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Basics of Sports Betting: Terminology Every Bettor Should Know

As the sports betting industry grows, many newbies are becoming increasingly interested. Sometimes, the new blood jumps head-first into the fray without understanding a thing. Naturally, the result is that many people need help and need to be made aware of what is happening. To help the newbies, we reviewed the terminology that every bettor should know.

The Terminology of Bettors and Gamblers

Frequently, bettors and gamblers have overlapping terms. For example, you will hear the term odds as often at a bookie’s as at a casino. So, it shouldn’t surprise me if any of the sports and gambling terminology mentioned in this article can be applied to either industry. But without further ado, let us get into the nitty-gritty of this article and discuss the basics of sports betting terminology.


One of the most important terms you must know about is the “money line.” Moneyline bets are the simplest and most common types of bets, where a player wagers on a winner or a draw. Indeed, this is what most think of when they imagine sports betting; a simple bet wherein you pick the winner of the match.


A bit more complex than a moneyline, the parlay bet involves placing several bets on different matches or sports. The games you are betting on must happen chronologically, with each bet leading into the next. If you win the parlay, the reward is relatively high. However, even a single loss results in the whole parlay bet falling apart and the bettor losing a good chunk of change. 


Over/under betting is more complicated than a typical moneyline. Sportsbooks consider a team’s pace of play, strategy, former games, and several other factors and create a number for a given game (usually, it is the score of both teams combined). The players then place wagers on whether or not the actual number in the game will exceed or remain below the given number.

“Draw No Bet”

A draw-no bet, sometimes called no-draw bet, is precisely what it sounds like. You bet on the winner of a match, and if you’ve placed a draw no bet, you get a refund on your bet if the game ends in a draw. Draw No bets are prevalent among soccer fans, as soccer matches end in draws more frequently than other sports matches.


Anyone familiar with the basics of online gambling should already be familiar with a bankroll. Simply put, a bankroll is money a player has set aside to wager with. Most experienced gamblers/bettors recommend never exceeding the bankroll you’ve set aside, even if you’ve doubled your money.


An exacta is a complex bet wherein you place a wager on the top three places in the game. You win the bet if you get the athlete/team and placement correctly. However, if even one needs to be corrected, you lose your cash.

“Live Bet”

Live bets are exactly what they sound like; a chance you make after the match has commenced. Live bets are prevalent at online sportsbooks, where you can follow the game through a live stream and put down wagers.


Dog, or underdog, is undoubtedly a term you are familiar with. The phrase has crossed over into popular culture and is now used by legitimate publications to describe someone who wins despite being disadvantaged. In sports betting, the underdog refers to the team who is not very likely to win. Bettors usually bet on the underdog because a payout from an underdog victory is much heftier than a famous one.

Different Terms for the Favorite

We discussed the underdog, but the opposite of that is favorite. Depending on the bookie, they will use different terms to describe their favorite. The following is a list of a few words that other sportsbooks might use:

  •       Jolly
  •       Chalk
  •       Favorite
  •       Winners


Some folks don’t have great luck and rack up quite a gambling debt. However, they decided that it would be better to leave that debt. An unpaid gambling debt is usually called a welch. The term sometimes refers to someone who doesn’t pay off the debt.


We hope this short glossary can help you better understand the world of gambling and sports betting. As the industry grows, more and more people are becoming interested. This list can serve as a guide for anyone who wants to get into the hobby.


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