Sportsbook Jargon

101: Sportsbook jargon

Sportsbooks have their own language and sportsbook jargon can be confusing at times. In reality though, it doesn’t take much to understand. Most of the time, there’s an interesting backstory to the lingo, or really, just a simplified word to help quicken the process of placing a bet and watching the event.

A look at the betting options:

Futures: A bettor can bet on future events, like next year’s Super Bowl winner or the over/under win total of a team.

Moneyline: It’s as simple as picking a winner. Picking the Cubs to beat the Brewers? The Cubs just need to win.

Pointspread: A pointspread is how much a favorite is expected to win by against the underdog. If a team is -3.5 in the national championship game, they would need to win by at least four points to cover the spread. In baseball it can be the runline or in hockey, the puckline.

Over/Under: A bet on the combined total of points/goals/runs scored by two teams in an event.

Parlay: Bettors can make multiple bets, resulting in a great payout, but all of the best must win.

Prop Bet: Or proposition bets are offered by sportsbook on various topics. The bets can range from who will score the first goal to an over/under of the National Anthem time.

Payouts are like this: 

If a $100 bet is placed on a team with 2/1 odds to win the Super Bowl, and they win, the bettor can collect $300 — a profit of $200. If the odds are 9/2, a bettor wins $450, so they end up collecting $550. The larger the fractional odds — the bigger the underdog — the larger the payout. A bet on an underdog with 500/1 odds would lead to a $50,100 collection on a win.

A $100 bet on a -110 line (a “-” indicates a favored team) would win 90.91, so a bettor could collect 190.91 with a win. An $110 bet would result in a win of an even $100.

A $100 bet on a +110 would win $110, so a bettor would collect $210 with a win.

Here’s the lowdown on terms for the people who frequent sportsbooks:

Beard: Like covering up a face for a disguise, a beard is someone who places a bet for someone else. Who knows why, but sometimes the real bettor wants to remain anonymous and a beard allows them to do that.

Bookmaker/Bookie: They take a bettor’s wagers.

Chalk Player: A person who normally only bets the favorites, or the chalk, in an event. These bettors might also be referred to as a chalkeater.

Dog Player: Like a chalk player, a dog player generally only plays the underdog.

Linemaker: Also referred to as the oddsmaker, a linemaker establishes the betting lines which are available at a sportsbook.

Sharp: Someone who is an experienced bettor, might even gamble professionally. They bet with their head, not heart, and are then considered a “smart” bettor, or sharp.

Square: A general bettor, often a novice. Often a square will bet with their desired outcome.