30 Basic Sports Betting Terms For Beginners


Posted: June 17, 2020

Updated: June 17, 2020

  • Among countless sports betting terms, we have chosen 30 basics
  • It is hard to understand how sportsbooks work without slang knowledge
  • Learn what action, hook, and point spread is and try Bet365 to find it

Do you want to start betting on football matches or other sports events? The first thing you have to do is learn some glossary to help you understand what is what at a sportsbook. Here are basic sports betting terms for beginners necessary for making a successful wager.

Like online gambling, sports betting also requires the knowledge of some terminology. It is necessary to understand what every section at a sportsbook means to place bets correctly and benefit from them. As the sportsbook glossary can be endless, we have collected 30 basic sports betting terms for beginners everyone should know. 

sports betting terms for beginners
Get your terms right!

Before we start, read about the basic slot machine glossary too if you are interested in playing them.

A-K sports betting terms for beginners

Action. It is a process of placing a bet on a certain event. Also, this term means having an active bet on something.

Bet. Placing a certain amount of money on something. For example, you can bet on sports events, entertainment, celebrities, politics, lottery, etc, at Bet365 Sportsbook.

Bad Beat. An unexpected change of events that turns a winning bet into a loss. Usually, it is referred to as a last-minute score in sports events nobody has expected.

Book (sportsbook). It is an establishment or an online site accepting bets.

Bookmaker (bookie). A person who takes bets, calculates odds, and pays out winnings. Nowadays, bookies can be met mostly at real-life events (e.g. horse racing in the UK).

Buy Points. Paying an additional price for getting at least half a point in a player’s favor on a point spread game.

Closing line. Odds that are available right before the game or event starts. Usually, they are the most correct. For example, if odds are made on June 1, but a football match takes place on July 1 at 6 pm, the best decision is to bet the last day. 

Coupon. Form of betting on events with a number of different selections.

Dime. A $1000 bet.

Dollar. A $100 bet. Also known as a buck in some countries. 

Favorite. The one who is expected to win and has the best odds.

Future (bets). In general, future bets mean wagering on a long-lasting event with a winner revealed at the end. The most typical examples are sports leagues or tournaments.

Handicapper. The one who predicts the odds on a certain event.

Hedge. It means placing bets as security for original bets on in order to minimize risks of loss.

Hook. This term refers to the half-point in a betting line (e.g. 1.5).

L-Z sports betting terms for beginners

Limit. It designates the maximum you can wager on an event. Usually, every sportsbook site has its own betting limit.

Live betting (in-play). Wagering on sports events in real-time with constantly changing odds. Read tips about how to win on live bets.

Lock. It is a must-bet event, person, or team that is “easy winner”.

Money line. Mostly referred to as odds shown as money with + or – coefficient. E.g. 150+ means that you will get $150 on $100 in case of winning. On the contrary, 150- means winning $100 on every $150 bet.

Nickel. A $500 bet.

Opening line. An opposite term to the closing line, i.e. initial odds that show up once the event was created at a sportsbook.

Parley. Commonly, it is a series of linked bets that should all win to bring you cash. The other names are combo bet or multi bet.

Point spread. This term means odds that determine the difference between a favorite and an underdog. Usually, it is useful while betting on horse racing, football, basketball, and other sports rather than on entertainment.

Push. Refund of your wager amount if the final score falls on the betting line.

Sharp. Someone who makes more winning bets than loses. Also, he or she is called “wiseguy” or simply pro.

Slip. A slip or a bet slip is a tool you use to wager on events. Usually, it appears once you select odds.

Stake. The money you bet on and event.

Underdog. Usually, it is an outsider of the competition who is expected to lose by odds. 

Value. Value means finding an edge on a line that is wrong in your opinion.

Wager. A synonym to bet.

Once you learn sports betting terms for beginners, visit online sportsbooks in the UK to solidify your knowledge. 

You can discover more about Bet365 Sportsbook here.

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