Keep this list of sports betting terms handy, to make sure you know exactly what you’re doing when you place your wagers.
“Bookie” is a casual word for sportsbook or bookmaker. The bookie is the operator or organisation responsible for legally accepting wagers and paying out wins. Before you place any bets with a bookie, make sure they are licensed and regulated by trusted authorities to ensure that they have high standards of fairness and safety.
The odds on an event are set by sportsbooks, and reflect how likely they think an outcome is. If the odds on a team winning are high, the bookmaker doesn’t think they will win and is prepared to pay a large return if they do.
By contrast, if the odds are low your bookie does think they’ll win and won’t pay out nearly as much when they’re proven right. Odds can be expressed in decimal, fractional and American formats, so make sure you understand all 3 before you start comparing online betting sites.
Online casinos use bonuses to entice new members to register with them; sportsbooks do the same with free bets. A free bet is offered to anyone signing up, and allows you to place a bet without spending any funds of your own. Best of all, you get to keep whatever you win.
In a value bet, the odds that are given by the bookmaker don’t match up to the actual likelihood that an event will occur. In other words, the odds on a team or individual are very high even though there’s a good chance they’ll actually win. As you can imagine, this is the ideal situation for bettors! Operators don’t often make mistakes and value bets are hard to come by, but they can be very worthwhile so it’s worth keeping your eyes open for them.
The various markets for a specific event are the different bets that can be placed. The markets in the Super Bowl, for instance, include outright winners, point spreads (the difference between the teams’ finishing points), totals (whether the final total will be under a set amount), who will win the coin toss and who will make the first goal. You can even bet on the colour of the Gatorade that is poured over the head of the winning side’s coach!
A favourite team or individual athlete is the one that bookmakers think is most likely to win an event. For example, New Zealand’s All Blacks were the favourites to win the 2019 Rugby World Cup and shocked everyone when they didn’t make the final. In a truly thrilling tournament, South Africa took the title home – proof that bookies are not always right!
Underdogs are the opposite of favourites; they are athletes or squads who are unlikely to win. Their odds are high and betting on them is risky but comes with great potential rewards. If you have insider information that suggest an underdog will be victorious, you could win a tidy return by backing them.