Sportsbook Lingo

Sports gambling has always been popular. But there is a real chance that it has become even MORE popular in the last few years. That's because it's finally hit the mainstream. More states outside of Nevada and New Jersey have legalized sports gambling, meaning millions more players now have the chance to get in on the exciting action. And good luck watching TV and not seeing a commercial for a sports gambling app. And since more players are getting in on the fun, we thought we would do our part to help and offer up this helpful guide to some sports gambling terms so you're better equipped for your next - or first - session. Let's get to it!


The spread is amount of points the oddsmakers think a game will be played within. The favorite will be -5 and the underdog will be +5. That means the favorite must win by MORE than 5 points in order for the bet to hit while the underdog can lose the game by 4 our less and the bet will still hit.

Laying Points

Betting on the favorite. If you take Team A at -5 then you are 'laying 5 points'.

Covering The Spread

Any bet where the favorite team wins and the final score exceeds the spread. If Team A has a spread of -5 and they win the game 30-20 they 'covered the spread'.

Taking Points

A bet on the underdog. If you take Team A at +5 then you are 'taking 5 points'. If Team wins the game outright or losses by 4 points or less the bet is a winner.


This is a straight up bet that does not include any points. You're picking the outright winner. Favorites are listed with negative odds - meaning -180 requires a $180 bet to win $100. Underdogs come with a positive odd - meaning a +180 requires a $100 bet to win $180.


Any wagering option or the total bet placed on a game or event.

Closing Line

The final betting lines posted before the start of a game or event.

Correct Score

A bet placed on predicting the exact final score of a game or match.


The team or athlete that is most likely to win.


The team or athlete that is seen as inferior and less likely to win.

Even Money

Odds that return the exact amount of the original bet. A $100 on +100 odds would net $100.

Futures Bet

A wager placed on an event that takes place in the future. Popular futures bets are betting on the winner of the Super Bowl, Stanley Cup, NBA Finals, World Series, World Cup and NCAA basketball and football championships.

Live Betting

Bets that take place once a game or event has already started.


The betting odds posted by the oddsmakers.


A betting ticket with 2 or more bets. In order to win a parlay, ALL bets must be winners.

Game Prop

Specialized bets that focus on teams. Game props are things like 'the first team to score' or 'first type of score'.

Player Prop

Another specialized bet that focuses on specific players to preform specific actions. Player props include actions like 'Player A to hit a homerun' or 'Player B to score 20 points'.


A number posted on how many total runs/goals/points will be scored during a game or match. If the over/under is 40 then a bet on the OVER means the COMBINED score must be over 40. An under bet means the combined score must be under 40.

Pick 'em

This is when the betting odds are the same on both sides, meaning the teams are seen as equal.


Any wager or bet that ends in a tie. If the spread is 5 points and the final score of the game is 25-20 then the bet on both teams is a push and the original stake is returned.

First Half Bet

A bet popular with football, basketball and soccer. This a wager on ONLY the first half of the game.

Alternate Lines

Odds that are higher or lower than the main posted line. Common with basketball and football bets.

Buy Points

When a player utilizes the alternate lines to gain a more favorable line they are 'buying points'.

Bad Beat

This is when a wager is on the verge of winning only to become a loser after a fluke play or points being scored late in a game. If you gamble on sports you're going to experience a bad beat!

First/Last/Anytime Scorer

A bet on a specific player to score first, last or at anytime during a game.

Hedging The Bet

This means placing a wager on the opposite side of an existing bet in order to set up a guaranteed return. This minimizes risk.


So there we have it. Our handy list of some of the most popular sportsbook and sports gambling terms you're most likely to hear. So the next time you're ready for a sports gambling session, be sure to read up on these terms so you'll know exactly what kind of bet you are placing and the potential return - and risk - you're giving yourself. As always, manage your bankroll and never chase your losses! Remember, gambling of any kind - sports or casino - should be seen as entertainment and entertainment only. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and lay some favorites, place some parlays and take some points! Good luck!