Sports Betting Terminology

It's hard to escape the legalization of sports gambling across certain states of the United States, whether it's ads on television, podcasts, radio, public transportation, and other traditional and non-traditional media places. The sponsorships are seemingly everywhere, and it can make someone who is normally not interested perhaps want to dip their toe in the next big thing attached to sports.

Someone new is opening a sportsbook’s app for the first time every day so below is a short glossary of basic sports betting terms to get you on your betting way.

Top Sports Betting Terms:

Wager: A bet placed on a particular outcome or event.

Odds: The likelihood of a particular outcome or event happening, expressed as a ratio or a fraction.

Point spread: The predicted margin of victory by which one team is favored over another. The most popular sports bets are based on the point spread. The point spread represents the margin of points in which the favored team must win the game by for a customer to win their bet. The point spread is designed to attract an equal number of bets between the two teams in the form of a projected margin of victory.

Money line: A type of bet where the customer wagers on which team will win the game outright, without any point spread involved.

Favorite: The team or player expected to win a particular game or event.

Underdog: The team or player not expected to win a particular game or event.

Over/Under: Known as totals betting, this is a type of bet in which the customer predicts whether the total number of points (runs, goals, etc.) scored in a game will be above or below a certain number set by the sportsbook operator.

Vig/Juice: The commission or fee charged by the sportsbook for placing a bet. The standard vig pricing for spread betting and totals betting is -110 on both sides.

Parlay: A bet that combines multiple wagers into a single bet, with the potential for a larger payout but at a higher risk. Check out parlay strategies too.

Prop Bet: Short for proposition bet, these are wagers based on a specific outcome within a game or event that may not necessarily be related to the outcome or score. Prop bets can be placed on a wide range of individual player or team performances. Find the most popular prop bets.

Same Game Parlay: A Same Game Parlay is a type of sports bet that allows customers to combine multiple outcomes from a single game into one wager. With a Same Game Parlay, customers can place a bet on several outcomes within the same game, such as the winner of the game, the total number of points scored, and the performance of individual players. Find out HOW same game parlays work on different sportsbooks.

Teaser: A teaser wager is a type of sports bet that allows customers to adjust the point spread or total line of a game in their favor. With a teaser wager, customers can combine two or more bets into a single wager and adjust the point spread or total line by a certain number of points for each bet. Now, how do you bet on teasers and win?

Betting Units: A betting unit is different for every customer and is their standard bet size when placing a wager. Keeping track of how many units are won and lost is a key metric for long-term success and is important step to bankroll management.

Pushing A Wager: A push occurs when the result of a bet is a tie, also known as a “no action” bet. This means that neither the bettor nor the bookmaker wins or loses, and the bettor’s stake is returned.

Buying Points: Buying points allows a customer to move the point spread in their favor in exchange for worse odds or a lesser payout. For example, if a customer wants to bet on the Minnesota Vikings +4 points against the Detroit Lions, he or she can buy points to move the spread to +6, 6.5 or +7.

Buying 'The Hook': Speaking of buying points, this is when customers may hear buying 'the hook'. The hook is the half-point added to a point spread or total to reach or go past a 'key' number. For example, if the point spread for a football game is -3.5, a hook may be bought to make the line -3.

Key Numbers: A key number is a common margin of victory or point differential that occurs frequently in a particular sport, and often affects the outcome of bets. Key numbers can vary by sport, but typically include the numbers 3, 7, and 10 in football, and 3, 7, and 9 in basketball.

Two-Way Lines: Two-way odds, also known as money line odds, are used in sports where there are only two possible outcomes, such as a football content or a basketball matchup. In these cases, the odds will be expressed as a positive or negative number, with the favorite being indicated by a negative number and the underdog being indicated by a positive number.

Three-Way Lines: Sports like soccer and hockey have the option to wager on three-way lines in addition to two-way lines. These are used when three possible outcomes are possible, where each team could win, but the third option being a tie. Three-way lines differ from two-way lines within the same sport due to the possibility of a third result.

Futures Betting: Future bets usually take place before the season of that sport begins but can be placed during the season as well. Future bets usually involve season-long markets, such as division winners, championship winners or season-long award markets such as MVP.

Hedging A Bet: A hedge wager is when the customer wagers the opposite of their originally placed wager, guaranteeing a smaller profit than originally offered. Find out how to hedge a bet successfully!


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