9 Sports Gambling Terms Every Guy Should Know

On Monday, when your friends are regaling you with their stories of wagering on feats of athleticism, you needn’t sit there like a wallflower, smiling and nodding. You should have at least a functioning vocabulary of gambling terms so that you can criticize your friend’s decisions in hindsight. That’s not something you want to miss out on. Some of these may be familiar, some may be new, but having a working knowledge of this list is a great stride towards a gambling addiction. No more smiling and nodding. Get in the game.

9. Parlay
An umbrella bet that relies on winning all of several smaller bets. If I parlay Golden State and San Antonio (assume they’re both favorites), that means I’m betting on Golden State in their game to cover the spread and San Antonio to cover the spread in their game. If they both cover, then you win the parlay and get a larger payout than if you would have just bet on one game. However, if either team fails to cover, the bet is lost. The odds of winning your bet are worse, so the payout goes up. You can parlay as many bets together as you would like, but the more you parlay, the less likely you are to win your bet. You can also parlay spread bets with over/under bets or prop bets.

8. The Spread
The expected margin of victory of the favorite over the underdog. If the spread is 9, and St. Louis is favored over Tampa Bay, then the expectation is that St. Louis will beat Tampa Bay by 9 points. Your spread bet will be based on that expectation. You can bet on Tampa Bay, which means that you expect Tampa to lose by less than 9 or win outright (Tampa +9), or you can bet on St. Louis to win by more than 9 (St. Louis -9). If St. Louis wins by exactly 9, then the bet is a push (a gamblers word for a tie) and you get your money back.

7. Over/Under
This one’s pretty easy. Whereas the spread concerns the bettor with who will win or lose and by how much, the over/under simply serves as the expectation of how many points both teams will score. An over/under of 65 means that expectations are the sum of both teams’ final scores to be 65. You can bet the under, meaning you expect the actual total to be less than the expectation, or the over, which means you expect it to be more than the expectation. It’s perhaps the simplest type of wager in sports.

6. Tease
A tease is a type of parlay, but the payout is less because the bettor gets more favorable betting terms. For instance, if you tease Seattle to cover against Oakland with the over, then the line would get reduced (say from 5 points to 1) and the over would get reduced by 4 points as well, say from 53 to 49. This makes winning the individual bets easier, but it doesn’t pay as well because of the favorable terms.

5. Money Line
This is the bet you make if you just want to pick the winner and loser, regardless of the point differential. Of course, when New England is playing Cleveland, the outcome isn’t exactly 50/50, so there still needs to be an adjustment. And that adjustment comes in the form of the payout. If NE is favored -160, that means you need to bet 160 bucks to win 100. If CLE is the underdog at +145, that means that you bet 100 on Cleveland to win 145. Is it needlessly confusing? Yup. But good luck trying to change it.
4. Prop Bet
A prop (proposition) bet is any bet that’s not on the final score, but on a particular aspect of the game. A prop bet could be anything from the number of three point shots Kobe Bryant attempts in a game to how many combined onside kick attempts both teams will have. Prop bets can also be more conventional, like odds on whether or not LT will break 100 yards rushing in a game. These are rarely put on the screen in sports books, but rather listed on fliers near the cage.
3. Buying Points
Buying points entails paying cash up front to get a more favorable line for the team you wish to bet on, regardless of whether they are the favorite or the underdog. The amount a point costs varies from the size of your bet and the nature of the line, so no hard and fast rules exist.

2. Hedging
Hedging generally means betting both sides of a line (not at the same time) so that you can lock in a smaller victory, but remove all (or some) risk. For example, lets say you’re betting on the Master’s, and you pick Tiger to win the tourney. Then on day three, he gets a huge lead, and you can now bet the field at better odds with the same amount of money. Either way, you will make more than your original bet and your risk will be eliminated or mitigated. However, by hedging you will make less than your original bet would have paid had you not hedged.
1. Taking the Points
This refers to betting on the underdog of a match when betting the spread. If the spread on Buffalo vs. Philly is Buffalo -7 (Buffalo favored by 7 points), then by taking the points, you are betting that Philly will lose by less than 7 (or win). Simply put, taking the points means betting on the underdog.

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