Whether you’re new to sports betting or just looking to brush up on your terminology, check out this helpful guide to some of the key terms and phrases.
A sportsbook is a bricks-and-mortar facility where you can bet on sports. Such facilities currently exist in D.C., Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Legislation that recently passed the Maryland House of Delegates and state Senate opens the door for sportsbooks to open in Maryland at some point in 2021.
An online sportsbook gives you the opportunity to bet on sports without going to a physical location but instead doing it on your computer or mobile device. It is allowed in various forms in D.C., New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. The hope is that online and mobile sports betting will be available in Maryland at some point in 2021. DraftKings, FanDuel, FOX Bet, William Hill, BetMGM and BetUS are among the popular outlets for online and mobile sports betting for those in states where it is legal. Be sure to look for promotions and sign-up bonuses. Click here for more information.
Your bankroll is the total amount of money you have available to bet. A unit is a small percentage of your bankroll and refers to the size of your bet.
When you bet the moneyline, you are simply betting on one team to win a game. If a favorite is -200, you must bet $200 to win $100. If the underdog is +180, a $100 bet on the underdog would win you $180.
When you bet the over-under, you are betting on whether the total points, goals or runs scored will go over or under a specified amount. If a baseball game has a total of 8.5, you need both teams to combine for nine runs or more to hit the over — or eight runs or fewer to hit the under.
When you bet a point spread, you are betting on a team to “cover” a spread as opposed to betting on a team to simply win the game. Consider a football game with a 3.5-point spread. If you bet the favorite (listed as -3.5), that team must win the game by four or more points for you to win your bet. If you bet the underdog (listed as +3.5), two outcomes can win you the bet — that team wins outright, or it loses by three points or less.
However, you may not necessarily win or lose your game. In that case, it is a push. That occurs when you bet the moneyline in a game that ends in a tie (usually soccer) or when the game lands directly on the point spread — for example, if you bet on a three-point favorite to cover a football game and the favorite wins by three points. In either case, you get your money back.
Once a game begins, the betting doesn’t stop thanks to in-play wagers. As the action unfolds, the moneyline, over-under and point spreads all adjust and can be bet on at any time. You can also bet on a particular event occurring in a game. These bets are typically made online or on a mobile device.
A parlay is when you group together two or more bets for greater possible winnings than if you bet each game individually. You can group two or more bets together in a teaser as well. Teasers are easiest to do in football, where bettors can typically adjust the lines 6, 6.5 or 7 points for multiple games. Payouts are adjusted based on how the bettor has moved the line.
Bets don’t have to just be on a single game. You can lay down money on a futures bet. For example, you can place a bet on a football team winning its division in 2021 … or lay down money on a particular pitcher to win the AL Cy Young.
Did you just bet on one team but want to guarantee a payout by putting some money down on another side? This is known as a hedge.
Public money refers to the team that most of the general betting public is betting on in a particular game. You can always visit a website like scoresandodds.com or wagerline.com and check consensus reports to find out where the public money is going. Sharp money refers to respected bettors, who often wager large sums of money on a particular team.
Reverse line movement is when the moneyline or point spread is being moved contrary to the public money. In other words, the traders and books are responding to the sharp money. You can follow the public money or sharp money.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Meadowlands Racetrack