Sports Betting Glossary

Just like anything, sports betting can seem complicated at first glance. However, understanding the terminology is a great way to really begin to understand what other punters (sports bettors) are talking about. Study this sports betting glossary to help advance your knowledge and understanding. Soon, you will be sounding just like a pro yourself!


  • Accumulator: This is also similar to a parlay wager. It involves placing simultaneous wagers on two or more games or events, pressing the winnings from the first onto the second, third, etc... In order to win this type of bet, all of the individual selections must be won.
  • Across the Board: A horse racing bet where win, place and show outcomes are wagered with equal stakes.
  • Action: Another word for a bet that is valid and will have a result. There are different rules for various sports to determine if a bet has action or no action, such as a baseball game being required to last more than 4 innings
  • Ajax: A UK term that basically means betting tax. Could be considered similar to the US term 'vig' or 'vigorish.
  • All-In: In poker, this refers to a bet where a player pushes all of their chips into play. In sports betting, this is a wager which includes several events and all must have action and be won. Should a game receive no action or be canceled, the wager is refunded.
  • Arbitrage: More of an advanced wagering strategy where a player bets on both sides of a game or event and has a guaranteed profit due to the difference in odds. This will usually involve placing wagers at different sportsbooks.


  • Backed: Another word for a team that has received the majority of the wagers placed. Also could be considered the favorite.
  • Banker: This team is the one most expected to win in a series of other wagers which are tied together. As the strongest wager in a parlay or accumulator, this is the key selection that must win to guarantee any return.
  • Bar Price: This could also be considered as a 'field' bet. It is the odds quoted for the last specified selection. For example, 8-1 Bar means every other team or selection has odds of at least 8-1.
  • Beard: A US term for someone used by another person to place bets in order for the identity of the real better to remain hidden.
  • Beef: A situation that ha a dispute or claim involving a player and their bookmaker or other casino employee, dealer, etc...
  • Beeswax: See also Ajax.
  • Betting Tax: This is a tax levied against a bookmaker's turnover, normally seen as a duty imposed on every pound wagered in the UK. A punter may either pay the tax with the wager or deduct it from the winnings.
  • Bettor: Someone who places a bet or wager (US). In the UK, this is also referred to as a punter.
  • Book: The act of quoting odds and accepting bets. Also refers to the accounts handled by a bookmaker and their tally of amounts bet on each competitor.
  • Bookie: Another shorthand term for the bookmaker.
  • Bookmaker: Person licensed to accept wagers on events. May charge and established range of odds on these events.
  • Bottle: UK slang, meaning odds of 2 to 1
  • Bridge Jumper: A US slang term for someone who loves placing large show bets upon odds-on favorites in horse racing.
  • Buck: In the US, a $100 wager. May also be referred to as a 'dollar bet,' or simple a dollar.
  • Burlington Bertie: The odds or price of 100-30 (10 to 3).
  • Buy Price: When placing a wager using a spread or index bet, this is the higher figure quoted. It is the amount paid by the bettor.
  • Buy the Rack (US): A wager which purchases every possibly daily double or other combination ticket.


  • Canadian: A combination bet consisting of 26 total wagers with 5 selections in different events, made up of 10 doubles, 10 trebles, five 4-folds and one 5-fold. Also known as a Super Yankee.
  • Carpet: UK slang for odds of 3 to 1. May also be called Tres or Gimmel.
  • Century: Another UK slang term for a 100 wager. A 'Ton.'
  • Chalk: The favorite in a wager.
  • Chalk Player: Someone who typically wagers on favorites.
  • Circled Game: A game where the maximum action or bet is limited. This is often due to doubts about key players, injury questions, bad weather, other rumors going around not yet verified. Many time Ivy League games will be circled as a normal course of action.
  • Combination Bet: A selection of any number of teams or horses to finish first and second, in either order.
  • Correlated Parlay: A type of wager in which both bets are highly correlated, or related, to such an extent that if the first bet wins it greatly increases the chances of the second winning. Example: betting a first half over together with a second half over together with a total game over. Win the first two and you are guaranteed to win the total over.
  • Cover: When a team wins by enough points to ensure a wager victory they are said to have covered the spread. The team may also have simply lost the game by less points than the spread suggest they would. To cover a wager mean the player wins their bet.
  • Credit Betting: Wagering with a bookmaker using credit provided.


  • Dead Heat: Also called a dead hit, when two horses or teams finish in the same exact position. Both win, or are considered tied for first position.
  • Deposit Betting: Betting with money that has been placed or deposited in advance with a bookmaker.
  • Dime: Or a dime bet. Also a $1,000 wager in the US.
  • Dividend: Agreed upon payout or return or odds of any established bet.
  • Dog: US slang term meaning underdog, or the team not favored to win the game or event.
  • Dog Player: US slang term which refers to a player who mainly wagers on underdogs.
  • Dollar Bet: A $100 wager.
  • Double: This is a twin bet placed on two separate specific events or two parts of the same event. It is a type of parlay (or accumulator) and requires both events to win. i.e. a two-team parlay.
  • Double Carpet: A UK slang term referring to odds of 33 to 1.
  • Doubling Up: After a losing bet, when a player increases the amount of their next wager to an amount that allows them to recoup the lost wager and make an additional profit.
  • Double or Nothing: An even money bet that pays exactly the amount wagered.
  • Draw: When teams or competitors finish a game or event evenly. In some sports, this outcome is offered as a winning / losing / or return of money proposition. In other cases, the return may be divided by the number of joint winners, reducing the expected payoff.
  • Drift: Odds that have become longer, or lengthened, are said to have drifted or to be 'on the drift.'
  • Dutch: When a player backs more than one outcome in an event or game. Typically, these wagers are made at varying stakes or odds in order to ensure a stable or equal profit regardless of the outcome.


  • Each Way: This is a UK term for a wager on a team or individual (or horse) to both win and/or place. This wager is automatically divided in two parts, half and half, but the odds are different for each portion. If the team or player or horse wins the event outright, you win both wagers, so the potential exists to win both or just the place wager.
  • Even Money: An odds bet of 1-1. In other words, a winning wager returns the wager itself, plus an amount equal to the wager.
  • Exotic: Almost any wager that is not a straight bet. This can include a teaser, parlay, or even a combination type of bet.


  • Favorite: Generally speaking, the team or individual that has the most money placed on it. The sportsbook considers this the most likely winner of the event or game.
  • Field: This has two meaningsit could refer to all of the players or competitors in an event, or odds offered on all of the other non-listed players or teams, collectively.
  • Fixed Game: An event in which one or more of the players or participants have willfully manipulated (or attempted to manipulate) the outcome.
  • Fixed Odds: A wager in which your odds or dividend are fixed and unchanging, based on the time when your bet was placed. You are paid what is stated on your ticket, no matter what fluctuations occur later.
  • Flag: A wager that includes a total of 23 bets. It is Yankee plus 6 'Single Stakes About' bets in pairs.
  • Flash (US): When the odds information changes on the tote board.
  • Flea: A sports bettor who wants to be comped for placing a very small wager. Often considered annoying.
  • Fold: May refer to the number of selections in an accumulator or parlay (i.e. a 4-fold means having 4 selections).
  • Forecast: This type of wager involves accurately predicting the first and second positions for a given event and can be a straight, reverse or permed type of bet (USA, Perfecta or Exacta).
  • Full Cover: When a player makes a wager that includes all of the doubles, trebles and accumulators for a given number of selections.
  • Futures: A type of bet that is placed to predict a future outcome. Could be used for predicting which team will win a division or even championship.


  • Goliath: A huge multiple bet that includes 247 total wagers on 8 selections in different events. There are 28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70 4-folds, 56 5-folds, 28 6-folds, 8 7-folds and one 8-fold in the Goliath.
  • Grand: A 1,000 wager. Also called a Big'un.
  • Grand Salami: The over under total of the combined scores of all the hockey games on the board, or schedule for a given day/night.
  • Grand Slam: This is used for the four major tennis or golf tournaments. Tennis has Wimbeldon, Australian Open, French Open and the US Open. Golf includes the Masters, British Open, US Open and the PGA Championship. Also a baseball term for a home run with the bases loaded.


  • Handicap: The spread of a game or event. Also called the point spread.
  • Hang Cheng: The Asian equivalent of a point spread.
  • Hedging: A type of wager which may be used by a bookie in order to reduce his losses when receiving a large imbalance of wagering money on one team. Also called a layoff bet. A player may also hedge by using a number of other strategies.
  • Heinz: A multiple bet that include 57 wagers through 6 selections in different events. This breaks down into 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 4-folds, 6 5-folds, and one 6-fold.
  • Home Field Advantage: The edge that is normally credited to a team playing at their home park or stadium.
  • Hoops: Slang term used for the game of basketball.


  • IBF: An abbreviation for the International Boxing Federation.
  • In the Red: The odds on favorite.
  • Index Betting: Simply put, spread betting.


  • Joint Favorites: When two teams are bot considered favorites with the same odds. In this case, the teams may not be split up.
  • Jolly: A bookmaker slang term for favorite (favourite in the UK).
  • Juice: The commission charged by the bookmaker, also known as the 'vig' or 'vigorish.'


  • Kite: A UK slang for a cheque (check).


  • Lay a Bet: When a bookie accepts a bet, or when a person places a wager on the favorite.
  • Layer: Another word for the bookmaker. Also someone who lays the odds.
  • LBO (UK): The acronym for a Licensed Betting Office.
  • Lengthen: When lines end up becoming longer over the course of the lead-up to an event. Increases the payoff to the player.
  • Lock (US): A term to signify an almost certain winner or nearly a sure thing.
  • Long Odds: Odds that are generally greater or higher than 10 to 1.
  • Longshot: The team or player who has 'long odds' placed on them. They would be considered an underdog very much unlikely to win.
  • Lucky 15 / 31 / 63: Refers to multiple bets on all possible combinations of 4, 5, and 6 selections.


  • Margin: How much a team or player ends up defeating their competitor(s) by.
  • Martingale: A betting system which doubles the previous bet after each loss and drops back to a single unit wager after each win.
  • MLB: Short for Major League Baseball (US).
  • Monkey: This is a UK slang term for a 500 wager.
  • Money Line: A type of odds that refers to the amount wagered in order to make a $100 profit or the amount that a $100 wager would make. In some cases, the money line can be expressed as per $1.
  • Morning Odds: A list or prediction of what the odds be for the following day; usually this comes out very early in the morning.
  • Multiples: See accumulator.
  • MVP: The acronym used for the Most Valuable Player in certain sports.


  • Nap: The term used to refer to a Napoleon, or a correspondent's best pick of the day or event.
  • NBA: The National Basketball Association.
  • NCAA: The National Collegiate Athletic Association.
  • NFL: The National Football League.
  • NHL: The National Hockey League.
  • Nickel (US): The slang terminology for a $500 wager.


  • Odds: The line or the chance of a particular team or player winning the game or event.
  • Odds Against: When the odds are greater than a total of evens (ex. 5 to 2), or when one team in considered an underdog.
  • Odds Compiler: The same as an 'oddsmaker.'
  • Odds-On: When the odds are shorter than evens (1 to 1), 4 to 7 for example.
  • Oddsmaker: The person who actually sets the betting line or odds. Generally, this will be someone who works for one of the major Las Vegas casinos.
  • Off the Board (US): A game or event which has been removed from the rotation; no action will be taken.
  • Off Track: Wagers made away from the site of the actual event.
  • On the Nose (US): A slang term for wagering on a horse to win.
  • OTB: An acronym for Off-Track Betting.
  • Outsiders: Contestants or players not expected to win. They are generally offered (if at all, in some cases) at very long odds.
  • Overlay: Generally meaning a good wagering value for the money. When a team or player has a good chance of victory plus fairly high odds.
  • Over/Under: a wager in which the player will bet on whether the total number of points scored by the teams will go over or under the number given.


  • Parlay: Also see accumulator. A multiple event in which all of the individual wagers must win for the bet to payoff.
  • Patent: A type of multiple bet with 7 wagers involving 3 selections in different events: single wager on each selection, plus 3 doubles and one treble.
  • Permutations: All the possible outcomes for the given selections. A way of wagering on every possible outcome. For example, with three selections, (A, B and C) 'perming' all the doubles means having AB, AC, and BC as your individual wagers.
  • Picks: Wagering or betting selections, perhaps given by an expert.
  • PK or Pick: An even money line or evenly matched teams.
  • Place: To finish in the top three (most common), four or five in a competitive event. Check specific sportsbook rules for further details.
  • Point Spread: Also the handicap, or the amount of points allocated to the underdog in order to level the playing odds with the favorite.
  • Price: The odds of a game.
  • Pucks: Slang term for the game of hockey.
  • Punter: A bettor.
  • Push: A game that is tied in relation to the point spread. Typically, this results in the wager being returned, or dropping that selection from the parlay or combination bet.


  • Quinella (US): A wager with the bettor selecting the first and second competitors, regardless of their finishing order


  • Return: The total amount of money produced by a (winning) wager. Losing wagers have a negative return.
  • Rounder: Also called a Roundabout, this is three wagers made over three different events.
  • Round Robin: A bet that involves 10 individual wagers from three selections in different events. Normally, this will include 3 pairs of 'Single Stakes About,' with 3 doubles and a treble.


  • Sawdust Joint (US): Slang term for a lower-class type of casino or gambling center.
  • Scalper: Someone who attempts to profit by taking advantage of the differences in odds between different books; accomplished by placing wagers on both sides of the same game at different odds. See arbitrage.
  • Score: In the UK, this means a 20 wager. Also, a US slang term for winning a bet.
  • Scratch: A player or horse who pulls out of an event or competition.
  • Settler: An expert who works for a bookmaker and calculates all of the payouts.
  • Shoo-In: A guaranteed winner for an event; might also mean a fixed event.
  • Shorten: When the odds of an event are reduced due to heavy betting.
  • Show: A third place finish in an event like a horse race.
  • Shut Out: In sports, when the losing team is held scoreless. Traditionally, this is also when a player is left standing in line as the betting window closes; they are not able to place a bet due to the time expiring.
  • Single: A straight event or a straight-up bet on one selection to win one race or event.
  • Single States About: A bet that consists of two wagers on two selections (one single on each selection any to come 1 single on the other selection reversed).
  • Six Dollar Combine: A horse racing wager that involves a two dollar wager across the board (win, place and show).
  • Smart Money: Where or how the insider's are putting their money on a particular event or game.
  • Spot Play: An almost random manner of selecting bets.
  • Spread Betting: When a bet is won or lost according to whether the correct outcome was chosen. Returns and losses factor into the ultimate victory or defeat.
  • Spread(s): See handicap(s).
  • Stanley Cup: The championship series and prize for the NHL.
  • Steam: A situation in which betting lines tend to move rapidly. Usually due to increased betting on one side or the other of an event or game.
  • Straight (US): Slang for a bet to win.
  • Super Bowl: The championship game played in the NFL.
  • Super Yankee: This is a Yankee bet that has 5 selections instead of 4.
  • Sure Thing: The team or player that is considered almost a guarantee for winning.
  • System: A method of betting which is used by bettors in order to try and gain an advantage. It is usually mathematically based.


  • Taking: When a bet is placed on an underdog. Also called 'taking the points.'
  • Teaser (US): A type of wager where several selections are made together and the spread can be changed in favor of the wagerer. This will result in reduced odds on each selection, but an overall higher return.
  • Thick'un: A large wager.
  • Tips: Normally a selection or pick given by an expert; a prediction.
  • Totals: A wager placed on whether the total score of both teams will be over or under a particular total. See over / under.
  • Tote: The totalisator system which offers pool betting on race courses in the UK.
  • Trebles: A triple bet or wager on three events. Basically, a form of parlay or accumulator.
  • Trixie: A multiple bet which includes 4 bets placed across 3 selections in different events (3 doubles and 1 treble).
  • True Odds: The true, or real, odds of an event occurring. The wagering line or odds rarely reflect the true odds.
  • Two & Three Balls Betting: A golfing bet. This involves predicting which player from among a group of two or three will accomplish the lowest score during a round of 18 holes.


  • Underdog: The team which is the least favored to win a particular contest or event.
  • Union Jack: A type of multiples wager that includes 8 trebles across a total of 9 selections.


  • Value: Finding the best odds or wagering line on a selection.
  • Vigorish: The commission which is paid to, or charged by, the bookmaker.
  • Vs: Versus, or against.


  • WBA: World Boxing Association.
  • WBC: World Boxing Council.
  • Welch: Failure to pay a gambling bet or debt.
  • Win: The victor of a porting event, game or contest. Also first position in a horse race.
  • Win Only: A wager on a particular team or competitor to simply win an event. Also called money line or straight-up wagering.
  • Winning Margin: A type of wager that predicts by how much a certain team or competitor will defeat the other team or remainder of the field.
  • Wise Guy: A very knowledgeable handicapper, punter, or bettor.
  • WNBA: Women's National Basketball Association.
  • World Series: The championship best of 7-game series of Major League Baseball.


  • Yankee: Used to describe a multiples bet that consists of four selections. These wagers are combined into six doubles, four trebles, and one fourfold, for a total of 11 bets.