Skip to content Skip to footer

Common Sports Betting Terms

There are likely still some betting terms that you’re not totally clear on, and there’s no problem with that! Below, we’ve put together a list of 20+ common terms you’re likely to see while perusing your sportsbook for odds and lines or surfing the web for good betting advice (such as you might find at Sports Betting Focus).

  1. Against the Spread → When someone says that a bet or pick is against the spread or ATS, it means they’re making a point spread wager rather than one on the moneyline or something else.
  2. Buying Points → This is what punters do when they don’t like the point spread the sportsbooks have set for a certain game. They look for alternative lines where they can give fewer points on a favorite or take more on the underdog. Doing this improves your chances of winning but it also reduces your odds and payout significantly.
  3. BetslipEither physically or online, the bet slip is where a bettor can see all of the pertinent information about their bet such as stake, payout, odds, and other details.
  4. Chalk → Basically this refers to a very big favorite. If you have a point spread that’s at or near double-digits for an NBA game or NFL game, or moneyline odds lower than -300, that favorite is considered chalk. All chalk bets are favorites, but not all favorites are considered to be chalk. Small favorites are not chalk, big favorites are.
  5. Closing Line → The closing line is what the odds on a certain market or outcome were when the line closed and the event began.
  6. Deposit → Depositing is pretty crucial to online sports betting: it’s the act of putting money into your betting account so that you can then take advantage of offers and make bets through your preferred sportsbook.
  7. Dead Heat → Similar to a push, a dead heat refers to a tie in finishing position, most often in golf and horse racing. While a push in the MLB or UFC or NCAA football generally results in the bet being refunded, a dead heat in golf or horse racing means your payout will be affected.
  8. HandicapperA handicapper is someone considered to be a sharp or expert on sports betting who will often be paid to share picks, predictions, and analysis for punters.
  9. In Play Betting → A type of betting that allows punters to make bets on a limited number of outcomes once an event is already underway.
  10. Live Betting → Basically the same thing as in-play betting, only your odds will be updated much more regularly throughout the event.
  11. Line Maker → This one of the most important people in a sports betting operation as they are the ones who set the betting lines and adjust them based on a number of factors such as injuries, recent form, matchups, past performances in similar circumstances, etc. This is similar to a handicapper.
  12. MoneylineA Moneyline wager is a bet on the winner of any given event or game. This is a bet straight up on the winner and is unrelated to the point spread.
  13. OddsOdds in sports betting are the implied probability of a certain outcome in relation to a sports event.
  14. Offshore → Often called an ‘offshore book’ this is a term often used in the U.S. to refer to a sportsbook that caters to American bettors but is located in a territory out of the reach of the U.S. government such as Antigua or the Cayman Islands.
  15. Oddsmaker → Same as a line maker, an oddsmaker is someone who’s paid to set the betting lines and odds for various sporting events based on the research they do about that event.
  16. ParlayA parlay is a type of bet where several different markets are included inside one bet. This way you can only win your bet if you win all of the bets within the parlay. This is a way to bet with much more lucrative odds as each market you add into a parlay will increase your odds exponentially.
  17. Point-spreadThe point spread is the number of points the oddsmakers are giving the underdog to make the betting more even. The point spread will then move based on how the public bets on it initially. The point spread can also be referred to as the handicap.
  18. Real Time Odds → This is a term used to describe odds or lines for outcomes from an event that has already started and is live.
  19. Risk-Free Bets → This is basically a free bet for however many dollars given by a sports betting site to a punter, usually when they first join a sportsbook as a sort of signup bonus but sometimes on a weekly basis for other books. If you’re putting your own money down, there is no such thing as a risk-free bet in reality.
  20. Spread → If you hear someone talking about the ‘spread’ in relation to a sports event, they’re talking about the point spread.
  21. TeaserThis is a type of bet, similar to a parlay, where several bets are tied together to give the bettor increased odds. A teaser is a specific type of parlay where the punter is buying points on the spread or the total of a group of games together.
  22. Underdog → The underdog is the participant in the sporting event that is being given a lower probability of winning and is expected to lose. The underdog is the opposite of the favorite.

Leave a comment

The information found on is strictly for entertainment purposes. We are not a sportsbook and do not take any wagers. We do not endorse illegal online gambling. Please check the online gambling regulations in your jurisdiction before placing any wagers with the betting sites advertised on, as they do vary. Our site should not be used by any individuals under the age of 18. For more information please visit our responsible online gambling page. Terms & Conditions apply to all bonus offers displayed. Please visit sportsbook operators for details.

© All Rights Reserved.