The team expected to win a matchup. The amount of points they’re expected to win by is reflected in the point spread with a “- ” sign.


The team expected to lose a matchup. The amount of points they’re expected to lose by is reflected in the point spread with a “+” sign.

Point Spread:

A point spread or “spread” is the margin of victory created by oddsmakers to balance both sides of a bet.
The favorite is labeled with a “-” sign and the underdog is labeled with a “+” sign.
Indianapolis Colts +6
New England Patriots -6
If you bet the favorite, the Patriots, they need to beat the Colts by more than six points. If you bet the underdog, the Colts, you don’t need them to win. They only need to finish the game within six points of the Patriots for a successful bet.

Cover the Spread:

If a team “covers” they succeeded in their predicted margin of victory or defeat. If the Patriots were -9 against the Dolphins and won by 10, they covered the spread. If they only won by 8, then they wouldn’t have covered.


More simply known as the “vig” or “juice.” The vig is the commission, typically 10 percent, that a bookie takes from each betting transaction.


When the result of the game ends on the spread exactly, so if a seven point favorite wins by seven points for example.
In the case of a push, both sides of the bet are refunded.

On Tilt:

If a bettor has been losing bets and continues to bet to make their money back, they are on tilt. The house typically loves bettors that go on tilt.


In a teaser, the bettor needs to hit on two or more legs to win the bet. In exchange, they get to adjust or “tease” the line in their favor. So, individual games become easier to win at the cost of grouping two or more games together.


Also known as “under/overs.” The name “totals” refers to total points scored in either a full game or half of a game, where bettors decide to take either the “over” or “under.”
A bettor takes the over if they think the two teams will combine for more points than the set total, and they take the under if they think the teams will combine for fewer points than the set total.


A wager that includes several games that the bettor needs to hit on to win. The more teams the bettor includes in the parlay, the harder it is to win. However, the payout will also be higher.


A betting tactic where a bettor places a bet after the line moves even though they already have a bet in place on the game to possibly win both sides of the bet.
For example:
The Dolphins are a 3.5-point favorite against the Jets at the beginning of the week, and the bettor takes them -3.5. The line moves to 4.5 by the end of the week, so the bettor bets the Jets +4.5. If the Dolphins win by 4, they would win both sides.


Also known as a “bookmaker” or “the house.” Called a “book” for short. Essentially the entity or person that takes bets from customers and dishes payouts.


The person who accepts bets for the house and charges vig (commission).


A person who places a bet on someone else’s behalf, also called a runner.


“Against the Spread.” The record that a team has against the point spread in a given period of time. If a team is 7-3 ATS, it means they typically cover the spread and thus are a relatively safe bet.

Buying Points:

A betting strategy that some sportsbooks allow in which the bettor can alter a set line. In exchange, the odds are then adjusted.
So if there’s a 4-point favortie, the bettor can buy half a point points to change the line to 3.5. As a result, the bet is a bit easier to hit at the expense of potential payout.