SPORTS BETTING 101 & GLOSSARY OF TERMS
HOW TO BET ON SPORTS
Certain sports betting terms may be confusing to people who are new to betting on sports. When you visit an online sportsbook website for the first time, you are likely to have many questions. This Sports Betting 101 & Glossary of Terms is designed to help newcomers get started with sports betting. Before explaining the most important terms, we will answer the most frequently asked questions related to sports betting.
IS ONLINE BETTING LEGAL?
The most important question to ask is whether online betting is legal in your country or state. Online betting is legal In the following countries and states (as of March 2021):
- All provinces
- New Jersey
- West Virginia
In the U.S.A., the minimum age for legal betting is 21. In Canada, sports betting is regulated by the individual provinces. In most Canadian provinces, regions or cities, you must be 19 years old to bet, except in Alberta, Calgary, Manitoba, Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec, where the legal gambling age is 18.
Only parlay style betting is currently allowed in Canada. Betting on a single sports game is currently illegal under the Criminal Code of Canada (RSC 1985, c C-46 s 207(4)(b).). Bill C-13, introduced last November, would lift the ban on single-event sports betting in Canada and allow provinces to regulate the industry. The bill is expected to garner bipartisan support and is being considered at a time Canada is facing increasing competition from America after the U.S. Supreme Court paved the way for legalized sports betting in the States. Source: mondaq.com
WHAT IS A BOOKIE?
“Bookie” is an abbreviation that refers to a bookmaker or sportsbook. A bookie offers the opportunity to place bets on various types of events, particularly sports events. The bookie sets the betting odds and lines. They accept your bets and pay the winnings directly to your betting account. Check out the best American sportsbooks and best Canadian sportsbooks.
WHAT TO BET ON TODAY
Online bookmakers offer an incredibly large variety of bets, which makes it possible to place sports bets every day. The number of betting options has increased in recent years. Years ago, people only had the option to bet on a win or a loss, or over/under. Nowadays, people can even place bets on items unrelated to the outcome of a game, such as player props. We proudly offer daily NFL picks, NBA picks and NHL picks.
HOW TO READ BETTING ODDS
Learning to read odds may take some getting used to, but once you understand the concepts, it is quite simple.
American odds always start with a plus or minus sign. Betting odds are simply betting on the probability of the outcome of a sporting event. If the probability is 50%, the odds are +100. If the probability is 75%, the odds are -300. When the probability is only 10%, the odds are +900.
Canadian odds are displayed as a decimal number. The odds of 1.67 corresponds with a probability of 60%. Odds of 2.00 corresponds with a probability of 50%.
HOW TO CALCULATE BETTING ODDS?
Calculating odds is also a relatively simple procedure.
There are two different representations of American betting odds. Both always begin with a plus or minus sign. For example, if you bet on odds of +250 and your bet wins, you will earn a $250 profit on a $100 bet. The odds of -120 mean you must bet $120 to make a $100 profit.
You must multiply the decimal odds with the stake, then subtract the stake from that calculation to see the potential profit. For example, if you bet 50 CAD on odds of 1.83 and your bet wins, you will make a profit of 41.50 CAD ((50 x 1.83)-50 = 41.50 CAD).
WHAT IS A SPREAD?
A spread in betting is also referred to as: against the spread, ATS or cover the spread. Against the spread is a notional advantage in points that the bookmaker gives to an underdog to even out the odds. Let’s say, for example, that the moneyline odds of a Kansas City Chiefs win over the New York Jets is -400. The bookie wants to offer better odds to their customers, so they set a spread of -12.5 for Kansas City. In this case, the Jets will get a positive spread of +12.5. The odds are now even at -110 on both spreads. If you bet against the spread on the Chiefs -12.5, then the Kansas City Chiefs must win the game by at least 13 points for you to win your bet. If you bet on the Jets +12.5, then the Jets can lose by a maximum of 12 points and you will still win.
WHAT IS THE MONEYLINE?
Betting on the moneyline is the simplest type of bet that exists in sports betting. You bet on the one team who you think will win, therefore there are only two possible outcomes: to either win or lose the bet. The moneyline bet also takes into consideration the possibility of overtime or shootout. For example, if you bet that the Los Angeles Lakers will win against the Dallas Mavericks, and the Lakers win the game in overtime, then your bet will win.
WHAT DOES OVER/UNDER MEAN?
Over/under bets are also known as totals. Over/under bets are normally placed on the total number of points or goals expected to be scored by both teams, as determined by the bookmaker. Over/under bets can also be found on player props. A bookmaker usually sets over/under lines at 0.5. To illustrate this, let’s use an example of the Boston Celtics and Portland Trail Blazers with over/under 235.5, which would read as: Boston Celtics @ Portland Trail Blazers Over/Under 235.5. If you bet on the over, then both teams must score a combined total of 236 points or more for your bet to win. If you bet on the under, the maximum score must be no more than 235 points for you to win your bet.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE OVER/UNDER IS EXACTLY THE SAME?
Some bookmakers offer whole numbers for over/under bets. For example, the sportsbook may read:
Miami Heat @ Brooklyn Nets Over/Under 218.0
If both teams were to score exactly 218 points, then you would get back your bet. Otherwise, the over/under rules apply as in the first example. If you have bet this pick in a parlay, this bet will not be taken into account when determining the winnings.
WHAT IS A PARLAY?
A parlay is a single bet that combines two or more wagers. These can be moneyline, against the spread, total or prop bets. Sometimes it is also possible to bet the same game parlay so that you can combine different bets on the same game. For example, you can bet that Tampa Bay will win, that it will be over 56.5 points and that Mike Evans will score a touchdown.
In a parlay, all bets must be correct, otherwise the bet is lost.
HOW TO CALCULATE THE ODDS OF A PARLAY
The calculation of a parlay is not so simple, and can best be explained through examples. Let's say that you bet on the following games:
- NBA | Golden State Warriors @ Los Angeles Lakers | Over 218.5 Points | -120
- NHL | Boston Bruins @ Colorado Avalanche | Bruins ML | -110
- NFL | Kansas City Chiefs @ Los Angeles Rams | Chiefs -3.5 | -115
You must follow these steps to find the total odds of your parlay:
- Convert American odds to decimal (Canadians can jump directly to the calculation)
- Multiply the decimal odds together to get the multiplier
- Subtract 1 from the multiplier to get your parlay odds
Let's calculate the parlay odd for our example parlay:
- 1.83 x 1.91 x 1.87 = 6.54
- 6.54 - 1 = 5.54
Your parlay odd as an American quote is +554, which means that you would earn $554 in profit with a $100 stake. For Canadians, the parlay odds are 6.54 which means that with a 100 CAD bet you can win 654 CAD. The profit would be 554 CAD.
As you can see, the calculation for American odds is fairly complex. Therefore, it is recommendable to use a parlay calculator.
WHAT IS A PROP?
The two types of prop bets are fun prop bets and skilled prop bets. Fun prop bets are all about luck and require zero skill.
Fun prop bets
- What color is the winning team's Gatorade?
- Who will win the coin flip?
- How often is a player's girlfriend shown on TV?
Skilled prop bets require some knowledge of players, the squad, the match plan of the coach or the injured players. These types of prop bets can be divided into several categories.
Skilled prop bets
- Win totals
- Season props
- Playoff props
- Super Bowl props
- Player props
HOW TO MAKE MONEY IN SPORTS BETTING
If you want to make money in sports betting, you need to use the right strategy. It is important to recognize value bets. Betting odds are nothing more than probability. It’s best to find a strategy to determine the probability of the outcome of a game better than the bookmaker. If you can do that, you will find value bets. These will give you more profitable betting results in the long run. Here is an example to clarify the meaning of value and probability:
Let’s say you find the odds of -150 (1.67) for a win of the Dallas Mavericks against the Utah Jazz in a sportsbook. The bookmaker assumes that the Mavericks will win the game by 60%. After your analysis, you conclude that the Mavericks will win the game by 70%. The odds are -233 (1.43). Your calculated probability is higher than that of the bookmaker, therefore, it is a value bet. If you find that you will not make a profit in the long run, then you will have to adjust the calculation of your probability.
HOW DO BOOKIES MAKE MONEY?
The answer may surprise you, but a bookie will always make money regardless of how the game turns out. A bookie earns money from the people who lose their bets, but all bookmakers also include a commission in the odds they offer, which is also known as "vig," "juice" or "vigorish." If a bookmaker didn’t keep any commission and only offered fair odds with a 100% payout, they would not earn any money. For this reason, bookmakers pay out an average of only 95% of the staked money. We will use an example to illustrate how this works and how you can calculate the bookmaker’s commission yourself.
An online sportsbook offers these betting odds on the game between the Denver Nuggets and the Golden State Warriors:
- Moneyline Nuggets: -113 (1.88)
- Moneyline Warriors: -113 (1.88)
First, the betting odds must be converted into decimal odds (Canadians can go directly to the calculation):
- Positive odds: 1 plus (the American odds divided by 100) = decimal quote
- Negative odds: 1 minus (100 divided by the American odds) = decimal quote
- Our example: 1-(100/-113) = 1.88
Formula to calculate the vig:
- (1 divided by ((1 / decimal odd) + (1 / decimal odd)) x 100 = vig in percent
- Our example: (1/((1/1.88)+(1/1.88))*100 = 94%
The bookmaker in this example has a 6% commission, which is how they profit no matter how the game ends. If you were to bet the same amount on both outcomes, you would lose 6% of your total bet. Of course, it also matters how much money is bet on the odds. Sportsbooks usually react immediately and adjust the odds when many people bet on a team or place big bets. This means the odds are directly adjusted again.
SPORTS BETTING GLOSSARY & TERMS
As a newcomer to the sports betting industry, you will be confronted with some terms that are foreign to you. This is our explanation of the most common terms that you should know.
Action: The stake placed on a bet.
Added Game: A bettor requests a bet from a bookmaker that they do not have in their betting offer.
Against The Spread (ATS): To ensure balanced betting odds, a bookmaker sets a fictitious against the spread. The favorite to cover the spread is represented with a minus sign (-) and the underdog with a plus sign (+). If the against the spread is -7.5 in an NFL game, then the team must win by at least 8 points for the bettor to win.
Backdoor Cover: The result of a game is already determined, but one team (usually the underdog) covers the spread.
Bad Beat: A bet that is lost just before the end of the game, even though it looked like a winning bet.
Bankroll: The total amount of money someone has available for sports betting.
Beard: A bettor who hides their identity. Often referred to as "sharks.”
Bookmaker/Bookie/Book: A sportsbook or establishment that takes bets on sports events.
Cash-Out: To sell your betting slip before all the games on the betting slip are finished. Some bookmakers offer their customers a cash-out option.
Chalk: Another word for “favorite.”
Circle Game: A game or event in which, due to weather or many injuries, the possible bet is limited.
Closing Line: The last line you can bet on before a game begins.
Consensus Pick: A pick on which a large percentage of the public has placed bets.
Contrarian Bidding: Wagers against the public bettors.
Cover: When a team wins by more points than the spread. For example, the Chiefs win by 7 points and the spread was -3.5.
Dime: A $1,000 sports bet.
Dog: A team that is very likely to lose a game. Short for “underdog.”
Dollar: A $100 bet on a game or event.
Draw: Neither the bettor nor the sportsbook wins. Also called a "push.”
Edge: This is the advantage of a bettor who has more and better information than the bookmaker.
Exotic: Also known as “prop bets.” The best example of prop bets is in the Super Bowl.
Favorite: The team that is most likely to win the game or contest.
First-Half Bet: Only the score, points or goals of the first half are taken into account.
Free Bet: Many bookmakers offer free bets to generate new customers. We present to you the best free bets available.
Future: The odds a bookmaker offers for an event that is still far in the future, such as the winner of the Super Bowl after the first NFL week.
Grand Salami: A bet on all goals of all field hockey games in a single day.
Half-Time Bet: The same as a first-half bet. The bet is settled at half-time and only the points or goals scored until then are taken into account.
Handicapper: People or groups who try to predict the outcome of a bet.
Hedging: A person bets pregame on team A and bets live on team B. Both odds are "+" odds, so they will win no matter how the game ends. Also called a “sure bet.”
High Roller: Bettors who wager more than $1,000 on a single bet.
Juice: The commission that a bookmaker charges. Also known as "vig" or "vigorish.”
Limit: The maximum amount that a player can place on their bet.
Line: The current spread, moneyline and point totals for a particular event.
Lock: A team that is very likely to win a game with a high spread.
Long Shot: A big underdog. This term is often used in horse racing.
Middle: When you place one bet on the underdog and one bet on the favorite, and both win. For example, before the game, you bet +7.5 on the underdog, live you bet -6.5 on the favorite, and the game is won by the favorite by exactly 7 points.
Moneyline: A wager on a team to win the game straight up.
Nickel: A $500 sports wager.
No Action: Also known as "push" or "cash back." For example, if you bet on over 218.0 points and exactly 218 points are scored, the bookmaker will refund the bet.
Oddsmakers: People who calculate the probability of a sports result and offer the corresponding betting odds.
Off The Board: A game in which no bets are accepted.
Opening Line: The first line posted for a particular sporting event.
Over: A bet that more points, goals or yards will be scored than the line offered by the bookmaker.
Parlay: A single bet on which two or more bets are placed. All parlay bets must be correct for the bet to win.
Pick 'Em: A game in which neither team is favored.
Point Spread: The number of points by which a team must win to cover the spread.
Prop Bet: “Prop” is short for a proposition. These are bets which are not related to the moneyline, totals or spread. For example, a prop bet could be on how many points LeBron James will score against the Los Angeles Clippers. We cover NFL player props and NBA player props.
Public Betting Percentage: The number of bets placed by the public on an event or game.
Push: Neither side wins the bet and the bettor gets his stake refunded.
Return On Investment: The total amount of money won or lost in sports betting.
Round Robin: A form of a parlay.
Run Line: A spread in baseball.
Sharp: A person who has very good information before they place a bet.
Square: An inexperienced bettor who prefers to bet on favorites.
Steam Move: A bet that changes extremely quickly, usually due to sharp bettors or player failures.
Straight Up: A wager on just one team to win a game.
Take The Points/Price: Betting the underdog and accepting money odds.
Teasers: A type of parlay where the points spread and/or total is adjusted in the player's favor. The odds are lower in a teaser bet in comparison to a traditional parlay bet.
Total: The combined points, runs or goals scored by both teams.
Tout: A betting expert who sells their tips.
Under: A bet that fewer points, goals or yards will be scored than the line offered by the bookmaker.
Underdog: A team that is very likely to lose the game, also called a "dog."
Units: The size of the stake of a bettor. Usually, a unit is 1-2% of the bankroll bet per wager.
Vigorish: The sportsbook commission. Also known as "juice" or "vig.”
Wager: To place a bet on the outcome of a game.