If you’re new to the world of sports betting, it can sometimes feel like people are speaking a completely different language when referring to their bets. Terms like ATS, cover, chalk and sharp can go over our heads if we don’t know the proper definitions.

Here at Odds Shark, we’ve compiled a handy list of sports betting terms that any beginner should learn with our Sports Betting Glossary. Some expressions you may already know while others could completely change your thinking so read up and be at the top of your game for sports recreational betting.

Don’t be worried about not knowing the basics. Every bettor needs to start somewhere so why not with our list of over 60 references sorted alphabetically below:

Sports Betting Glossary
  • Across the Board – Wagering on a horse to Win, Place or Show.
  • Action – Generic term for the amount of bets placed on a game or sporting event. Also refers to a baseball wager with no pitchers listed.
  • ATS (Against the Spread) – A term used to indicate the betting result of an event that takes the point spread into account and can sometimes refer to a team’s record against the spread.
  • Bad Beat – A loss that appeared to be a win or near lock before taking a turn for the worse and eventually losing.
  • Beard – Somebody who places bets for you but conceals their identity.
  • Bettor – Someone who bets on sports.
  • Book – Short for “sportsbook,” a book is an establishment that accepts wagers on sports and other events.
  • Bookmaker/Bookie – A group or individual that takes bets on sports or other events.
  • Buck – A $100 wager or “buck” bet. Can also be referred to as a “Benjamin.”
  • Buy Points – The ability a bettor has to pay for a half-point or more off the spread offered by the bookmaker/bookie.
  • Chalk – The favored team or athlete, also known as the favorite.
  • Circled Game – A game in which there are lower limits due to injuries, weather or other factors.
  • Cover – The act of winning by enough to beat the point spread set by bookmakers, in which case you have “covered the spread.”
  • Dime – A $1,000 wager or “dime” bet.
  • Dime Line – A betting line in which the “juice” or “vig” is 10 percent.
  • Dog – A shortened version of underdog, the team or person expected to lose.
  • Dollar – Similar to a “buck” bet or $100 wager.
  • Edge – The perceived advantage a sports bettor has before wagering.
  • Even Money – A bet without “juice” or “vig” associated with it (i.e. bet $100 to win $100).
  • Favorite – The team or individual expected to win a sporting event based on the point spread or moneyline.
  • Futures – A bet on a sporting event taking place well into the future, such as wagering on a team to win the championship during the regular season or even preseason.
  • Handicapping – Researching sports and specifically statistics/trends to try to pick winning bets. People who handicap sports are known as “handicappers.”
  • Hedging – Betting on the opposite side of a current wager to minimize losses or guarantee a small profit. It can also be referred to as “middling.”
  • Hook – A half-point on a point spread.
  • Juice – Commission that the sportsbook earns on bets wagered. Also known as “vig.”
  • Laying the Points – Betting the favorite by giving up points against the spread or ATS.
  • Limit – The highest amount of money a sportsbook will take on a single bet.
  • Lines – Another word used for odds to describe a point spread or moneyline.
  • Linemaker – Someone who sets the original or opening line on a sporting event, also known as an “oddsmaker.”
  • Listed Pitchers – The pitchers in a baseball bet that must start for action. If one or both of the pitchers do not start, the bet is void or cancelled.
  • Lock – A supposed easy winner or large favorite.
  • Long Shot – A team or athlete considered unlikely to win or a large underdog based on odds set by bookmakers.
  • Moneyline – A wager selecting a team or athlete to win straight up without a point spread involved.
  • Nickel – A $500 wager or “nickel” bet.
  • Nickel Line – A betting line in which the “juice” or “vig” is five percent.
  • No Action – A wager that is cancelled with money refunded back to the bettor.
  • Off the Board – A game bettors cannot currently wager on due to certain circumstances.
  • OVER – When the number of final combined points/goals/runs scored by two teams finishes above the total posted by a sportsbook.
  • OVER/UNDER – A bet on whether the combined points/goals/runs scored by two teams will go OVER or UNDER a number specified by the sportsbook (also called the “total”).
  • Parlay – A bet in which multiple sporting events are selected, each of which must win in order for the bet to be successful.
  • Pick’em – A game in which there is no favorite or underdog and the side simply needs to win straight up without a point spread.
  • Point Spread – A set number of points determined by the oddsmaker that the favorite gives or the underdog takes as a handicap to make the game more even to wager on.
  • Proxy – Similar to a “beard,” somebody who places bets for you but doesn’t conceal their identity.
  • Puckline – A point spread of -1.5 or +1.5 in a hockey game with additional moneyline values for the favorite and underdog, respectively.
  • Prop Bet – An exotic wager on a game or sporting event beyond the side and total.
  • Push – When a game ends with no winner or loser from a betting perspective, landing right on the number based on the point spread or total.
  • Runline – A point spread of -1.5 or +1.5 in a baseball game with additional moneyline values for the favorite and underdog, respectively.
  • Sharp – A “smart” bettor who seemingly knows more about wagering strategies.
  • Side – The team (favorite or underdog) a bettor wagers on to win and cover ATS.
  • Spread – Short for “point spread.”
  • Straight Bet – A single wager on just one team or athlete.
  • Square – A “novice” bettor who is generally characterized as the “public.”
  • Steam – A rapid change in the betting line due to heavy wagering or betting.
  • Taking the Points – Betting the underdog by receiving the points against the spread or ATS.
  • Teaser – Like a parlay, but the point spreads are adjusted more to favor the bettor, giving less on a favorite or taking more on an underdog in exchange for a lower payout.
  • Total – The final combined points/goals/runs scored by two teams in a sporting event.
  • UNDER – When the number of combined points/goals/runs scored by two teams finishes below the total posted by a sportsbook.
  • Underdog – The team or individual expected to lose a sporting event based on the point spread or moneyline.
  • Vigorish – Another word for bookmakers’ commission or “juice” aka “vig” for short.
  • Wiseguy – Similar to a “sharp” or “smart” bettor who is well-informed and knowledgeable.
  • Wager – The act of placing a bet on a sporting event.