Sports Betting Terms

There are several sports betting terms that anyone in the industry must know if they hope to be successful. Below we shared list of the most common terms and some easy to understand explanations. This glossary is perfect for new sports bettors as a quick and easy reference when they start placing bets.

As the sports betting industry continues to grow throughout the United States, and new bettors continue to sign up each day, a simple reference guide like this can be a great resource. 

Keep in mind that while most sportsbooks will use the same sports betting terms, there can be slight variations. So this is Wunderdog’s Sports betting glossary with some easy to understand definitions.


Sports Betting Terms width=


Refers to any wager that is placed.

Added Game

A last-minute addition at a sportsbook, like a doubleheader in baseball.

Against the Spread (ATS)

A form of betting that involves laying or taking the points rather than betting on the game straight up. I tend to favor ATS for my NFL picks.


Buying and selling picks of the same game but at different sportsbooks.

Bad Beat

Losing a wager at the last possible moment; an unexpected loss.


The amount of money that a bettor has at their disposal to bet with. One of the keys to being successful in sports betting is the discipline of bankroll management.


Someone that is licensed to set betting lines and also take wagers from customers.

Buying Points

Customers can choose to pay an additional fee to buy points on an against the spread bet. This will give the bettor a better chance to win the bet.


The favorite athlete, horse, team in a particular wager.

Contrarian Betting

Also known as fading the public. Searching for better value in the odds by betting on an outcome that is not expected.


The term given to a successful wager that is placed on a point spread bet. Example: You bet on a team that is listed at -6.5, and they win the game by at least seven points. i.e. "Cover the Spread"


The term that is used for a bet that is $1,000 in value.


A shortened version of the word underdog. This is the team that the bookmaker does not expect to win the game or event. 


This is sometimes referred to as a “Push.” In this scenario, a bettor will receive their money back, and there will be no winner.


A term used when a bettor has some advantage against the house or bookmaker.

Even Money

This is a bet where neither side lays any vigorish or odds. An example is +100.


This is the athlete, horse, or team that is expected to win the event. Learn about my betting philosophy on favorites vs underdogs.


Sometimes referred to as “Betting the Field.” This term is used in prop bets where there is the opportunity to take the field, i.e., the rest of the athletes or teams not listed by the bookmaker.


This is a type of bet where the bettor makes a wager on an event that is taking place at some time in the future. i.e. making a bet on a championship before the end of the season.


Process of placing a bet on the opposite side after already wagering on one outcome. This is done in an effort to cut your losses.


An extra-half point that is offered to bettors in point spread betting. This is a popular form of bet that is placed on football games.


The amount of money or commission that a bookmaker receives for taking your bet. Most books offer lines at -110, meaning that you would have to bet $110 to win $100.


The amount of money that a sportsbook will allow you to bet on a single event or game.


A term that is sometimes used in place of “odds.”


The process of betting on both sides to win a point spread bet. For example, betting on one team at -5.5 and the other team at +9.5. If the game finishes with a spread of six to nine points, then you win both bets.


A bet that is placed on a team to win the game straight up. A popular form of betting in baseball, hockey, and soccer. But the real question is, should you bet the moneyline.


Simply put, odds are the chances of something happening. post lines and odds for all sports right on the site.

Off the Board

Sportsbooks will take a bet “off the board” if there are unusual circumstances surrounding the event.


Sometimes referred to as the “Total.” This is a bet that focuses on the total number of points, runs, or goals scored in a game.


Combining at least two bets into one larger wager with greater odds but higher risk.

Pick ‘Em

A bet in which neither team is favored to win. Point spread betting is not offered.

Prop Bet

A bet that is offered on something other than the outcome of a game or event. Extremely popular when it comes to the Super Bowl. Learn more about the growing popularity and fun loopholes I find in my Super Bowl Prop Bets.


When your bet doesn't cover the spread, but doesn't lose either. So you get your money back. There is no winner, sometimes this is also referred to as a draw.

Run Line

Similar to spread betting, this form of betting is offered on both baseball and hockey.


A bet where the bettor can adjust the point spread or betting total.


This is the athlete, horse, or team that is expected to lose the event.


The amount of money that is bet on each wager.


Any bet that is placed at a sportsbook.