Online sports betting can seem a bit overwhelming to new punters, but just getting a general understanding of the lingo and commonly used terms can make a world of difference. We present to you a comprehensive sports betting glossary to make your acclimation into online betting as easy and dauntless as possible.
Action – When a bet is active – “I’ve got action on the game tonight.”
Angles – Situational trends in sports teams or leagues – “I’m sure to win; I’m betting on the angles.”
ATS – (Against The Spread) A bet where one team is given extra points to even out the chances of either contestant winning a sporting event – “The Lakers are going to destroy the Timberwolves tonight, but that’s okay; I’ve got +13 on the ‘Wolves.” (If the Timberwolves win, or lose by less than 13 points, it’s a wining bet.)
Decimal Odds – (European Odds) A form of displaying odds that depicts how much a bettor will receive for a winning 1-unit bet. If the Decimal Odds are 5.5, a $1 bet would return $5.50; a $100 bet would return $550 (including the original bet amount).
Exotics – Proposition (Prop) bets on something other than the outcome or total score of a sporting event (i.e. totals points by a particular team member, picking three horses to win, place and show, etc.)
Favorite – The contestant expected to win a sporting event.
First-Half Bet – A bet on which contestant will be winning, or the total score, exactly halfway through a sporting event.
Fractional Odds – (UK Odds) A form of displaying odds that depicts the net total a bettor will receive for a winning bet in fractional terms. If the Fractional Odds are 8/1, the bettor would receive $8 for every $1 wagered, plus the amount wagered (8/1 pays $9 total per $1 bet).
Futures – A sports bet on something that has not yet been determined. For example, a bet that the Houston Rockets will win the NBA Finals Championship at the start of the regular season, or that a particular football player will be the first selected in the NFL draft.
Handicap – To research the contestants in an upcoming sporting event before deciding who to bet on.
Handicapper – Someone who researches sports players and teams, predicting the outcome of contests through educated theories.
If Bet – A bet that only gets action if a previous bet is won. For example, you could place a $100 bet on Game-1, with a $100 bet on Game-2 “if” the first bet is won. If the first bet is lost, there is no action on the following sports bet.
Juice – (vig) The commission, or percentage of your bet, collected by a sportsbook or bookie on all bets (average 10%).
Laying – A sports betting term that refers to a bettor who “lays points” (gives up points) to bet against the spread on the favored team. “The Bears have tonight’s game in the bag, so I’m laying 8 points to Denver.”
Money Line – (American Odds) a form of displaying odds that depicts the exact wager a bettor must make in order to receive $100 on a winning bet. If the odds are 150, the bettor must wager $150 to win $100.
Oddsmaker – (Linesmaker) The person or organization that sets the point spreads and totals for an upcoming event.
Over/Under – (Totals) A sports bet on the combined score of both contestants in a match-up. An expected total is given, and the bettor will predict whether the score will be “over” or “under” that amount.
Parlay – A sports bet on two or more contests on a single bet slip. The more contestants the bettor chooses, the higher the payout becomes, but all picks must win for the bet to pay out.
Proposition – (See Exotics)
Punter – someone who bets on sports.
Push – When the outcome is a tie, and the bettors bet is returned (except in Parlays and Teasers, where a tie is dropped from the betting slip).
Scratch – To call off a bet – “My favorite player is injured, scratch that bet.”
Sportsbook – A company that accepts sports bets. There are sportsbooks in some Las Vegas casinos and there are online sportsbooks known as sports betting sites.
Straight Bet – A bet on one contestant to beat another outright, without the use of a point spread or any other advantages.
Taking – A sports betting term that refers to a bettor who “takes points” (receives additional points) to bet against the spread on the underdog. “I know the Marlins will struggle against the Yankees, but I’m taking points to make it interesting.” (Opposite of “Laying”)
Teaser – A type of Parlay bet where the sportsbook offers extra points at a lower payout to make combo bets more enticing.
Underdog – The contestant expected to lose a sporting event.
Props to SportsBettingTerms.com for helping supply this list of sports betting terms and definitions.