Confused by some of the jargon we use on the show?  Check here for an explanation of some commonly used sports gambling terms.  And don’t forget to let us know if there are any other entries you’d like to see added.

BOOKMAKER:  Someone who works in the field of setting lines and payouts for sports gambling.  Also sometimes used to describe sportsbooks themselves, particularly ones that make their own lines.

MONEY LINE:  If you don’t like betting against a spread, you’ll often have the option of taking the money line instead.  A money line is usually expressed as a plus or minus followed by a three or four digit value (examples +125, -400, +1400).  The number indicates the payout if that side wins, so a team that is listed as +200 will pay two dollars for every dollar you wagered, while a team listed as -200 will pay 50 cents for every dollar you wagered.  The advantage of a money line wager is that you don’t need to concern yourself with the margin of victory – just pick a winner!

POINT SPREAD:  When we talk about a game and mention something like “The line is Cleveland -3 for this game,” we’re talking about the point spread.  In this case, Cleveland is expected to win by three points.  So if you’re betting against the spread and want to take Cleveland to win, then you need them to win by MORE than three points.  If they win by exactly three, it’s a push and you get your money back.  If they win by 2 or less (or lose the game outright), then you lost the bet.  It’s important to note that while the point spread generally reflects the expected final score, other factors come into play when sports books set the spread, including the popularity of the teams involved and the amount of action that the book is expecting.

PROP BET:  Short for “proposition bet”, a prop bet is simply a bet that something will or won’t happen during a game.  This can be anything from a certain player hitting a home run in a baseball game to the singer of the national anthem going over a certain amount of time.  Prop bets often have lower maximum bets so sportsbooks don’t get burned by people with inside information.

 SHARP:  An experienced gambler who makes decisions based on a number of factors, including the teams involved, the spread or line, and the distribution of bets in the contest (to name a few).

SIDE BET:  This is confusing to a lot of people, because most of us think of a side bet like if you’re playing golf with a buddy and bet him or her that you’ll sink a long putt or something.  You know, a little side action.  But in sports gambling a side bet is when you’re PICKING A SIDE.  So if the Steelers play the Ravens and you put 20 bucks on the Steelers, you’re making a side bet.

SPORTSBOOK:  Also known as “books” for short.  A sportsbook is pretty much any institution that accepts wagers on sporting events.  This can include anything from a dedicated area of a casino to a simple website. 

SQUARE:  An inexperienced gambler who places largely uninformed wagers.  Squares are usually strongly influenced by media trends and recent results, and will often wager on well-known popular teams.

THE VIG:  Also known as “juice”.  Casinos like to make money, and this is how they do it in sports gambling.  The Vig (short for vigorish) is like a small “tax” applied to your winnings that goes to the casino.  It assures that even if a bet is a 50-50 proposition, the sportsbook has an advantage.  Typically the Vig is 10 cents on every dollar, which is why most bets pay -110.  Consider a game between two teams in which The Doctor bets 100 dollars on one side and The Dude bets 100 dollars on the other side.  If the Dude wins, the Doctor loses 100 bucks, but the Dude only gets paid about 91 dollars.  The book keeps the other 9 dollars as their take.  Note that this illustrates how advantageous it is for the books to take in a similar amount of money on each side of a contest, as it guarantees that they will make money.

TOTAL BET:  A “total” is a prediction of the total number of points or goals that will be scored in the contest.  Usually you can find these offered for individual teams or for both combined.  When you place a bet on either the “over” (more points will be scored than predicted) or the “under” (less points than predicted), then you are making a total bet.


Category:general -- posted at: 7:29pm CST