Sports Betting 101
TYPES OF SPORTS WAGERS
A straight bet is an individual wager on a game or event that will be determined by a pointspread or money line.
A parlay is a single bet that links two or more wagers; to win the bet, the player must win all the wagers in the parlay. If the player loses one wager, he loses the entire bet. However, if the player wins all the wagers in the parlay, he wins a higher payoff than if he had placed the bets separately.
A futures bet is a wager placed on an event typically far in the future, such as which team will win next year’s pro football championship game or pro hockey championship series.
Proposition bets, or “prop” bets, focus on the outcome of events within a given game. Props are often offered on marquee games of great interest. These include Sunday and Monday night pro football games, various high-profile college football games, major college bowl games and playoff and championship games. An example of a prop bet is “Which team will score the first touchdown?”
A teaser is a type of football or basketball wager in which the pointspread is adjusted by additional points in the player’s favor on more than one game. In football, a player may move the posted pointspread 6, 6.5, 7 or 10 points. In basketball, 4, 4.5 and 5-point teasers are offered.
A round robin is a series of parlays. For example, a 3-team round robin consists of three 2-team parlays (A + B, A + C and B + C).
The most popular sports bets are based on the pointspread. The pointspread represents the margin of points in which the favored team must win by to “cover the spread.” Bets on the pointspread are usually offered at 11 to 10 odds. For example, a player must bet $11 to win $10 for a total payout of $21 or $110 to win $100.
The money line represents the odds of a team winning the game outright without the use of the pointspread. The money line is expressed as a 3-digit number. For example -150 means a player must bet $150 for every $100 he wishes to win, $15 for every $10 and multiples thereof.
GLOSSARY OF SPORTS BETTING TERMS
Action – A sports wager of any kind; a bet.
Added Game – A game not part of the typical menu of wagering offerings, often posted as an accommodation to patrons.
Book – A establishment that accepts bets on the outcome of sporting events.
Buy (Points) – A player pays an additional price (lays more money) to receive a half-point or more in his favor on a pointspread game.
Chalk – The favorite.
Cover – Winning by more than the pointspread.
Dime – A $1,000 sports wager.
Dog – The team perceived to be most likely to lose. Short for underdog.
Favorite – The team considered most likely to win an event.
First-half bet – A bet placed on the score in the first half of the game only.
Future – Odds that are posted well in advance on the winner of major events, including the Pro Football Championship, the Pro Basketball Championship and the Pro Baseball Championship.
Half-time bet – A bet placed on scoring in the second half of a game only.
Handle – The total amount of bets taken.
Hold – The percentage the house wins.
Juice – The bookmaker’s commission, most commonly the 11 to 10 bettors lay on straight pointspread wagers; also known as “vigorish.”
Laying the points/price – Betting the favorite by giving up points.
Limit – The maximum amount accepted by the house before the odds and/or pointspread are changed.
Line – The current odds or pointspread on a particular event.
Listed pitchers – A baseball bet placed only if both of the pitchers scheduled to start a game actually start. If they don’t, the bet is deemed “No Action” and refunded.
Longshot – A team perceived to be unlikely to win.
Middle – To win both sides of a game; wagering on the underdog at one pointspread and the favorite at a different pointspread and winning both sides. For example, if the player bets the underdog +4 ½ and the favorite -3 ½ and the favorite wins by 4, he has middled the book and won both bets.
Money line – Odds expressed in terms of money. With money odds, whenever there is a minus (-) the player lays that amount to win $100; where there is a plus (+) the player wins that amount for every $100 wagered.
Nickel – A $500 sports wager.
No action – A wager in which no money is lost or won and the original bet amount is refunded.
Off the board – A game in which no bets are being accepted.
Opening line– The earliest line posted for a particular sporting event.
Over – A sports bet in which the player wagers that the combined point total of two teams will be more than a specified total.
Parlay – A single bet that links together two or more wagers; to win the bet, the player must win all the wagers in the parlay. If the player loses one wager, he loses the entire bet. However, if he wins all the wagers in the parlay, he wins a higher payoff than if he had placed the bets separately.
Pick or Pick ’em – A game when neither team is favored
Pointspread – The margin of points in which the favored team must win by to “cover the spread.”
Price – The odds or pointspread.
Prop (Proposition) Bet – A bet that focuses on the outcome of events within a given game. Props are often offered on marquee games of great interest. These include Sunday and Monday night pro football games, various high-profile college football games, major college bowl games and playoff and championship games. An example of a prop bet is “Which team will score the first touchdown?”
Push – When the contest ends with no winner or loser for wagering purposes; a tie for wagering purposes.
Round Robin – A series of parlays.
Run line – In baseball, a spread used instead of the money line.
Sides – The two teams playing; the underdog and the favorite.
Sports book – A physical location that accepts sports bets.
Straight bet – An individual wager on a game or event that will be determined by a pointspread or money line
Straight-up – Winning the game without any regard to the pointspread; a money-line bet.
Take the points – Betting the underdog and receiving its advantage in the pointspread.
Take the price – Betting the underdog and accepting money odds.
Teaser – A type of parlay in which the pointspread or total of each individual play is adjusted. The price of moving the pointspread (teasing) is lower payoff odds on winning wagers.
Tie – A wager in which no money is lost or won because the teams’ scores were equal to the number of points in the given pointspread.
Total – The combined amount of runs, points or goals scored by both teams during the game, including overtime.
Under – The player bets that the total points scored by two teams will be less than a certain figure.
Underdog – The team perceived to be most likely to lose. Also known as the “dog.”
Vigorish – The bookmaker’s commission; also known as juice.