Sports betting phrases can be confusing to those new to the industry. I listed below some of the top terms and definitions that you should know as a sports bettor. I recommend everyone, whether new or experienced, to download the Action App for free using this link . This is a must download and for someone who is new to betting, it can help you see how betting works in real time without actually betting money. Best part, it is FREE. I use the premium version (I recommend this to experienced sports bettors) and there is a 7 day free trial to try it.
Against the Spread (ATS) – Refers to taking or laying points (aka the spread) as opposed to taking a game straight-up.
Bankroll – The available funds you have to bet with.
Buying Points – Paying an additional fee in order to get a game at a more attractive price. Often times bettors will buy points in football around key numbers such as 3 and 7.
Chalk – The favored team and usually the team the public is betting heavy on.
Cover – A bettor wins their bet if they cover the point spread. For example, if you bet a 3 point favorite and they win by 7 points, you have covered the spread.
Favorite – The team bookmakers expect will win a game.
Future – This refers to a bet that come down in advance of an event. For example, you can bet on the NBA Championship prior to the beginning of the season by betting on which team they believe will win the championship. A bettor receives winnings at the end of the season.
Hedging – Placing bets on the opposite side after you have already placed a wager on one side. This can be used to either cut your losses, or guarantee a profit.
Hook – In spread based sports, the hook is a half point that bettors can get. Oftentimes in football, bettors will buy the hook around key numbers like 7 to get a line of 7.5. This helps you avoid a push. Read the article above to learn more about numbers in sports betting.
Lines – Another term for the odds.
Moneyline – A bet you can make on a team to win straight up. Different from betting on the spread, in which a team has to win by a certain amount of points. If Broncos are favored by -7 but only win by 3, you would lose the spread bet but win the moneyline bet. The payout of course is not as much.
Over/Under – Also known as the total, this is the total amounts of points that will be scored in the game. If both teams combine to score more than the total, the over wins. If they combine to score fewer, the under wins. Read the article above to learn more about numbers in sports betting.
Parlay – When a bettor makes multiple bets and ties them together, you need multiple events to all win for higher payouts. This is a risky proposition, but the payouts are much higher.
Pick ‘Em or (PK) – When neither team is favored. In spread based sports like basketball or football, this is a line of 0.
Prop Bet – A bet on something other than the outcome of a game. Common prop bets include an over/under on points scored, passing yards, or number of points scored by a specific player
Push – When a contest ends without a winner. This typically will happen when the favorite wins by the exact spread.
Teaser – A special bet in which you are able to adjust the point spread or total for a game. The more you change the spread, the lower the payout becomes. You can read my article below to learn more.
Units – This is your typical betting amount a single game. My unit size is $50 and units are typically between 2-5% of your bankroll. For example if your bankroll is $1,000, one unit is between $20 and $50. Most bettors and handicappers use a unit system to track success. You can see read the article here on our success (in units) over the last few years as well as our article on units below.
Wager – Any type of bet.
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