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GLOSSARY OF HORSE RACING TERMS

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Glossary Terms

A

Action:
A live bet or bets. ("They have a lot of action on that game." "I have action on this game.")

ATS:
Against the spread

Arbitrage:
Betting the same event at separate sports books in order to lock in a profit by taking advantage of different betting lines.

B

Back Door:
A 'cover' that occurs in the waning moments of a game

Bad Beat:
A very tough, often emotional, betting loss that is characterized by rotten luck.

Bankroll:
Total capital available for betting sports.

Beard:
A person who is betting someone else's money for that other person; a messenger.

Beef:
Dispute

B.M.:
Bookmaker

Board:
A presentation of all the games and events available for betting in a sportsbook. If wagers are being taken on a game, the game is "on the board. Otherwise, it is "off the board."

Bookmaker (or bookie):
A person who accepts bets.

Bow-wow:
An underdog.

Buck:
$100. Also see "dollar."

Buyback:
The money that comes in on the underdog after a favorite is bet heavily enough to move the line.

C

Chalk:
A favorite (usually a heavy favorite).

Chalk Eater:
Bettors who like to bet big favorites (often a derogatory term).

Churn:
The effect of betting and re-betting money.

Circled Game:
A game in which the sports book has reduced its betting limits, usually because of weather or the uncertain status of injured players.

Cover:
Winning against the point spread. (A 10-point underdog that loses 20-14 has covered, or "covered the spread.")

D

Degenerate:
Compulsive gambler.

Dime:
$1,000 (A "five-dime" bet is a $5,000 bet).

Dime Line:
A betting line with a 10-cent straddle, often used in baseball. With a dime line, if the favorite is minus 120, the underdog is plus 110.

Dog:
See "underdog.

Dollar:
$100. (If a sports book has a $500 maximum on a particular type of bet, you could say it's a "five-dollar limit").

E

Earn:
Practical hold percentage.

Edge:
Advantage

Exotic Bet:
Action other than a straight bet or parlay.

Extension:
The amount of money the house theoretically will risk losing on a game or a race.

Exposure:
The degree of risk that a sports book will lose money on a given game, result or proposition. (If a book is "highly exposed" on the Cubs in World Series futures betting, it will lose a lot of money to bettors if the Cubs win the World Series.)

F

Fade:
To take the opposite side of another bettor's wager or to accept that bet yourself.

Favorite:
A team (or player) that, according to the odds, is the stronger or strongest in a given match-up or is regarded as such by the betting public or is expected to win.

Figure:
Amount owed by or to a bookmaker.

Firing:
Betting a lot. A player who is "firing", is wagering large sums.

First-half betting:
Wagers that involve the outcome of the first half of a game only.

Flea:
An annoying bettor always wanting something for nothing; a $2 bettor who expects to be rewarded for his action.

Form:
What performance is to be expected, according to how a team looks on paper.

Freeroll:
A bet you can win or push but not lose.

Futures:
A type of wager involving the outcome of a season or how a particular team or player will perform over the course of a season.

G

Get Down:
Make a bet.

Gross Win:
Win before expenses.

H

Halftime Betting:
Wagers based on betting lines that are posted at halftime, which involve the outcome of the second half of a game only.

Handicap:
To study and research sports, in order to make predictions on the results of upcoming games and events.

Handicapper:
One who studies sports and predicts outcomes.

Handle:
The amount of money in wagers accepted. ("The handle was down this year on the Super Bowl").

Hedge:
To make a bet that takes the opposite side of your original position, usually to reduce risk or lock in some profit.

Hold:
The percentage the house wins.

Home Field Advantage:
Edge the home team is expected to have as a result of familiarity with the playing area, favorable demographics and effect of travel on the visiting team.

Hook:
A half-point in the betting spread. ("I lost by the hook").

Hoops:
Basketball

Hot Tip:
Information the bookmaker is not yet privy to.

House:
The casino, sports book or bookmaker.

J

Juice:
Bookmaker's commission and most often refers to the 11 to 10 football bettors lay on straight wagers. Also see "vigorish".

L

Lay A Price:
Bet a favorite and/or lay the points.

Layoff:
A type of wager made by one bookmaker with another, often larger, bookmaker in order to balance action or reduce risk.

Limit:
The maximum wager accepted by a sports book.

Line:
The point spread or odds on a game or event.

Lock:
A bet that cannot lose; a term that is often misused and abused by disreputable touts.

Long Shot:
Big underdog.

M

Matador:
A cover that occurs in the waning moments of a game (also referred to as a back door cover).

Match-up Propositions:
A betting option that pits two players against one another in a contest or event. This is often times used in golf and auto racing wagering.

Middle:
A situation in which you bet both sides in a game and win both bets, due to favorable line moves. (Example: Bet a football favorite at minus 2 ½, then bet the underdog at plus 3 ½ at another book or later in the week. If the favorite wins by exactly 3 points, both bets win)

Money Line:
The odds on a team winning a game outright, regardless of the point spread.

Money Management:
Any strategy used by a bettor for making the most of his bankroll.

N

Neutral Site:
Arena, court or field where neither side has a home field advantage.

Nickel:
$500.

O

Offshore:
Term used for the organized sports betting industry outside of the United States.

Off The Board:
Game where no bets are being accepted.

Out:
A place to get bets down, whether it's a offshore sports book or illegal bookmaker. ("It's good to have a lot of outs").

Over/Under:
See "Totals".

Overlay:
A situation in which the odds are favorable to the sharp bettor.

P

Parlay:
A bet in which two or more events must happen in order to win; if any one of them does not happen, the wager loses.

Past Post:
To make a bet after an event has started.

Pick 'em:
An even match-up; a game with no clear favorite.

Player:
A sports bettor.

Pleaser:
A specialized form of a parlay that improves the point spread (for the book) but pays off at improved odds.

Point Spread:
The number of points added to or subtracted from a team's actual score for betting purposes.

Power Rating:
A numerical representation of a team's strength for betting purposes.

Practical Hold Percentage:
The amount won by a bookmaker, divided by the total amount booked.

Press:
To bet a larger amount than usual.

Price:
See "Line".

Proposition (or prop):
An unusual or offbeat betting opportunity.

Public:
Average, unsophisticated or casual bettors as a whole; or, used to describe money bet by the public ("a lot of public money came in on the Cowboys"); See "Square".

Puck Line:
In hockey, a betting structure that dictates the favorite must win by a set number of goals and/or adds a set number of goals to the underdog's actual score.

Pup:
See "Underdog".

Push:
A bet in which the money wagered is refunded; a tie.

R

Rotation:
The official list of all the games on the betting board, presented in a specific order.

Round Robin:
A specialized form of a parlay that uses every combination of a set of teams in a wager. For example, there would be six two-team parlays within a four-team round robin.

Rundown:
A reading of all the games and betting lines on a particular day.

Runner:
See "Beard".

S

Scalp:
A form of a middle in which you bet both sides in a game, taking advantage of line movements to secure a profit.

Scalper:
One who attempts to profit from the differences in odds from book to book by betting both sides of the same game at different prices.

Score:
To win a lot of money.

Scratch:
Withdraw; cancel.

Sharp:
Savvy, highly informed; or, used to describe the money bet by sharp players ("a lot of sharp money came in on the Patriots").

Shortstop:
A small bettor.

Side:
A variation of a middle in which you win one bet and push the other; also, a particular team in a match-up. ("Which side do you like?").

Sportsbook:
An establishment that accepts bets on athletic contests.

Square:
An unsophisticated or casual bettor; the opposite of a wise guy; see "Public".

Steam:
One-sided action.

Straight Bet:
A single bet, usually laying 110 to win 100.

Sucker Bet:
Bet with a large house edge.

T

Take a Price:
Bet the underdog or take the points

Takeback:
On a money line, the price of the underdog. (In baseball, if the favorite is minus 120, the "takeback" on the underdog is often plus 110).

Tapped Out:
Broke or busted. Oftentimes, a common result of pressing.

Teaser:A specialized form of a parlay that improves the point spread (for the bettor) but pays off at reduced odds.

Theoretical Hold Percentage:The edge the bookmaker would have IF the odds guaranteed him a constant commission, regardless of the outcome.

Toke:
A tip or gratuity.

Toss Up:
Game where the line is close to pick-em.

Totals:
A type of wager that involves whether a score or result will go over or under a posted number.

Tout:
A person who sells his predictions to bettors (often derogatory).

Triple Sharp:
The sharpest of the sharp. (Note: There is no such term as "Double Sharp").

20-cent line:
A betting line with a 20-cent straddle, which is standard in football and basketball. (With a 20-cent line, if the favorite is minus 120, the underdog is even money).

U

Underdog:
A team (or player) that (according to the odds) is the weaker or among the weakest in a given match-up, or is regarded as such by the betting public, or is expected to lose.

Underlay:
When the odds on a proposition are in favor of the house.

V

Value:
An overlay.

Vigorish (or vig):
The commission charged by the bookmaker.

W

Guy:
A sharp, successful, established professional sports bettor.

Wood:
The price of a heavy favorite. (If you bet the Red Sox as a minus 240 favorite, you "lay the wood" with the Red Sox).