Sports Betting Lingo

People in the sports betting world seem to be very good at two things; analyzing statistics in order to pick a winner and making up words to appear as an authority. It never ceases to amaze us how much sports betting lingo there is out there and it varies drastically by region; it is really hard to keep up with it all. Never fear though, dear readers, because we will gladly explain some of the most common sports betting terms so that you will not feel left out when placing a wager.

Sports Betting Basics

Since we have to start somewhere, we might as well cover all of the essentials first. A bet in the sportsbook world can be called a “wager”, a “handle”, “getting down”, or it can simply be called “action,” but there’s a good hundred or so other terms used in various regions of the world as well. A large wager would be considered “firing” out a bet, but if that player is always picking the favorite then he’s known as a “square” or a “chalk player”.

Likewise, a professional handicapper is known as a “wiseguy,” and everyone wants to know whom this person is betting on since he makes big bucks from gambling. Since he usually does not want to share his insights, his big “steam” bet is usually placed by a 3rd party that is called a “beard”. This is the guy that also usually has all the “hot tips” as well, meaning that he knows something that the bookies haven’t figured out yet.

Inside the Sportsbook

Many gamblers bet through an “agent”, which is a middleman that takes bets on behalf of a casino. A “bookmaker” is the person or business that actually sets the payout odds on each wager, which is sometimes quite a complex system involving statistics, recent performances, the event location, and many other factors. Most of the time the bookmakers set the odds in their favor which is called an “underlay”, but in rare occurrences there will be an “overlay”, which means that the odds slightly favor the gambler.

If gamblers bet heavily on one particular team, bookmakers will sometimes “hedge” the bets by betting it with another bookie to cover their overall losses. Of course, players do the exact same thing when the odds favor it or there is a wide point spread; it some instances both teams could actually win their respective bets.

Player Sports Betting Terms

Many players rely on a “tout service” for advice on who to bet on; these professional handicappers are also known as a “sportsbook service”. Just be careful of their free “lock” picks that are supposed to be guaranteed; we’ve seen more “bad beats” (definite winners that lose) from these types of picks than anything. Speaking of which, we should probably point out that a “backdoor cover” happens a lot more than you’d expect as well; that’s where the underdog scores just enough points in the last minute to cover the “spread” (handicap points).

One last piece of advice; if you have a problem (also known as “beef “) with a sportsbook, don’t go crying to the gaming commission unless the bookie actually did something illegal (like changed the odds, refused to pay, etc). They can not help you if you’ve made numerous “sucker bets” that didn’t pay off, so stick to the main lines and do not get too creative in any of the match-ups you bet on.

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