The English language is constantly changing as society moves from one revolving phase of evolution into the next.
Nobody had ever heard of the internet, e-mail or interface platforms 50 years ago. Nor would they have known about mobile apps and smartphones.
So when we offer you this long glossary of current betting terms it is with the knowledge that it can never be complete.
Because we are generally serving the American betting market place we have attempted to include as many betting terms unique to the US as we can, but we would be surprised if we have not missed a few.
Drop us an e-mail if we have so we can add them if applicable.
In the meantime, in alphabetical order and starting with “Accumulator”, here goes.
Action: Implies bets are being made. In the case of baseball, “action bets” stand no matter if the listed pitchers start the game or not.
All in: A bet in which no refunds are given even in the case of scratching or withdrawal of the selection or any other circumstances which might usually warrant a refund.
All up: A bet that consists of 2 or more selections. The stake and winnings of the 1st bet are placed on the next bet and so forth and all bets must win for the wager to be successful.
American odds: These odds are either expressed as a negative number or a positive number. Negative numbers are used for bets of less than even money and show how much you would have to bet to win $100. Positive numbers are used for bets at greater than even money and show how much you will win if you bet $100. American odds have been superseded by decimal odds
Anchor: A strong key bet included in most combinations within multiple bets. Similar to “banker”.
Ante-post: Futures betting for the result of an event that is still a long way off and where the final field may not be known.
Arbitrage: The purchase and sale of the same game in different markets to profit from unequal prices
Backed in: A bet selection which has been heavily backed and has caused bookmakers to reduce the odds. Similar to “come in” “firm” and “shorten”. Opposite of “drift” “go out” and “lengthen”.
Bad beat: An unlucky betting loss.
Banker: A strong key bet included in most combinations within a multiple bet. Similar to “Anchor”.
Bankroll: Amount of money reserved for betting or betting account balances.
Beard: (American term) A person betting on someone else’s behalf so that the sportsbook will not know the identity of the actual punter.
Bet back: Hedging to reduce risk. If a sportsbook accepts too many bets on 1 team and decides he will have to pay out too much money if that team wins, he will then place a bet on that team himself with another sportsbook.
Bet the field: To back all possible outcomes except the favorite. For example “Tiger or the field” means you can bet on Tiger Woods to win the tournament or you can bet on the field made up of every other player.
Betting exchange: Internet-based companies which broker bets between their customers acting as an intermediary between people who want to bet that something will happen (backers) and people who want to bet that something won’t happen (layers).
Book or Bookie: Short for “sportsbook” and “bookmaker” – someone who offers odds and accepts bets.
Bookmaker: Someone who offers odds and accepts bets.
Bowler: Someone betting on someone else’s behalf so that the sportsbook will not know the identity of the actual bettor Similar to American term“beard”.
Buck: (US term) A $100 wager. Similar to “spot” or “ton”.
Buy points: (US term) When a bettor accepts worse odds to receive half a point or more in his favor on a point spread bet or total points over/under bet.
Canadian: A multiple bet consisting of 5 selections in different events put into 26 different combinations. The bet breakdown is 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 four-fold multis and 1 five-fold multi. Similar to “Super Yankee”.
Canadian line: A combination point spread and money line in ice hockey.
Chalk: (US term) A favorite, the team perceived most likely to win. Opposite of “roughie” and “dog”.
Circled Game: A game where the limits are lowered, or betting options restricted, usually due to injuries.
Closing price/closing line: The odds at the time when the market is closed for the event’s start. It should be the most accurate representation of the selection’s probability. Opposite of Opening Price.
Come in: When the odds get lower. Similar to “backed in”, “firm” and “shorten
Correct score: Betting on the final score of the game.
Cover the spread: When the favorite wins by more than the point’s spread handicap they have ‘covered the spread’.
Dead heat: When two or more competitors finish exactly even and dead heat rules apply. Bets on the equal winners will be paid out at the full value of the winning ticket divided by the number of equal winners.
Decimal odds: Odds expressed as a number where the number is the amount your winning bet returns for every unit you stake. This is the payout so it includes the original stake plus the profit.
Dime: (US term) $1000 bet. Similar to “gorilla”.
Dividend: Return/payout from a winning bet.
Dog: (US term) The underdog in a betting proposition. The team expected to lose.
Double: Two- leg multiple bet. Both bets must win.
Do your nuts: Lose your bank role betting.
Double result: Halftime/full-time results betting – you select the halftime and fulltime results.
Drift: When the odds increase over time. Similar to “go out” and “lengthen”. Opposite of “backed in”, “come in”, “firm” or “shorten”.
Duce: the number 2 sometimes used to mean $200.
Dutch book: To bet on a number of selections in a market guaranteeing yourself a profit whatever the outcome. Similar to “Arbitrage”, “green book” and “trading”.
Even money: A bet in which profit equals loss e.g. decimal odds of 2.00. Fractional odds of 1/1. US odds of +100.
Exotic bet: Any bet other than a straight win bet.
Exposure: The maximum amount of money you stand to lose if all your bets lose.
Firm: When the odds strengthen over time. Opposite of “drift.
Fixed odds: The odds placed at the time of a bet remain fixed no matter how the conditions change.
Flatline: Point spread betting where no half point/0.5 is added to the spread.
Flip of the coin: A betting market with no favorite. Similar to 50:50 and “toss up”.
Form: A team or a player’s recent performances is judged against its/his best ahead of an upcoming event.
Fractional odds: Odds expressed as 2 numbers with a / in between them. The first number is the amount you stand to win if you stake the second number. In the US, fractional odds have been superseded by American odds.
Futures: Betting market posted far in advance of an event’s outcome e.g. betting on who will win the Super Bowl or the English Premier League even before the season gets underway.
Getting down: (US) Place your bet. Similar to “get on.”
Go out: When the odds on a betting selection increase over time. Similar to “drift” and “lengthen”. Opposite of “firm” and “shorten”.
Goliath: A multiple bet involving 8 selections in different events over 247 bets. The bet breakdown is 28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70 four-folds, 56 five-folds, 28 six-folds, 8 seven-folds, and 1 eight-fold.
Good oil: Pre-event Information about the likely outcome of a betting market.
Good thing: A sure winner. Similar to “moral”.
Gorilla: $1000. Similar to a “dime”.
Grand Salami – The grand total of goals scored in all the hockey games of the day. It can be wagered to go Over/Under.
Green book: Making a series of bets on an event guaranteeing you a profit no matter what the result. Similar to “arbitrage”, “Dutch book” and “trading”.
Half face value of the ticket: In a 2-way dead heat where no draw or tie was available to bet on one of the equal winners receive 50% of what they would have received if their selection alone had won. The face value of a winning ticket is the full payout, stake plus winnings.
Halftime/fulltime: Wagers on the result of a game at both halftime and fulltime. Similar to “double result”.
Halftime result: Betting on who will be in front (or tied) at half time.
Handicap: Deducting points from the favorite in order to make a one-sided event more interesting. Similar to “point spread”.
Handicapper: (US term) A serious sports bettor who studies form before betting.
Handle (US term) Total amount of bets taken on an event.
Head to head: A straight wager on which team will win a game.
Hedging: Betting against your original bet to reduce or eliminate the amount you may lose.
Heinz: A multiple consisting of 57 bets involving 6 selections in different events. The bet breakdown is 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 four-folds, 6 five-folds, and 1 six-fold.
Hook: (US term) The half point/.05 added to points spread or total lines to avoid the possibility of a tie. Opposite of “flat line”.
Hot customer: Knowledgeable and successful punter. Sportsbooks will watch his bets closely and even change their odds due to his bets. Similar to “sharp “or “wise guy”. Opposite of “mug” or “square”.
Late mail: Final thoughts and selections of tipsters or late news that affects the most likely outcome.
Lay: To bet against an outcome. If you back Spain to win with a sportsbook, by taking your bet the sportsbook is laying Spain.
Lay off: Lay bet made to reduce liability on an outcome you have already backed. Similar to “hedge”.
Line: (US term) The current odds or point spread on a particular event.
Linemaker: (US term)) The person who establishes the original betting odds and point spreads.
Listed pitcher: Baseball betting condition which stipulates that both pitchers listed to start the game must start the game for bets to stand. Opposite of “action bet”.
Lucky 15 or lucky 31, lucky 50 or lucky 63: Multiple bets containing the number of bets mentioned.
Market: a group of possible outcomes available for betting on an event.
Money line: (US term)) Odds on which team will win. Similar to “head to head”.
Monkey: $500. Similar to “nickel”.
Moral: An absolute certainty for betting. Similar to a “good thing”.
Mug: A clueless punter prone to loosing. Similar to “square”. Opposite of “hot customer”, and “wise guy”.
Multiple bet: Combining a series of individual bets into 1 large bet. This has the effect of multiplying the odds but can also mean if only 1 of the bets loses the whole multiple is lost. similar to “accumulator”, “all ups” and “parlay”
Odds on: Odds of less than even money. A bet where your stake is more than the amount you hope to win. Odds of a favorite.
Off the board: A game in which a sportsbook will not accept action due to injuries, weather or an unusually large amount of suspicious bets.
Off the books: Bets made but not recorded on a Sportsbook’s book; usually illegal.
On the nod: A betting transaction between a punter and sportsbook without money changing hands. Usually a bet on credit.
Opening price: The odds of a selection when the market is first opened. Considered the least accurate because it is made when the least information is available. Opposite of “closing price”.
Outlay: The money a punter wages to get his bet on. Similar to “stake”.
Over/under: Bets staked on whether the total points in a game (or any element of the game) will be over or under a predetermined number e.g. will there be more or less than 20 strikeouts in a baseball game?
Parlay: Combining a series of bets into 1 large bet. This has the effect of multiplying the odds but can also mean if only 1 of the bets loses the whole multiple is lost. Similar to “accumulator”, “all up” and “multiple “bets.
Patent: Multiple bet made up of 7 bets comprising 3 selections from different events. The breakdown is three individual bets, three 2-folds and one 3-fold.
Pick ‘em: A betting market with no favorite, an even match-up meaning odds are the same on all selections. Similar to “50:50”.
Player: Bettor, punter, gambler, a customer of a sportsbook.
Plunge: When a large number of bets are suddenly placed on a particular selection
Point spread: Method used to make a game even by adding points to the score of the underdog or subtracting points from the favorite. Can be abbreviated to “spread”
Pre-post: Odds at the start of an event.
Price: The odds.
Punter: A bettor, gambler, player, gamer
Push: when Bets are refunded due to unusual circumstances or for a tie if a tie was not one of the original selections
Round robin: (US term) All possible combinations of a multiple bet.
Rundown: Updates of all odds, lines, point spreads and scores.
Set the board: When a sportsbook completes the information shown on the betting board by listing each betting selection and their respective odds.
Settling: When a sportsbook pays out winning customers. Also when the balance in credit in a sportsbook account is paid out to bring the punter back to even.
Sharp: (US term) Knowledgeable and successful punter. Sportsbooks will watch his bets closely and even change their odds for him. Similar to “hot customer” and “wise guy”. Opposite of “mug “and “square”.
Shorten: When the odds are reduced, usually when a lot of money is wagered on the bet in question. Similar to “firm”; Opposite to “drift”.
Single: Straight bet. Opposite of “accumulator “and “multiple” bet.
Smart money: Money wagered by the most knowledgeable and profitable punters.
Spot: $100. Similar to “buck” and “ton”.
Sportsbook: Usually someone who offers odds and accepts bets on sportsmen and sporting events. Abbreviated to “bookie”. Similar to “bookmaker”.
Spread: Abbreviation for points spread. Helps make a contest even by subtracting points from the favorite. Similar to “handicap”.
Square: Unsophisticated gambler. Similar to “mug”. Opposite of “hot customer” or “wise guy”.
Stake: The amount wagered by the punter. This is his/her “risk” or “outlay”.
Starting price: The price/odds of a bet selection at the start of an event.
Steam: (US term) Heavy action on one selection that is changing the odds.
Straight bet: A simple bet on just one team or player or betting only to win.
Stop loss: Used in index betting and trading to limit losses on a bet; e.g. NFL stop loss 30 means you can only win or lose 30 times your stake.
Sucker bet: Bets in which the house has a large edge. Opposite of “value”.
Super Yankee: A multiple bet consisting of 5 selections in different events put into 26 different combinations. The bet breakdown is 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 four-folds, and one 5-fold. Similar to “ Canadian”.
Teasers: (US term) A point spread multiple bet combining 2 or more games and giving the punter a fixed number of additional points in his favor.
Ton: $100 similar to a “buck” and a “spot”.
Toss up: A betting market with no favorite, an even match-up meaning odds are the same on all selections. Similar to “50:50” and “pick’em”.
Totalizer: A form of betting in which all money bets are placed in a pool then divided up (fewer taxes and deductions) among those who made winning selections.
Totals: Abbreviation of total points. Betting on whether the total points/runs/ goals scored in a game will be over or under a predetermined amount. Similar to “over/under”.
Tout service – A business that sells tips, opinions, and information on sports bets.
Tray: 3 or $300.
Treble: 3-way multiple bet.
Turnover: Total amount of bets wagered with a sportsbook during a stipulated period.
U.S odds: U.S. odds are either expressed as a negative (-) number or a positive (+) number. Negative (-) numbers are used for bets of less than even money, such as for favorite to win Positive (+) numbers are used for bets at greater than even money such as for an underdog to win.
Wiseguy: (US term) A punter with important information before the sportsbooks are aware of it. The wise guy will place his bets accordingly before the sportsbooks can change their odds. Similar to “sharp” and “hot customer”. Opposite of “mug” and “square”.
Worst of it: Being at a disadvantage in a betting situation. Having worse value than whoever you are betting against. Opposite of “the best of it” and “edge”.