Betting Dictionary

Arbitrage Bets

A technique where a bettor places a wager on each possible outcome with various sportsbooks. By taking advantage of the differing odds from one book to the next, the gambler hopes to generate a profit regardless of the result of the game.


Also known as 'bookie', this is an individual who accepts wagers on various sporting events.

Buying Points

When a bettor pays extra money in order to adjust the point spread in his or her favor.

Canadian Line

Sometimes used in hockey, this is a combination of the money line and point spread.

Parlay Bet

A wager on two or more teams. If the first wager is a winner, then the initial bet is put towards the following wager


The amount of money that has been wagered and is in play for a bettor; the amount of money that is currently in play.


A synonym for bettor, gambler; someone who bets money on the result of a sporting event.


An action where one takes the opposite side of their original bet/position to reduce their risk and receive a reward rather than losing the bet altogether.


Intelligent, experienced, and/or professional bettors; sharps are respected in the betting community by bettors and sportsbooks as well.

Dead Heat

A tie between the bettor and the sportsbook. In this case, the bettor will win part of their bet and lose the other part as the stake is divided proportionally between the number of winners that partook in the bet.


The significant favorite. This comes from back in the day when odds were displayed on chalkboards at the horse tracks. Bettors would take the favorite more often thus, resulting in the odds being frequently erased and rewritten. The favorite horse’s name would then be covered in chalk.


To have “action” means a bettor is placing a wager of any kind on any event.

Circle Game

A circle game is when the bookmakers will lower the amount a bettor may wager on a game. This is usually due to poor weather conditions or an injury of a major player.

Closing Line

This refers to the final betting line a sportsbook may offer for an event. Similarly, the opening line is the first bet a sportsbook offers.


Cover or “covering the spread” refers to a bettor winning their bet on a point spread. For example, if there is a seven-point favorite that then wins by nine points, the spread has been covered, and the bet has been won.


This is slang for a $1000 bet. If a bettor has wagered four dimes, this means they have placed a $4000 wager.


This is slang for a $100 bet. If a bettor has wagered five dollars, this means they have placed a $500 wager.


This is slang for a $500 bet. If a bettor has wagered six nickels, this means they have placed a $3000 wager.

Even Money

Even money is when the odds stand at 50-50. So, for example, if you bet $1, you would win $1.


A hook is a half-point added to avoid a tie. So, if a team is a 7.0 favorite, often sportsbooks will set the odds at 7.5 instead. Bettors can also purchase a hook to avoid a tie.


A game with no underdog and no favorite is known as a pick’em. The point spread is set at zero and whoever wins the game wins the spread.


A tout is an individual who sells their sports betting knowledge or picks to others.