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Sports Betting Terms from Top 5

Terms used in sports betting can be confusing at best. Top 5 Sportsbooks has you covered with both common, and not so common definitions of sports betting terms and slang words.


Action – Although it means to  money in a game, if you bet on baseball and you choose action, it means you don’t care who the starting pitchers in the game are .

Bad Beat – Tough loss

Balance – To have equal action on either side of a game.

Beard – Messenger bettor. This is a person betting on another’s behalf, often to conceal the identity of the actual bettor.

Beef – Dispute.

Bookmaker - The individual who takes your bets. Also called Bookie.

Buck – $100.

Chalk – The favorite to win in the game, or race.

Chalk Eater – One who bets the favorite to win.

Churn – The effect of betting and re-betting money

Circle Game – Game where action is limited, mainly because of the weather, or injuries.

Cover – In sports such as basketball or football where the bettor wins if the team they bet on meets "covers" the point spread. If you bet on a game between the Chicago Bears and Detroit  Lions and bet the favorite, Chicago Bears favored by 7 and the score ending up with the Bears 34 and the Lions 11, you won the bet because the bears covered the 7 point spread.

Degenerate – a person with a gambling problem.

Dime – $1000

Dog – The underdog or team expected to lose.

Dollar – $100

Edge – Having the advantage.

Exotic Bet – Action other than a straight bet or parlay

Favorite – The team that is expected to win. It can also be in the singular such as in golf, tennis, horse racing, etc.

Gross Win – Win before your expenses.

Handicapper – The one who studies sports and predicts the outcomes.

Hook – Half point in point spreads.

Home Field Advantage – Edge the home team is has for reasons such as they did put in the travel time, had the home crowd cheering them on, playing on the same  (home) field for half the season; these are the most common reasons a team has the home field advantage.

Hoops – Basketball

Hot Tip – Information the bookmaker is not yet privy to. Like if you knew the star baseball players wife just left him.

Juice – The Bookie's commission, most often refers to the -110 football bettors lay on straight wagers; also, the vig or vigorish

Lay Off – To bet make bet on a game to reduce the exposure or risk. A bookmaker who has accepted too much action on one side of an event may lay off by placing a wager with another bookmaker to ensure that he is not over exposed.

Limit - Maximum you can bet on a game, or event.

Line – Short and simple, the odds.

Long Shot – The team, player, or horse least expected to win.

Moneyline - Some sports like hockey and soccer; baseball at times they usually are low scoring games so. Since there is really no reason the offer the spread they offer the Moneyline where you bet on the team to win outright. 

Mutual – Price paid on a winning pari-mutuel wager

Neutral Site – When teams play on a field, court, or rink that is not the home of either team.

Nickel – $500

Off the Board – Game where no bets are being accepted

Parlay - A bet with at least two or more teams all the teams must win for you to collect any winnings.

Past Post – To make a bet after an event has started. Used mostly in horse racing.

Pick or Pick’em – A game where neither team is favored. Many times shown as PK.

Player – Other than the one person who is playing the sport, it is a bettor, or gambler.

Post Time - The official time when the race begins. The horses must be at their starting gates and runners must be at their starting line. 

Press – Betting more than usual

Price – Line

Puppy – Underdog

Push – A tie

Rundown – When lines are updated

Score – To win big time; Man I scored.

Scratch – Many times a player, who at the last minute cannot play they will announce it as a scratch. 

Sharp – Very good player, a Wise guy.

Square – Part time gambler.

Sucker Bet – When the house has a huge edge.

Tapped Out – Broke, busted, common result of pressing

Toss Up – Game where the line is close to Pick’em

Tout Service – A business that sells opinions on sporting events

Underlay - When the odds on a proposition are in favor of the house

Value - An overlay

Vigorish – Often called the Vig or Juice

Wise Guy – Established and successful sports bettor

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