The Only Football Betting Glossary You Will Need

The Only Football Betting Glossary You Will Need

Published Date · Aug. 23, 2022 · Last Updated · July 19, 2023 ·Read Time · 5 mins

Football betting is the most popular sport to wager on in America. Whether it’s professional football like in the NFL or at the collegiate level, betting on football has been enjoyed by millions both in brick and mortar as well as online casinos. Despite its popularity, however, the terms of football betting can be difficult to understand for fans that are new to the industry. There are some terms that are easy to understand for the common fan, but there are more in-depth terms for the more experienced bettor, which may take some time to learn. Our glossary below will show you all the terms you’ll need to know to become a football betting expert.


ATS (also known as Against the Spread)- This is all about making a point spread bet to go against the spread. This means betting on the underdog or taking the points (the side of the spread bet with the plus sign). 

Bad Beat- The Bad Beat, also known simply as “bad luck,” a bad beat means that almost everything went right, but your bet still came up short. For example, if you bet on an NFL team to cover a 7-point spread and the other team scores a meaningless touchdown at the end of the game, it can turn a spread victory for you into a loss. 

Buy Points- This is an act where a sports bettor can pay a small fee or percentage in order to move the betting line a minimum of a half point or more if they believe that change will push their wager over the edge to win the bet. 

Chalk- This term is the favored team in a matchup.

Circled Game– A circled game is a matchup where the sportsbooks have limited action or limit the amount a person can wager on a game. This is typical because of significant weather factors, injuries, or trades that may change before the matchup.

Cover- To cover means that you’ve won your points spread bet


Dog– This is the short name for the underdog of a matchup, who the oddsmaker believe has less of a chance of winning

Fade– This means to bet against a team or specifically betting against a situation. If an MLB team has lost their last 7 matchups against the spread, one may fade that team and bet the other way

Favorite-  While this might be self-explanatory, it is good to know that the favorite is the team or betting side that is expected to win

Futures- Futures bet or future bet is to bet on the outcome of a situation that takes place in the future, like the winner of an MVP award in the Super Bowl


Handle- This is the total amount of money placed on an event at a sportsbook

Hedge- To hedge is the same as making a wager on the other side of your original bet to make sure that you walk away from your bet with at least a small profit or, at the very least, make a wager to minimize potential losses

Juice- Juice is the amount of money that a sportsbook takes for bettors placing their bet. This amount is baked into the odds when making a wager

Line- A line is the odds for a matchup, also known as the betting line

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Moneyline– This is more popular in hockey and baseball because of their low-scoring matchups; this wager is the simplest in sports betting, where you pick one team or the other to win the game.

No Action– A No Action is when a bet gets canceled for any reason. What would also be considered a tie or push, so the bettors get their money back.


OTB– A match, game, or future where no wager can be made for whatever reason. The reasons range from weather uncertainty to potential trades that can impact a team’s success

Over/Under- A wager taking the combined goals, runs or points scored on both sides. The over/under number varies by sport, with baseball and hockey around 5.5, while football can range from the thirties to the fifties. 

Over- A wager result when the total runs, goals, or points that are scored by the two teams above a posted total. For example, if the Over/Under for a baseball game is 6.5 runs, and then the game ends 8-2, this would be 10 total runs which would be Over the listed wager. 

Parlay- A bet ticket where there are multiple wagers on it. In order for a parlay to hit (or payout), every bet on the ticket has to win. While a parlay is a risker bet, combining multiple bets into one can lead to a much larger payout

PK– Also known as a Pick’em, is a matchup where the person making the odds believes that both sides of the matchup have an even chance of winning. This means that there is no favorite or underdog and the matchup is even odds. 

Point Spread- Also known as the spread, the oddsmakers list the total number of points that the underdog needs to exceed against the favorite in order to win the wager

Prop Bet- A wager during a game that has no impact on the outcome of the game. Wagers like “What position will score the first touchdown” or “What inning will the starting pitcher be taken out”

Push- Can also be described as a tie where the person betting gets their money back. For example, a bettor that wagers on a game with a -7 spread where the final score is 21-14, the wager would be a push


Total- The Over/Under value provided by the oddsmaker for the Over/Under wager. The number is the total number of runs, points, or goals scored in a game.

Under- The under is one side of the Over/Under bet where a bettor believes that the total score of the game will be less than the number provided by the oddsmaker. For example, if the Over/Under for a game is 42.5 points, and the final score is 14-7 (21 points in total), that means that the Under wins.

Underdog– The side of the bet that is not expected to win the matchup (also known as dog).

Now I Know The Terms, What Next?

Now that you understand the typical professional bettor’s terminology, you are now ready to start putting money down at your favorite online sportsbook. With these sports betting terms at your fingertips, you’ll be able to bet like a pro and be able to understand what everyone is talking about. Read our handy guides to help you implement these terms into your betting strategies and tactics!


Phoebe Greenwood

Content Writer