Sports Betting Terms: Beginners’ Guide

Acapella Bourgeois tops the weights for the Goffs Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park. Credit: Horse Racing Ireland.

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If you are new to betting, you will hear a lot of terms that you don’t know what they mean. The betting industry has its own special lingo, and it can be really surprising, even weird.

However, you need to know the meaning of all these terms because all bookmakers use them. This is especially true for the betting types and options. In order to understand what you are betting on, you must first learn what that term means. We have compiled a guide to help you. Below you can find the most commonly used terms in sports betting online.

General Betting Terms Everybody Should Know

  • Action: A bet. “Taking an action” means placing a bet, for example.
  • Book: Short for “sportsbook”. It can be land-based or online. The name of the place where the bet is placed.
  • Bankroll: The total amount of money the bettor has.
  • Buck: a 100 EUR/USD bet.
  • Betting Unit: The budget the bettor allocates per bet. For example, if he has a budget of 100 EUR, he can divide it into 20 EUR units and bet 5 times in total.
  • Chalk: The favorite team and/or player in a game.
  • Dime: A bet worth 1,000 EUR/USD.
  • Dead Heat: Usually used in horse racing and means a tie. Every sportsbook pays differently in case of a dead heat.
  • Dog: Short for “underdog”. Refers to the player and/or team that is not expected to win.
  • Double Pop: It is a term used in Europe, it is known as “doubling up” in the USA. It means that the bettor has placed a bet twice as much as the normal amount.
  • Exposure: It is the financial risk taken by sportsbook: the money it can lose.
  • Handle: The total amount of bet on a game.
  • Nickel: A bet worth 500 EUR/USD.
  • Sharp: The term used for professional bettors who place “smart bets”. They are also known as “wise guys” in the USA, but it does not mean they have ties to the mafia, this is not the same as being a “made man”.

Terms Related to Types of Bets

  • Even Money: A bet that pays as much as the wager money. For example, if you place a bet of 100 EUR, the payout will also be 100 EUR.
  • Exacta: A term for horse racing betting. It means being able to predict the horses (in the right order) that will finish the race in the top two places. Its name in England is “straight forecast”.
  • Exotic: A bet for events other than sports (e.g., political elections).
  • Trifecta: It means being able to predict the horses (in the right order) that will finish the race in the top three places.
  • Moneyline: The most basic type of betting: you are betting on which player or team will win a match.
  • Parlay: It is called “accumulator” or “acca” for short in Europe. Simply put, it is betting on multiple matches with a single slip. For example, you don’t need to place two different bets on two different football matches to be played on the same date. With a parlay bet, you can create a single bet for both. For this bet to win, all the selections in the slip must win.
  • Handicap: Before a match, bookmakers determine the favorite and underdog teams and give + and – points according to their positions. For example, if Team A gets -2 points, this means that it is a favorite, and winning the match alone is not enough: the score difference must be at least 2 points to win the bet. So, for example, if Team A ends the match with a score of 1-0, it wins the game, but those who place a handicap bet on Team A cannot win. In order to win, the score must be at least 2-0. This type of betting is also known as “point betting” or “line betting”.
  • Prop: Special bets that do not fit any of the classic betting options and are usually tied to a specific player. For example, betting on the total number of goals a particular player will score in a match.
  • Over/Under: Betting that the score in the match will be above or below a certain number. It doesn’t matter who wins the match. For example, if you bet “over 2” on a football match, you are actually betting that at least 3 goals will be scored in that match. As long as 3 total goals are scored (no matter who wins the match), you will win this bet as well.
  • Round Robin: It means playing multiple parlay bets at the same time. The payout will be extremely high, but winning is near impossible. 

There are, of course, other sports betting terms too, but these are what you need to know to get started. You can see these terms in all sportsbooks. As always, we wish you good luck! We hope you’ll win all your bets!

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