match.

Cover – This means that a team won versus the spread. If team A wins by 3 points on a 2.5-point favorite (-2.5), then team A covered the spread.


Decimal Odds– This is a way of displaying odds where the odds are displayed in a decimal format. It is also called European odds.

Dime– slang word for a bet worth $1,000.

Dog– also called the underdog, or the option on the wager that is least likely to win.

Double-header– two high-profile games that happen close to each other on the same day. Could be consecutive games.

Draw– When a game ends with no winner or loser.


Edge– this is a betting advantage where you either win due to great skill, or due to exploiting lines/sportsbooks.

Exotic– Any wager other than a straight bet or parlay. This is popularly called a proposition bet, or a prop bet.


Favorite– The expected straight-up winner in a sports game or event. Depending on the sport, the favorite will have odds or points.

First half bet– a wager whose results are based on the first half of the game only.

First or last goal scorer – this is specifically waged on the athlete who will score first or last goal or try in a game.

Fixed-odds betting– this is a type of bet placed where the odds fixed during the time of placing the bet is struck. Other formats have fluid odds.

Fractional odds– This is a manner of displaying odds where they are displayed in fractions.

Futures Bet – This is a bet or wager placed on an event that will happen in the future. It could be bets on who will win championship titles for various sports leagues, or individual awards for athletes given in the end of the season.


Halftime bet– A bet that is placed after the first half ended and before the second half begins. It usually starts with half of the game side/total and adjusts based on what happened in the first half. Common in football and basketball.

Handicapper– A person who tries to predict the winners of an event.

Handle– This refers to the amount of money taken by a bookie on an event or the total amount of money wagered.

Hedging– This is betting the opposite side of your original bet. This is done to either ensure some profit or to minimize potential loss. This is often done with futures bets, although it also canvbe done on individual games with halftime bets or in-game betting.

High roller– A high-stakes bettor.

Home field advantage– also called HFA, this refers to a perceived advantage that teams playing at home have.

Hook– It’s a half half-point. If a team is a 6.5-point favorite, they are “laying six and a hook.”


In-Play – This is more popularly known as live betting where bettors are wagering on a sporting event while the event is still happening. For example, bettors can make wagers on the point spreads, alternative point spreads, moneylines, and totals. Even while odds are constantly changing during the game.


Juice– This is the commission or the cut the bookie or bookmaker takes. Its also called the vigorish or “vig”.


Laying the Points – This is when a bettor will pick the favorite.

Layoff – This is money that is bet by a sportsbook with another sportsbook or bookmaker to reduce liability. It reduces risk but also reduces profit.

Limit – This is the maximum bet taken by a sportsbook. This can be adjusted at the bookie’s preference.

Line– this is another term for odds.

Linemaker– a person who sets the lines or odds at a sportsbook.

Live Betting– betting on an ongoing game or event.


Margin– This is the cost of placing a bet that is set by a bookie. This is also the juice, or the vig.

Moneyline – This is a bet in which a bettor has to pick the right team to win. However, payouts are less depending on the odds. So if the odds posted says Team A -160, it means you should bet $160 to win $100. If it says Team A +160, then you win $160 for a $100 bet if they win.


Nap– This term is used to refer to the best selection of a tipster.

No Action– This is a voided bet where there is no win or loss.

Non-runner– This is where you have a selection that wont participate in any event.

Novelty Bet– this is a wager on an event that has a novelty value, such as a winner of a tv show contest.


Odds – The basic term for the betting lines or point spreads.

Oddsmaker– the person who sets the odds or lines for a bookmaker.

Over/Under– Also called the totals, this is a wager that is placed based on the total number of points scored between two teams in a game. A bettor would simply bet on the ability of both teams playing to win either over or under the totals odds for the game.


Parlay – A bet in which a person chooses more than one outcome that must happen. The payout will be higher based on the number of events. But the risk is high because if even one part of the bet loses, then you lose the whole bet.

Pick ‘em – A game/event where there is no favorite. The two teams are considered equal and bettors will just pick a team.

Point Spread – This is the margin of winning for a game set by the oddsmaker. Sportsbooks use this to create action on both teams. The favorite will now have to win by more than the margin set.

Post Time– the scheduled start time.

Power ranking– this is a system of ratings that they base on historical data that bettors use for wagering.

Price– this is also another term for line, points spread, or odds.

Prop Bet– also called a proposition bet, this is a bet on events within a game, such as first to score a goal.

Push– This is when the result ends with the exact score/point on the odds. The wagers are usually just refunded.


Quarter Bet– this is a wager that is based on the outcome of a specified quarter in a game.


Round Robin– this is a multiple bet that has three selections in a 10-combination bet. You have three doubles, a treble, and a three up-and-down single stakes about the pairs

Run Lines– this is a spread or handicap that is specific to baseball. This is on the number of runs in the game.


Scalping– when one exploits the differences in bookies for profit.

Second-half bet– bets specific to only the second half of a game.

Sharp– A professional sports bettor who looks for weak lines and bets to win more.

Sportsbook– this is another word for bookmaker, or the book.

Sports betting software– software used to process sports wagers, or to manage a sportsbook.

Sportsbook pay per head– a sportsbook software software that is used to manage a sportsbook. Payments are usually per head, or per player.

Spread– Short term for point spread.

Straight bet– this is a wager on the outcome of all three basic wager types.

Square– A casual gambler, or a recreational gambler who normally doesn’t logically place bets.


Teaser – This is one type of parlay where a sports bettor can move the point spread in his or her favor, but this results in a lower payout.

Ticket– this is a sports bet

Tie– a wager where no one wins or loses since there is no positive outcome for the wager.

Total– The perceived expected point, run or goal total in an event or game.

Totals bet– this is a bet where you combine the runs, score, or goals in the game. The bettor will bet on the total being either higher or lower than the lines set.


Under– another name for underdog.

Underdog– The team that is expected to lose.


Value– this is betting on odds that have a lower chance, and offers higher value to the bettor profit-wise.

Vig or Juice – The commission or percentage of the betting pool that the house (sportsbook/bookie) takes. This is how bookies profit.


Wager– Another name for bet.