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Key Terminology

Level: Beginner
Updated: Feb 21, 2024
3 min read

Key Takeaways

Sports Betting Terminology

Matched Betting

Arbitrage: A method of taking advantage of different lines offered by different sportsbooks to guarantee a profit.

Bet: A wager placed on a sports event.

Betting Exchange: A platform where bettors can place bets against each other instead of against a sportsbook.

Bonus Voucher: A promotion provided by some sportsbooks where your bet is split into two parts, often 50/50. The two parts are cash and the "Bonus Voucher". If the wager wins the cash portion of the wager returns the original bet amount and the winnings. The Bonus Voucher part of the bet only returns the winnings.

Double Chance: A bet that allows the bettor to cover two out of three possible outcomes in a given game, rather than just one. Typically Home/Draw, Home/Away, and Draw/Away.

Bonus Bet: A bet placed without risking anything from your bankroll. Only winnings returned, not the bet amount.

Hedge: A bet on the opposite side of an existing bet.

Limits: The maximum or minimum amount that a sportsbook will allow a bettor to wager on a particular game. Maximum limits are often applied to sharp/profitable bettors. Avoiding limits is key to long-term profit when matched betting. Read more in our Don't Get Limited guide.

Market: Bet type offered by a sportsbook. Typical markets are money line, spread, and total.

Matched Betting: A betting strategy that involves taking advantage of Bonus Bets, promotions, and other incentives offered by sportsbooks to guarantee a profit. This is done by hedging your promotional bet to cover all possible outcomes so that one of your bets is guaranteed to win. Learn more in our What is Matched Betting guide.

Minimum Odds: Many promotions have a minimum odds requirement. They are normally somewhere around -250. They are often worded as “-250 or longer”. For example, -225 and +150 qualify, but -350 and -275 do not.

Money Line: A wager on a team to win the game.

Odds: The number that dictates how much money a winning wager will pay. Can also be converted into implied probability of the outcomes likeliness to happen.

Profit Boost: Your winnings are increased by a set percentage outlined in the offer. Typically have a max bet amount and max additional winnings.

Qualifying Bet: Promotions that require an initial bet to be placed before you get the bonus. Such as bet $100 get a $50 Bonus Bet.

Second Chance Bet: Wagering cash from your bankroll, but if it loses you get a refund of either Site Credit or a Bonus Bet.

Rollover: A requirement that a bettor must wager a certain amount before they can withdraw winnings. Sometimes called playthrough.

Site Credit: Bonus money added to your bankroll that has a rollover requirement before it can be withdrawn. Important to note that the bet amount and winnings returned. *Site Credit can not be withdrawn until the playthrough requirement is met.

Stake: The amount you wager on a particular bet.

Wager: A bet or gamble made on the outcome of an event.

Sports Betting

Action: A bet that will be graded as a win or loss instead of voided. Most often used in baseball. Learn more in our MLB guides. Action can also refer to the number of bets/amount of money placed on an event. "There is a lot of action on the Yankees game tonight"

Against the Spread (ATS): Betting on a team to cover the point spread.

American Odds: Commonly used in the United States, they indicate the amount of money a bettor must wager to win $100 (negative odds such as -110) or the amount won from a $100 bet (positive odds such as +210).

Bankroll: The amount of cash you have available for Matched Betting.

Bad Beat: A loss that was unexpected or unlucky, usually resulting from a last-second change in the outcome of a game.

Book: Short for sportsbook. Sportsbooks are businesses that accept wagers on sporting events.

Buying Points: Paying extra to move the point spread in your favor.

Closing Line: The final odds of a bet before the game starts.

Closing Line Value: How your bet compares to the closing line. Beating the closing line is when your bet has a better payout than the final odds of a bet before the game starts. An example of positive closing line value would be placing a bet at +150 and the closing line is +130

Cover: When a team or player wins by a margin that exceeds the point spread or handicap set by the oddsmakers.

Dog/Underdog: The team that is expected to lose a game.

Expected Value: How much you can expect to win or lose per bet placed on the same odds time and time again.

Decimal Odds: Commonly used in Europe and Australia that express the total amount that will be returned to the bettor, including their original stake, for every unit of currency wagered. For example, a $1 bet on odds of 3 has a total return of $3 on a winning bet.

Double Result: A bet that combines the halftime score and the final score of a game.

Edge: A perceived advantage that a bettor has over the sportsbook.

Even Money: A bet that pays out the same amount as the original wager.

Fade: To bet against a team or a player.

Favorite: The team or player that is expected to win a game.

Fractional Odds: The potential profit as a fraction of the original stake, with the fraction indicating the ratio of profit to stake.

Futures: Bets on events that will take place in the future, such as the winner of a championship.

Game Prop: A bet on a game that does not impact the outcome/winner such as the total number of points scored odd or even.

Handle: The amount wagered on a sportsbook measured in dollars. Can also be expressed over time. Such as "My weekly handle on DraftKings is $1,000".

Hook: Half a point added to a point spread to prevent a tie.

Implied Probability: The conversion of betting odds into a percentage taking into account the vigorish to express the expected probability of an outcome occurring.

Juice: The commission or fee charged by the sportsbook for placing a bet. Also known as vigorish or vig.

Line: The point spread or betting odds for a particular game. "The line for the Patriots game is 4.5".

Lock: A sure thing or a bet that is considered to be a "guaranteed winner".

Long Shot: A bet on a team or player that is not expected to win.

Low Hold: Lines where the vigorish is less than the normal 4.55% on a -110/-110 spread.

No Action: A situation in which a bet is canceled or deemed invalid, usually because the event being wagered on does not take place as scheduled or is incomplete for some reason, such as due to weather conditions, technical difficulties, or other unforeseen circumstances. Wagers are returned in this situation.

Novelty Bet: a type of wager that is placed on non-sports events or outcomes, such as political elections, award shows, or other popular culture events.

Opening Line: The odds of a bet when it is first published

Parlay: Betting on multiple outcomes. Every individual outcome must win to win the parlay.

Pick'em: A type of bet in which neither team is favored or underdog, and the bettor simply picks the winner of the game.

Player Prop: A bet on a specific player's performance such as the number of points scored.

Prop Bet: Short for proposition bet, is a type of bet on a specific outcome or event that may or may not have a direct impact on the overall outcome of a game or match. Can be a player prop or a game prop.

Push: When the result of a game falls exactly on the point spread, resulting in a tie.

Sharp: Someone who has a proven record, often over a large period of time, of being a profitable sports bettor.

Straight Bet: A bet on a single event or outcome.

Taking the Points: A strategy of placing a bet on the underdog team in a point spread bet, where the bettor is betting that the underdog team will either win the game outright or lose by fewer points than the point spread

Unit: Your standard bet amount.

Variance: A measure of how far a set of numbers are spread out from their average. An example is if you flip a coin 10 times, since a coin toss is a 50/50 event it should be 5 heads and 5 tails. If the coin lands on heads 7 times that is a variance from the expected average. The larger the sample size the less variance there is. I.e. flipping a coin 1,000 times is more likely to result in close to a 50/50 distribution than 10 flips.

Vigorish: The fee charged by a bookmaker to accept a wager. Also known as the vig or the juice.

Sports Terminology


Double: A hit that allows the batter to reach second base safely.

Double Play: A defensive play where two players are put out on the same play.

Error: A defensive misplay that allows a batter or runner to reach a base safely.

Home Run: A hit that allows the batter to run around all the bases and score a run.

Out: A result of the batter failing to reach base safely, or a defensive player recording a putout.

Pitcher: The player who throws the ball to the batter.

RBI: A statistic that stands for "Runs Batted In." It represents the number of times a player has driven in a run.

Run: A point scored in baseball. This happens when a player safely reaches home plate.

Single: A hit that allows the batter to reach second base safely.

Strikeout: A result of the batter swinging and missing the ball three times, or looking at three strikes.

Triple: A hit that allows the batter to reach third base safely.

Walk: When the pitcher throws four balls outside of the strike zone, allowing the batter to automatically advance to first base.

Wild Pitch: A pitch that is thrown too far outside of the strike zone and cannot be caught by the catcher.


Assist: A pass that leads directly to a made basket by a teammate.

Blocked Shot: Often called "Blocks". When a defensive player hits the ball out of the air preventing the opposing team's shot attempt from going in the basket.

Double-Double: When a player records double-digit numbers in two of five categories: points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks.

Foul: A violation of the rules resulting in a free throw or possession change for the opposing team.

Free Throw: A shot attempt from the free-throw line awarded to a player after a foul.

Points: Numerical values assigned to successful scoring plays. Each made field goal is worth 2 or 3 points, depending on whether the shot was taken from inside or outside the three-point line. Free throws are worth 1 point each.

Rebound: When a player grabs a missed shot attempt by their team or the opposing team.

Steal: When a defensive player takes the ball away from an opposing player who is dribbling or passing.

Three-Pointer: A shot attempt made from beyond the three-point line, worth three points.

Triple-Double: When a player records double-digit numbers in three of five categories: points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks.


End Zone: The area at each end of the field where touchdowns are scored.

Field Goal: A scoring play where a kicker attempts to kick the ball through the goalposts, worth three points.

First Down: The first of four downs a team has to advance the ball 10 yards.

Fumble: When a player drops the ball while carrying it, resulting in a turnover.

Interception: When a defensive player catches a pass intended for an offensive player, resulting in a turnover.

Passing Attempts: Number of times a quarterback throws the ball.

Passing Yards: Total distance (measured in yards) covered on completed passes.

Reception: When a player catches a pass.

Receiving Yards: Total distance (measured in yards) gained on successful passing plays.

Red Zone: The area between the 20-yard line and the end zone, where a team is close to scoring.

Rushing Attempts: Number of times a player runs the ball.

Rushing Yards: Total distance (measured in yards) gained when running the ball.

Sack: When a defensive player tackles the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage, resulting in a loss of yards.

Touchdown: A scoring play where a player carries or catches the ball into the opposing team's end zone, worth six points.

Two-Point Conversion: A play attempted after a touchdown where the team tries to score an additional two points by running or passing the ball into the end zone.


Assist: A credit given to a player who passes the puck to a teammate who scores a goal.

Faceoff: A method of starting play where the puck is dropped between two opposing players to compete for possession.

Goal: A scoring play that occurs when the puck crosses the opposing team's goal line and into their net.

Hat Trick: When a player scores three goals in a single game.

Points: Awarded to individual players based on their contributions to goals (assists) and goals scored, with one point awarded for each goal and one point awarded for each assist.

Power Play: A situation where one team has an advantage on the ice because one or more players from the opposing team are serving a penalty.

Shot: An attempt made by a player to score a goal by shooting the puck toward the opposing team's net using their stick.

Mixed Martial Arts

Submission: When a fighter forces an opponent to give up by tapping out or the referee stops the fight.

Go the Distance: When the fight completes the designated number of rounds. Judges then decide the winner

KO: Short for knockout, when a fighter loses consciousness and cannot continue the fight.

TKO: Short for technical knockout, when a fighter is still conscious but cannot continue the fight.


Corner Kick: A set piece where the ball is kicked from the corner of the field toward the goal.

Booking: The act of a referee issuing a formal penalty to a player, usually in the form of a yellow (less severe) or red card (more severe), for committing a foul or violating a rule.

Foul: A violation of the rules that results in a free kick or penalty kick for the opposing team.

Goal: The act of successfully getting the ball into the opposing team's net, worth one point.

Red Card: A card shown to a player who has committed a serious foul, resulting in their ejection from the game.

Yellow Card: A card shown to a player as a warning for a minor foul, accumulation of two yellow cards result in a red card.


Ace: A serve that the opponent fails to touch with their racket, resulting in a point for the server.

Advantage: The point after deuce where the player who scores the next point will win the game.

Double Fault: A serve that does not go over the net and lands outside the service box, resulting in the loss of a point.

Fault: A serve that does not land within the correct boundaries, resulting in the loss of a point.

Grand Slam: Winning all four major tournaments in a single year (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open).

Love: A score of zero.

Match Point: The final point required to win the match.

Serve: The act of putting the ball in play to start a point.

Set: A collection of games, typically played to the best of three or five games.

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