When you first dive into sports betting, you’ll see a lot of numbers and hear a lot of language that might not immediately be clear to you. With that in mind, we’ve devised a sports betting glossary, which should help explain things a little bit. Read through the terms below and you’ll get a better idea of how to talk about sports betting.
Action: A bet
Bad beat: A very unlucky or unfortunate loss. For example, you have the underdog, +5 1/2, in an NFL game. Your team is leading 20-14 when the favorite scores a touchdown on the final play of the game to make it 20-20. No problem; all the favored team has to do is kick the extra point to win the game 21-20 and allow you to cash your bet. Then the unthinkable happens: The kick is blocked and the game goes into overtime where the favorite scores a TD to win 26-20. You lose your bet. Now that’s a bad beat.
Beard: A person who places bets for another person in order to disguise the source of the bet. (Also called a runner)
Big nickel: $5,000
Bleeder: A casino supervisor who becomes agitated when a player starts to win. (Also called a sweater)
C-Note: $100 bill. (Also called a Charlie or a Cecil)
Churn: The impact of betting and re-betting money.
Clipboard: A beard or runner who compares odds and prices for others
Crossroader: A professional casino cheat
Dead presidents: Money
Double Sawbuck: $20
Exposure: The amount of money sportsbooks stand to lose on an individual game, race or event
Extension: The amount of money that sportsbooks will risk losing on an individual game, race or event
Firing: Betting large sums
Fit: When a player’s bet conforms to the odds. For example, if a baseball team is a -145 favorite and you bet $145
Frog: A $50 bill, which is considered unlucky by some.
High roller: A gambler known for his large bets
Hit and Run: A player who makes one large, low-risk bet, such as a huge football favorite on the money line, then leaves with his winnings and never bets with that bookmaker again
Hold: The percentage sportsbooks win
Hook: Half a point
Jones: An addiction as in “That guy really has a Jones for Monday night home underdogs”
Juice: The percentage of the bet kept by sportsbooks for handling the bet. (Also called vigorish or vig)
Layoff bet: A bet made between sportsbooks to help balance their action and remove risk
Limit: The maximum bet accepted by sportsbooks before the pointspread or price has to be changed.
Lumber: A name given a person who watches other people bet. (Also called baggage or wood)
Middle: A game that lands between betting numbers. For example, if some bettors are able to take the underdog at +4 1/2 and some bettors lay the favorite at -3 1/2, and the favorite wins by 4, then sportsbooks suffer a “middle” because sportsbooks have to pay off both sides of the bet.
Mucker: A professional card cheat
Parlay: A bet with two or more teams where the money returned for the first win is played on the second game, and so on
Player: A bettor or gambler
Press: To bet a larger amount than usual, as when a player will “press” his luck
Puppy: An underdog. (Also called a mutt).
Push: A tie (not neckwear)
Rabbit: An inexperienced gambler, a novice
Round robin: A series of parlays
Rundown: A line update
Runner: See beard
Sawbuck: $10. (Also called a willy)
Sharp: A professional bettor
Score: A large win
Skirt: An attractive woman used to divert attention in casino scams
Square: An unsophisticated or recreational player
Steam: Heavy, one-sided action that often is a clue to sportsbooks that they have a bad line or something is wrong
Tapped Out/Tap City: Broke, busted
Toke: A tip or gratuity
Triple Sharp: A top-notch player. (Note: There is no such thing as a “double sharp”).
Vig/Vigorish: See juice.
Whale: The highest of high rollers; a huge bettor
Willy: $10. (Also called a sawbuck)
Wiseguy: A knowledgeable handicapper, often with connections to information