Glossary of Betting Terms
ACTION - Single bet of any kind or the total amount of money wagered
BACKDOOR - Cover bet in waning minutes or seconds of game.
BAD BEAT - Tough betting loss.
BANKROLL - Amount of money one has to wager.
BEARD - One who places bets for another person who does not want his identity known.
BEEF - Dispute over a wager.
BREAK-EVEN POINT - The point at which you need to win to break even. In football and basketball, one betting an equal amount of money on each game must win 52.38 percent of the time to break even.
BUST-OUT NUMBER - Amount of money both bookmaker and bettor agree to in advance that the bettor will be permitted to lose in a set time frame. When a bettor reaches that point, he must put up cash for additional bets.
CHALK - Team that is favored.
CHALK PLAYER - One who has reputation for betting favorites.
CIRCLED GAME - A game is put in a circle at reduced betting limits because of injuries, bad weather etc.
COMPS - Gifts of things such as free hotel rooms, meals and beverages for big players.
COVER - To win against the pointspread, i.e. you "covered".
DIME - $1,000 wager.
DOG - Underdog in a game.
DOLLAR - $100 wager.
EARN - Percentage the bookmaker holds, or keeps after paying off all winning wagers.
EDGE - Anything that would help a bettor win a wager.
EXOTIC BET - Any wager but a straight bet.
EXPOSURE - Amount of money a sports book stands to lose on a game.
FIGURE - The total a bettor owes his bookmaker, or vice versa.
FUTURES BET - A bet that will not be determined until sometime in the future, i.e. a wager in September on who will play in the Super Bowl the following February.
GETTING DOWN - Making a bet.
GO BUST - Losing all one's money.
HALF-TIME LINE - Line posted at half-time of a game which permits betting on second half as if it were a separate game. Lines are posted on both sides and totals.
HANDICAPPER - One who analyzes games.
HEDGE - Making a wager on the opposite side or your original bet in order to insure a guaranteed winning wager, or to limit exposure to potential losses.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE - Play on one's home field or court.
HOOK - A half point.
IF BETTING - A bet that combines more than one team in a wager, but only "if" a designated team or teams win.
JUICE - Commission paid to bookies for losing wagers. (Usually $11 for each $10 wagered). Also known as vigorish.
LAYING 11-TO-10 - Betting $11 to win $10.
LAYING THE POINTS - Betting on the favorite in a game.
LAYING THE PRICE - Betting on the favorite in a game.
LAYOFF - Wager made by one bookmaker with another to balance his action.
LIMIT - Maximum amount of money accepted by the book before the line is adjusted.
LINE - The pointspread or odds on a game.
LOCK - A bet one cannot lose.
MATADOR - A back door cover.
MIDDLE - Betting both sides in a game at different pointspreads or odds with the intention of winning both bets.
MINIMUM BET - Smallest bet a bookmaker will take.
MONEY LINE - A bet made on a team to win a game outright, but with no pointspread involved in the calculation.
MUSH - A bettor who is considered bad luck.
NICKEL - $500 wager.
NO ACTION - Bet is canceled for any number of reasons, such as a time, a game is rained out etc.
OFF THE BOARD - Game on which no line is being posted.
OVERLAY - When odds are in favor of the bettor, rather than the house.
PARI-MUTUEL - A system whereby all money wagered is put into a pool and then distributed equally to one or more winning players, with a percentage taken out of the pool to cover expenses.
PARLAY - Bet on two or more teams or propositions, with all having to win for the bettor to win. In most cases ties do not lose, but the bet is reduced to the next lower pay out. For instance, a three-team parlay in which one game ends in a tie and the other two win would be considered a two-team parlay. Two-team parlays pay $13 for each $5 wagered, while three-team parlays pay 6-1.
PARLAY CARD - One of the most popular forms of football wagering in which bettors can wager as little as $1 on as few as three teams or as many as 20 teams on the card. The more teams one plays and wins, the higher the payoff. All teams must win for the
PAST POST - To make a bet after an event has started.
PICK'EM - Game rated even, with neither team favored.
PICK-MINUS ONE - Illegitimate bet in which bookmaker takes a pick'em game and makes bettor lay a single point, regardless of which side he or she takes.
PLAY - Another word for bet or betting.
PLAYER - A bettor.
POINTSPREAD - The Betting line on a football game which assigns "x" of points one must lay when taking the favorite.
PRICE - Another term for line or odds on a football game.
PUPPY - An underdog.
PUSH - A tie.
ROUND ROBIN - Multiple team bet involving parlays using all possible combinations that exist within the number of teams involved.
RUNDOWN - Line or score update.
RUNNER - One who places bets for another.
SCALPER - Betting both sides of a game to earn a profit.
SCORE - A big betting win.
SHARP - Wise guy.
SMART MONEY - Wagers taken from knowledgeable players with a history of winning.
SOFT LINE - Line that does not seem to reflect the real numerical differences between teams. Also know as soft number.
SPORTS BOOK - Facility that takes sports wagers.
SQUARE - Unsophisticated gambler.
STEAM - Heavy action on one side.
STORE - Another word for sports book.
STRAIGHT BET - Wager on a single team in a game.
TAKE A PRICE - Take the points.
TAKING THE POINTS - Betting on an underdog.
TAPPED OUT - Broke from gambling.
TEASER - A bet on two to 10 teams in which the player gets to adjust a line from 6 to 14 points in his favor. Payoffs are determined by the number of games bet.
TOTAL - The line on the combined number of points that will be scored on both teams in a single game. Also known as "overs" and "unders".
UNDERLAY - When the odds on a proposition are in favor of the house.
VALUE - An overlay.
VIGORISH - The commission a bookmaker collects on losing bets.
WISEGUY - Established, respected and successful sports bettor.