Sports Betting Glossary

OddsTrader Betting Glossary sportsbook

Sports betting is riddled with jargon. If you hear two experienced bettors chewing the fat, you might think they were speaking in some form of code. 

OddsTrader’s betting glossary explains the key terms you will encounter so that you can speak the lingo with other sports bettors when discussing betting odds, picks, bad beats, and any other watercooler talk.

Once you familiarize yourself with the betting terms explained below, you will be ready to converse with confidence with fellow handicappers at The RX Forum.

Sports Betting Glossary

Action

  • Noun
  • A bet you have placed on a game.
  • Example: “I had action on that Cowboys game last night.”

Arbing

  • Verb
  • The art of covering both sides of a bet at opportune moments to guarantee a profit.
  • Example: “I found a great arbing opportunity on the Giants game.”

ATS (Against the Spread)

  • Adverb
  • A record of how frequently a team has covered the point spread during the season.
  • Example: “The Titans are 4-2 ATS at home this season.”

Air Betting

  • Verb
  • A fun bet that does not result in a profit or loss
  • Example: “I’m not interested in air betting if you don’t have the cash.”

American Odds

  • Noun
  • The most common format in which odds are displayed.
  • Example: “A tool allows you to switch from decimal odds to American odds.”

Asian Handicap

  • Noun
  • An advanced handicap spread available on soccer games.
  • Example: “I’m backing La Galaxy with a -1.25 Asian handicap.”

Bad Beat

  • Noun
  • A bet that loses due to a brutal, unexpected event.
  • Example: “My bet lost after that terrible call from the referee – what a bad beat.”

Bankroll

  • Noun
  • The money you have set aside to place wagers over the course of a year or season.
  • Example: “I assign 2% of my bankroll to each bet.”

Betting Tips

  • Noun
  • Betting advice on how to approach sports betting, or specific picks.
  • Example: “His betting tips are very helpful to newcomers.”

Betting Online

  • Verb
  • Placing a wager at a website or mobile app.
  • Example: “Betting online has soared in popularity in New Jersey.”

Bookmaker

  • Noun
  • Another word for an oddsmaker. It can have negative connotations with an illegal neighborhood bookie.
  • Example: “My bookmaker is offering -130 on the moneyline.”

Bonus

  • Noun
  • An incentive to sign up for a sports betting account.
  • Example: “BetMGM offers a large welcome bonus.”

Cash Out

  • Verb
  • Exiting an open wager before a game finishes.
  • Example: “I bet on the Knicks to cover a 3-point spread and they were 4 points ahead in the fourth quarter, so I hit the cash out button.”

Chalk

  • Noun
  • The favorite, a team or player that is expected to win usually by a big margin.
  • Example: “He’s a chalk bettor when it comes to the MLB.”

Cover

  • Verb
  • You can bet on a team to cover the point spread.
  • Example: “I bet on the Hawks to cover a 5.5-point spread, but they only won by 4.”

Dime Line

  • Noun
  • A 10-cent difference between the odds on either side of a bet, such as -125 / +115.
  • Example: “That sportsbook offers dime lines.”

Dog

  • Noun
  • The underdog, a team that is deemed to be weaker than its opponent and less likely to win.
  • Example: “Golden State is the dog in this game, but I think they can win.”

Dutching

  • Noun
  • Taking advantage of inconsistencies in the odds offered by rival sportsbooks on the same game to cover every possible outcome and lock in a surefire profit.
  • Example: “I made a fortune dutching last year.”

Edge

  • Noun
  • An advantage gained over a sportsbook or the general betting public.
  • Example: “My model uses advanced analytics to gain an edge over the books.”

Even Money

  • Noun
  • A bet at odds of +100 (or 1/1 in fractional odds), whereby you stand to double your money if successful.
  • Example: “I got even money on the Penguins to win tonight.”

Fade a Handicapper

  • Verb
  • Dismiss a handicapper’s advice and put your money on the other side of the bet.
  • Example: “That handicapper is a great fade. He picked the Eagles to cover the spread, so I went for the Giants and they covered by seven points.”

Fixed-Odds

  • Noun
  • Betting at set odds, whereby you know precisely how much you stand to win or lose. Alternatives include pari-mutuel sports betting and PointsBetting.
  • Example: “My racebook is offering fixed-odds on the winner of the Kentucky Derby.”

Follow a Handicapper

  • Verb
  • Put your money on a bet recommended by a professional.
  • Example: “I’ve been following that handicapper for two weeks and he hasn’t let me down yet.”

Football Betting Tips

  • Noun
  • Betting advice on how to bet on football in general or specific picks on how a game will unfold.
  • Example: “Check out my football betting tips on the Super Bowl.”

Futures

  • Noun
  • A long-term bet that is not decided by a single game, such as wagering on a team to win the Super Bowl or the World Series.
  • Example: “The season has only just ended, but they’re already offering futures odds on who will win the next Super Bowl.”

Handicapper

  • Noun
  • A professional with a high level of expertise on a particular sport, who provides predictions – known as picks – on the results of games, either for free or for a fee. 
  • Example: “I became a professional handicapper in 2017 and I’ve generated at least 22 units of profit per year since then.”

Handle

  • Noun
  • The total amount wagered over a specific amount of time. It can be broken down by state, sportsbook or sport.
  •  Example: “New York sportsbooks reported a handle of $2.3 billion last month.”

Hedging

  • Verb
  • A wager that is placed to guarantee a profit, commonly used with one leg remaining on a parlay.
  • Example: “I won three of four legs of my parlay headed into Monday Night Football, so I decided to hedge my bet and guarantee a profit by betting the other side.”

High-Roller

  • Noun
  • A bettor that wagers large sums of money. 
  • Example: “That sportsbook is perfect for high-rollers, as it accepts large bets and it has a great VIP program.”

Juice

  • Noun
  • The house edge that a sportsbook builds into its betting lines. A standard juice line would be odds of -110 on either side of a point spread or total, whereas a reduced juice line would be -105 on both sides of the bet.
  • Example: “My sportsbook was charging me a lot of juice, so I switched to a different app.”

Lock

  • Noun
  • A team or player that is expected to win comfortably.
  • Example: “New England is a lock for tomorrow’s game.”

Middling

  • Verb
  • Betting on either side of a point spread or a total points line after it has moved and hoping that both wagers pay out when the result lands in the middle.
  • Example: “I bet on the Broncos +4.5 against the Chiefs. Then the line moved by 2 points, so I bet on the Chiefs -2.5, because I found a middling opportunity. The Chiefs won the game by 3 points, so it worked – both bets paid off.”

Moneyline

  • Noun
  • A straight bet on a team to win a game.
  • Example: “I couldn’t decide which team would cover the spread, so I just bet on the Bulls on the moneyline.”

Oddsmaker

  • Noun
  • A professional who sets the odds and betting lines on behalf of a sportsbook.
  • Example: “The oddsmakers determined that Canelo Alvarez is the favorite for this fight..”

Off the Board

  • Noun
  • A sportsbook has suspended betting on a sporting event. It could be due to news of an injury.
  • Example: “Rumors suggested that Jayson Tatum was injured, so they took the game off the board.”

Online betting

  • Verb
  • Placing a wager via a website or mobile app.
  • Example: “All wagers had to be placed in-person before technological developments made online betting possible.”

Opening Line

  • Noun
  • The first point spread or total points line released on a game. The lines can then change in the build-up to the game, reflecting betting patterns.
  • Example: “They were 3-point favorites when the line opened, but now they’re only 2-point favorites.”

Parlay

  • Noun
  • Combining multiple predictions into a single bet in an attempt to earn a large profit.
  • Example: “I placed a parlay of the Seahawks, Rams, Patriots and Texans all to cover the spread this weekend – wish me luck.”

Pick

  • Noun
  • A prediction on a sporting event.
  • Example: “I picked the Nets to cover in tonight’s game.”

Pick’em

  • Noun
  • A game in which both teams are evenly matched, so there is no point spread.
  • Example: “The oddsmakers cannot separate the teams, so it’s a pick’em.”

Point Spread

  • Noun
  • A point spread arises when the sportsbooks give the stronger team a handicap. You can then bet on either team to cover it.
  • Example: “The Dolphins are favored by 2.5 in the point spread.”

Prop

  • Noun
  • A proposition wager focuses on whether something will happen during a game. It could be a bet on a quarterback throwing over 2.5 touchdown passes, a basketball player making 8-9 rebounds or both teams scoring at least 2 goals in a hockey game.
  • Example: “My sportsbook is offering hundreds of props on the Super Bowl.”

Puck Line

  • Noun
  • A 1.5-goal handicap line assigned to an NHL team.
  • Example: “I bet on the Rangers to cover the puck line against the Avs.”

Push

  • Noun
  • A bet is settled as a push if the result lands bang on the spread or total. Everyone gets their money back, so nobody makes a profit and nobody incurs a loss.
  • Example: “The spread made the Bengals the 6-point favorites and they won by 6, so it was a push.”

Reduced juice

  • Noun
  • If a sportsbook decides to operate on lower margins by offering discounted lines, it is known as reduced juice. Standard juice lines are generally -110 on sides and totals, and anything better than -110 on either side of the bet can be considered reduced juice, such as -105 / -105.
  • Example: “It’s the only reduced juice sportsbook in the state.”

Reverse Line Movement

  • Noun
  • Sometimes the sportsbooks will move a line away from the team receiving the majority of the bets, which is known as a reverse line movement.
  • Example: “The Rams moved from -5 to -4, despite attracting most of the bets. It must be because sharps were betting against them.”

Round Robin

  • Noun
  • Bundling several of picks together and placing a series of parlays on them.
  • Example: “The betslip makes it easy to put a round-robin together.”

Runner

  • Noun
  • Someone placing a bet for another person.
  • Example: “I sent my runner to put on the bet.”

Sharp

  • Noun
  • A sophisticated sports bettor that wagers when there is a perceived betting edge.
  • Example: “Joe is one of the sharpest sports bettors I know.”

Sports Gambling

  • Verb
  • Placing a wager on a sporting event in an attempt to earn a profit.
  • Example: “Sports gambling was legalized in New Jersey in 2018.”

Sports betting

  • Verb
  • Betting on a sporting event, such as a football game or a UFC bout.
  • Example: “A new era of legal sports betting began in Michigan yesterday.”

Square

  • Noun
  • A novice bettor that does not apply a great deal of rigor to the art of sports wagering.
  • Example: “The squares backed the Cardinals all week, so I was able to fade the public by betting on the Raiders at an inflated line.”

Take the Points

  • Noun
  • Placing a wager on an underdog and hoping it loses by fewer points than the spread.
  • Example: “The Giants do not deserve to be such heavy underdogs – I’ll take the points.”

Teaser

  • Noun
  • A type of parlay whereby you move the lines in your favor in exchange for a smaller potential profit.
  • Example: “My teaser paid off last night.”

Vigorish

  • Noun
  • Another word for juice. The house edge that the sportsbook takes on its lines. It is often abbreviated to vig, and you essentially want to find a sportsbook that takes as little vig as possible.
  • Example: “I found a low vigorish sportsbook.”

Betting Glossary FAQs


How sports betting works?

Sports betting provides you with an opportunity to earn a cash profit by making a prediction on an event, such as an NFL game, a golf tournament or a tennis match. You can sign up for an account with an online sportsbook and browse a huge range of betting options.

How to bet on football?

The most popular NFL betting option is the point spread. The sportsbooks assign the stronger team a handicap, creating the spread, and you can bet on which team will cover it. For example, if you bet on the Kansas City Chiefs -2.5 against the Los Angeles Chargers, the Chiefs need to win by 3 or more points.

How to bet on NFL games?

You need to sign up for an account with a licensed, reputable online sportsbook. You will then be able to browse hundreds of betting options on each NFL game, including the moneyline, total points, the point spread and prop bets. Choose an option that appeals to you, type in the amount you wish to wager on the betslip and click to confirm your bet.

How to gamble online?

The first step is to sign up with a trustworthy online sportsbook. You can then make a deposit and browse your betting options. Find one that interests you and click on it to add the bet to the online slip. Enter the amount you would like to bet, and click to confirm.

How does betting work?

Betting allows you to speculate on an event, such as a football game or a horse race, in a bid to earn a profit. Most bets are placed a fixed-odds, meaning you stand to win or lose a predetermined sum of money when you place your wager.

Is there a sports betting 101?

You can visit OddsTrader.com for a wealth of insight on how to bet on sports. We have broken down key bet types and provided all the information you need to make a success of online wagering.

Sports betting for dummies advice?

We recommend learning what the key bet types entail, including the point spread, the moneyline, total points lines and prop bets. The next step requires you to learn how to read odds. You will then be ready to place your first bet, and OddsTrader provides all the information you need.

What are the best sports betting tips?

We recommend conducting thorough research before placing a wager, and it is also vital that you seek out the best odds and lines. OddsTrader allows you to compare the odds at the country’s leading sportsbooks, helping you unlock the best value on every wager you place.


OddsTrader.com is your sports betting command center. Read featured betting strategy compiled from a panel of leading sports betting experts.

Site Footer