Sports Betting Glossary

You need to know your terms before you actually bet on them  

Accumulator - Also referred to as a parlay; betting on multiple games at the same time, although the games do not happen at the same time. The idea is to accumulate winnings by pressing the winnings of the first game onto the second, and then third or more, if so included. The catch is that all bets must win, or else if one loses, all lose.

Bookmaker - Also called "bookie", person who collects and manages bets on sports results, and often operates on an set of odds that the client agrees to.

Handicap - A method for bookmakers to even out odds between teams in what seems to be a one-sided event. The point spread is one way to implement a handicap.

Long shot - Any bet-on team who has less likely prospects for winning.

Margin - The amount of points a winning team has over the losing team.

Money Line - The American system of betting, where the points of the team bet on become the price need to qualify to win $100, or any other prize offered by the bookmaker.

Odds - The bookmaker's calculation of the odds of a team winning. Can be referred as chances in the layman's glossary.

Open Wager - A way of betting in a parlay or teaser, allowing the bettor to make his selections at different times and days. 

Over/Under - A bet based on combining the total number of points scored by the two teams, guessed on in comparison to a preestablished number.

Point spread - The system wherein, instead of betting on the winner or loser flat, introduces a handicap, like a point deduction for the higher-ranked team, that attempts to even out the odds for both teams in winning. One example is a -7 for a team that has a higher standing than their opponent.

Proposition Bets - Also called exotic bets, they are bets on other aspects of the game, like who will be the first player substituted, points at the end of a quarter or half, who will be the first injury, or others that do not fit in the usual bet topics.

Punter - street term for a bettor. UK glossary term.

Straight Bet - the most common bet form. A simple bet on a winner at a given set of odds.

Teaser - A bet on two or more teams where the bettor either adds or subtracts from the point spread to try and put the odds in their favor. Despite the adjustment, it usually results in reduced odds. All results must hit the selected teams to win.

Tipster - someone who makes recommendations on a bet. Not all tipsters are reliable.

Underdog - the team expected to lose in a game. They can be long shots, usually given the advantage of the point spread, but are sometimes good bets. Common glossary term for less favored players or teams.