Sportsbook Glossary: Sports Betting Terms & Definitions

Sport Definition in Dictionary


The time has come. Circa is soon opening the largest sportsbook in Vegas history, a sportsbook so big that the casino is built around it. And with the upcoming opening, it’s time to get back to basics and make sure you know everything there is to know about sports betting. Whether you’re a beginner who needs sports betting explained or a veteran who just wants to brush up on sports betting terms and sports betting terminology, this is the ultimate guide to bringing in the big bucks from betting on sports.

There is a lot of sports betting terminology to go through, but below are 40 of the basic definitions you should know.


Sports Betting Terms and Definitions


A  |  B  |  C  |  D  |  E  |  F  |  G  |  H  |  J  |  L  |  M  |  O  |  P  |  R  |  S  |  T  |  U  |  W




Action: This refers to any wager of any kind.


Against the Spread: Betting on the point spread in a particular matchup as opposed to the moneyline. Instead of focusing on who wins, this bet focuses on how teams play against a given spread.


Alternate Lines: Odds that are either higher or lower than the main posted line.

back to top ^



Bankroll: This is simply the number of available funds you have to bet with. 


Bookmaker: The person or organization who is properly licensed to create the lines you bet on, as well as take bets.

back to top ^



Chalk: Betting on the favorite.


Closing Line: Where the point spread is at the start of the game.


Cover: A term related to betting against the spread. You win when you “cover” the point spread. If you bet on a three-point favorite and they win by seven, the spread has been covered.  

back to top ^



Draw: This is when a game falls exactly on the spread, not over or under. No one wins in this scenario.


Drift: Moneylines that grow longer after the opening line is posted.

back to top ^



Edge: A betting advantage gained through research or having insights that are not known publicly.


Even Money: A wager that returns the same amount as was risked. For example, wagering $100 would win $100.

back to top ^



Favorite: The expected winner in a game or event.


Field: In many prop bets, you can bet on something that isn’t listed. This means you can pick a team or player to win that’s not specifically listed on the betting form.


Fixed Odds: Set odds in which once a wager is placed, the odds don’t change.


Future: You don’t necessarily have to bet on a game or event right before it starts. Many betters place a wager on a team to win the Super Bowl before the season even starts.

back to top ^



Grand Salami: Over/Under odds that are placed on the total goals/runs/points scored in all of the games, from a specific league, on any given day.

back to top ^



Handicapper: An analyst who observes sports events to predict the winning team or player.


Hedging: A tactic that allows you to bet on the opposite side of the wager you already place. This can help stem your losses a bit.

back to top ^



Juice: A small commission attached to the odds set by bookmakers. Another term for vigorish.

back to top ^



Laying Points: The act of placing your bet on a favorite.


Lines: Another way to refer to betting odds.

back to top ^



Middle: Cashing tickets on both sides of a betting option when a point spread moves up or down prior to a match.


Moneyline: A term mostly for sports like baseball and hockey. Because there’s so few runs or goals scored, this allows you to bet on whether a team is going to win or not.

back to top ^



Off the Board: An event you can’t bet on. Sometimes, sportsbooks will take an event out of the betting possibility because there’s something affecting the game, like the weather.


Opening Line: The first point spread available for a game. 


Over/Under: The total amount of points or runs scored in the game. A number will be given. Let’s say it’s a baseball game and the over/under is six. If you bet the under, you’re banking on the two teams scoring a combined total of fewer than six runs. 

back to top ^



Parlay: A bet where bettors aren’t necessarily restricted to just one bet. You can tie at least two together and all the events need to happen to get the payoff. It’s hard to pull off, but it comes with a potentially massive payday.


Pick ‘Em: A bet that takes place when the teams are so close, no individual one is favored. This just means the line is zero.


Point Spread: Odds posted on a game to help indicate favorites indicated with – odds, and underdogs indicated with + odds.


Proposition Bet: Better known as a prop bet, this is a wager on something other than the outcome. It can be something related to the game, like the over/under on rushing yards, or something silly, like how long the national anthem will take to be sung. 


Proxy: An individual or group who places bets for non-local bettors who may be unable to place bets in person.


Push: This is when there’s no winner at the end of a contest, usually when the favorite wins by the exact spread.

back to top ^



Real-Time Odds: Odds aren’t stagnant. They move back and forth based on new information. These are the live lines that reflect that movement.

back to top ^



Sharp: Professional sports bettor who uses vast resources to determine wagers.


Stake: The amount of money a gambler risks when placing a bet.

back to top ^



Tip: Betting advice offered by tipsters and handicappers to predict the most likely outcome of an event.


Tipster: A person or group who offers sports betting advice.

back to top ^



Underdog: Sometimes referred to as the “dog,” this is who bookmakers think will lose.

back to top ^



Wager: This refers to any type of bet.

back to top ^

Friends Celebrating Sports Betting Win at Home


Applying the Sports Betting Terminology


Now you’ve got the basics down, you’re ready to start wagering. Circa Sports is the ultimate sportsbook in Las Vegas for sports betting. It’s the largest of its kind and the best place to be if you’re a sports fan. Stop by the D or Circa Resort in Downtown Las Vegas to place your bets in person. Can’t make it into the sportsbook? Download the Circa Sports app on iOS or Android to have your bookie right in your pocket and bet wherever you are in Nevada.

Whether in person or on the app, join Circa Sports for your premier place to bet on all sports in Vegas.