Sports Betting Terms For New Sports Bettors

Get Bet Ready with this list of common sports betting terms.

New bettors can learn the ropes of legal online sports betting with this glossary of betting terms and wagering lingo. Haven’t tried legal betting in your state yet? Visit our Sportsbooks page for free bets and bonuses to start wagering today.


Action – Any type of wager

Against the Spread (ATS) – betting on the point spread that is set by the oddsmakers for each game, as opposed to betting on a straight up outcome. 

Alternate Spread – when a sportsbook offers an alternative point spreads on the game with different payouts attached.

Bankroll – The money that you have available to bet with. 

Backdoor Cover – when a team is not covering the spread for the majority of a game, but then pulls off a cover in the final moments. 

Bookie – an individual who illegally takes betting action.

Buying Points – When a player wagers additional money in order to bet on the game at a more favorable spread (i.e buying a half point moves the spread from +3 to +3.5 if you bet the underdog). 

Chalk – the favorite in any game. 

Cover –  when a bet against the spread wins, it is called ‘covering the spread’.  So, a cover is a win against the spread. 

Dime – a bet of $1000 

Dog – a nickname for the underdog in any game. 

Even Money – when you get even money on a bet, it means that the payout will be exactly equal to the wager amount. 

Favorite – the team that is predicted to win the game, according to the points spread. 

Field – the field refers to any team or player who is participating in a sport/event, but not listed as an option for betting. 

Future – bets that can be made on outcomes that will happen in the future.  Futures bets include things like the Superbowl winner, total wins in a season, the league MVP and a player or team’s cumulative stats for a season.  

Grand Salami – when you bet on the total number of goals or points that will be scored cumulatively in all games that are happening in a particular sport.  Grand Salamis are a common NHL bet. 

Hedging  – when you bet against bets that you have already made, in order to minimize losses or guarantee a profitable outcome. 

Juice – what the sportsbook earns on a bet that loses.  Also known as the ‘vig’.

Laying Points – when you bet on a favorite against the spread, you ‘lay’ the amount of points that team is favored by. 

Lines –  Refers to the spread and the odds.

Line Movement – when a spread or the odds change leading up to a game.  Line movement can be caused by an imbalance in betting on one side or the other. Also injuries, weather and media influence can cause lines to move. 

Live Betting – legal US sportsbooks offer live betting on all sports.  The lines change depending on what is happening in the game. You can find live betting lines on your sportsbook website or app. 

Moneyline – when you bet on a team to win straight up, without any points spread, you are betting on the moneyline.  The underdog will have a ( + ) moneyline, and the favorite will have a ( – ) moneyline. 

Odds – the ratio of win amount to wager amount on a game.  For example, +200 on a bet would win two dollars on-every one dollar that is wagered. 

Over/Under – is the total number of points that the Oddsmakers predict will be scored in a game or match. Sometimes called the ‘O/U’ or ‘Combined Total’ bets, Over/Unders are an exciting way to bet without picking a side in the game. 

Parlay – A type of bet that combines multiple outcomes (or “legs”) into one wager.  All of the legs have to hit for the parlay to win. Most legal online sportsbooks will allow between 2 – 20 legs to be parlayed at once.  More parlay legs equal a higher payout for the player. 

Pointsbetting – This is a unique type of props wagering offered in the US by Pointsbet Sportsbook.  In pointsbetting, your payout or loss is made larger or smaller according to a player’s performance against the over/under that has been established for a particular statistic, such as passing yards or hits in a baseball game.  Pointsbetting is a customizable and exciting new way to bet online. 

Props – ‘Proposition Betting’  is the most fun way to bet. Props are wagers on specific outcomes within a game as well as the performance of players.   Legal sports betting sites offer a HUGE variety of props that now include fantasy matchups, double results, combined player totals and much more.

Push – When a bet does not have a winner.  A push happens when a game ends as a tie against the point spread.   Moneyline bets can push when the actual score of the game ends in a tie. 

Risk-Free Bet – A promotional offer form a sportsbook, in which they will refund a bet if it loses.  Risk-Free bets are usually offered on the first bet a player makes at a new online sportsbook. 

Round Robin – a type of parlay where you make smaller bets on various combinations of your parlay legs to hit.   So if you have 6 selections in your parlay, you can take a round robin that will automatically bet all of the potential combinations of 2, 3, 4, and 5 legs.  Legal betting sites allow you to customize how much is wagered on each. 

Super Heinz – the maximum round robin parlay consisting of 7 picks and totaling 120 bets. 

Teaser – Teasers work like parlays, where you combine multiple outcomes into one bet and they all have to hit for the bet to win.  But with a teaser, the spread or over/under line is moved or ‘teased’ in favor of the bettor. 6-points is the standard, but legal sportsbooks also offer 6.5, 7 and 10-point teaser options.

Trixie – 4 bets which come from 3 picks.  A trixie is three 2-pick parlay and one 3-pick parlay. 

Underdog – the team that is predicted to lose a game according to the points spread. 

Vig – also referred to as the ‘juice’, is the amount of money a sportsbook will make when a bet loses.  

Wager – a bet of any kind. 

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Stay tuned and learn more betting terms at The Props Network.

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