Football Betting Terms: Common Gambling Glossary

Football Betting Terms: Common Gambling Glossary

To say that there is a fair amount of slang and jargon that surrounds the world of football betting would be a massive understatement. No matter how casual of a football fan you are, it is really useful to understand what these words and phrases mean. It is more likely than not that you will run into someone who wagers on football and throws around at least some of the following terminology. We have created a football betting glossary to better assist you.


Action: When you have a bet of any kind on a specific game.

AET odds: After extra time (AET) odds are posted primarily on soccer matches when extra time is added at the end of regulation time due to in-game stoppages. AET odds are offered as live betting options.

American odds: American odds are in a "big three" group that also includes fractional and decimal odds. American moneylines posted at (-110) are the same as 1.91 decimal odds and 10/11 fractional pricing. All three formats return a $100 profit on a winning $110 wager.

Asian handicap: Most common in soccer, Asian handicap odds start at 0.25 goals and can go as high as 2.0 goals. These are two-way bets since a draw/tie option is not offered.

Arbitrage: Often shortened to ARB, arbitrage wagering is a betting style where all possible outcomes of a single game are covered. ARB betting options are rare and arise when sportsbooks have varying opinions on the proper odds for a match.

Backdoor Cover: Speaking from experience, losing a bet via a backdoor cover is one of the worst ways to lose a particular bet, and one of the most stressful ways to win one. It is when a team scores points at the very end of the game to cover the spread unexpectedly.

Bad beat: Losing a bet that you should have won. It is used more commonly at the end of the game when the betting result is decided in the final minutes.

Bankroll: Money set aside, or deposited into an account, that is used for betting. A player's bankroll increases with each winning wager and decreases with each losing bet.

Bet: Any wager involving money wagered at a sportsbook, casino, racebook or poker room.

Betting exchange: A middleman that isn't a sportsbook or a bettor. An exchange posts bets with two sides and the betting option remains listed until both sides are bet on. Betting exchanges profit by taking a small commission (juice) from winning tickets.

Book: Short for a bookmaker or sportsbook that posts odds and accepts bets.

Bookie: A person who accepts bets illegally and charges more vig than most normal sportsbooks.

Chalk: The most popular side in a particular game. People who typically bet the favorite are branded as 'chalk bettors', which normally isn't a compliment.

Cover: The betting result on a point-spread wager. For the favorite to cover, it has to win by more than the spread; an underdog covers by losing less than the spread or simply winning the game outright.

Closing line: The final betting odds posted prior to the start of a competition.

Double action: Also known as an "If bet" a double action bet automatically takes the stakes and/or winnings from a successful wager and places that amount on a second betting option.

Double bet: A betting amount that is double a bettor’s normal wager. Bettors often double their bet when they feel one side is vastly superior to another.

Drift: Betting odds that grow longer after the opening line is posted. A moneyline that moves from +220 to +225 to +230 is said to be drifting.

Exotic: Any wager other than a bet against the spread or parlay. It is more commonly referred to as a 'prop bet.'

Half-time bet: A popular wager made in football, and it is exactly what it seems like. A wager made during half-time. The results in the second-half are the only thing that matters when you wager this.

Handicapper: A person trying to predict what side is going to win and what isn’t. Side-note: Most people who claim to be ‘handicappers’ are not as good as they might seem.

Hook: A half point added to point spreads and game total odds. A hook guarantees a wager will not be graded as a push. One side will win and one side will lose.

In-game wagering: Considered the next big thing amongst the sports betting community, it is exactly what it seems. Being ability to gamble on a result while the event is live. The odds shift on nearly every play or possession.

In play betting: Wagers placed after an event after it has started. Also known as LIVE betting, bookmakers post multiple in-play betting options throughout most major sporting events.

Juice: The commission the bookie or bookmaker takes. Also known as vig, or vigorish. Standard rate charged is 10 percent but varies from place-to-place.

Line: Betting odds posted by a bookmaker.

Money-line: The easiest bet one can make. You pick one team to win and that's it.

Mush: Probably do not need to be a sports bettor to know what this is. Someone who considers themself to be bad luck.

Multiple bets: Same as parlay, multiple bets are a single wager that consists of at least two sides on a single ticket. All sides must win (or push) to cash winning multiple bets.

· Double: Single parlay ticket with two sides.

· Treble: Single parlay ticket with three sides.

· Trixie: Three sides create three double bets and one treble bet.

· Patent: Three sides create three single bets, three double bets and one treble bet.

· Yankee: Four sides create one four-leg parlay, six double bets and four treble bets.

· Lucky 15: Four sides create four single bets, one four-leg parlay, six double bets and four treble bets.

· Lucky 31: Five sides create one five-leg parlay, five four-leg parlays, five single bets, ten double bets and ten treble bets.

Odds: Betting lines set by a bookmaker on a variety of events.

Over/Under: A wager that is determined by how many total points are scored in a particular game. This type of bet has gained popularity in the past 10 years.

Parlay: A wager in which multiple teams are bet and the only way to win is if each particular team included in the wager covers their spread. The payouts can be huge, but the odds are stacked against you.

Pick ‘em: Also seen as 'PK', it means that each side is essentially equal. There is no favorite or underdog. In this scenario, picking the outright winner of the game is also the same as picking the spread winner.

Point Spread: The number of points by which a team is either favored by or an underdog by. If you are the favorite, you will need to win by more than their allotted point spread to cover. The underdog needs to lose by less than their allotted point spread to cover.

Push: This happens more than you would think when betting on the NFL. It is when a team is favored by exactly three points and ends up winning by that amount. In this scenario, no side wins and the bettor receives a refund on their original wager.

Sharp: A professional sports bettor. These guys wager on sports for a living and have access to information through advanced technology that most of the general public does not. They typically wager large sums of money and can alter a line with a single bet if enough money is at-stake.

Square: The exact opposite of a sharp. A casual gambler. Someone who wants action on a game but does not have an elaborate reason for choosing one side or the other. As much as you hate to admit it, you are probably a square bettor.

Stake: The amount of money a bettor risks when placing a bet. Original stakes are returned on all winning wagers and many bets that are graded as a push.

Teaser: Betting multiple teams and adjusting to the point spread in a significant manner to give yourself more of an advantage. All legs of this wager need to hit in order to claim a win, just like a parlay.

Tipster: A person or group that offers betting advice. Some tipsters offer free sports wagering advice while others charge a fee for their tips.

Tout: A person or group of so-called 'experts' who either sell picks or give away picks on games. Most touts are typically not worth the down payment.

Vig/Vigorish: Same definition as 'juice'. This is the more politically correct phrase.

Wiseguy: A synonym for 'sharp bettor'.