Glossary: Sports betting terms to know

A mobile sports betting app for football games is displayed at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Las Vegas in this Sept. 5, 2019, file photo. (AP/John Locher)
A mobile sports betting app for football games is displayed at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Las Vegas in this Sept. 5, 2019, file photo. (AP/John Locher)

Action -- A slang term for sports betting in general, as in "I have action on the Vols."

Against the spread -- Also referenced as ATS, means a bet in which the point spread is used.

Bad beat -- An especially tough loss when it comes to sports betting and the spread.

Bankroll -- Your pool of money from which you are making sports bets.

Buck or dollar -- Common slang term for betting $100.

Buying the half -- Paying the bet-taker extra to lower the point spread or the total by a half-point.

Chalk -- Slang for the favored teams in regard to the spread.

Cover -- When a favored team wins by enough points to surpass -- or 'cover' -- the point spread.

Dime -- Betting slang for a wager of $1,000.

Dog -- Slang for underdog, so it's not dogs and cats in betting, it's 'dogs and chalk.

Even money -- Bets that have even odds on each side.

Favorite -- The team or player that is predicted to win.

Field -- The rest of the betting options in a specific wager, like Kansas City or the field to win the Super Bowl.

Futures bet -- A long range bet that covers a player or team over the course of a season, such as betting on a player to win MVP or a football team to win more than 10 games.

Hedge -- Making a smaller wager on the opposite side to minimize a player's risk on a bigger wager.

Hook -- The half point in point spread.

Juice -- The profit margin bookmakers build into the bets offered.

Line -- The odds or points spread offered to even the action.

Lock -- A wager almost certain to pay off.

Long shot -- A bet that has long odds, little expectation of winning but pays lofty returns.

Moneyline -- Betting on a team to win the game outright without the points spread factored in.

Nickel -- Slang for a $500 wager.

Off the board -- When a bookmaker takes a game or bet out of circulation and it is no longer available for bettors. This usually happens when the status of key players is unknown like with injuries.

Over/under -- A bet that is placed -- be it over or under -- on the combined total points scored by both teams.

Parlay -- A multi-legged bet in which all pieces must hit to cash. The more legs, the longer the odds and higher the payout.

Point spread -- The bookmaker's number of points given to the underdog to balance the teams and the odds.

Prop bet or proposition bet -- An exotic wager that is offered on specific aspects of various games. The bigger the game, the more exotic the prop bets offered.

Push -- A tie.

Sharp -- Slang moniker for an experienced and successful bettor.

Smart money -- Considered by insiders as the amount wagered on the perceived better side, as in "Sharps have put the smart money on Buffalo."

Stake -- The sum of money a bettor starts with. Can also be the amount a bettor wagers.

Teaser -- A combination bet like a parlay with lower odds but the bettor gets to move the point spread on each leg of the teaser bet.

Total -- A number oddsmakers set in points, runs or even rounds in a fight and bettors can wager on whether the outcome will be over or under that total.

Unit -- A traditional — and smart — betting approach centers on betting a consistent amount on most games. That amount is called a unit and generally is roughly 1/20th of a player's bankroll. Players can increase that unit or play fractional amounts of it too on longer-odds wagers.

Some advocate betting 3% of your bankroll on each play. 

For example, if you have $1,000 to spend for a year, you could bet $30 per game and one unit equals $30. 

Value bet -- A smart play that generally is considered to have better odds of winning than are being posted by oddsmakers.

Vig, as in vigorish -- A slang term to describe the juice that bookmakers collect. In old-school days it was always 10% of losing wagers.

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