With football season underway and sports betting becoming more popular every day, let’s look at some basic sports betting terminology.
Glossary of Sports Betting Terms
The monetary value of a potential bet. Odds are often referred to as “Juice”. If it’s Even Money (+100), a one-hundred-dollar wager would win one hundred dollars. Any odds that are Minus, means the bettor would need to bet more than one hundred dollars in order to win one hundred dollars. And if the odds are Plus Money, the bettor would need to bet less than one hundred dollars in order to win one hundred dollars.
Examples: At -120, the bettor would need to bet one hundred and twenty dollars to win one hundred dollars. At +120, the bettor would need to bet eighty-three dollars and thirty-three cents to win one hundred dollars.
Money Line (ML)
Odds to win outright or straight up (SU). If Team A is -400 on the Money Line, a bettor would have to bet four hundred dollars to win one hundred dollars. If Team B is +400 on the Money Line, a bettor would need to only place a twenty-five-dollar bet to win one hundred dollars on Team B.
Handicap added to a team. If Team A is -7, they are predicted to win by seven points. If Team B is +7, they are predicted to lose by seven points. In order to win an “Against The Spread” (ATS) bet on Team A -7, they would need to win by at least 8 points. If Team A wins by exactly seven points, it would be considered a Push. With a push, the bettor neither wins nor loses. Their money would be returned to them.
The number of combined points the two teams are predicted to score. With betting totals or Over/Under (O/U), the bettor has to choose whether they believe the total will be higher or lower than the predicted number. And just like spread betting, if the game lands on the exact predicted total, that would be considered a push. Individual team totals can also be bet.
Bets that are usually not connected to the outcome of the game or traditional totals play. Examples include: number of combined sacks in a game, time of the first score, total yards gained. One of the most popular forms of Prop Bets are Player Props, in which the bettor can choose an individual player and wager on how they will perform (Touchdowns scored, rushing yards, QB pash attempts, etc…).
Two or more bets tied together into one bet. If any of the bets in the parlay loses, the entire parlay loses. They are popular because they can have larger payouts. Many sportsbooks now allow for same game parlays. In a same game parlay, the bettor can bet the total and spread of the same game and tie them together. Some sportsbooks allow for Props to be parlayed as well.
A type of parlay in which the bettor can change the point spread for the games included to make them more favorable. In teasers, the juice is lowered for smaller payouts. The most common teaser is a two-team, six-point NFL football teaser with the juice usually around -120 or -110.
Wager: Another name for a “bet”.
Pick ’em: When neither team is the ATS favorite or underdog. No handicap added to either team. While you might often see even money on both teams, that is not always the case. The game can be a pick ’em and still have one side juiced more than the other.
Cover The Spread: The team “beat” the predicted ATS number. If they were predicted to win by seven (-7) and they won by eight points or more, they covered. Or if they were predicted to lose by seven (+7) and they lost by six points or less, they covered.
Lay the points: To bet the favorite ATS.
Take the points: To bet the underdog ATS.
Fade: To bet the other side. If Team A is -7 and you don’t believe they will cover so you take the points with Team B, you are choosing to fade Team A.
Follow: To bet that particular side.
Sharps: Refers to bettors who are respected by sportsbooks. When “Sharps” place bets, often the line will move that direction. For example: If a “Sharp” places a bet on a -4 favorite, the books will move the line to -4.5 or more depending on the money bet and the number of “Sharps” betting it, amongst other factors.
Pros: Often refers to those who sports bet as a job. “Pros” and “Sharps” tend to place larger bets. They also like to bet early in the week when lines are first released. They believe that the better value is found when the lines are first released.
Joes: Refers to recreational bettors. “Joes” tend to bet closer to the day and time of the game.
Pros vs. Joes: Comparing what the bets the “Sharps” place versus the bets the “Joes” place.
Bad Beat: A situation in which a winning bet turns into a losing bet drastically, often very late in the contest. For example, Team A is -21 ATS. They are winning by 42 points going into the fourth quarter. Team B then outscores Team A by 28 points in the fourth quarter. Team A only wins by 14 points and thus the bettor loses the bet.
“Wagertainment”: Placing bets simply for the fun of it. The bettor does not necessarily expect to win the bet. These kinds of bets (or wagers) include parlays, teasers, prop bets, exotic bets, etc…
Terms and phrases will be added consistently. If there are terms or phrases you would like clarification on, please comment or message me on Twitter.
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