Sports Betting As A Business                                                                
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In a nutshell:

"If you don't gamble very day, you could be in the middle of a winning streak and not even know it."
- R. J. Miller





Other pages:

A Crash Course in Vigorish

How to Beat the NFL Preseason


How to Spot Key NFL Lines


An Important Thing to Know



Bob McCune on Baseball Betting
An important article by Bob McCune, adapted from his classic book, Revelations In Sports Betting!



Check this book!

How Professional Gamblers Beat the Pro Football Pointspread!
Now in paperback!


Parlays & Profit

Ever notice, sportbooks don't promote parlays? ...Why is that???


Test Your Sports Betting I.Q.

Winning Percentages



Letters from Gamblers

Bob McCune on Sports Betting

R. J. Miller: Sports Money Management

R. J. Miller: Why I Bet on Sports

Moneyline Conversion Chart

NBA = $$$



Professional Gambler Newsletter



So you're in a sportbook and someone tells their friend, "I ate the chalk, laid the hook, and parlayed the under for a dime."

...Huh?...Care to translate that for the home folks?

...So then his friend answers, "Total's okay...Shoulda bought the hook."


...But not to worry. Just as soon as you memorize the meanings below you'll be talking right along with veteran punters...


ACTION   the total amount risked on one or more bets. "I have $2,000 in action on baseball today," or, "I had two dimes in action yesterday."

BAD BEAT   an improbable loss, such as due to a last-second Hail Mary pass or a bad official's call or an unlikely error, fumble, interception, missed foul shot, etc.

BAD WIN   there is no such thing as a "bad win." Every win happens because you knew it would.

BANKROLL   the total amount of money one has available for betting (See 'FANTASY')

BETTING SYSTEM   any pre-planned method of sizing one's bets, usually based on recent events, designed to make more profit than you deserve (See 'TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE')

BOOKIE, BOOKMAKER   the man who 'holds the money' between bettors, charging a commission for his service; like a banker, only a lot more honest (See also: 'HEARTLESS S.O.B.')

BUCK   $100 (See also: 'DOLLAR')

CHALK   the favorite; the team expected by the general betting public to win the game; the team requiring you to lay odds to bet on them

CHALK-EATER   (1.) someone who bets on the favored team.  (2.) someone who habitually bets on favorites

CIRCLED GAME   a game or proposition with special limitations assigned to it by the bookmaker, usually due to special circumstances involving uncertain weather conditions, questions about who will play in the game, or other unusual conditions 

COMP   any gift from a casino or bookmaker to a customer, ranging from a free soft drink to a lunch buffet to show tickets to a free hotel room to free airline tickets to a suite of rooms to the-sky's-the-limit, all depending on the size of the customer's action

COVER   (verb) a favored team covers when they win the game by more than the pointspread; an underdog covers when they either win the game outright or lose by less than the pointspread

DIME   $1,000

DIME LINE   having to risk 105 to win 100 on either side of a proposition. The bookmaker keeps slightly less than 5 percent of the winnings as his commission (See also: MONEYLINE, 'POINTSPREAD', 'SIX-TO-FIVE LINE', 'THIRTY-CENT LINE', 'TWENTY-CENT LINE')

DOG   the team expected (according to the posted line) to lose the game; the underdog

DOLLAR   $100 ("I laid a dollar on the Clippers today.")

EDGE   advantage...

EXOTIC BET   action other than a standard bet or simple parlay (See also: 'QUICKSAND')

FAVORITE   the team expected to win the game, according to the posted odds; the team requiring you to lay odds to bet on them (See 'CHALK')

FORTY-CENT LINE   having to risk 120 to win 100 on either side of a proposition. The bookmaker keeps slightly less than 17 percent of the winnings as his commission. (See also: 'DIME LINE', 'MONEYLINE', 'POINTSPREAD',  'SIX-TO-FIVE LINE', 'THIRTY-CENT LINE', 'TWENTY-CENT LINE', and especially 'SUICIDAL GAMBLERS')

FUTURE BET, FUTURES   a bet on something that will happen in the future, such as which team will eventually win the World Series or Super Bowl (See also: SKY-HIGH VIGORISH)


GET DOWN   place a bet

HANDICAP   (pronoun) The predicted pointspread (margin of victory) or difference in odds between the favored team and the underdog.   (verb) to study stats, conditions, etc., ultimately to predict the margin of victory between two sports teams

HANDICAPPER   one who studies the teams and conditions in order to predict the outcome of a game, especially the probable margin of victory

HANDLE   the total amount risked over a given period, or over a certain number of bets; the total of all action, especially the total at risk by a bookmaker  (See also: 'ACTION')

HEDGE BET   a bet in opposition to an existing bet, thereby reducing the total amount risked on a particular proposition (See also: 'BAD IDEA')

HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE   the sum of the subjective advantages enjoyed by a team when playing in their own stadium or arena as opposed to having traveled to a strange town to play in a strange environment

HOOK   the half-point added to a whole number pointspread, such as an NFL favorite laying 3.5 points rather than 3.0 points

JUICE   the bookmaker's commission, similar to a stockbroker's commission, or to a Realtor's commission; the percentage of total monies risked kept by the bookmaker after paying the winners  (See 'VIGORISH')

KELLY CRITERION   a betting system wherein the bigger your estimated advantage, the higher your bet should be  (See also: 'KAMIKAZE CRITERION')

LAY THE CHALK, LAY THE POINTS   to place a bet on the favorite  

LIMIT   the maximum amount allowed by the bookmaker to be bet at the posted odds

LINE   the posted odds on a sporting event, either the pointspread or the moneyline  (See also: 'DIME LINE', 'MONEYLINE', 'FORTY-CENT LINE', 'POINTSPREAD', 'SIX-TO-FIVE LINE', 'THIRTY-CENT LINE', 'TWENTY-CENT LINE')

LIVE DOG   an underdog that is considered to have a chance to win the game outright

LOCK, LOCK BET   a bet that can't possibly lose; a sure thing, a bet that's already "locked away" before the game starts (See also, 'FAIRYTALE', 'SPORTS TOUT')

MARTINGALE BETTING SYSTEM   in its simplest form the Martingale is a method wherein you risk one 'unit' and so long as you win your bet you continue risking one unit. When you do lose a bet, however, you double the size of the next bet, and if you lose again you redouble and keep doubling until you finally win a bet, whereupon you revert again to betting one unit. So long as you win one more bet before you die, of course, you cannot lose with this system - unless you go broke from redoubling your bets, - and you will most definitely go broke!

MIDDLE   (verb) to win both sides of the same game, such as when betting on the favorite at -2.5 and also on the underdog at +3.5, then having the favorite win the game by precisely 3 points. (See also: 'BOOKMAKER'S NIGHTMARE')

MONEYLINE   odds offered on a team to win a game outright, without taking or giving points as a handicap. A team listed as -150 means you must risk 150% of whatever you stand to win on that team - (15 to win 10, or 75 to win 50, or 100 to win 67, etc.) A team listed as being +150 means you must risk 66.67% of whatever you stand to win - (10 to win 15, or 50 to win 75, or 100 to win 150, etc.) See also: 'DIME LINE', 'SIX-TO-FIVE LINE', 'TWENTY CENT LINE')

NICKEL   $500

OFF THE BOARD   a game where no bets of any kind are being accepted by the bookmaker  (See: 'CIRCLED GAME')

ONE-STAR, TWO-STAR, THREE-STAR   a betting system employing various sizes of bets; usually espoused by sports touts to denote the strength of their opinion on assorted games. (See also: 'ONE-SUICIDE, TWO-SUICIDE. THREE SUICIDE.....')

OUT   a bookmaker, often used to refer to an illegal bookmaker

OVER/UNDER   (1.) the number of games a team is expected to win over an entire season, usually used in conjunction with NFL teams before the regular season begins     (2.) the posted total number of points expected to be scored by both teams in a given game, basketball, football, baseball, hockey, etc. (See also: 'TOTAL LINE')

PARLAY   a bet that includes two or more events wherein the two (or more) events must both (or all) win for the bettor to collect. "I want to bet $100 on Team A to beat Team B, and if that happens I want to risk everything on Team C to beat Team D..."

PICK, PICK'EM   a proposition in which both sides are considered equally likely to win (See also:  'TOSS-UP')

PLAYER   a veteran bettor, an experienced gambler (See 'PUNTER')

POCKET BOOK    an illegal independent bookmaker, working without an office, working from his "pocket."

POINTSPREAD   the predicted margin of victory of the favored team in a sporting event over the underdog, allowing bettors to risk the same on either team.  A bettor can "lay" the points with the favorite or "take" the points with the underdog

PRESS A BET   to risk more than usual on a particular proposition, to add a second bet to an existing similar bet

PRICE   the odds on a certain bet, usually the moneyline but also the pointspread

PUNTER   a bettor (See 'PLAYER')

PUSH   a tie bet, such as when a favorite that's favored by 3 points wins the game by precisely 3 points, or when a game with a posted total of 37 points ends with a total score of precisely 37 points


ROUND ROBIN   a series of interrelated parlays. A 3-team round robin consists of 1 three-team parlay and 3 two-team parlays - Teams A & B are one parlay, Teams A & C, are the second parlay, and Teams B & C are the third parlay

RUBE   an inexperienced gambler, an unsophisticated bettor, a sucker, a square

SCRATCH   cancel

SIX-TO-FIVE LINE   a forty-cent line; having to risk 120 to win 100 on either side of a proposition. The bookmaker keeps slightly less than 17 percent of the winnings as his commission. (See also: 'DIME LINE', 'MONEYLINE', 'POINTSPREAD', 'THIRTY-CENT LINE', 'TWENTY-CENT LINE' and 'WALK-INTO-THE-PROPELLOR')

SQUARE   an inexperienced gambler (See 'RUBE')

STEAM  (pronoun) unusually heavy action on one side of a proposition.....(verb) when a team is getting unusually heavy action it is said to be "steaming" or it is referred to as being a "steamer"

STORE   a sportsbook

SUCKER BET   a bet with an unusually high disadvantage to the bettor, or with an unusually high commission being charged by the bookmaker (See also: 'KENO' or 'BIG WHEEL')

TAP CITY   a mythical place populated by destitute gamblers who are tapped out; the poorhouse

TAPPED OUT   broke; bankrupt; busted

THIRTY-CENT LINE   having to risk $115 to win $100 on either side of a proposition. The bookmaker keeps approximately 13 percent of the winnings as his commission  (See also: 'DIME LINE', 'MONEYLINE,' 'POINTSPREAD' 'SIX-TO-FIVE LINE', 'TWENTY-CENT LINE')

TICKET   the receipt which proves you laid a bet; the note you must present to collect your winnings

TICKET WRITER   the 'teller', or counter person at a sportsbook who accepts your bet, takes your money, and issues you a receipt to confirm the bet

TOSS-UP   a game wherein the two teams are considered evenly matched   (See 'PICK, PICK'EM')

TOTAL LINE   the total runs, goals or points predicted to be scored by both teams in a sporting event; allowing bettors to bet the game will produce more total points than predicted ('over') or fewer total points than predicted ('under')   (See also: 'OVER/UNDER')

TOUT, TOUT SERVICE   a man (or business) that sells predictions on which team is going to win an upcoming sporting event (See also: 'FAITH HEALER')

TREND   any series of events that appears to violate what might be considered normal expectations, such as when teams in blue uniforms beat teams in green uniforms 10 or 12 times out of the last 12 times, or when teams that played in New York win (or lose) the following week 10 or 12 times in a row, etc.

TWENTY-CENT LINE   having to risk 110 to win 100 on either side of a proposition. The bookmaker keeps slightly more than 9 percent of the winnings as his commission - 4.55% of the total risked on both sides. (See also: 'DIME LINE', 'MONEYLINE,' 'POINTSPREAD' 'SIX-TO-FIVE LINE', 'THIRTY-CENT LINE')

TWO BITS   $25  (See 'QUARTER')

VIG, VIGORISH   from the French word vignes; the bookmaker's commission, similar to a stockbroker's commission or to a Realtor's commission; the percentage of total monies risked kept by the bookmaker after paying the winners; also known as the "juice"

WISEGUY   a gambler or sports bettor recognized to be successful over the long term; an expert gambler or handicapper


...We have surely overlooked many other words and phrases unique to a sports bettor's jargon, but if you know the above meanings no one will know the difference.





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