sports betting terms

You’ve heard of wagers, the underdogs, and high rollers.

But if you’re getting into sports gambling, you need to know a bit more than just the basics when it comes to betting terms.

And even if you’ve been involved in the sports betting world for a while, chances are good that eventually, you’ll hear a term that’s entirely new to you. Don’t let a misunderstanding of a definition cause you to make a bad bet.

Instead, rely on this guide to help you master the lingo of sports betting.

Then, head to a basketball or football game, and get ready to place a winning bet.

1. A Sports Bookie

Let’s get this one out of the way first.

This is short for a “bookmaker,” and it means someone who places/accepts bets and sets odds.

In the past, most bookies placed these bets illegally and were often tried in court as a result. However, in today’s world, most bookies/bookmakers are licensed and registered to take bets.

This post gives you a great overview of what a day in the life of a modern-day bookie is like, and how the legalization of sports betting has changed the profession as a whole.

2. Your Bankroll

The bankroll is one of the most important betting terms because it’s the amount of money you have to play with.

You can set your own bankroll depending on how much you feel comfortable losing. Bankroll management is tougher than you might think, but the good news is that it only takes one tough loss for you to realize that it’s something you need to put a lot of thought — and math — into.

Many in the sports betting world often play with what’s known as the flat-betting bankroll. This means that you’ll bet the same amount of money each game or unit and that you only put up between 1-5% of your total bankroll every time.

This is a good strategy for beginners especially since you’ll extend your betting time while getting a feel for which teams and players you want to put your money on in the future.

3. A Runner/Beard

Can’t make it to the next big sporting event, or just don’t feel like leaving your seat to place a bet?

You can use a runner or a beard instead.

These are people that place bets/wagers on behalf of another person.

4. The Spread

No list of popular sports terminology for betting would be complete without a quick explanation of the spread.

You may also hear this referred to as “point spread” or “line.” In football and basketball, the spread means that you’re betting not just on who will win the game, but the point range that they’ll win by and the point range that the underdog will stay within.

The favorite (expected winner) team is indicated by the “-” sign. The underdog (expected loser) team is indicated by the “+” sign.

Let’s look at an example:

Los Angeles -9.5

Charlotte +9.5

In this spread, Los Angeles is the expected winner, but they have to win by a minimum of ten points. Charlotte is the expected loser, but if Charlotte loses by 9 or fewer points, whoever bet on Charlotte is the winner.

Of course, if Charlotte completely dominates Los Angeles, whoever bet on Charlotte is also the winner.

5. Mush

Stay away from these people.

This is a term for bettors who seem to bring bad luck. Depending on how superstitious you are, they could be bad news.

6. Welch

Just like mush, this is another term that indicates someone you don’t want to do business with.

When someone welches on a bet, it means they don’t pay off a bet they lost.

7. Dollar

We know what you’re thinking. Why is this on a list of betting terms? I know what a dollar means.

Well, if you’re new to the world of sports betting, assuming that betting a “dollar” means a single one-dollar bill could be a costly mistake.

Most of the time in sports betting, the term “dollar” actually means $100 bet.

So, if you bet $10? Make sure you’re not accidentally betting a grand!

8. Juice

Think bookmakers and bookies work just out of a love for the game?

Think again.

They’re in it for the juice — the commission that they take from bets. Usually, this is fixed somewhere around 10%. You may also hear it referred to as the vig or the vigorish.

9. Parlay

Not to be confused with pirate code, the sports bet slang meaning of parlay is actually a singular wager in which you bet on multiple teams.

Yes, this means that, if all of your teams win, you’ll get a much higher payout than you normally would.

But it also means that if just one of those teams loses, you don’t get anything.

10. Off the Board

This is a term that no one in the world of sports betting likes to hear.

If some sort of game or event is taken “off the board” it means that you can’t bet on it. Usually, this happens if a player has been seriously injured and it’s not yet known whether or not they’ll be able to play in the game.

Interestingly, even the weather conditions can cause a game to get taken off the board.

11. Action

Let’s close out our list of the top betting terms with “action.”

If you’ve got some action on anything, it means that you’ve put money up on a certain team or event.

You’ve Mastered the Top Betting Terms

We hope that this post has helped you feel much more confident about the definitions of some of the most common betting terms.

Now, you’re ready to head out to the game and start betting!

Well, almost.

We think it’s still a good idea to study up on the players, records, and probabilities associated with your top teams before you make a bet.

We’re here to help you with that.

Check back with our blog for more invaluable advice for football, basketball, and more.

We also invite you to consider joining our betting clubs, so that you can get in on the action.