Sports Betting Terminology: Top 150 Words & Phrases

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In the world of sports betting, you’re likely to hear a vast range of words and phrases you rarely hear anywhere else. It can sometimes feel like its own language.

But don't worry, whether you’re a seasoned bettor or a first-timer, we’ve compiled the top 150 sports betting-related words and phrases and defined them below.


Matched Betting

Arbitrage betting: This is a strategy where you take advantage of different odds from different betting websites to guarantee a profit.

Bet: This is simply the money you put on a sports event when you make a wager.

Betting Exchange: Instead of betting against a bookmaker, a betting exchange lets you bet against other people.

Bonus Voucher: Some betting websites split your bet into two parts with a promotion. One part is cash, and if you win, you get back your original bet and any winnings. The other part is a "Bonus Voucher," which only gives you the winnings if you win.

Double Chance: With this bet, you can pick two out of three possible outcomes in a game instead of just one. Common choices are Home/Draw, Home/Away, and Draw/Away.

Dutching: The practice of placing multiple bets on different outcomes in the same event to guarantee a profit or minimize losses.

Free Bet: You can place a bet without risking your own money. If you win, you get the winnings, but not the original bet amount.

Hedge: This is like a safety bet to protect against losses on another bet.

Hedging: Hedging in sports betting is making additional bets to reduce or eliminate potential losses by betting on the opposite outcome, typically done as a risk management strategy.

Limits: Betting websites have rules about how much you can bet on a game. They often limit how much profitable bettors can wager. Avoiding these limits is important for long-term profit.

Market: This is the type of bet you can make on a betting website. Common markets include money line, point spread, and total.

Matched Betting: It's a strategy where you use free bets and promotions from betting sites to make a guaranteed profit. You do this by betting on all possible outcomes so that one of your bets is sure to win.

Minimum Odds: Some promotions have a rule that the odds must be at least a certain number, like -250. For example, -225 and +150 are okay, but -350 and -275 are not.

Moneyline: A moneyline represents the odds for a team or player to win a game, with a positive number indicating an underdog and a negative number indicating a favorite.
Odds: It's a number that tells you how much money you'll get if your bet wins. You can also use odds to figure out how likely an event is to happen.

Profit Boost: With this, your winnings get a percentage increase as stated in the offer. There's often a maximum bet amount and extra winnings you can get.

Qualifying Bet: Some promotions need you to place a bet first before you get the bonus. For example, you might have to bet $100 to get a $50 Free Bet.

Risk-Free Bet: You use your own money for this bet, but if it loses, you get a refund in the form of site credit or a Free Bet.

Rollover: This is a rule that says you have to bet a certain amount before you can take out your winnings. It's sometimes called "playthrough."

Site Credit: Bonus money is added to your account, but you can't withdraw it until you meet the rollover requirement. Keep in mind that the original bet amount and winnings are not available for withdrawal until the rollover is met. Site Credit usually differs from other free bets as the stake is mostly returned with the winnings.

Stake: This is the amount of money you bet on a single bet.

Wager: Another word for a bet, or a gamble on the outcome of an event. Wagering also applies to casinos. For example, "Wager $100" means to play through $100, 100 x $1 spins on a slot, etc.


Sports Betting

Accumulator: A bet that combines multiple selections into one, with all selections needing to win for the bet to pay out (this is a term often used in Europe, in the US we call them "parlays").

Action: This is a bet that gets a result, not one that's canceled. It's also a word used to talk about how much money is being bet on a game. For example, you might say, "There's a lot of action on the Yankees game tonight."

Against the Spread (ATS): When you bet on a team to cover the point spread.

American Odds: These are used in the United States. They show how much you need to bet to win $100 for negative odds (like -110) or how much you win from a $100 bet for positive odds (like +210).

Banker Bet: A single selection in an accumulator that you are highly confident will win.

Bankroll: A bankroll in sports betting refers to the total amount of money a bettor allocates for wagering on sports, used for managing bets and minimizing risks.

Bad Beat: A bad luck loss, usually because something unexpected happens at the end of a game.

Book: Short for sportsbook, which is a place where you can make bets on sports.
Buying Points: Paying extra to change the point spread to your advantage.

Chalk: The favorite in a game or match, often with lower odds.

Closing Line: The final odds for a bet just before the game starts.

Closing Line Movement: Changes in odds and point spreads as the game approaches, indicating where the money is going.

Closing Line Value: It's when your bet has better odds than the final odds before the game starts.

Cover: When a team does better than the point spread set by the odds makers.

Dog/Underdog: The team or player expected to lose a game.

Expected Value: How much you can expect to win or lose on average for each bet with the same odds.

Decimal Odds: Common in Europe and Australia, these odds show the total amount you get back, including your original bet, for every unit of currency you bet. For example, a $1 bet at odds of 3 means you get $3 if you win.

Double Result: This bet combines the halftime score and the final score of a game.
Edge: What you believe to give you an advantage over the sportsbook.
Even Money: A bet that pays the same amount as your original bet.

Fade: When you fade in sports betting it means to bet against or go opposite to popular public opinion, often against the favorite, in the hope of profiting from upsets.
Favorite The team or player expected to win.

Fractional Odds: This shows your potential profit as a fraction of the original bet, with the fraction telling you the ratio of profit to the stake.

Futures bet: A futures bet in sports betting is a wager on the outcome of an event or championship that will occur in the future, such as betting on a team to win the Super Bowl before the season starts.

Game Prop: A bet on something happening in a game that doesn't affect the outcome, like whether the total points will be odd or even.

Handicap: A handicap in sports betting is a point advantage given to one team to level the playing field, allowing for more balanced betting opportunities.

Handicapper: A person who studies and predicts the outcomes of sports events, often for betting purposes

Handle: The total amount of money bet at a sportsbook, usually measured in dollars.

Hook: Half a point added to a point spread to avoid a tie.

Implied Probability: This is when you turn odds into a percentage to show how likely an outcome is.

In-Play Betting: Placing bets on a game or match while it is in progress.

Juice: This is the fee that the sportsbook charges for making a bet. It's also called vigorish or vig.

Kelly Criterion: A mathematical formula used to determine the optimal bet size based on the bettor's edge and bankroll to maximize long-term growth.

Line: The point spread or odds for a specific game. For example, you might say, "The line for the Patriots game is 4.5."

Line Shopping: Comparing odds from multiple sportsbooks to find the best value.

Live Betting: Another term for in-play betting, where you bet on events as they happen.

Lock: A sure thing or a bet that's almost guaranteed to win.

Money Management: A strategy for managing your betting bankroll to minimize losses and maximize profits.

No Action: When a bet is canceled or not counted because the event didn't happen as planned.

Novelty Bet: This is a type of bet that's placed on events outside of sports, like political elections or award shows.

Oddsmaker: An oddsmaker in sports betting is a person or entity that sets the odds and lines for betting, predicting the outcome of sporting events.

Opening Line: The first odds available for a bet.

Odds on favorite: An "odds on favorite" in sports betting refers to the team or player with a high likelihood of winning, indicated by odds lower than even money (e.g., -150).

Over/under bet:  An over/under bet in sports betting involves wagering on the combined score of a game or the total number of points/goals, predicting if it will be higher (over) or lower (under) a specified number.

Parlay: A parlay in sports betting is a single bet that combines multiple selections into one, with all selections needing to win for the bet to pay out.

Parlay Card: A printed list of betting options for parlay bets, typically for football or basketball.

Pick'em: This is when neither team is favored, and you just pick the winner of the game.
Player Prop: A bet on a player's performance, like how many points they'll score.

Poisson betting: A sports betting approach that uses the Poisson distribution to estimate the number of goals or points scored in a game, helping in making more accurate predictions.

Prop Bet: Short for "proposition bet," it's a bet on a specific outcome or event that might not have a direct impact on the final result of the game.

Push: A "push" in sports betting occurs when the final score or outcome exactly matches the point spread or total, resulting in a refund of the bet with no win or loss.

Round Robin: A type of parlay bet that combines multiple bets into smaller combinations to spread the risk.

Sharp: Someone who has been a successful sports bettor for a long time.

Sharp Money: Bets made by experienced and knowledgeable bettors.

Stale Line: Outdated or incorrect odds that don't reflect the current market conditions.

Steam Move: A sudden and significant change in odds due to heavy betting activity.

Straight Bet: A straight bet in sports betting is a single, individual wager on a specific outcome, such as picking a team to win or a specific point total in a game.

Taking the Points: This is a strategy where you bet on the underdog in a point spread bet, hoping they'll either win or lose by fewer points than expected.

Teaser: A teaser in sports betting is a bet that allows the bettor to adjust point spreads or totals in their favor, but it typically offers lower odds.

Tout: Someone who sells or promotes their sports betting picks and expertise.

Unit: The amount of money you wager on each bet, often a percentage of your bankroll.

Variance: It's a measure of how much a set of numbers spread out from the average. For example, if you flip a coin 10 times, it should be heads 5 times and tails 5 times. If it's heads 7 times, that's a variance. With a bigger sample size, there's less variance, so flipping a coin 1,000 times is more likely to be close to 50/50 than flipping it 10 times.

Vigorish: The fee that bookmakers charge to accept a bet, also called the vig or juice.


Double: When a batter gets to second base safely with a hit.

Double Play: A defensive play where two players are put out in one go.

Error: A defensive mistake that lets a batter or runner get to a base safely.

Home Run: A hit where the batter runs around all the bases and scores a run.

Out: When a batter fails to reach a base safely or is put out by the defense.

Pitcher: The player who throws the ball to the batter.

RBI: Stands for "Runs Batted In." It counts how many times a player helps score runs.

Run: A point scored in baseball when a player safely reaches home plate.

Single: A hit that lets the batter get to first base safely.

Strikeout: When a batter swings and misses the ball three times, or looks at three strikes.

Triple: A hit that lets the batter reach third base safely.

Walk: When the pitcher throws four balls outside the strike zone, letting the batter get to first base automatically.

Wild Pitch: A pitch that's thrown too far off target and can't be caught by the catcher.



Assist: A pass that leads to a teammate scoring.

Blocked Shot: When a player on defense stops the opposing team's shot attempt by hitting the ball in the air.

Double-Double: When a player gets double-digit numbers in two of five categories: points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks.

Foul: Breaking the rules, leading to a free throw or the other team getting the ball.
Free Throw: A free shot awarded to a player after a foul.

Points: The numbers you get for scoring plays. Each made basket is worth 2 or 3 points, and free throws are worth 1 point each.

Rebound: When a player grabs a missed shot.

Steal: When a defensive player takes the ball from an opponent who's dribbling or passing.

Three-Pointer: A shot from beyond the three-point line, worth three points.

Triple-Double: When a player gets double digits in three of five categories: points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks.



End Zone: The area at each end of the field where touchdowns are scored.

Field Goal: A way to score by kicking the ball through the goalposts, worth three points.

First Down: The first of four chances to move the ball 10 yards.

Fumble: When a player loses the ball while carrying it, leading to a turnover.

Interception: When a defensive player catches a pass meant for an offensive player, causing a turnover.

Passing Attempts: How many times a quarterback throws the ball.

Passing Yards: The total distance gained on completed passes.

Reception: When a player catches a pass.

Receiving Yards: The total distance gained on successful passing plays.

Red Zone: The area between the 20-yard line and the end zone, where a team is close to scoring.

Rushing Attempts: How many times a player runs with the ball.

Rushing Yards: The distance gained when running with the ball.

Sack: When a defensive player tackles the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage, causing a loss of yards.

Touchdown: A scoring play where a player carries or catches the ball in the opposing team's end zone, worth six points.

Two-Point Conversion: After a touchdown, a team can try to get two more points by running or passing the ball into the end zone.



Assist: When a player makes a pass that leads to a teammate's goal.

Faceoff: A way to start the game, where the puck is dropped between two players competing for it.

Goal: Scoring in hockey happens when the puck crosses the opposing team's goal line and goes into their net.

Hat Trick: When a player scores three goals in one game.

Points: Given to players for helping with goals, including both scoring and assisting.

Power Play: When one team has an advantage on the ice because players from the other team are serving penalties.

Shot: When a player tries to score by shooting the puck into the opposing team's net using their stick.


Mixed Martial Arts

Submission: When one fighter makes their opponent give up by tapping out, or the referee stops the fight.

Go the Distance: When the fight goes on for all the scheduled rounds, and judges decide the winner.

KO: Short for knockout, it means a fighter is knocked out and can't continue.

TKO: Short for technical knockout, it means a fighter is still conscious but can't go on.

Corner Kick: A special kick starting from the corner, aimed toward the goal.

Booking: When a referee gives players a penalty, usually a yellow (less severe) or red card (more severe), for breaking the rules.

Foul: A rule violation, leading to a free kick or penalty kick for the other team.

Goal: Scoring a point in soccer by getting the ball into the opposing team's net.

Red Card: Shown to a player who makes a big foul, leading to their removal from the game.

Yellow Card: A warning card given for a minor foul. Two yellow cards mean a red card.



Ace: A serve that the opponent can't hit, earning a point for the server.

Advantage: The point after a deuce where the player who scores next wins the game.

Double Fault: A serve that doesn't clear the net and lands outside the service box, resulting in a point loss.

Fault: A serve that doesn't land where it should, costing a point.

Grand Slam: Winning all four major tournaments in one year.
Love: A score of zero in tennis.

Match Point: The final point needed to win the match.

Serve: Starting play by putting the ball in motion. Certain rules apply to serves that do not apply in normal gameplay.

Set: A series of games, usually played to the best of three or five games.


A Step Further

These explanations should help you better understand the world of sports betting, matched betting, and some of the more technical terms used in different sports.

If you'd like to take it a step further and begin building profits risk-free with matched betting, start our 14-day Free Trial and unlock $100+, on us. 

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