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Betting Terminology
Betting Terminology

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Betting Terminology
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Sports Betting Terminology

Action
A live bet or bets. ("They got a lot of action on that game." "I have action on this game.") Action means bets. Having action means having a bet.

Action has a special meaning for baseball bets: Its means the bet counts even even if there is a change in starting pitchers. If there is a pitcher change accompanied by an odds change, the action bettor will receive the new odds. The default is that the listed pitchers must start; to have action no matter who pitches, you must specify action when you make your bet.

Advantage Player
An advantage player is a sports gambler who is willing to make a bet only if the bet is perceived as yielding a positive EV.

Against the Spread
There are two common ways of betting sides: the moneyline and against the spread. To bet against the spread is to make a wager that will be decided by adding points to one team or the other after the game is played.

Air Move
When an oddsamker changes the line on a game in response to other books? changing the line, that line change is described as an air move. The reverse of an air move is changing the line in response to bets received.

Arbitrage
Betting the same event at separate sports books in order to lock in a profit by taking advantage of different betting lines. As in arbitrage set of odds on a single game.

ATS
ATS is the acronym commonly used for Against The Spread.

Bar
To be barred from betting at a sportsbook is to be told that no more bets will be accepted from you, or commonly stated "Your action is too strong for our book".

Betting Exchange
A betting exchange is a form of betting available on the internet. You and another person can bet on anything you wish at whatever odds you agree upon. The winner will pay a commission to the internet sportsbook.

Bettor
A bettor is an individual who makes wagers, generally with money. This text assumes that bettors will be making a sports bets against a book.

Beard
A who is betting someone else's money for that other person, a mule.

Board
The "board" is the oddsboard at any sportsbook. In the old days, all books had actual boards on which clerks would write the latest odds. Nowadays most eraser boards have been replaced by electronic displays that are updated by computer, but they are still called boards or oddsboards.

Bonus Hustler
To offshore sportsbooks, a bonus hustler is someone who has opened an account for the express purpose of obtaining bonuses, and who does no intend to gamble.

Book, Bookmaker
A book or bookmaker is a person or company that accepts bets against the lines created by linesmakers.

Bookie
A person that accepts bets.

Buck
To a sports bettor, a buck is a bet size. For a bet on a dog, a buck is $100. for a bet on a favorite, a buck is whatever amount of money must be risked to win $100.

Chalk
A favorite, usually a heavy favorite,

Circled Game
A game in which the sports book has reduced its betting limits, usually because of weather or the uncertain status of injured players.

Cover
Winning against the point spread or covering the spread. (A 10-point underdog that loses 20-14 has covered, or "covered the spread.")

Data Mining
Data mining is derogatory. It means sorting through a huge volume of data, extracting decision rules that seem to favor one team over another, but without regard to whether or not there is any cause-and-effect relationship. Data mining is the sports-betting equivalent of sitting a huge number of monkeys down at keyboards, and then reporting on the monkeys who happened to type actual words.

Dime bet
$1000 bet.

Dog
Dog is short for underdog. If the better team wins the game, the dog is the team that loses. The opposite of the dog is the favorite.

Dollar
$100 bet.

Early line
The early line is the first line posted for a game. Typically as released from Stardust and/or Las Vegas Sports Consultants.

Edge
Having an edge means having favorable odds on a given matchup based on current pointspread. If you make only bets on which you have an edge, you will win and you will lose but in the long haul your winnings will overwhelm your losses.

Even money
Even money means you risk a dollar to win a dollar. Even money is also expressed as EV or as PK. It could be, but is not, expressed as -100 or +100.

Exotic
Exotic bets are the same thing as prop bets. Whether the coin toss is heads or tails, or how many touchdowns are scored in first half are exotic bets.

Exposure
The degree of risk that a sports book will lose money on a given game, result or proposition. (If a book is "highly exposed" on the Cubs in World Series futures betting, it will lose a lot of money to bettors if the Cubs win the World Series.)

Fade
To fade a bet is to accept it, as in the sportsbook fades your action.To take the opposite side of another bettor's wager or to accept that bet yourself.

Fan
A fan is short for "fanatic" and is typically somebody who bets on a team because he likes the team. To a fan, the spread is an umimportant detail.

Favorite
The favorite is the team that is more likely to win. If there are a large number of contestants, suck as in a golf tournament, the top few contestants can all be referred to as favorites. The opposite of the favorite is dog.

Field
Betting on golf tournaments and other sports (horse racing) events that have a large number of entrants often allows for a bet on the field. The field is the group of all the entrants not listed with their own odds. The field can contain a large number of entrants, but typically each entrant has only a tiny chance of actually winning the event. If an entrant had a good chance of winning, he or she would not be lumped into the field.

Final Margin
The final margin is the final score of the favorite and the the final score of the dog in betting on baseball. If the dog won, the final margin is negative. The final margin can be compared to the line to see which team won for betting purposes.

Final Score
The final score of the game and recorded as official game and paid out by sportsbooks.

Final Total
The final total is the sum of the two final scores in a game. If San Francisco wins 35-14, then the final total is 49.

Foots
Foots means football. An alternative to saying you are betting on football games is to say you are betting foots.

Freeroll
A bet you can win or push but not lose. Also a casino promotional tool.

Futures
Futures are bets that will be decided by multiple contests, or by a contest that is more than about a week away. An example of a futures bet is a wager on wether the Yankees will win more than 92 games in the upcoming season.

Handicap
To study and research sports in order to make predictions on the results of upcoming games and events. To handicap is to assign a probability to the likelihood of winning a contest or series of contests. A person who handicaps is a handicapper.

Handle
Handle is a word used by bookmakers to describe the total amount of money wagered. Handle usually refers to total bets over multiple games, whereas action usually refers to total bets on one game.

Hang
Line has been released for a matchup. When managers of sportsbooks speak of hanging a line, they mean posting it for all to see and bet into.

Hedge
To make a bet that takes the opposite side of your original position, usually to reduce risk or lock in some profit.

Hook
A half-point in the betting spread. ("I lost by the hook.") When a line on a football or basketball game includes a half point, the half point is called a hook.

House Edge
Statistical advantage of the house due to sports vigorish or statistical odds in card play.

Juice
Juice is another word for vigorish. "Vig"

Leach
A leach is someone who watches a computer for line moves, and when he sees one he quickly bets the appropriate team at an offshore sportsbook that has not yet moved the line. That activity is called front running.

Line
The line is the spread and terms of a bet. If the terms are standard, e.g. -110, then the line is the spread. (Dallas -7, line is -7)

Linesmaker
A linesmaker is a person who creates lines and totals for bookmakers.

Maverick line
When a sportsbook creates its own line on a game and that line is different from the line carried by other sportsbooks, that independent line is called a maverick line.  This will occur from heavy action coming in on one side forcing the books to adjust according to their action.

Middle
To have a middle is to have bets on competing teams and for there to be at least one possible outcome that results in winning both bets, Middle applies to bets on totals as well bets on sides.

Money line
The odds on a team winning a game outright, regardless of the point spread.

Nickel
$500 bet

Off the board
The game is "off" the board. It means to make parlay or teaser bets on games listed on the board is called betting off the board. Sometimes you have two ways to bet the same combination of teams: off the board and on parlay cards. Before betting one of them, check to see if the other offers better odds or a better spread.

Opening line
Historically Stardust released the eariest lines in Vegas. The opening lines now are generated by the LVSN and released at Stardust and other multiple sportsbooks on the strip. is

Originator
When a syndicate bets so much money on one game that the line moves, the originator is the first person to bet that game for that syndicate.

Over
To bet over is to bet that the final total will exceed the total posted for betting purposes.

Parlay
A bet in which two or more events must happen in order to win; if any one of them does not happen, the wager loses.

Pick 'em
Pick 'em ("PK")can mean two things. It can mean the same thing as even money. It also can mean the spread is zero, as in ?Giants is pick ?em against the Ravens this weekend.

Player
If an employee of a sportsbooks calls you a player, the implication is that you are a big bettor. aka "whale".

Points, point spread
Points and point spread are alternate terms for spread.

Power ratings
A numerical representation of a team's strength for betting purposes. Power ratings are numbers that handicappers assign to teams to estimate how likely one team is to beat the other or by how many points.

Prop bet
When a major sporting events come along, some linesmakers let their imaginations run wild as they offer an interesting menu of bets, such as which player will score first.

Public
A public means unsophisticated bettors. Their bets are call public money. The public includes fans and squares and people who make a bet just to make a game more exciting.

Puck line
The ice hockey version of betting against the spread is the puck line. On games in which one team is a big favorite, the puck line typically adds 1.5 goals to one or subtracts 1.5 goals from the other team.

Punter
A punter is typically a European sporting gambler and often referred to in Soccer gambling, specifically a bettor who takes on sportsbooks or racebooks. The term can be but is rarely used to refer to participants in casino games.

Push
A bet in which the money wagered is refunded; a tie.

ROI
ROI is the acronym for return on investment used in the financial and gambling world.

Run line
The MLB betting version of betting against the spread is the run line. On games in which one team is a big favorite, the run line typically adds 1.5 runs to one team or subtracts 1.5 runs from the other team.

Sharp, Sports sharpie
A sharp is what sportsbooks call an advantage player. Sharp can also be used as an adjective.

Side
A variation of a middle in which you win one bet and push the other; also, a particular team in a match-up. ("Which side do you like?")

Soft
When a line is called soft, the implication is that not many sharp bettors have looked at it and there is value there or the line is "loose". Sharp bettors making big bets tend to move lines to the point where it is difficult for other bettors to make a bet with an advantage.

Sportsbook
Sportsbook is another word for book.

Spread
A spread is a number set by a sportsbook to allow betting at 10:11 on each of two teams. The spread is also called the line or the points.

Straight up
A single bet, usually laying 110 to win 100. Since bets against the spread are common, you need two ways to describe which team won a game. You need to distinguish between which team actually won the game and which team won against the spread. Sometimes they are the same team and sometimes they are not. Winning straight up means winning without regards to the spread.

Sucker
A sucker is a bettor who will make bad-EV bets without realizing how bad the bets are.

Syndicate
A syndicate is a group of people making a joint effort to win money betting sports, typically associated with mafia connections.

Total
A type of wager that involves whether a score or result will go over or under a posted number. The total is a number set by a sportsbook for total points to be scored by both teams during a game. You can bet that the final total will exceed the total 9called the ?over?) or that the final total will be less than the total (called the ?under?). Betting overs or unders is referred to as betting totals.

Tout
A tout is someone who sells picks or a sports handicapping service. A professional statistician or point spread evaluating expert.

Under
To bet the under is to bet that the final total will fall short of the total.

Vig or vigorish
Sportsbook generally don?t give suckers a positive expectation bet, or even a break-even bet. The vig or vigorish is the sportsbook built-in edge over bettors. The vig is what you must overcome if you are going to win money betting on sports.

Wiseguy
A sharp, successful, established professional sports bettor. (In terms of Las Vegas sports betting, this has nothing to do with Tony Soprano, Henry Hill & Co.) A wiseguy is a successful and well established sports bettor.

Wood
The price of a heavy favorite. (If you bet the Red Sox as a minus 240 favorite, you "lay the wood" with the Red Sox.)

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