Sports Betting Terms


Against The Spread (ATS) – numeric value given to a team defining how many times a team has covered the point spread created by bookmakers. ie. Lakers are 5-1 ATS

Bankroll – The amount of money a person has set aside for investing on sports wagers

Betting Lines – Also known as point spreads, these are the numerical odds created by bookmakers for sporting events.

Bookmaker – A person or organization that takes wagers on sporting events

Bookie – Another name for bookmaker

Buying Points – A method used in wagering where the bettor has the ability to buy extra points off a set pointspread. The advantage to this method is you get a better point spread. The disadvantage is that the wager will cost more

Chalk – The team in a matchup that is favored to win the game.

Circled Game – a term used for a matchup or game where bets or wagers are being limited or restricted mostly due to injuries.

Cover – overcoming the pointspread by the number of points set by your particular bookie.

Even Money – A bet where there is no odds being laid or vig being charged.

Exotic – Usually known as prop or proposition bet, these are wagers other than straight or parlay bets.

Favorite – The team in a matchup that is anticipated to win the game.

First Half Bets – If a sporting event consists of halfs, a first half bet is a wager for only the first half of the game.  There is a completely separate point spread for these wagers. The result of the first half bet has nothing to do with the a sports wager for the full game.

Handicapper – A person who specializes in analyzing sporting events / matchups to predict a profitable outcome.

Hedging – A method used in wagering where a person will place bets on opposite side to offset losses or earn minimal winnings.

Juice – Commissions earned a bookie or sportsbook.

Laying Points – used when a bettor wages on the team that’s favored through the point difference or spread created by bookmakers.

Line Movement – When the line (spread) moves in one direction or the other

Moneyline – This is a method of wagering where a person only bets on whether a team will win without any point spread. Winning odds are adjusted accordingly to how favored a team is, the higher a team is favored, the less you can win with a certain bet.

Odds – the ratio by which one bettor’s wager is greater than or less than the bookmaker

Off The Board – A term used when a particular game has been removed from being wagered on by your bookie or sportsbook, usually because it has already started.

Over – Term used when a bettor makes a wager over the total combined points by both teams set by bookmakers.

Pick’em – Term used when wager on either teams will pay out the same. No team is favored.

Pointspread – Also known as the “line”; This is the number set by bookmakers that sets the number of points a favorite must win by.

Prop Bets- Another term used for sucker bets.

Puckline – used in wagering for hockey games. used to mean point spread.

Pup – Another term used for underdog

Return On Investment- is the amount gained or loss calculated by dividing the profit or loss from your sports bet or wager by the actual amount of the sports bet.

Runline – used in wagering for baseball games. used to mean point spread.

Second Half Bets- This bet is similar to the first half bet, but the point spreads are finalized after the first half of play and only for the time period of the second half.  Again these bets have nothing to do with the full game spreads or outcomes.

Sharps – an experienced, intelligent sports bettor. Could also be considered a handicapper.

Sportsbook – An organization or business that accepts sports wagers.

Spread – Another term used for pointspread.

Squares – an inexperienced, naive sport bettor, often times betting erratically and for a lose.

Sucker Bet – these are wagers where odds are highly in favor of the bookmaker ie. parlays, teasers, props, exotics.

Under – Term used when a bettor makes a wager under the total combined points by both teams set by bookmakers.

Underdog – In a matchup, the team expected to lose.

Vig – also known as vigorish, the amount of money collected by a bookmaker in addition to the amount lost on the wager.

Wager – also known as a bet, defined as risking money on a result of a sporting event

Wiseguy – a person who is considered an expert in sports handicapping or sports betting