Glossary of sportsbetting terms

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A detailed list of sportsbetting terms and abbreviations with their corresponding definitions. Sports bettors throughout the world use different terminology when discussing their betting progress. Some of the terms featured on this page are not universal.


A list of sportsbetting terms and their definitions. Visit each term's respective wiki page for a detailed explanation and examples if required.

Term Definition
Accumulator A betting ticket where multiple bets are combined. Each individual bet selection must win for the accumulator to win. Also known as a parlay or multiple.
Action A bet on an event or sports match.
Against the spread A bet on the point spread. Also a team's record when factoring in each game's respective spread.
Alternate line Spreads or totals that are higher or lower than the standard market. These will have odds that are shorter or longer than -110.
American odds A format for displaying odds based on a $100 base figure. Popular in the United States.
Arbitrage Using the difference of odds offered at multiple sportsbooks to bet on both sides of a market to guarantee profit.
Asian handicap Positive or negative goal handicap applied to each side of a soccer match based on each team's perceived strength.
ATS Abbreviation for against the spread.
Backdoor cover When one or more late scoring plays lead a team to cover the point spread. Most frequently used when the underdog covers the spread on a garbage time score.
Bad beat Losing a bet that appeared to be a certain winner.
Bonus Sign up rewards offered by betting sites to attract new customers.
Book Abbreviation for bookmaker.
Bookie Alternate version of bookmaker.
Buying points Obtaining a more favorable spread or total by taking lower payout odds.
Bookmaker An individual, establishment, or website that accepts sports bets.
Buck A $100 bet.
Canadian line A hockey spread. Also known as a puckline.
Chasing Trying to win back lost money. Normally occurs by betting on late games.
Chalk The team that is favored to win a given match.
Cleaned Losing one's entire bankroll.
Closing line The final widely available line offered at the time the event begins.
Commission Bookmaker margins applied to betting markets to grant house advantage. Also known as vig.
Contrarian An individual who wagers against public betting trends.
Cover A team covering their point spread. Either a favorite winning by more points than the spread, or an underdog losing by less.
Dart A randomly placed bet without any research.
Decimal odds An odds format where odds are displayed with a decimal number. Popular in Europe.
Dime A $1,000 bet.
Dime line A ten cent line; betting lines with a 10-cent margin between the odds of the favorite and underdog. (example: -140 vs. +130)
Dog The underdog of a match. The team that is not favored to win.
Double chance Common market when betting on soccer. Bettors choose two results between home team, road team, and draw.
Edge One's betting advantage over a given market.
Even money A bet that would yield a 1:1 return on initial investment. A $100 risk provides $100 profit.
Expected value The amount of money a bettor should expect to net if they were to place a given bet an infinite amount of times. May also refer to the true value of a given betting market.
Fade To bet against.
Favorite The side that the betting market views as being the probable winner. The betting odds will reflect how much that side is favored.
Flat betting Risking the same amount for each bet. Could be a fixed amount ($100) or a percentage of a player's current bankroll (1%).
Fractional odds Betting odds displayed in fractional form, such as league or championship winner.
Future Odds for an event that will take place in the coming weeks or months.
Grand salami A bet on the combined goals/runs scored for every game that day. Examples: Home teams -2.5 runs or Total goals scored under 75.5.
Handicap A number set by oddsmakers to counter the perceived difference in competing team's skill level. Also known as spread.
Handicapper A bettor who forecasts the true outcomes of sports matches through math projections in order determine market advantage and bet accordingly.
Handle The amount of action a sportsbook has taken on a given betting market.
Hedge Betting against the outcome of an existing wager in order to secure profit or minimize loss.
Hook Half a point. Used when describing football and basketball point spreads and totals.
Implied probability Conversion of betting odds into a percentage which includes the bookmaker's commission. Reveals how often one would need to win a bet with those odds to be profitable.
Juice Betting margins or commission applied to a market by a bookmaker
Kelly Criterion Bankroll management technique which sizes bets according to perceived market advantage.
Laying points Placing a bet on the favorite against the spread.
Limit The maximum bet size a sportsbook will take on a given market.
Line Another word for odds. Commonly used in the US to describe a match's point spread.
Livebetting Wagering on a match that is already in progress. Livebetting is offered by many sportsbooks for popular events.
Lock A bet that a sportsbettor believes is guaranteed to win.
Longshot A bet that has a small probability of winning but yields a large potential return.
Margin The commission a bookmaker applies to their lines to generate house advantage.
Middle Using line movement (often as the match is progressing) to bet against an earlier wager to guarantee all outcomes.
Moneyline A bet on which team will win a match outright. Abbreviated ML.
Moose Another term for a bad beat; a bet that appeared to be a certain winner but lost suddenly.
Multiple European term for a parlay bet.
Mush A bettor who is viewed as being bad luck.
Nickel A $500 bet.
Odds A numerical expression used to denote the return from winning a given bet.
Odds format Different ways of displaying betting odds. The most common formats are American, Decimal, and Fractional.
Oddsmaker An individual responsible for setting lines at a sportsbook.
Off the board A market or match that a sportsbook is not currently accepting bets on. Often due to a sudden player injury report. Abbreviated OTB.
Opening line The earliest point spread available for a given match.
OTB Acronym for off the board.
Over A bet on the combined points or goals scored by both teams being greater than the total.
Parlay Combining multiple bets together on one ticket for a larger payout. Each individual bet must win.
Payout The total return from winning a bet. Includes both initial risk and profit.
Pick An event where the point spread is set at 0. Also called pick'em.
Point spread A numerical expression used to represent the perceived difference in skill between two competing teams. The favorite has a negative spread (-5.5) and the underdog has an equal but positive spread (+5.5).
Price The odds or line of a given match.
Prop bet A bet on a market other than a moneyline, spread, or total.
Public Term used to describe casual or recreational gamblers.
Punter A sports bettor. Used in Europe and Australia.
Push A bet that ends in a draw with the initial risk refunded. For example, a team with a -14 spread winning by exactly 14 points.
Run line A point spread for a baseball game. Run lines are usually set at 1.5 due to the low scoring nature of the sport.
Selling points Betting on a spread or total that has a lower chance of winning but higher payout odds.
Sharp A knowledgeable sports-bettor who bets based on his or her perceived advantage over a given market.
Sportsbook A place that accepts sports bets. Either in-person at a casino or online at a betting site.
Spread A numerical expression used to represent the perceived difference in skill between two competing teams. The favorite has a negative spread (-5.5) and the underdog has an equal but positive spread (+5.5).
Square A novice sports bettor. Squares frequently bet on "obvious" markets such as popular favorites and overs.
Steam A large amount of wagers made quickly on one side of a betting market that moves the line.
Straight bet Placing a single bet on one individual outcome.
Sweat Nervously watching a game with action, either because of a large risk or close outcome late in the match.
Taking points Betting on the underdog's point spread.
Teaser A parlay bet where spreads and totals are adjusted to be more favorable.
Ten cent line A betting line with a 10-cent margin between the odds of the favorite and underdog. (example: -140 vs. +130)
Ticket An individual sports bet.
Tip A bet suggestion provided by a tipster. Primarily used in Europe.
Tipster Someone who shares betting picks. Primarily used in Europe.
Total A bet placed on the combined number of points or goals scored by both teams. Sometimes called over/under and O/U.
Tout Someone who sells picks or betting information. Usually a scammer.
True odds The real odds of an event occurring. Bookmaker commission and public perception are removed.
Under A bet on the combined points or goals scored by both teams being less than the total.
Underdog The side of a given market that is perceived as having a lower chance of winning.
Upset When a large underdog wins the match outright.
Value A bet that has a higher chance of occurring than the implied probability derived from the betting odds.
Vig Abbreviation for vigorish.
Vigorish Bookmaker commission applied to betting markets to generate house advantage. Used in North America.


A list of common sportsbetting abbreviations and their associated meaning.

Abbreviation Associated Term
ATS Against the spread
EV Expected value
ML Moneyline
O Over
OTB Off the board
O/U Over/Under
PL Puckline
RL Runline
TT Team total
U Under or Unit
WTD Week-to-date
YTD Year-to-date