Call it a legend, call it a glossary, call it a terminology guide – whatever you want to call it, you should know the terms used in betting circles so you don’t get lost or confused when placing a football bet. (Learn more in our How To Bet section.)
Sports Betting Terminology – Legend
Accumulator bet – same as a parlay bet when you bet several games on the same ticket and need all the games to win in order to win your bet.
Against the Spread or ATS – a betting result where the point spread is involved – win or lose against the spread. You will also see this connected with a team’s record, if they are 10-4 ATS on the season indicates they have covered the spread 10 times and failed to cover 4 times.
Bad Beat – In real life, this is known as bad luck, where you do everything right but still end up losing. The ‘bad beat’ is a betting victory that gets snatched away by misfortune or at the last minute. If you bet an NBA team to cover an 8-point spread and the other team heaves up a meaningless shot from half as the buzzer sounds and it goes in, that can be a bad beat if the score was supposed to be 100-90 (a victory for you) now turns into a 100-93 score) a loss for you. Ironically, this known as ‘Great Handicapping’ if that 50-foot shot goes in and it helps you win your bet….
Beard – Term popularized in Vegas where (usually) a professional bettor will hire someone else to discreetly bet on their behalf. Why conceal an identity? Some sportsbooks don’t want action from professional bettors who are good at their craft, so they ban or limit the pro or ‘sharp’ bettors.
Book – Same as sportsbook, a business that books action on sporting events.
Bookmaker – A group or individual that takes bets on sports or other events. Not the same as an oddsmaker, who sets the odds. An oddsmaker would work for a bookmaker, although in some smaller operations they can be the same person.
Buy Points – Bettors can pay an extra percentage or fee to move a line a half-point or more if he believes that small change gives him the edge he needs to win a bet. Not all sportsbooks will offer this.
Chalk – A favored team is known as the chalk.
Circled Game – A game on the betting menu where the sportsbook limits its action or the size of bets, pending information on injuries, weather or factors that may change before game time.
Cover – If you win your point spread bet, you have covered the spread. You have a ‘cover’ in that game, congratulations.
Dime – A $1,000 wager is known as a ‘dime bet.’
Dime Line – Betting line where the book’s commission (or juice or ‘vig’) is 10 per cent. There are also nickel lines at 5 per cent juice. A typical NFL bet is -5.5, -110. This means you bet $110 for a chance to win $100 (the $10 ‘vig’ stays with the book if you lose, you get that $10 back + your winnings if you win.
Dog – Short for underdog, the team oddsmakers give less of a chance of winning.
Fade – Means to bet against a team or a situation or a handicapper. If the Cowboys have lost six straight ATS and they had a terrible week of practice and their QB has the flu, you might want to fade them. Same as your favorite handicapper if he just lost 12 straight bets. Time to fade (bet the other way).
Favorite – The team or player expected to win is the favorite or ‘chalk’. Also the ‘fave.’
Futures – Betting on outcomes at some point in the future, typically this is odds to win the Super Bowl or odds to win the college football national championship.
Handicapping – Doing your homework, your research, studying the teams to try to determine the right way to place a bet. You can do this research yourself or some people pay professional handicappers to do research and make picks for them.