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Sports Betting Terms: What You Need to Know

Sports Betting

46% of American adults show interest in sports betting. Aside from providing entertainment, sports betting can offer a potential revenue stream.

Learning different sports betting terms can help you make informed decisions on your first bet. Here are some common gambling terms you should know.

Sports Betting and Sportsbook

Sports betting is a great way to earn extra money if you make smart and rational decisions. If you want to get into sports betting, look for a bookmaker or a sportsbook. This refers to an individual or an organization accepting bets and paying winnings.

Action and Bookmaker

Action refers to the bet or wagers you plan to place. To make an official bet, go to a bookmaker.

Odds, Favorite, Underdogs

Odds, oddsmakers, favorites, and underdogs are other crucial sports betting terms.

First, the odds refer to the probability of an outcome occurring. They are numbers determining the difference between a favorite and an underdog. The oddsmakers are an individual or a group setting and adjusting the odds.

The favorite is the athlete or team that the oddsmaker expects to win. On the other hand, the underdog refers to the athlete or team expected to lose.

Bad Beat

In sports betting, this is something the least you want to experience. A bad beat is when your bet wins most of the games, but loses in the final stretch. Often, this results from the last-second score won by the opposing team.

Bankroll and Handle

As its name suggests, the bankroll involves money. It refers to the money you set aside for sports betting. Thus, practicing bankroll management is crucial in responsible gambling.

The handle refers to the money a sportsbook collects from bets. Often, wagered by a bettor for a specific book. You can break it down by sport, casinos, and more.

Betting Exchange and Betting Unit

A betting exchange is a platform that allows bettors to wage against each other. For most bettors, this is an efficient market for sports betting. The operator of this event can take a small commission from the winning wager.

In sports gambling, the betting unit refers to the typical wager amount. Remember, bettors can have different sizes of bankrolls. Using this allows you to share your wager without giving the real amount.

Early Cash Out and Even Money

Do you know how you can secure a profit in sports betting? An early cash-out is a method used to settle a bet for a certain amount before the event ends. However, your earnings come in smaller value than the wager pays.

Even money refers to a bet that pays the same price as its risks. Often, listed as +100 or -100 in the sportsbook. Instead of wagering $110 to win $100, you risk your $100 to win $100.

Expected Value and Exposure

Another set of sports betting terms is the expected value and exposure. The former refers to a computation used by bettors to determine if a bet must win or lose after some time. The latter is the money a sportsbook can lose in a certain event.

Handicapper and Tout

To predict and guarantee wins, some bettors take time to analyze sports events. In sports betting, they are the handicappers. They study the athletes, teams, and previous games to predict outcomes.

In some cases, handicappers sell their predictions and pick to other bettors. If you purchase this information from a handicapper, you become a tout. However, they earned a bad reputation in the sports betting world due to widespread scamming incidents.


Like in investments, many sports bettors practice hedging to reduce the risk of losing a bet. In other situations, they use this method to ensure profit from a wager. You can hedge by placing a second bet against your initial wager if you're unsure of the results.


In sports betting, a lay-off is a method used to reduce the chances of losing a bet. It happens when a lopsided wager exists on one side of a game, and the bookie strives to ease potential losses. To reduce risk, they place a bet using a different sportsbook.

Opening Line and Closing Line

If you’re new to sports gambling, note that some terms have alternatives. For example, odds are also known as lines. It refers to available odds or options listed in the sportsbook.

With this, the opening line is the initial odds or point spread posted for a sporting event. The closing line is the final odds available before the game starts. To better understand sports betting, learn more on

Off the Board

What happens when an athlete or a team cannot join in the event? In cases where a player fails to show up, the sportsbook removes their odds from the betting board. An off-the-board is an event where a sportsbook stops collecting bets.

An off-the-board often happens when an athlete is unable to join a game because of an injury.

Money Line and Point Spread

Another set of sports betting terms you must know are money line and point spread. Making a bet about whether an athlete wins or loses with no point spread refers to the money line. The point spread refers to the projected margin of victory set by the oddsmaker.

Doing so attracts wager actions on the favorite and underdog.

Sharp and Square

The sports betting industry uses terms to refer to expert and neophyte bettors. People use gambling terminology sharp to identify a successful and professional sports bettor. If you’re new to this hobby, you are a square.

Sports Betting Terms: The Ultimate Guide

Navigating the sports betting landscape is easier when you understand all the terminology. Learning different sports betting terms can help you make informed decisions and still enjoy the game. Use this guide before making your first bet.

Did you find this article helpful? Check out our other blog posts for more tips on sports betting.

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