Beginner Bettor Lingo and Terms

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Beginner bettor lingo and termins. Sports betting comes with its own unique language that can be overwhelming for newcomers. If you’re feeling lost in translation when listening to seasoned bettors, don’t fret. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help you navigate through the world of sports betting terminology.

Understanding the slang isn’t just about blending in – it’s crucial for making informed decisions and increasing your chances of success. To truly excel in sports betting, you need to familiarize yourself with the vocabulary.

Check out our detailed glossary from A to Z of sports betting terms to become fluent in the language of betting and enhance your overall betting experience.


  • Accountant: Slang for a bookmaker.
  • An accumulator: Also known as a parlay bet, combines multiple bets into one. In order to win the overall bet, all individual bets within the accumulator must be successful. This type of bet is popular among gamblers due to the potential for significant payouts.
  • Across the board: Betting across the board in horse racing means placing bets on a horse to win, place, and show, all with equal amounts.
  • Action: Placing a wager with money at stake.
  • Ajax: British slang for the fee charged by the bookmaker.
  • Also Ran: A competitor who doesn’t come in first, second, third, or fourth place.
  • Alternate Lines: Some casinos provide modified spreads, totals, and handicaps along with a corresponding adjustment in the money odds for bets.
  • American Odds: A method of displaying money odds that is widely used in the US. Odds are shown with a number preceded by a minus sign (favorite) or a plus sign (underdog). The numbers indicate how much you will win in relation to how much you bet. For instance, odds of -150 mean you need to bet $150 to win $100 in profit. Conversely, if you bet on the underdog at +150, you will win $150 in profit for every $100 you bet.
  • ATS: Against the spread, If a team is 3-2 ATS, it indicates that they have succeeded in beating the point spread three times and have been unable to do so twice.


  • Backdoor Cover: When a team manages to score enough points late in the game to cover the point spread and potentially secure a win.
  • Backer: A person who is financially backing a gambler without being in the spotlight.
  • Back Beat: When you’re the clear favorite to win but end up losing, it’s known as a bad beat in poker. Sports bettors also refer to unexpected losses as bad beats, like a sudden turnover leading to a last-minute touchdown in football.
  • Beard: Placing a bet on behalf of another person.
  • Betting the Limit: Placing a bet up to the highest amount permitted by the casino or sportsbook.
  • Betting Ring: A well-coordinated team of expert bettors collaborating. Also known as a sindicate.
  • Betting Line: Odds or point spread of victory in a game or event.
  • Bonus: An exclusive deal provided by a sportsbook to attract new customers by offering a complimentary bet or extra cash. Existing customers may also receive incentives.
  • Book: In the world of sports betting, “book” is a term used to describe a bookmaker or sportsbook. It can refer to a person, a place, or an establishment where you can place your bets on various sports events.
  • Bookie: Someone who takes bets, often associated with illegal gambling activities.
  • Buck: Slang for a $100 bill.
  • Bust: When you’ve lost all your money and have no more funds to gamble with.
  • Buying Points: At times, bettors have the option to tweak the lines and odds established by the sportsbook. Adjusting odds involves a bettor altering the point spread on their wager. To adjust odds in favor of the team they’re backing, a bettor must be willing to settle for less favorable odds on the potential payout.


  • Canadian Line: Is a unique combination of the point spread and money line specifically designed for hockey games.
  • Chalk or Chalk Bettors: Chalk is a term used to refer to the team or player expected to win. Chalk bettors are individuals who consistently place bets on the favorite rather than the underdog.
  • Circled Matchup: At times, you may notice certain games highlighted with a red box on a sportsbook’s betting board. This indicates that the game has lower betting limits. Typically, casinos and sportsbooks circle games when important players are injured, causing uncertainty in their betting odds.
  • Closing Line: The final betting line established for a game or event prior to its commencement.
  • Consensus pick: The popular choice indicates how the betting community collectively has placed their wagers on a game. Certain bettors may opt to go against the popular choice as a tactic, as the majority often tends to be incorrect.
  • Cooler: A person believed to bring bad luck.
  • Cover: When a team “covers the spread,” it means they have won by a margin greater than what was predicted by the sportsbook. The favorite team covers by winning by more than the spread, while the underdog covers by either winning the game or losing by a smaller margin than the predicted spread.


  • Data Mining: Data mining involves examining extensive data sets to uncover hidden patterns and valuable information that can be used to make informed predictions and improve overall performance.
  • Degenerate: Someone who enjoys taking chances, especially when it comes to gambling. Also used endearingly to refer to someone who is not afraid to take risks.
  • Dime: Slang for $1,000.
  • Dime Line: A wagering line with a 10% vig.
  • Dog: Abbreviation for underdog. The team expected to be defeated.
  • Dog Player: Someone who frequently wagers on the less favored team or player.
  • Dollar: Slang for $100. If you put down ten dollars, you’re actually betting $1,000.
  • Double Action: A wager that is dependent on the outcome of a related bet that comes before it, whether it’s a win, a tie, or a cancellation.
  • Double Sawbuck: Slang for $20.
  • Dual Forcast: In horse and motor racing, a wager is placed on three racers. In order to win, the bettor must accurately forecast the finishing positions of two out of the three selections.


  • Edge: The edge is the key factor that separates winning sports bettors from the rest. They constantly seek out opportunities where they believe they have an advantage over the oddsmakers.
  • Even Money: When it comes to even money bets, the odds are evenly balanced with a 50% chance of winning. These bets pay out 1 to 1, making them a popular choice for many bettors.
  • Exotic: Exotic bets add an element of excitement to sports betting by focusing on specific outcomes beyond just the game’s winner. They offer a unique and thrilling experience for those looking to spice up their wagers.
  • Exposure: Exposure is the risk that sportsbooks and casinos take on when setting odds for a game or event. It represents the potential amount of money they could lose if things don’t go their way.


  • Favorite: The player or team that is expected to come out on top.
  • Fifty Cents: Slang for $50.
  • Figure: The sum owed either by or to a gambler or sportsbook.
  • Fixed: A game is considered fixed if the result has been manipulated by unfair means. For instance, a boxer who agrees to throw a match is “fixing” the outcome.
  • Futures Bet: A type of proposition bet, a futures bet is typically placed at the start of the season on the team predicted to clinch the division or championship.


  • Halftime Bet: Halftime wagers are commonly placed during basketball and football games, after the first half ends but before the second half begins. The bookmaker adjusts the original point spreads, lines, and odds based on the first half’s outcome.
  • Handicapper: Handicapper are individuals who forecast which team will emerge victorious. They are employed by casinos to establish odds and betting lines, while skilled bettors who aim to accurately determine the odds are also referred to as predictors.
  • Handle: The handle represents the overall sum of money wagered on a particular game or event with a specific casino or sportsbook.
  • Hedging: Hedging involves betting against your initial wager to minimize risk or secure a profit. While hedging is commonly associated with futures bets, it can also be applied to live betting, also known as in-game betting.
  • High Roller: A person who places large bets.
  • Hook: A team favored by a 5.5 point spread is often referred to as laying “five and a hook.”


  • In-Game Betting: Online sportsbooks offer the thrill of live betting, allowing you to place bets while the game unfolds. Known as Live Betting, this feature gives smart bettors an advantage as they can capitalize on changing odds set by the casino in real-time. Check out our live and in-game betting guide for more information. Live betting becomes more convenient when done through mobile apps, giving you the ability to monitor odds as you relax on your sofa and enjoy the game. Explore the top sports betting apps available for a seamless experience.


  • Juice: Also known as the vigorish, which is the commission charged by the casino or sportsbook on bets.


  • Laying Points: When you place a bet on the favorite team and give up points through the spread, it’s called betting the favorite. This is the opposite of “taking points”.
  • Laying the Odds: When you place a moneyline bet on the favored team and accept less favorable money odds, it’s known as favoring the odds. This is the opposite of “taking odds”.
  • Layoff: When a sportsbook makes its own bets with another casino or sportsbook to manage its own risk.
  • Limite: The maximum amount that the casino or sportsbook will allow you to bet.
  • Listed Pitchers: A baseball bet that hinges on both scheduled starting pitchers actually taking the mound. If one or both fail to start, the bet is voided.
  • Lock: A wager so heavily favored that it’s considered a surefire win.
  • Longshot: It’s a gamble with slim odds, but if it hits, the payout is huge.


  • Mark: A term used to describe an inexperienced gambler who is easily exploited.
  • Middle (Taking Advantage of Line Movement): When the odds shift in a game, there’s a strategy known as “betting the middle” that savvy gamblers can capitalize on. For instance, if you initially bet on a team favored by 3.5 points and the line changes to 2.5 points, you could place a bet on the opposing team and potentially win both bets if the favorite wins by three points. This tactic ensures that you come out on top, regardless of the outcome.
  • Money Line: When you bet on the money line, you’re simply predicting which team will come out victorious in the game. Rather than relying on a point spread to even the playing field, the casino provides varying payouts (odds) for each team.
  • Moving the Line: Similar to buying points, this is when a bettor can exchange improved money odds for an additional half-point on the spread.


  • Nassau: A unique golf wager that involves bets on the front nine, the back nine, and the overall match.
  • Nickel: Slang for $500. Placing a nickel bet means wagering $500.
  • Nickel Line: A bet that comes with a 5 percent commission (vig).
  • No Action: A bet that is voided for any reason, with the stake being returned in full.
  • NRFI (no run first inning): A common baseball bet where you predict no runs will be scored in the first inning.


  • Odds: The likelihood of victory assigned to each team by a casino or sportsbook, usually indicated by the varying payouts offered for successful bets.
  • Off the Board: When a casino or sportsbook withdraws a betting line or option just before the game kicks off. This is typically due to factors like injuries to key players or uncertainties surrounding the game.
  • Outlaw Line: The initial line established for a game or event that is exclusively available to a select group of bettors.
  • Over/Under: A popular sports wager, over/under involves predicting the total combined points that both teams will score. The casino sets the line, and you can choose to bet on whether the score will be higher (over) or lower (under).


  • Parlay: Parlay bets are a combination of two or more different wagers, often on multiple games. In order for a parlay bet to be successful, all individual bets within it must win. Despite being less likely to win, gamblers are drawn to parlays because of the potential for significant payouts.
  • Pick ’em Game: When both teams are considered to be evenly matched with no point spread involved.
  • Press: When you press your bet, you are wagering more than your usual amount. This can also refer to placing a second bet during a game or event. For instance, in golf, you might bet on the front nine and then decide to “press” your bet, continuing it on the back nine as well. This practice is commonly seen when betting a Nassau in golf.
  • Price: An alternative term for the odds or spread.
  • Prop Bets (Proposition Bets): Unique wagers that focus on very specific aspects unrelated to the game’s final outcome. Props are widely enjoyed during the Superbowl, but are increasingly seen in regular-season games of major sports. These bets can cover a wide range of topics, from predicting the first team to score to guessing the winner of the coin toss. Particularly intriguing props are sometimes referred to as exotics.
  • Puck Line (Puckline): In hockey, the puckline is a 1.5 point spread with moneyline-style odds. For instance, if you come across the Toronto Maple Leafs at -1.5/+120, this means they must win by at least two points for your bet to win. The second number indicates the money odds, signifying a $100 profit for every $120 wagered.
  • Punter: A bettor is often referred to as a punter, suggesting they are a recreational gambler rather than a professional.
  • Push: A push is another term for a tie in sports betting, occurring when the favorite wins by the exact spread, resulting in all bets being refunded.


  • Risk-Free Bet: When a new user registers with a sportsbook and makes their initial bet, it is considered a risk-free bet. In case of a loss, the amount wagered will be credited back to their account for future betting with the sportsbook.
  • Runner: A person who places a bet on behalf of another individual. Also known as a beard.
  • Run Line (Runline): A -1.5/+1.5 point spread utilized in baseball along with money odds.


  • Sawbuck: Slang for $10.
  • Sharp: A professional gambler.
  • Spread: Another term for point spread.
  • Square: A unexperienced, novice, casual bettor.
  • Steam: Steam is a term used to describe the situation when a betting line is on the rise due to a large number of bets being placed on it. This can occur when a skilled group of professionals exploit a vulnerable line, or when the majority of the public is placing bets in the same direction.
  • Store: Slang used to refer to a sportsbook or casino that provides sports betting services.
  • Straight Up Winner: When you place a clear victor bet, all you’re looking for is for the team to win the game without worrying about the point spread. This term is commonly used when betting on the money line.
  • Sucker: An inexperienced gambler who lacks experience and makes unwise betting choices.
  • Syndicate: A coordinated team of skilled bettors collaborating, also known as ring.


  • Taking Points (Taking the Points): Betting on the underdog and getting a margin of points in the point spread allows you to take points, rather than lay them, when placing your bet. This means your team can afford to lose by a certain margin and you can still win.
  • Taking the Price (Taking Odds): Betting on the underdog and accepting favorable money odds is what taking odds is all about, the opposite of laying the price or laying the odds.
  • Teaser (Two-Team Teaser): Combining bets on multiple games and tweaking point spreads to your advantage, teasers offer flexibility. However, both teams must win for you to win the teaser, and adjusting spreads means a lower payout upon winning.
  • Ticket: A bet or wager.
  • Total (Points Total): The total number of points scored by both teams at the end of the game. This is used by bettors to place over/under bets.
  • Trends: Studying historical data in order to anticipate future results.

U – Z

  • Underdog: The team that is expected to be defeated in the game.
  • Value: Your advantage on a bet. Often used to describe especially favorable lines or odds.
  • Vig (Vigorish): Vig, also known as “juice,” is the commission charged by the casino or sportsbook on bets.
  • Wager: A bet placed on the outcome of a game or event.

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