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Sports Betting Terms You Need to Know

May 13, 2014

Betting on sports isn’t a complicated process if you have the terminology down pat. Winning at sports betting…well, that’s a bit trickier. We’ll save the sports betting tips for many of our other blog posts. For this one, I’m going to explain some betting terms you need to know before you can start thinking about winning at sports betting:

ATS (Against the spread): This one you probably know, but in case not, ATS is simply a bet made against the point spread. If you read other posts on our blog and were confused as to what ATS stands for, now you know.

Bad Beat: Not only is this term used in the poker world, sports bettors use it as well. A bad beat is a game you lose in a flukish kind of way. For example, let’s say you’re up 3 scores with 10 minutes to play in the football game and the other team scores 3 touchdowns to ruin your ticket.

Beard: No, not that thing you grow on your face. In the sports betting world, a “beard” is someone that places bets for you because you don’t want the sportsbook to know you are the actual bettor.

Bookmaker: Some refer to the bookmaker as a bookie. In the legal sports betting world, the bookmaker is the sportsbook, or the establishment that takes your bets. In the underground sports betting world, a bookie is an individual that breaks your legs if you don’t pay up.

Buying Points: If you don’t like the line on a game, you can buy a half a point to get a more favorable line against the spread.

Chalk: In the betting world, chalk is the favorite.

Chalk Player: A chalk player is a lame-o. This is the type of bettor that only wagers on the favorites.

Cover the Spread: When a team beats the spread by scoring the minimum required amount of points more than the opposition or losing by fewer points than the point spread.

Dime: To most people, a dime is 10 cents. Unfortunately, 10 cents won’t get you very far at the sportsbook. But if you wager a dime, in the sports betting world, that is $1,000.

Edge: The advantage a sports bettor has over the house or the house has over the sports bettor.

Even Money: A bet where the profit on a win matches the amount wagered.

Favorite: The team favored to win the contest.

First Half Line: A pointspread associated with the first half of the game only.

Futures Bet: A wager on an event in the future. For example, placing a futures bet in the preseason on a team to win the Super Bowl.

Getting Down: Placing a bet on a game.

Half Time Line: The line on the second half of the game only.

Handicapper: Someone who scouts out games and determines an appropriate point spread based on their analysis.

Hedging a Bet: Placing a wager against a potential winning ticket that is one leg away from a win. Hedging the bet by wagering on the other team is done in order to guarantee a win and eliminate risk, although it minimizes the potential amount won.

Hot Game: When top handicappers are placing big wagers on one side, that game is referred to as a hot game.

Line(s): Also referred to as “odds”

Moneyline: The line on a bet to win the game, not to cover the spread.

Mush: A player that always loses. No matter what he tries he always manages to be on the short end of a wager. You don’t want to be anywhere near a mush during placing a bet because the bad mojo rubs off on you.

Over/Under: The total amount of points scored in a game. To win the over, the game must exceed the over/under in points. To win the under, the game must NOT exceed the over/under in points.

Parlay: A bet involving more than one wager, where all legs of the bet must cover the spread/win.

Pick ‘em: When neither team is favored.

Prop Bet: Also referred to as an exotic. A prop bet is a special kind of bet involving odds on things such as the winner of the coin toss, attendance, etc.

Push: When point differential in the game is exactly where the line was. Neither side wins and bets are returned to the players.

Runline: The name for the spread in a baseball game.

Square: A player that plays the all to obvious pick. Usually he plays the favorite and the over. Sportsbooks make their living off of these guys.

Teaser: Similar to a parlay except you are given more points in your favor on each game.

Underdog: The team not expected to win the game.