Betting Lingo

Sports Betting – Terms – Lingo – Jargon – Terminology – Wagering

So you want to place a bet on your team to win. You visit a sportsbook and what do you see? What’s a parlay? What are exotic bets? Our terminology guide should be sufficient to help most new bettors to come to terms with the unique terminology used in the online wagering scene.

Action A bet
BM Bookmaker
BR Bankroll
Back door A ‘cover’ that occurs in the waning moments of a game
Bad beat Losing under unusual circumstances
Beard A runner; one who places a bet for another
Beef A dispute over the outcome of a bet
Bow-wow An underdog
Chalk A favorite
Circled game A contest on which betting limits are reduced (injuries and weather are the primary reasons for games to be circled)
Cover A pointspread win
Degenerate A compulsive gambler
Dime $1,000
Dollar $100
Earn Percentage hold
Exotic Any wager other than a straight bet or parlay (also referred to as a proposition or prop)
Exposure The maximum amount of money a sports book stands to lose on a game
Figure Amount owed to or by a bookmaker
Form A tabloid used for horse racing data
Getting down Placing a bet
Handicapper A person who studies factors such as statistics, injuries, weather and news to predict the outcome of games
Handle Total amount of money wagered
Hedge To reduce amount of action by wagering on the opposite side of a previous bet
Hook A half-point
Juice Amount of commission kept by the house (also referred to as vigorish or vig)
Laying a price Playing a favorite
Layoff Money bet by a house with another bookmaker to reduce its liability
Limit Maximum amount of money accepted for one wager
Line The odds on a game (also referred to as price)
Lock A surefire winner (there really is no such proposition)
Matador A cover that occurs in the waning moments of a game (also referred to as a back door cover)
Middle Betting both sides of a game at different prices with the hope of winning both wagers (An example: if a bettor played Maryland (minus-4) and Duke (plus-6), and Maryland won, 100-95, he would win both bets — or “catch a middle”)
Mush A bettor who is bad luck
Nickel $500
Off the board A game on which bookmakers are not accepting wagers (generally because of injuries)
Overlay A situation in which the odds on a game favor the bettors rather than the house
Parlay One bet ticket written with at least two wagers (all must win for the ticket to cash)
Past post To place a wager after an event has started
Pick’em A game with no favorite (the straight-up winner also would win bets)
Price The odds on a game
Puppy The underdog
Push A tie
Round robin A single ticket with comprised of more than one parlay
Rundown A list of odds on a particular day’s games
Runner One who places bets for another
Scalper Someone who bets both sides of a game
Score A big win
Sharp A sophisticated or professional sports bettor
Square A novice sports bettor
Steam Heavy action on one side of a game
Straight bet One wager (as opposed to a parlay)
Sucker bet Parlays, teasers or exotics (anything bookmakers use to entice squares to bet more)
Taking a price Betting an underdog
Tapped out Broke from gambling
Teaser A sucker wager that allows bettors to add and subtract points from posted odds
Tout service A company that sells selections on games (most in the United States are dishonest)
Underlay A situation in which the odds on a game favor the house rather than bettors
Value An overlay
Vigorish Amount of commission kept by the house (also referred to as juice or vig)
Wise guy A professional sports bettor