Sports Betting Slang And Terminology

The sports betting landscape is a field of its own. Unlike gambling in a casino, sports betting involves bets on real-life competitions and tournaments in the sports industry. This in itself makes it a unique gambling subfield to enter into. 

While certain jargons and terminologies are common in the online casino space and the entire gambling world, some are unique to the sports betting market. Here are some important slang and terminology that every sports bettor must know to get started.  

Most Common Sports Betting Terms and Slang


Action is a synonym for a bet or wager. It is also used beyond the sports betting landscape such as in casino betting. 

Bad Beat

Bad Beat happens when a wager is near its win yet ends up becoming a defeated ticket. This typically happens when points are accumulated during the latter portion of the match. Bettors who focus on money lines, point spreads, and game totals are prone to experiencing bad beats every once in a while. 

Buy Points

Buying points refer to paying an additional expense just to get the game for a more attractive price. In several instances, bettors purchase football points in key numbers like 7 and 3. 


Chalk is slang jargon for the word “favorite.” It refers to the team or player that gains the favor in the overall matchup. Chalk bettors, as they are called, may typically place their bets on this recognized favorite.

Closing Line

The closing line refers to the decided odds of betting that are posted before a sports competition commences. 

Cover or Covering the Spread 

Cover or covering the spread refers to a bet of any kind wherein the favorite wins the match and the ending score goes beyond the point spread. In some sports such as basketball and football, the sports bettor will have won the bet if this wager covered the point spread. 


Dog is an abbreviated form of the word “underdog.” It refers to the specific player or team that is perceived to have the least likelihood of winning. 


Edge refers to the actual or perceived advantage that a sportsbook or sports bettor may have on a specific wager. 

Even money

Even money refers to odds that the bettor receives that are equivalent to the original wager amount. 

Futures bet

Futures bet refers to wagers that are placed on events, such as the NFC South Division title, that could take place in the future (be it near or far-future). 


Handle refers to the total amount of funds that were wagered on a betting market or game in particular. It could also refer to the sum that the sportsbook received within a specific duration. 


Hedging refers to wagering on the other side of the original wager decision to make sure that a return of some sort is guaranteed. Doing so may reduce the risks of betting on the losing side. 


Hook refers to the halfway point in a particular betting line. It eliminates the possibility of a tie (or “push”) taking place. 


Juice refers to the taxes created by sportsbooks that come with placing a bet. 


Moneyline refers to a bet that is straightforward and directs wherein point spreads are not present and wherein bettors need to outrightly guess who the winner is. 


Parlay refers to one bet that has at least two sides. To gain a ticket that winds, all involved sides must have a positive turnout. 

Point Spread

Point spread refers to specific odds posted on a game that is meant to even out the game field. It is the specific bet placed on the margin of possible victory. 

Prop Bet

Prop bet refers to wagers on things aside from the game’s actual outcome. These may include strikeouts or passing yards. 


Push refers to any bet that ends up with a tied result. 

Reverse-line Movement

Reverse-line movement refers to movement in the betting line that goes against the percentages reported in public bettings. 


Tout refers to a person that sells expertise or picks to other bettors. 

Once beginner sports bettors have a grasp of these important common terms in the field, it will be easier to get started in the game. While some sports are easier to understand compared to others, knowing about the terms in sports betting itself is helpful to understand decisions and updates and most importantly, to make better bets.