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Sportsbook Terms & Strategies 101

Gayle Mitchell 03:40 Apr 14th, 2006 Sports Betting

There are many options online and off to bet on the exciting world of Sports.
For those new to this gaming opportunity, I offer up Sportsbook 101 beginning with Sports Terms and followed by basic strategy.

Bookie: Abbreviation for bookmaker or a person who takes bets.

Chalk: The favorite bet.
Circled Game: A game where betting limits are lowered, generally because of injuries and/or weather.
Cover: You win by more points than you laid or lose by more points than you had taken with a point-spread win.
Dog: The underdog in the game.
Even Money: A bet where one side lays no juice or vigorish.
Futures: Bets made today that take place at a later date.
Getting down: Place your bet.
Hedge: To decrease the action by betting the opposite of a previous bet.
Juice: Commission that goes to the house, also known as vigorish.
Pick: An even game as there is not a favorite.
Push: Point Spread tie.
Rundown: Listing of odds on a specific game day.
Straight Bet: One wager, not a parlay.
Sucker Bet: Methods used by bookies to lure rookies to bet more.
Teaser: Bet where you can adjust the point spread your way.
Vigorish: Commission taken by the house.

Betting or Money Line: is established by the casino in-house or purchased from a company or individual who calculates or ‘makes’ betting lines. The casino’s commission or vigorish is built into the winning bets, just like a banker bet at the baccarat table.

The purpose for the casino is not to bet against the bettors, but to provide an equal opportunity for bets on both sides, so the casino does not end up paying out more money than it takes in. Therefore, it is the line maker’s job in creating the betting line to utilize a method of handicapping that will penalize the favorite bet and strengthen the opposition bet.

This betting line can rise and fall up to the start of the contest allowing the casino sports book to gather as many bets as possible on the under-bet team, thereby, eliminating ‘steam’ (heavy action on one side) and establishing a profit no matter who wins the contest.

You lay, or give odds when betting the favorite, thus laying or giving a large bet to win small, or taking odds on the underdog (dog) small wager to win big.

You can now see how the casino offers you the promise of winning more dollars when betting on the underdog and there are many success stories wagering this way even with the additional risk involved.

Sports book betting, like craps, is one of the few bets where a losing streak can be a winner.

Point Spread Bet: Betting information for football, basketball, and hockey is quoted with the point spread or ‘spread’ on the big board. The spread gives the underdog extra points, there-by challenging the ‘favorite’ bettor to bet not just on the win, but the win by more than the spread. A bet on the underdog wins if the game is theirs, or if the favorite wins by less than the spread.

If the favorite meets the spread exactly, the game is a tie for the point spread bet, and all wagers are returned. You are always laying odds on a point spread bet for whatever side you choose, thereby paying more, e.g. $11 to win $10 and the house gets it vig (I say that a lot, don’t I? ). Your bet is now locked in for you, regardless of any future changes in the line.
You can buy 1/2 point (+ -) usually 3 limit-by accepting the odds that go along with it, e.g. to change a spread from +3 to +3 1/2 or from -7 to -6 1/2 on a bet of $100, you must risk $120 to win $100.

Total Bet: is available to wager on the total number of points scored by both teams during the game, based on an over/under quoted number. These bets are layed based on the quoted total number of points scored, OV=betting over what the board offers, or UN =under-betting that the teams won’t score that many points together.

The Big Sports Board: explains these three bets, and quotes betting information.

The biggest mistake sport bettors make is following their heart rather than their head--betting on their hometown or favorite team knowing the odds are stacked against them. Quality bets require research, starting with the newspaper sports section, sports magazines, the internet or the many TV sports channels (not tough so far, this is something you probably do every day).
Think carefully about betting more than 2 games that are played at the same time. Are they all quality bets? Can I stand to lose (get waxed) on all these bets, and still stay within my budget? Remember you have to win at least 53% of point spread bets to keep ahead of the house vig.
I would suggest that novice sport bettors ‘get down’, placing simply a line bet-which team will win, after doing your homework, of course. This will let you wade in slowly as opposed to jumping in cannon ball style.

Upon graduation, you can move forward to Parlays and Teaser bets where multiple correct selections will bring in bigger profits. Futures betting is also for pros betting on a team to go the distance with odds based on that team’s projected finish order.