Glossary of sports betting terminology

Action – A sports wager of any kind; a bet.

Added Game – A game not part of the typical menu of wagering offerings, often posted as an accommodation to patrons.

Book – An establishment that accepts bets on the outcome of sporting events.

Buy (Points) – A player pays an additional price (lays more money) to receive a half-point or more in his favor on a point spread game.

Chalk – The favorite.

Cover – Winning by more than the point spread.

Dime – A $1,000 sports wager.

Dog – The team perceived to be most likely to lose. Short for underdog.

Favorite – The team considered most likely to win an event.

First half bet – A bet placed on the score in the first half of the game only.

Future – Odds that are posted well in advance on the winner of major events, including the Pro Football

Championship, the Pro Basketball Championship and the Pro Baseball Championship.

Halftime bet – A bet placed on scoring in the second half of a game, including any overtime periods.

Handle – The total amount of bets taken.

Hold – The percentage the house wins.

Juice – Thebookmaker’s commission, most commonly the 11 to 10 bettors lay on straight point spread wagers; also known as “vigorish.”

Laying the points/price – Betting the favorite by giving up points.

Limit – The maximum amount accepted by the house before the odds and/or point spread are changed.

Line – The current odds or point spread on a particular event.

Listed pitchers – A baseball bet placed only if both of the pitchers scheduled to start a game actually start. If they don’t, the bet is deemed “No Action” and refunded.

Longshot – A team perceived to be unlikely to win.

Middle – To win both sides of a game; wagering on the underdog at one point spread and the favorite at

a different point spread and winning both sides. For example, if the player bets the underdog +4 ½ and the favorite -3 ½ and the favorite wins by 4, he has “middled” the book and won both bets.

Money line – Odds expressed in terms of money. With money odds, whenever there is a minus (-) the player lays that amount to win $100; where there is a plus (+) the player wins that amount for every $100 wagered.

Nickel – A $500 sports wager.

No Action – A wager in which no money is lost or won, and the original bet amount is refunded.

Off the board – A game in which no bets are being accepted.

Opening line – The earliest line posted for a particular sporting event.

Over – A sports bet in which the player wagers that the combined point total of two teams will be more than a specified total.

Parlay – A single bet that links together two or more wagers; to win the bet, the player must win all the

wagers in the parlay. If the player loses one wager, he loses the entire bet. However, if he wins all the wagers in the parlay, he wins a higher payoff than if he had placed the bets separately.

Pick or Pick ‘em – A game in which neither team is favored.

Point spread – The margin of points in which the favored team must win by to “cover the spread.”

Price – The odds or point spread.

Prop (Proposition) Bet – A bet that focuses on the outcome of events within a given game. Props are often offered on marquee games of great interest. These include high profile college or pro football games. An example of a prop bet is “Which team will score the first touchdown?”

Puck line – In hockey, a spread used instead of the money line.

Push – When the contest ends with no winner or loser for wagering purposes; a tie for wagering purposes.

Round Robin – A series of parlays. For example, a 3-team round robin consists of four total bets- three 2 team parlays (A + B, A + C and B + C) and one 3-team parlay (A + B + C).

Run line – In baseball, a spread used instead of the money line.

Sides – The two teams playing; the underdog and the favorite.

Sports book – A physical location that accepts sports bets.

Straight bet – An individual wager on a game or event that will be determined by a point spread, money line or total.

Straight-up – Winning the game without any regard to the point spread; a money line bet.

Take the points – Betting the underdog and receiving its advantage in the point spread.

Teaser – A type of parlay in which the point spread or total of each individual play is adjusted. The price of moving the point spread (teasing) is lower payoff odds on winning wagers.

Tie – A wager in which no money is lost or won because the teams’ scores were equal to the number of points in the given point spread or total.

Total – The combined number of runs, points or goals scored by both teams during the game, including


Under – The player bets that the total points scored by two teams will be less than a certain figure.

Underdog – The team perceived to be most likely to lose. Also known as the “dog.”

Vigorish – The bookmaker’s commission; also known as “juice” or “vig.”