Understanding betting 101 is the starting block for any aspiring bettor. In order to fully understand the width and possibilities available in the betting market, it’s key to have a grasp of all the languages used within the gambling world. We have a complete list of all betting terminology that our readers will find on major sports betting sites. VegasBetting’s betting guide has this glossary to help all bettors.
The National Basketball League is the most popular basketball league in the world and represents one of the major leagues in American sport, featuring North American and Canadian teams.
Major League Baseball was founded in 1946 and is the most prestigious baseball league in the world, with teams from Canada and North America. It is concluded each year with the World Series.
Major League Soccer is the newest major American sports league, founded in 1993. Soccer is one of the fastest-growing sports in the US and the league is growing popularity all the time.
The National Hockey League is the major ice-hockey league in America, with teams representing cities in North America and Canada and attracting players from across the globe.
The National Football League is the biggest American football league in the world and commands the largest revenue of all major leagues in the US. The league is completed each year with one team winning the Superbowl.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association is the collective name for all major sports leagues. The NCAAB (basketball), NCAAF (football) are examples of these leagues.
March Madness is one of the most exciting betting opportunities during the annual sports calendar, alongside the Superbowl and postseason events. It is related entirely to college basketball and displays the best talent around each year.
The Hart Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the MVP (most valuable player) in the NHL. The trophy was donated by David Hart, the father of Cecil Hart, the longtime head coach of the Montreal Canadiens.
Similarly to the Hart Trophy, the Vezina Trophy is awarded to the goaltender MVP, opposed to just the best player. The General Managers (GM) at the end of each season vote who this will be.
Again an NHL trophy for the best player that season, except this one, is dedicated to the player who demonstrates the most skill as a defender. The best NHL defenders award.
The first NHL president was Frank Calder, which is why this trophy is named as such. This award is given to the first-year NHL player, who has played the best throughout the year.
The Ted Lindsay Award is awarded to the NHL player, who was the most valuable player of the regular season that year.
The Vince Lombardi trophy is named after the famous NFL coach who saw great success during his coaching career. The award is given to the coach who was the best player over the full course of a season.
The Stanley Cup is the trophy awarded to the best NHL team across the course of that season. The postseason works through a series of knockout games, with the final head-to-head series producing a winner of the Cup.
While in the NHL the winners of the postseason are awarded the Stanley Cup, the NBA team that triumphs in the basketball postseason are awarded the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
The Rose Bowl is a stadium in Pasadena, California, which hosts the oldest bowl game in the NCAAF. It usually takes place in January first and boasts a huge attendance and following each year.
In the United States horse racing scene, the Triple Crown is made up of the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont Stakes, and the Preakness Stakes. If a horse wins all three of those races, they are awarded the Triple Crown – which rarely happens!
The Grand National is one of the most famous horse races on the calendar. The race takes place in Aintree Racecourse in Merseyside, England.
The Drafts are a very popular market for bettors, as they offer a lot of markets and great opportunities – as well as just making the draft more exciting! Drafts take place in the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB, with the MLS looking to adopt one in the near future.
Added games are additional games that are scheduled to popular demand. Often they replace events which have been cancelled, but added games can occur for a variety of reasons.
AET is an acronym for “Added Extra Time” and refers to the extra time added at the end of a soccer game, which is brought about by injuries or incidents during the regular time. Commonly referred to as simply extra time.
Alternative, or alt-lines allow bettors to raise or lower the match odds with the relevant price change.
American odds are all based on a unit of 100, they refer to the alternatives to decimal or fraction odds. A plus (+) sign indicates the underdogs, and a negative (-) represents the favorites.
Also known as futures, these are risky bets that are made well in advance of the event taking place.
Short for Arbitrage.
It’s a betting strategy employed that takes advantage of slight discrepancies between the odds at various bookmakers. This strategy involves a bettor wagering on both sides of an event, at different bookies, guaranteeing a return regardless of the outcome.
Kind of like spread betting, Asian Handicapping goes from a quarter to multiple goals. Mostly linked to soccer, this betting market doesn’t allow for ties.
An acronym for “Against the Spread”. Betting Against the Spread means betting for the underdog, according to the lines offered at the bookmaker.
They are safe bets around which parlays are often built. Used in parlays, Bankers are the bedrock of bet.
The Best-price percentage is the percentage chance of winning. Meaning a match with even odds stands at a 50% best-price percentage.
Actual or promotional money used to make wagers.
Betting exchanges are websites where bettors can wager against other bettors rather than against the bookmaker. Betting exchanges take function by taking commissions on bets placed.
There are various strategies that can be used by bettors, which have been created by numerous different statatitions and sports betting enthusiasts.
Bonuses and promotions are regularly offered by major sportsbook providers and act as an incentive for bettors to play with their book, or reload (reinvest) funds using certain payment methods. There are a broad range of bonus offerings.
Any website that offers betting markets on certain sports; horse racing is a facebook, sports betting is a sportsbook.
Bookie is short for Bookmaker, which is the same as a Linemaker. Bookies set the prices at a sportsbook.
A betting line offered in Ice-hockey, which are combinations of moneyline and against-the-spread bets.
Another word for the favorite in any game or event.
Closing lines are the final odds that are posted before lines close. They will likely be quite different to opening lines.
Two or more teams priced at the same odds. This is common in futures or ante betting.
Also known as juice or vigorish. This is the money bookmakers take to stay in business.
These are wagers used by bettors to predict the exact score at the end of a game. A risky bet, unless the bettor has a tip or is more sure of something.
A common term used for “covering the spread,” which is a term we will cover below.
Decimal odds are a way to represent odds, commonly used in the UK. Smaller odds (1.5 opposed to 7.0) represent the favorites.
It refers to wagers placed at (-110) where the juice is 10% of the wager. A dime is also a slang term for wagers worth $10, $100, or $1000.
A dog or underdog is a term used among bettors to describe a team that is least likely to win out of the two teams in question.
A Double Action is muli-wager bet. These bets require bets to be won, tied, or pushed for the next bets to be considered.
A bet placed on two wagers. The winnings from the first is rolled over to the second bet. Like parlays, you must win both to win the double bet.
Common across most sports, these wagers bet on the winner at halftime and at the end of the game. For example: Manchester United win at half time and Newcastle United win at full time.
Doubleheaders are two games played on the same day between the same two teams. These mainly happen in baseball.
Also known as a push, in sports betting. Any match ended in a tie. The original stakes are returned.
Drift refers to the steady and gradual growth of odds.
Bookmakers offer each-way bets to spread risk for bettors. This type of bet is made up of a win bet and a place bet. Betting on a horse to win, as well as a horse to place in a number of positions.
Another term often used to describe an advantage.
Even Money refers to any wager that returns the same amount as the original wager. The bettor may win or lose the same amount as the original risk.
They are also referred to as props or special bets. They are often more fun and unrelated to the outcome of the game.
Expected goals is the amount of goals that are predicted to occur in a half or an entire game.
Expected Value is the amount a bettor can expect to win across a variety of wagers.
The favourite is the opposite of the underdog. It’s quite self-explanatory, it’s the team/individual most likely to win.
This bet allows you to bet on who will be ahead at the end of the first half. It is a common wager available in most sports.
These types of bets are based on the first/last person to score in a particular match or competition.
Fixed-odds will not change after you place your bet. In other words, the closing line will not change your bet.
One way of representing the odds, often used in horse racing. Fractions set at 2/1 are equivalent to +200 in American odds.
Futures are very common bets, but come with a higher risk level, as they predict the future long before the factors affecting the event get underway. Typically seen as a high risk bet.
Bets placed at halftime on who will win just the second half, not the overall match.
Simply refers to wagers that are set at half points. For example a wager might predict Chelsea to win 2.5, meaning the over under lands on 2 or 3, depending which way the bet goes.
As a way of leveling out odds, a handicap ensures the odds are competitive attracting bettors to both sides of a particular bet.
The person who sets, bets on, or predicts a handicap.
Handicapping is a common occurrence and involves making a prediction of the odds.
The total a bookmaker will accept on a particular, a kind of maximum limit if you will.
Hedging your bets refers to betting on the opposite side of the original wager to ensure the bettor wins. This is often employed as a betting strategy.
Having the home advantage, simply means the team are playing at their stadium, ground, or their usual playing field. The advantage of doing this can sway odds in that teams favour.
Multi-wager bets which rely on each individual wager to win in order to proceed. These often occur in knockout tournaments.
Also known as live-betting, it’s the term used to describe when bettors place wagers on games or events whilst they are occurring. This has become an extremely popular betting market.
When at least two units such as players or teams are seen as equally likely to win.
Juice refers to the commission bookmakers take-off of winning bets. It is also known as “vig” or vigorish.
A formula created by John Kelly that is often employed by bettors to try and maximize the value of their bets.
This is the most common score differential in football.
Each sportsbook will set its own limits. These refer to the maximum and minimum each team can stake on any bet.
To describe bets that handicapped to make both sides equal.
The person/employee at a bookmaker who creates the odds – also known as an oddsmaker.
Also known as in-play betting, live-betting is when you can place wagers on a match or event as it’s happening.
A term used to describe a bet that is certain to come in. It’s a term that is misrepresented as no bet is certain to come in.
This is often referred to as ‘betting on the “underdog”. But it’s meaning is clear in that it’s something you have to take a risk on with a low probability of success.
It refers to two different things; Either the point spread or the oddsmakers commission on a match.
Any bet on a wager with two sides in a head-to-head match-up.
Probably the most common type of wager in betting. A very direct wager, where the winning team determines the outcome of the wager. Not based on the score or other aspects of the game or event.
Any bet that has multiple bets within it. They are often referred to as parlays, combos, or accumulators.
Stands for Most Valuable Player.
A bet perceived to be a sure-fire winner – It is also known as a “lock”. The best bet on any match.
A wager that is pulled from the betting market.
This represents the balance of advantage on a bet. They try to determine risk versus reward for punters.
Bookmakers will often give users the option of choosing American, Decimal or Fractional odds.
The side that is estimated to most likely win.
The person who decides what the odds will be, with some of the best normally coming out of Las Vegas.
It’s when the bet hasn’t been posted yet. Sudden changes such as injuries or weather can make bookmakers place an OTB where the odds would normally be.
A form of ante or futures betting. Any outright bet is created to predict the overall outcome of a league, competition, trophy, etc…
Based on the value set by the oddsmakers, the over is betting on the result to go over the set value.
Markets where the odds are in favor of the bettors, rather than the bookmakers.
Markets where the odds are in favor of the bookmakers, rather than the bettors.
The bookmakers will fix a certain figure, which bettors will wager over or under on. The bet will be decided on the result if it goes over or under that value.
A combination of bets made into a single wager.
This is the amount you win, plus your original stake, on a bet.
A betting market where the odds are the same on both sides.
A number elected by oddsmakers to represent the gap between the winning and losing team.
The time horses and greyhounds are set to begin the race.
Based on a variety of different statistics, power rankings assign a league rank based on current form and overall performance to form a unique ranking table for major sports.
Based on odds and reward. This is the amount it costs to play a particular bet.
These are very popular and represent bets that don’t have a direct relationship to the end result of a game. They can be designed to simply make the viewing experience more entertaining.
The number of goals that an underdog must stay within or a favorite must win by, to cash a winning ticket.
Any bet that lands in a tie or on the spread. The term refers to the money being given back to the bettor with no loss or gain in funds.
Any bet that is made based on a first, second, or third quarter.
Additional funds paid into a sportsbook account by a user.
Primarily used in Las Vegas, it’s the number a bookmaker assigns to a bettor.
A type of parlay of three legs or more that covers all wagers.
A handicap, against-the-spread baseball wagering option. Normally set at 1.5 runs at the start of the game, they change during live betting.
Switching between various sportsbooks to take advantage of the bonus offerings.
When a bet is received as being too high. Over the odds.
A bettor who knows the game and has invested time in betting, gaining experience and knowledge.
The opening odds for greyhound and horse races.
Otherwise known as props, these are betting markets that differ from standard betting lines such as moneyline and spread.
A split-ball handicap is two handicapped bets on a single wager that have differing values.
Another name for a bookmaker. Where odds are posted, bets are accepted, and fun is had.
A benchmark value used by all bookmakers, the number of points at the end of the game.
To make a spread bet, you place a bet for or against the spread set by the bookmaker.
Also known as “risk,” it is the amount you wager on any given bet.
It’s a way of budgeting your bankroll (total funds) so that not too much is spent in one go and bettors reserve funds.
It Refers to single bets, as opposed to placing a multi bet or accumulator.
A type of parlay where the odds move slightly (are “teased”) in your favor.
This is what a bettor will see on their account after they have completed a bet. The bookmaker will list the full bet on the ticket.
When a match, game, or event ends with an even score, also known as a draw.
When someone offers insight about a particular bet.
Professionals who provide tips.
A bet on the total score, accumulative, or by one team.
A professional bettor who offers tips, often for a fee.
Any wager that ends beneath the set value assigned by the oddsmakers, the opposite of an over bet.
The one team or individual who is expected to lose the game or event. The opposite of the favorite.
The commission added to bets by oddsmakers, otherwise known as “vig”.
Otherwise known as a bet, it’s placing money on a particular event.
Chris Wassel is a skilled scribe who possesses a fervor for both sports and entertainment. Boasting a journalism background and over two decades of experience, he has crafted pieces that encompass a diverse array of sports including hockey, basketball, football, and others. His writing is characterized by its lucidity and sharpness, and provides a unique viewpoint on entertainment and political matters. While Chris primarily focuses on sports writing, he also writes about a wide range of subjects.