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Basic Sports Betting Terms

Are you brand new to the world of sports betting?  Before you jump in, you are going to want to familiarize yourself with the basic terms and concepts used by online sports betting sites. Sports betting has more complexity than many people expect starting out.  There are many different types of bets and ways to win or lose money.  Once you get the basics down, though, you will be ready to start placing simple bets and working your way up from there to more complex ones.  Here is a quick glossary of basic sports betting terms you might want to know!


  • Angles:  This refers to making use of knowledge from previous events when placing your bets.
  • ATS:  This stands for “against the spread,” and refers to taking points instead of betting with the spread.
  • Bookie:  A bookmaker, the company or person who accepts bets during a wager.  When you bet online, your online betting site is your bookie.
  • Buying points:  You may have the option of paying an extra fee to get half a point in your favour on the spread.  This is also called “moving the line.”
  • Chalk:  Another word for “favourite.”  If you refer to someone as a “chalk player,” it means they tend to bet on favourites.
  • Cover:  A pointspread win.
  • Dog:  The underdog, the team most likely to lose.  Just as you can have “chalk players,” you can have “dog players.”
  • Even money:  A bet with 1/1 (2.00) odds and no juice.
  • Exotic:  Also known as a proposition, this is a wager that is not a simple straight bet or parley.
  • Exposure:  This is how much the bookie stands to lose on a game.
  • Favourite:  The team expected to win.
  • First-half bet:  A wager placed only on the outcome of the first half of a game.
  • Handicapping:  An attempt to predict the outcome of a game; used to establish the spread.
  • Hook:  Half a point added to the betting lines for football or basketball.
  • Juice:  The commission a bookie will receive on a losing bet.
  • Laying the points:  Choosing to bet on the favorite and giving up points in the process.
  • Limit:  You can only bet so much before a bookie will adjust the odds or points.  This amount is the limit.
  • Line:  This refers to the points spread or odds offered on an event.
  • Middle:  Hedging in such a way that you manage to win both your bets (owing to the point spread).
  • Over:  This is a type of wager in which you bet that the combined total of points earned by both teams will be over a certain amount.
  • Parley:  This is a special kind of wager in which you bet that two or more teams will win or cover.  This type of bet carries high payouts.
  • Pick’em:  An event in which neither team is the favourite.
  • Point spread:  Points (positive or negative) are assigned to teams based on their likelihood of winning or losing.  Also called “shading the lines.”
  • Square:  A novice.
  • Straight bet:  A simple wager on a single team or player or horse.
  • Taking the points:  Betting on the underdog.


Anytime you feel lost reading an article on sports betting online, you can simply turn back to this glossary and review your terms.  Once you get the terminology down, you will find it much easier to learn about different types of bets and betting strategies you can use to enhance your betting experience.

Horse Racing Betting

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New to sports betting?

If you are new to online sports betting you might want to read through the basic steps for sports betting and start your experience with confidence.

Bookies with Live Streaming

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Bookmaker of the Month

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Gambling on the Internet

A few things to consider when gambling online:

  • Take advantage of first deposit bonuses
  • Have a budget and stick to it
  • Don't lose more than you can afford
  • When drunk, don't bet!
  • Don't chase losses
  • Bet on markets you know well
  • Don't abuse bonuses