If you’re new to sports betting, it’s important to understand the key terms and vocabulary to make life easier when making wagers.
There are certain basics like spread, moneyline, Over/Under and parlays that are definitely key to knowing. However, there are other sports betting terms that are cooler parts of the lingo. Whether it’s catchy, informal slang like “action” or the dreaded “bad beat,” there’s plenty to mine when it comes to the gambling lexicon.
Check out our relatively extensive, hopefully enlightening, periodically funny sports betting glossary full of fancy terms. We bet you’ll dig it (See what we did there?).
Accumulator -or- Parlay -or- Multiple: A single wager with multiple bets, all of which must be fulfilled to win. For instance, your parlay from a Houston Rockets/San Antonio Spurs game might include the Spurs winning the tipoff, then the Rockets leading at halftime, then James Harden getting his postgame meal caught in his beard. While parlays typically have large payouts, they're also inherently lower probability bets given the math behind conditional probability.
Action: (1) A bet or a wager of any kind. (2) All bets on a given event. (3) A valid bet. (4) A baseball wager in which both listed pitchers must start the game. (5) A criminally underrated 1990s sitcom featuring comedian Jay Mohr.
Against the Spread -or- ATS: (1) Placing a wager that will be decided by the point spread, meaning that extra points are added to one team for the purposes of the bet. (2) A statistic demonstrating how well a team does, that’s right, against the point spread. For instance, if Lamar Jackson and his Baltimore Ravens have covered the spread in all 16 of their games, you’d say, “Baltimore is 16-0 ATS.” (Also, fun fact: The Free Dictionary lists over 100 phrases that use the ATS acronym, among them, Auto Tuning Store, Active Torque Split, and Adult Thumb Sucking.)
Alternate Lines: A spread that’s adjusted with a corresponding change in the bet’s money odds. It allows bettors to wager either over or under the original betting line.
American Odds: Showing odds utilizing plus and minus signs. For instance, say the Houston Astros are 2/1 favorites over the Detroit Tigers – and 2/1 is generous; sorry, Tigers fans, but you know it’s true – the American Odds spread would be Astros -200.
Ante Post: A bet that’s placed wayyyyyy in advance of an event, as in, “I’m dropping an ante post bet on the Sacramento Kings to win an NBA title in 2062.” Hey, anything’s possible.
Arbitrage -or- Betting the Middle: An advanced betting strategy in which a bettor lays wagers on all possible outcomes of an event so they can bring home some cheddar, regardless of the winner. Generally involves placing bets at multiple sportsbooks. Also, Arbitrage is a Richard Gere flick from 2012 that somehow took in over $35 million worldwide, despite the fact that literally not one single person saw it.
Asian Handicap: An alternative manner to bet on a soccer match in which the (theoretically) better team is handicapped. Popular in, you guessed it, Asia.
Backdoor Cover: Let’s say the Seattle Seahawks are favored by nine over the Arizona Cardinals. Then let’s say the ’Hawks are up 16-0 with under a minute left, and the Cards punch in a garbage-time touchdown with a two-point conversion just as time expires. We now have a final score of 16-8, which means the Cards covered the spread, simultaneously pissing off and/or cheering up the vast majority of the game’s bettors. That, ladies and gents, is a backdoor cover.
Backed: A team or player who has received the majority of the wagers placed on a given game.
Bad Beat: (1) Losing a wager in the most painful way possible, i.e., on a fumble during a kneel-down in victory formation, or a last-second technical foul for taunting. (2) Something that’ll get a hip-hop producer fired.
Banker-or- Lock: A wager that’s all but guaranteed to win. You know, a sure thing. A shoo-in. A cinch. A slam dunk. A no-doubter.
Bankroll -or- BR: The total amount you’ve allocated for betting purposes, i.e., that pile of cabbage in your breast pocket.
Beard: Somebody who places a bet for another person in order to conceal the original bettor’s identity, or that creepy thing on pitcher Brian Schlitter’s face.
Betting Exchange: Popular in Europe, betting exchanges let you directly wager against another bettor, bypassing traditional sportsbooks. Betting exchanges do not currently exist in the U.S., as they are implicitly prohibited under the Federal Wire Act.
Betting Unit: No, this isn’t a robot who places wagers, but rather the measured size of a bet. For instance, say you want to bet $10,000 on the Cincinnati Bengals to cover the spread (yikes), but you don’t want the dude over at the next window to know you’re dropping ten G’s. You get yourself a single betting unit worth $10,000, then bet that one unit, and nobody but the cashier is the wiser.
Book: 1) A place that takes bets. 2) Short for sportsbook. 3) An awesome thing to read.
Bookmaker -or- Oddsmaker -or- Odds Compiler -or-Handicapper: 1) A gentleman who takes wagers on sporting events. 2) A gentlewoman who takes wagers on sporting events. 3) Somebody who makes awesome things to read.
Bonus: Fun stuff that a sportsbook gives bettors in order to make them happy and/or brand loyal. An online signup bonus is one of the most common.
Buck: A $100 bet. Or Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Burlington Bertie: 1) Slang for 10/3 odds. 2) A music hall song written in 1900 that was once performed on The Muppet Show. (Note: We’re not kidding about either of those. You’re welcome.)
Buying Points -or- Moving the Line: Let’s say the Chicago White Sox are 1.5 run favorites over the Chicago Cubs, and you’re like, I don’t think so. You can alter the spread by buying points, which means you can pay to receive at least half a point, making the spread either 1.0 or 2.0 in favor of the Sox.
Canadian -or- Super Yankee: A wager that involves a total of 26 bets on five selections We’re talking 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 fourfolds and 1 fivefold…OMG!
Canadian Line: A betting line used in ice hockey combining point spread, moneyline, and, every so often, some Moosehead.
Chalk: The favorite in any given sporting event, or the favored medium of graffiti artists on a budget.
Chalk Player -or- Chalk Eater: A bettor who tends to wager predominantly on favorites, or this genius.
Circle Game -or- Circled Game: A sporting event in which the maximum bet is lowered due to a condition that could alter the impact on the game, i.e., a key injury, bad weather, or, in the case of Kawhi Leonard, load management.
Closing Line: The odds on an event when the sportsbook stops taking wagers. Not to be confused with the Semisonic alterna-pop anthem, “Closing Time.”
Consensus -or- Consensus Pick: Agreement amongst the betting cognoscenti, as in, “The Dolphins are sitting all of their starters against Kansas City, so the Chiefs are the consensus pick.”
Contrarian: Betting against the general consensus, as in, “The Lions are sitting all of their starters against New Orleans, so I’m gonna be a contrarian and take Detroit.”
Cover: 1) When your team wins a game by more points than the spread, ensuring a victorious wager. 2) Nirvana performing David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World.” 3) The Fugees performing Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly.” 4) These.
Dead Heat: A tie. That’s all. Just a tie. You’re welcome.
Deposit Betting: A wager placed with money you’ve previously deposited with a bookmaker.
Dime: A $1000 wager, or a U.S. coin made out of an alloy of 91.67% copper and 8.33% nickel. So it turns out there’s no silver in a dime. Go figure.
Dime Line: A betting line where the juice is 10%. For example, let’s say the line on a Boston Bruins/Buffalo Sabres tilt is Bruins -125/Sabres +115. Boom, there’s your 10%, there’s your dime line.
Dividend: An agreed upon payout, or a return on odds of any established bet.
Dog Player: A bettor who tends to bet on underdogs.
Dollar: A $100 bet, or Damian Lillard’s alter ego.
Double: (1) A twin bet placed on two separate specific events or two parts of the same event that pays out only if both events win. (2) A baseball thing of which Tris Speaker hit 792, a record that will never be broken…that is, unless Albert Pujols smacks another 100-plus doubles before he retires. #Doubtful.
Double Action: A wager contingent on the success of a preceding bet. For instance, if you place a double action bet on Texas on each game of a Rangers/Angels doubleheader, your boys would have to win both ends of the two-fer in order for you to take home your ducats.
Double Bet-or- Doubling Up -or- Double Pop: A wager twice the size of the bettor’s typical wager, to wit: “I usually drop $100 on the Patriots even though they’re the evil empire, but today, I’m gonna roll with $200, because I read somewhere that Tom Brady ate some extra plants.”
Double Chance: Predominantly a soccer wager that allows the bettor two chances to win. Example: If Manchester United is going up against Liverpool, and you think Man Utd will either win or tie, take a double chance and bet both.
Double-or-Nothing: An even money bet that pays exactly the amount wagered. It was written in the book Evolutionary Theory and Cognitive Therapy that bettors who go for double-or-nothings are “extreme optimists.”
Draw: A tie. That’s all. Just a tie. You’re welcome.
Drift-or- Drifting -or- Lengthening Odds -or- Lengthening: Odds that are getting higher, as in, “Man, the odds that Chicago Bears fans will say really nice things about Mitchell Trubisky on social media are drifting.”
Dutch: When a bettor drops the same stake on more than one outcome in any given event so they’ll take home some moolah, regardless of who wins.
Early Cash Out: Say you bet the Lakers to cover a five-point spread against the Clippers, and the Lakers are up by six, but right before halftime, Anthony Davis suffers his regularly scheduled injury and is out for the game. At some sportsbooks, you can get out while the getting’s good, and take an early cash out. Your winnings won’t equal those if you’d toughed it out for the whole game, but at least you can walk away with something.
Edge: A bettor’s knowledge of…stuff, be it a player’s injury or a belief that a line isn’t accurate. Also, a f#@&ing great guitarist.
Even Money: A wager that pays out the same amount as an initial bet, as well as a really badly reviewed Kim Basinger/Forrest Whitaker flick.
Expected Value: A theoretical measure of how much a bet or collection of bets is projected to payout at settlement. The formula is (Total payout upon winning x probability of winning) – (Amount wagered x probability of losing). Easy-peasy, right?
Exposure: The amount of money a sportsbook stands to lose on any given event, or the amount of action a bettor has outstanding at any given time.
Favorite: The team or athlete a sportsbook expects to win an event. For spread bets, favorites will have a (-) next to the team name and for moneyline bets, the odds will be listed as a negative number. Using it in a sentence: “The New York Yankees are often the favorite, while the New York Knicks are often not.”
Field: A collective term for all the participants in a sporting event, as in, “The field is comfortably wagering on the New York Yankees, but not the New York Knicks.”
Fifty Cents -or- Half-A-Dollar: Fifty dollars, or the (almost) hip-hop moniker of rapper/actor/film producer/boxing promoter Curtis Jackson.
Figure: The amount of buckwads owed to or by a bookmaker.
Fin: A slang term for a $50 bet. Not the (almost) hip-hop moniker of rapper/actor/film producer/boxing promoter Curtis Jackson.
Fire -or-Lump On: Placing a bet, as in, “The White Sox are playing the Astros, and Chicago pitcher Dallas Keuchel is going up against his old team, so since it’s a revenge game, I’m gonna fire the Sox. Heck, I might even lump on ’em, too.”
First Half -or- First Half Bet: A wager placed on only the first half of a game. Among the most self-explanatory entries of this glossary.
Fixed Odds: Odds agreed upon when a bet is placed.
Flag: A wager that includes a total of 23, count ‘em, 23 bets. For those keeping score at home, that’s a lot of bets.
Flash: When odds information changes on a tote board, as well as Dwyane Wade’s alternate nickname.
Flat Betting: A system in which all wagers are the same, as in, “I’m going to place one sawbuck on the Bucs, the Rams, the Raiders, the Vikings, the Browns, and the Broncos, and I’m gonna do it again next week, and the week after, and the week after, and the…” You get the point.
Fold: The number of selections in an accumulator or parlay, i.e., a four-fold accumulator has four selections, an eight-fold has eight selections, and a million-billion-jillion-fold accumulator has a million-billion-jillion selections.
Forecast: A wager attempting to accurately predict the first and second placed participants in a sporting event, in the correct order. Also, today in Boston, it’ll be partly sunny with a slight breeze coming in from the northwest, and unseasonably warm temperatures, topping out at 61 degrees, with a 40% chance of rain starting just after sundown. (Now that’s a forecast.)
Form: Recent results of a team or an individual, as in, “With his fifth consecutive 700-plus-yard passing game, Patrick Mahomes is in insane, unreal, cray-cray Patrick Mahomes form.”
Full Cover: A bet that covers all doubles, trebles, and accumulators for any given selection. If two of your selections win, you’ll walk away with some benjamins.
Futures -or- Futures Bet: A way-in-advance wager, one of the most common of which is a bet on the Super Bowl winner placed at the beginning of the football season.
Get Down -or- Getting Down - Making a bet, or listening to Kool & the Gang.
Goliath: A permutation wager that involves a total of 247 bets on eight selections, to the tune of 28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70 fourfolds, 56 fivefolds, 28 sixfolds, 8 sevenfolds, and 1 eightfold. A goliath is so intense that we can’t even think of a decent joke or factoid to go along with it.
Grand Salami: A bet on the total goals scored by every hockey team in a single day. Or this.
Halftime Bet: A wager placed on only the first half of a game. Arguably the second most self-explanatory entry of this glossary.
Handicap: Another term for the point spread, as well as a generous, helpful numbers thingie that makes playing a round of golf slightly less embarrassing for duffers like us.
Handicapper: Traditionally a synonym for “bookmaker,” handicapper is now a catch-all term referring to anyone who makes betting predictions.
Handle: The amount of money a sportsbook takes from a wager. It can be broken down by, among other factors, sport, region, or casino. It could also mean a half-a-gallon of whiskey, or your Twitter nickname.
Hang Cheng: The Asian equivalent of a point spread, or a solid Chinese restaurant in New York on 107th and Lex.
Hedge -or- Hedging: Betting on the opposite side of a wager in order to minimize losses or guarantee a small profit. Say you’re placing a futures bet on the Super Bowl. If you wager that the traditionally meh New York Giants will win it, you might want to drop a hedge bet on the traditionally elite Green Bay Packers, just to play it safe.
High Odds -or- Long Odds: Odds that are generally greater than 10/1.
High Roller: A ballsy bettor. A big spender. A money player. A Montana muckety-muck. (Full disclosure: We made up the last one.)
Heinz: A permutation wager that involves a total of 57 bets on six selections (15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 fourfolds, 6 fivefolds and 1 sixfold). Why "Heinz"? Because…
Hold: The percentage of a bet a bookmaker retains once all bets have been officially settled, or the thing the Beatles wanted to do to your hand.
Hook: A half a point. Because it’s way cooler to say, “The Heat are three-and-a-hook chalk,” than it is to mutter, “Miami’s a 3.5-point favorite.”
Hot Game: A contest drawing a noticeable amount of action from in-the-know handicappers and/or bettors.
If Bet -or- Single Action: A series of wagers where the action continues to the next bet only if a condition is met, i.e., if the Toronto Raptors win the opening tip-off, the bettor lives on to see if the Raps win the first quarter. Same deal with the second quarter, then the third, then the fourth, then the final score. But if the Raps lose that initial tip, the bet is toast, and all the other bets are moot.
Implied Probability: The conversion of betting odds into a percentage that implies the likelihood of a given outcome.
In-Game Bet -or- In-Play Bet-or- Live Betting: The ability to bet on a game while it’s in progress. Like, “Ten bucks on Deshaun Watson throwing a touchdown pass. Okay, that happened, so now ten bucks on Deshaun Watson faking the Colts secondary out of their collective jock straps.”
In the Red: The odds-on favorite, or the how the Arizona Cardinals look when they’re wearing their, shall we say, vibrant alternate unis.
Juice -or- Vigorish -or- Vig: 1) A sportsbook or bookmaker’s earnings on a wager. 2) An underrated 1992 crime thriller starring Omar Epps and Tupac Shakur. 3) Kool-Aid. (P.S. – “Vigorish” derives from the Russian term for winning, vyigrysh. Pozhaluysta.)
Kelly Criterion: Folks, this one’s above our pay grade. It can’t be summed up in one or two pithy sentences, so just go visit the Kelly Criterion Wikipedia page. If you can come up with some pith – as well as a useful, quickie definition – please let us know.
Lay: The act of accepting a bet, e.g., “Bobby Bookmaker lays a bet for Billy and Betty Bettor.”
Laying Line: A bookmaker’s odds, e.g., “Bobby Bookmaker tells Billy and Betty Bettor that the laying line is -140, Celtics.”
Laying the Points -or- Laying the Price: Wagering on the favorite in a point spread bet.
Layoff: When a bookmaker reduces the risk of losing money by placing wagers with a different sportsbook…or, in some cases, different sportsbooks, plural. Hey, bookmakers have to watch their backs, just like you.
Lengthening Odds -or-Lengthen: Odds that are getting higher.
Limit: The maximum amount of greenery a sportsbook will allow you to bet on a particular event. (Loophole: If the limit is $10,000, you can make multiple wagers adding up to $10,000. But don’t make 10,000 one-dollar bets. That’s just silly.) Also, the place where the Eagles take it to.
Line Shopping: Searching from sportsbook to sportsbook in order to find the best odds. Kinda what abe is all about.
Linemaker: Oddsmaker. That’s all. Just oddsmaker.
Lines: Odds. That’s all. Just odds.
Listed Pitcher: A baseball wager placed only if the scheduled starters start. If one or both are scratched, the bet is cancelled.
Longshot -or- Long Shot -or- Outsider The dudes who probably aren’t gonna win. We won’t name names.
Margin Bet -or- Margin: Let’s say you think the Milwaukee Bucks will beat up the Atlanta Hawks by somewhere between 15-20 points. If you want your margin bet to pay off, the Bucks will need to win by either 16, 17, 18, or 19 points, which is a distinct possibility. (No slight to the Hawks or their fans, but the Bucks, as of this writing, are really, really good.)
Martingale System: A wagering system in which bettors double the amount of their next bet after a loss. That may sound counterintuitive, but it was invented circa the 18th Century. If it’s been around for 200-plus years, there must be something to it.
Matched Bet: A wager in which the bettor lands a sportsbook promotion, such as a new-user-signup freebie.
Middle -or- Middling: When a bettor attempts to take advantage of line movement in order to win two sides of a bet. Example: It’s Monday, and the Oklahoma City Thunder are 2.5-point favorites over the Portland Trail Blazers for Tuesday’s game. You like OKC to cover, so you drop a bet on the Thunder. On game day, the line shrinks to 1.5 points, a number you decide the Blazers can cover, so you drop a bet on them. If it works out just right, you can win two bets on one game. Whoa.
Moneyline -or- Win Only: A wager where no point spread is involved. For instance, say you feel like the Indians will beat the Orioles, spread be damned. Welp, you go right ahead and place that moneyline bet, and let the balls fall where they may.
Moneyline Odds: A format for displaying odds that shows how much money you must bet to win $100, i.e., -110 means you must bet $110 to win $100, or how much you can win for betting $100, i.e., +110 means you win $110 for every $100 bet.
Morning Odds: An early prediction of the day’s odds. Usually released – wait for it, wait for it – in the morning.
Mush: A bettor who is believed to be bad luck, or the glop that Oliver Twist ate.
Nap -or- Napoleon: The best bet of the day, courtesy of your local neighborhood tipster.
Nickel: A $500 wager, or a U.S. coin made out of an alloy of that includes approximately 25% nickel. Knowing there’s barely any nickel in a nickel makes us feel a bit betrayed, so thanks a lot, U.S. Treasury.
Nickel Line: A sports wagering line where the juice is five percent. (BTW, we’re still upset about those nickel-free nickels and those silver-free dimes, so again, thanks a lot, U.S. Treasury.)
No Action: (1) A wager that’s cancelled, with money refunded to the bettor. (2) What happens on the field during the final week of the NFL preseason.
Odds: A betting line.
Odds Against: Odds that are higher than even money.
Odds-On: Odds that are lower than even money
Odds-On Favorite: The team who the majority of the bettors think will win. Not quite a lock, but darn close.
Off the Board: When a sportsbook puts the kibosh on taking bets for a specific event due to, say, a significant injury, or inclement weather, or bugs.
Opening Line: The first point spread available for a game, or these.
Outlaw Line: A super-early line that sportsbooks release to the sharp bettors in advance of the opening line.
Over: When the amount of combined points/goals/runs scored by two teams finishes above the total posted by a sportsbook. For instance, let’s say an upcoming Houston Rockets/Denver Nuggets has an over/under of 220, and the final score is Rocks over Nugs, 164-133, which adds up to 297, so if you bet the over, you win. (That’s a big final score, but when James Harden is on the court, anything’s possible.)
Overlay: When a team or player has a good chance of victory, yet sports fairly high odds. If a bettor stumbles onto one of these, it’s a huge get for them. Quality oddsmakers will rarely overlay.
Overround: A bookmaker’s profit.
Patent -or- Patent Bet: A multiple bet with seven wagers involving three selections in different events, specifically a single wager on each selection, plus three doubles and one treble. (For real, these multiple bets take some serious cojones.)
Payout -or- Return: The $$$ that goes into your pocket when you win a wager.
Permutations -or- Permutation Betting: Similar to a parlay, but each event within the multiple bet doesn't have to come to fruition in order to get a return on your wager.
Pick ’Em: An event where neither team is favored, or this. (If you click on only one link in this glossary, make it this one.)
Player Props: A wager on an individual player’s in-game activities. It can run the gamut from, “Tonight, Charlie Blackmon will smack three doubles,” to “Tonight, Charlie Blackmon will trip on his beard.”
Pleaser: A parlay that allows the bettor to move the line in the sportsbook’s favor to benefit from a higher payout. Possibly pleasing, definitely advanced.
Point Spread -or- Pointspread -or- Spread: The number of points determined by the oddsmaker by which the supposed better team is favored over the underdog.
Press: To wager a larger amount than usual, or what Bill Belichick should do with his hoodie once in a while.
Pricing the Market: The act of setting the odds or lines for a betting market.
Proposition bet -or- Prop Bet -or- Exotic -or- Special: A non-standard bet, like who will win the Super Bowl coin toss, or how many times a player’s significant other will be shown on television, or even how often the announcer will yell, “From way downtown, bang!” (These are actual exotics, people.)
Public Betting Percentage -or- Public Betting Trends: A quantification of which entity the general betting public feels will win any given wager.
Puck Line: A point spread of -1.5 or +1.5 in a hockey game.
Push -or- Tie: A game that’s tied in relation to the point spread. The wager is returned, and if the final score is part of a parlay, that section is dropped.
Reduced Juice: When a sportsbook lowers the vig on any given game, which gives the bettor the potential for a larger payout. And here’s a bit of juice reduction for your sipping pleasure.
Reverse Line Movement: When a sportsbook is moving a game’s odds in the opposite direction of what seems to make sense. Advance bettors revel in this sort of thing.
Round Robin: A creative type of parlay betting that requires simultaneously making multiple wagers. Must include at least three parlays, with a theoretical ceiling of ten, although some brave souls might go above and beyond.
Rounders: Three wagers made over three different events, as well as one of the finest poker movies you’ll ever see.
Run Line -or- Runline: A point spread of -1.5 or +1.5 in a baseball game, with additional moneyline values for the favorite and underdog. (Don’t try to place a runline bet on a basketball game. #NoRuns.)
Rundown: All the lines available for a specific sport, date, or time. And these.
Sawdust Joint: A low-class casino.
Scalper: A bettor who attempts to profit by taking advantage of the differences in odds between different sportsbooks.
Score: Winning a bet. Which got us to wondering, how come so many basketball play-by-play guys drop the phrase score the basketball? Like, what else is Karl-Anthony Towns gonna score in the middle of a game, other than a basketball? A phone number from a woman sitting courtside? C’mon, guys, you can do better.
Scout -or- Sports Player: A bettor who waits to place a bet until they find what they believe to be an especially strong wager.
Settler: The bookmaker’s numbers guy. He settles the bets. Thus, settler.
Sharp -or- Wiseguy: An experienced bettor. He’s been there, he’s done that. He’s lost a few, but he’s won more. He’s hip to the ins and outs of both the classy venues and the sawdust joints. He’s the sharp, he’s the wiseguy, he knows his stuff, and you’d best pay attention.
Sharp Money -or- Smart Money: That experienced bettor you were just reading about? When he places a biiiig wager, that’s sharp money, and sportsbooks take notice. And so should you.
Shoo-In: A guaranteed winner. Granted, in sports, there’s no such thing as a guarantee, but let’s say, hypothetically speaking, it’s Week 17 of the NFL season, and the Tampa Bay Bucs are riddled with injuries and well out of the playoff hunt, so they’re going to rest all of their starters for their game in Green By, a tilt that the Pack needs to get a Wild Card spot. Sounds like the Packers are shoo-ins, right? Yeah, yeah, we know, on any given Sunday, blah blah blah, but if that’s not a shoo-in situation, we don’t know what is.
Shortening Odds -or- Shorten: Odds that are getting lower, as in, “Man, the odds that Chicago Bears fans will say really nice things about Mitchell Trubisky on social media are shortening.”
Shut Out: When a bettor is left standing in line as the betting window closes, and thus can’t place their bet. We’ve been there, and man, does it stink.
Sides: The underdog and the favorite. And the veg and the starch.
Single -or- Straight Bet: One bet on one event. Perfect for those nights when the thought of a parlay gives you heartburn.
Single Stakes About -or- SSA -or- Any To Come Bet -or- Up and Down Bet -or- Cross Bet: A single wager in which the original stake placed on one selection will be placed on a second selection if the first selection wins. This entry wins the award for Most Synonyms, Betting Division.
Sportsbook: A company that takes wagers from the public. And these.
Square: A casual gambler. A novice. A newbie. A Montana muckety-muck. (Full disclosure: We made up the last one.)
Stake: The amount of your wager. And no, we’re not going to make any sirloin, or New York strip, or porterhouse, or skirt jokes. That would be beneath us.
Steam: When a line moves unusually fast, oftentimes the result of an injection of sharp money, or a player injury, or a tornado.
Straight -or- Straight Up: A moneyline bet in which the point spread doesn’t impact the wager.
Sucker Bet: A bet that significantly favors one party, kinda like, “The Pacers are playing the Pistons. The Pacers are favored by five. I’ll take the Pacers and the points, and you can have…the Cavaliers, suckahhhhhhh!”
Super Heinz: If you thought a Heinz bet was bonkers, take a gander at this: A permutation wager that involves a total of 120 bets on seven selections (21 doubles, 35 trebles, 35 fourfolds, 21 fivefolds, 7 sixfolds, and 1 sevenfold). Winning one of those babies will get you a helluva lotta ketchup.
System: A method of betting used by bettors in order to try and gain an advantage. Most systems are math-based, but sometimes it’s more along the lines of, “I only bet on teams that wear red.”
Take the Points: Listen, some of the stuff on this glossary is pretty obscure – “grand salami,” anyone? – but if you’re visiting abe, chances are pretty good you know what "take the points" means, so we’ll leave it at that.
Take the Price: Betting on the puppy (see: Underdog).
Teaser: A type of parlay that allows the bettor to move the line in the their favor. Like its cousin the pleaser, it’s possibly pleasing, definitely advanced.
Thick ‘Un: A large wager. And for the record, there’s actually a band called the Thick ‘Uns.
Ticket: A bet. Now let’s use it in a sentence with some of the stuff we’ve learned to this point: “A sharp punter punched a ticket, then he lumped on a thick ‘un on an SSA ATS, hoping to get a big return at the sawdust joint.” Nailed it.
Tissue Price: (1) The initial odds offered by a sportsbook, often considered to be the fairest price on a wager. (2) Approximately $6.00.
Totals: The number of points a sportsbook expects each team or both teams to score in a given game. [Insert your own cereal joke here.]
Totals Bet -or- Over/Under Bet: A prop bet in which the bettor wagers that the total score total will be higher or lower than the posted line.
Tote Board: Let's go to Merriam-Webster on this one, because nobody does it better: "An electrically operated board (as at a racetrack) on which pertinent information (such as betting odds and race results) is posted."
Tout: A person who sells or gives away sports betting picks. (Not to disparage all the hardworking touts out there, but if you, the bettor, do your research here on abe, you probably won’t need a tout. And you can do it! We believe in you.)
Traders: A sportsbook’s odds-setter and book-balancer. Sounds like a relatively simple gig. It isn’t.
Treble: (1) A single bet that contains three selections. All three selections must win for the bet to be pay out. (2) The opposite of bass.
Trixie: A parlay that includes four bets placed across three selections in different events, specifically three doubles and one treble.
True Odds: The actual odds of something happening, as opposed to the bookmaker’s moneyline or the implied odds.
Two & Three Balls Betting: A golfing bet in which the bettor predicts which player from a group of either two or three will post the lowest score during an 18-hole round.
Under: When the amount of combined points/goals/runs scored by two teams finishes below the total posted by a sportsbook. For instance, let’s say an upcoming Houston Rockets/Denver Nuggets has an over/under of 220, and the final score is Rocks over Nugs, 98-96, which adds up to 194, so if you bet the under, you win. (That’s a tiny final score, and since James Harden will likely be on the court, that probably won’t happen.)
Underdog -or- Dog -or- Puppy: The team expected to lose. Or Lassie, Benji, Toto, Rin Tin Tin, Laika, Scooby-Doo, Snoopy, Lady, Santa’s Little Helper, Old Yeller, Spuds McKenzie, Cujo, Pluto, Goofy, Astro, or Clifford.
Union Jack: A type of multiples wager that includes 8 trebles across a total of 9 selections. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Yikes.
Value: The best, toppermost of the poppermost, crème de la crème of moneylines.
Value Bet: A wager in which the theoretical likelihood of winning is greater than the odds might suggest.
Wire-to-Wire: A basketball wager in which a team will have the lead at every quarter or a specific number of quarters. If you dropped a bunch of wire-to-wires on the Golden State Warriors, circa 2014-2017, you were probably a happy camper. Because the Warriors, circa 2014-2017, were good at basketball.
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