Sports Betting Glossary: Do You Speak My Language?

Just with any other language, studying from the grounds up is, as it is, a safe bet. When you first enter the world of sports talk, you will notice a fair lick of terms being flown around with their meaning apparently known to the handful of people discussing the chances of a future turning alright or some dog having a decent chance of clinching a victory. To those not initiated, it may sound like waffle, but there is an inherent logic to all these terms and we will help you garner a better understanding of the lingo with the present sports betting glossary.

sports betting glossary

Actions – An action a generic term of any type of bet. Depending on the sport, different conditions determine whether a bet is an action, i.e. whether it is a winning bet.

Accumulators – The accumulator is a multiple bet, which is placed on at least two games. In order for an accumulator to be successful, all selections must pen out right in the end. Normally, it entails higher risk, but it also comes with juicier profits. You may place as many accumulators and up to as may selections you like. Mind the maximum payout amount per bookie, though.

Against the spread wagering is done when punters opt to guess the number of points scored throughout a game rather than who the outright winner of the game would be.

Arbitrages – An arbitrage occurs when you spread your money over bookies in which case you guarantee yourself a small profit thanks to difference in odds.

Angle – The practice of drawing on past information to make reliable predictions about future wagers.

Ajax – A betting slang used in the United Kingdom and simply means a betting levy. Next in our betting glossary come some of the more rudimentary terms.


Bookmaker – You have herd us talk a fair bit about bookies and sportsbooks. Bookmakers are the same thing and they are basically companies which have been licensed to carry out sports betting activities by providing odds.

Bettor – Also known as punters in the United Kingdom, a bettor is someone who flicks down a given amount of money to try and predict the outcome of an event.

Bankroll – The total amount of money you keep on your account to use when betting. Managing your bankroll well is essential to long-term success in any form of sports betting.

Betting exchange – A recent occurrence, betting exchanges act as an intermediary. They provide odds and then let bettors square it between themselves. All betting exchanges are licensed and charge nominal fees on your winnings.

Banker – A banker is a type of bet that is a sure winner, as far as such terms are applicable to sports betting in general.

Bad Beat – A bad beat is a banker turned sour. A type of bet that has been slated to win but through an unexpected turns of events has resulted in a loss for the bettor.

Beard – Any betting glossary lists beard as person who makes bets on the behalf of another person so that the identity of the real bettor remains unknown.

Beef – A dispute between a bookmaker and a user. It is worth noting that by looking into past beefs, you may see if your bookie is to be trusted.

Buy the Rack – A buy the rack event occurs when a bettor snaps all possible combination tickets.


Chalk – Chalk is a term used to designate the favorite as opposed to the runner-up. Previously in the sports betting glossary we mentioned a banker. Well bankers are based on chalks.

Chalk Player – We use the term to describe a person who is likely to back a favorite. Even though such players may score smaller profits, they are relying on the long-term and the proper management of their bankrolls.

Combination Bet – Bettors try to guess which team will finish first and second, nevermind the order. The term is also applicable to horse betting.

Cover – Also known as cover the spread, this is a type of wagering whereby bettors turn out to win against a given score spread.

betting advice

Let us put in some solid numbers in our betting glossary. Team X and team Y are faced off. X is our chalk, whereas Y is the dog (short for underdog). X is given -12 points and Y starts with +12. Now X, not all too surprisingly, wins. The final score is 100:90 for X. However, in terms of spread betting, we ought to add +12 to Y’s final score, which is now 102 points. Y covers the spread and the bet fetches a profit.


Dog – A short term for underdog, the team that is less likely to win but may fetch higher profits on the offchance that it does.

Dead heat – In horseracing, a dead heat situation happens when two horses finish in the same position. This way there may be two winners or the result is considered a tie.

Doubles – A type of bet that is placed on two separate events. A double bet is effectively an accumulator and in order to be successful, it requires both events turn out a wins. Again, in horseracing, if the first bet is successful, winnings are automatically wagered on the outcome of the second event. Naturally, as with any type of accumulators, profits scale proportionally.

Doubling Up – Usually players opt for double ups when they have just suffered a loss and hope they can recoup their costs by laying down a lucrative wager. Caution is advised.

Double or nothing – A double or nothing bet means that we are expecting to notch up the same amount we have wagered.


Exotic bets – The types of wages that come with a number of prerequisites. The list can be long, and as the landscape for betting evolves, it is likely to grow. Teasers and parlays fall under this category.

Exposure – When you place a wager that will bring the greatest allowable profit you can squeeze out of a bookie.

Each-way A type of wager that can easily wrinkle your brow. It consists of two main aspects, including a win bet and a place bet. Note the win bet is considered a straightforward bet. However, the place wager may vary greatly depending from markets.


Fixed Game – Every sports betting glossary agrees on the meaning. This is essentially a rigged match with a fixed score, which means that the odds would not reflect the probable outcome of an event and bets are virtually pointless.

Fold – Used to indicate how many selections have been made, usually as part of an accumulator, e.g. two-fold, three-fold and so forth.

Fixed Odds – As you lay a bet on fixed odds, you are safe in the knowledge that these odds will not be altered later as the game begins and the probable outcome alter.

Futures – Future wagers are mostly long-term wagers, which commonly focus on teams and their prospects of winning a division or a championship. These usually come with hefty yields as well, but naturally, the risk we run as punters is greater.

Forecasts – With forecasts you set out to predict out which team will finish first and second as part of a competition.


Grand Also known as the Big’Un, a grand wager is a bet that costs 1,000 of any currency.


Half-time bet – You wager on the outcome of a half-time result.

Handicap – We have already covered, to an extend handicaps. Think about spread betting. Handicaps are generally used to make an offer more attractive for the punter, even though the chances of turning a profit are slimmer. Spread betting, as it is known in the US, is also called Hang Cheng (point spread) in Asia.

Hedging – It boils down to wagering on opposing outcomes, seeking to either ensure a nominal profit or reduce a potential heavy blow. You will most likely use multiple bookies to carry out with this type of betting.

Home Field Advantage – As a decent sports betting glossary we would be remiss not to tell you about this type of bets. They are basically the perceived advantage a bookie awards a team playing on home turf.


In the Red – A term used to refer to the odds granted to a favorite.

Index betting – Another term for spreads.


Juice – You may have noticed that we mentioned betting exchanges earlier in our betting glossary. The juice is used to refer to what bookies charge you, not only betting exchanges.


Lock – A bit of a country specific bet, it is the same as banker, i.e. a sure winner.

Lay a Bet – The act of placing a wager, no more no less.

Long Odds – Odds that are greater than ten-to-one.

Lucky 15 – Refers to multiple-wager that cover combinations of four, five or six selections. In other words, this is an accumulator-type of bet.


Match betting – A simple matter of predicting the outcome of a match. It boils down to three options – either the home team wins or so does the guest team. A draw is also possible. In soccer, it has been observed that draws prove the most lucrative.

Multiples – It is another word for accumulator(s).

Money Line (Odds) – Quite common in the United States. It indicates what sum you need to wager in order to make $100 profit. Take a look at odds where we have discussed those.


This part of the betting glossary refers most commonly to sports bodies, including:

NBA The National Basketball Association

NCAA The National Collegiate Athletic Association

NFL The National Football League

NHL The National Hockey League


Odds – the ratio that indicates what profits can be had or losses generated.

Over – A common fixed odds bet popular in football.

Overlay – Available in the event of higher-than-normal odds for a specific selection.


Parlay – A popular term in the US for accumulators.

Point Spread – The point spread is an advantage conferred to a team by the bookie in order to make a selection more attractive.


Score – A popular slang term used by bookies to indicate a $20 bet.

Simple – A straightforward bet without any specific criteria (unless it is a part of a welcome bonus).

Spread Betting – Check out cover.


Treble – An accumulator that consist of three selections, usually in horseracing.


Under – The opposite of over. A bookie usually introduces two outcomes for the so-called over/under betting. With odds set at 2.0, you can either bet that more than or fewer than two goals will be scored.


Vig or Vigorish – A fee charged by the bookie to ensure profit for itself.

Value Betting – Cramming the odds on your own and recognising a value betting situation where a team has better chances of winning than reflected by the odds.

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