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Sports Betting Language and Terminology

October 1, 2013

Language evolution occurs daily around the world with new words and phrases or neologisms developing for an array of different reasons. Often times tight-knit groups of people form a language of their own. The world of sports betting is no exception. There are a host of words and terms that have evolved to describe many of the unique situations that can be found when participating in placing a bet. Here is a snapshot of some of the more popular terms.

There are a variety of different bets that can be made in sports. A straight bet is one that is against the number assigned by the bookmaker, otherwise known as the spread. This is the most common type of bet in sports. Then there is the proposition bet, this is a bet on a specific outcome or occurrence of a match or game. To make things more complicated, there are parlay type bets, involving a number of bets and the bettor can only win if all their bets win. Progressive parlays, another type of multiple bet, will still pay out if a bettor loses some of their bets, however the payout is not as high as a typical parlay.

Other terminology outside of placing bets include chalk player, a bettor who only plays favored teams. A beard is a person who places bets for a friend to conceal the bettor’s identity. Then there is a buck or a dollar, both meaning a $100 bet. To confuse things more, there are opening lines, outlaw lines, pucklines, and nickel lines to name a few. An opening line is the first posted line for a sporting event, the outlaw line is the same as an opening line only it is an overnight line only available to a few bettors. Pucklines are the odds in hockey of a goal spread and finally nickel lines are lines with a juice of 5%. What is juice you ask? Also known as vigorish, juice is the commission a bookmaker keeps on a losing bet.

Are you confused yet? These are only a snapshot of the extensive language that has developed in the world of sports betting. An outsider listening to a conversation between seasoned sports bettors would be completely lost as to what was being talked about, much like a person in a foreign country who may not speak the native language. If you are new to sports betting it would be beneficial to take some time and learn a little bit of the terminology to gain the necessary knowledge to bet with some sort of confidence!

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