Common USA Sportsbook Betting Terms

Common USA Sportsbook Betting Terms –  What do they all mean?

Sports and betting have gone hand in hand through history and it’s not a mistake to say that one has never existed without another.
As an extremely popular pastime, sports betting has grown immensely over the past couple of decades and most prominently during the technological revolution. The emergence of online betting has truly helped redefine the entire sports betting landscape which has become a largely lucrative industry.
Betting on sports you enjoy watching seems like a natural progression, but before you can place a bet, you need to learn some of the main terms in a vast sports betting glossary that will help you gain footing in this exciting industry.
The following list details the most common USA betting terms.

Betting Juice

Also known as the vigorish – or vig – betting juice is simply the price bookmakers charge for placing a bet. Betting juice is determined based on win probability or based on the amount of money wagered on one side, whereas the most common vigorish used in sports betting is -105 and -110. This practically means that for every $1.05 and $1.10 wagered on sports, the punter can win $0.50 or $1, respectively.

Betting juice is simply a bookmaker’s practice of securing its own position in any given bet. Bookmakers are profit-oriented and will go for it on all wagers regardless of the outcome. Betting juice is assumed to be proportioned to the true odds which is not necessarily the case. With betting juice set at -110 against +100, bettors are in effect risking $110 to win $100. The extra $10 in the pot per person is considered to be bookmaker’s commission for taking the betting action.

The Dog – Underdog

Underdog is the team or a competitor in any given sport and event which is considered to have least chances of winning a contest. From a betting point of view, the underdog is expected to lose the game and will be given the corresponding betting odds.
Underdog betting is considered to be a popular strategy as it can result in hefty payouts. The general betting public will by default bet on the favourites. This will allow an experienced bettor to see through the hype surrounding a team/side/contestant and analyse the data to get an argument in favour of making the unpopular bet.


A future bet is a popular betting pick for enthusiast punters who like to test luck and fortune to a higher degree than usual. This type of bet involves wagering on an event that’s yet to happen. Most future bets are related to a team winning a certain league/championship or any kind of future competition.
Betting odds and prices on futures will vary depending on a number of factors. Early prices tend to be the highest while the bookmakers are likely to correct the odds as any future event approaches and more information on participants, their current forms, team news etc. become available.


In an event where there is an obvious strength differential between the two sides, a handicap can be applied as a betting form intended to even the odds. Often referred to as the spread or Asian handicap betting, these types of bets will assign a virtual deficit or surplus to each side of the bet to level the market.
Handicaps are either negative or positive and would usually involve goal and point handicaps. Negative handicaps are assigned to betting favourites whereas the underdogs will be getting a positively marked handicap. In order for your Handicap bet to go through, your selection will need to be higher in amount than the handicapped amount.

Money Lines

Contrary to a point spread or a handicap bet, money lines are the type of bets which state the amount a player needs to wager in order to receive $100. This particular form of betting is considered to be the most straightforward way of betting as it simply involves choosing a side-player you think will win.
Money line payouts are based on true odds, which is not the case with fixed odds betting. The favourites in an event will be listed with a minus (-) sign in front of them, whereas the underdogs are marked with a plus (+). The signs are here to further explain how much a bettor needs to invest in order to get a payout on their original wager.
Often used in low-scoring sports, money lines are most actively used in the most popular sport in the USA – baseball. That said, the best example to illustrate a money line would be through a baseball game:
· New York Yankees – 170
· Baltimore Orioles + 150

In this particular case you will see that a $170 bet on favourites – New York Yankees – will pay out $100, whereas the $100 wager on underdogs – Baltimore Orioles – will result in a $150 payout. In both cases, the bettor will be given their original wagers after the bet is reconciled. And although the winning amount usually pivots around the similar amount, risk is higher on the favourite’s side.


Parlay bet is a different type to a regular sports wager knowing that it involves multiple teams winning. It’s basically an accumulation of bets in which all separate instances accrue into the winning amount. Parlays are extremely popular as they offer a significantly larger payout than a single bet. Part of their popularity is also a difficulty level as getting a parlay correct will involve serious knowledge, expertise, experience and luck. Novice bettors can often take advantage of parlays to combine multiple favourites into an attractive bet, even though the proper allure of this type of bet lies in getting your hands on a win generated by getting the underdog parlay right.
Parlays come in different variations and types of their own most popular of which are Round Robin and Teasers.


Normally found with point spread bets, pick’em occurs in contests that are evenly matched and where real favourite cannot be identified. With so little separating the two sides – often during playoffs and finals – pick’em bets encourage bettors to simply pick a team or wager on an even point spread.
Not exactly an experienced bettor’s favourite choice, pick’em bets will not offer a big return and are therefore ideal for beginners. Better yet, pick’em games are ideal for supporters who can get a special push of enthusiasm and motivation ahead of the big game.


A short term for proposition bets, props are widely perceived as some of most exciting forms of betting from the entertainment point of view. Proposition bets do not directly affect the outcome of a sports event but are rather defined as bets made on certain occurrence (or lack of it) during a contention.
The most popular types of proposition bets include which team will score first in soccer or complete a touchdown in American football, the number of strikeouts a pitcher will gather in baseball etc. It also includes the discipline records per team in a game. Generally speaking, props are widely perceived as bets that involve no (to very little) skill and expertise but widely rely on luck.


Total bets – or totals – also don’t affect the outcome of an event. Totals represent an overall result in terms of goals (in soccer), games (in tennis), scores (in basketball). They are all about estimating the total score in relation to going under or over a predetermined margin. The most popular totals bet in soccer is Under/Over 2.5 goals which means that a combined number of goals needs to be not more than 2 and no less than 3 in order for either bet to go through, respectively.

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