It is the company or entity taking bets from the public. Often referred to as the book, the house, the shop, the bookie, the bookmaker, etc. Sportsbooks can be brick and mortar operations like the ones in Las Vegas or the new ones popping up all the time on the East Coast. There are also many online books and of course the old-fashioned neighborhood bookie who does most of his business over the phone.

What is a MONEYLINE?

A moneyline bet is the simplest form of making a straight wager or parlay, different from a point-spread bet. With the moneyline, the only thing that matters is which team wins the game, regardless of by how much. The negative value still indicates the favorite (-150) and the positive value indicates the underdog (+130). Its easiest to picture the number 100 sitting in the middle of these two values. For example, if you want to bet a -150 favorite, you would wager $150 in order to win $100. On the underdog, you would risk $100 and win $130 profit if the underdog wins.

What is a TOTAL (aka over/under)?

An alternate way to bet a game is to play the total or over/under on the game. When you make a bet on the total it doesnt matter which team wins the game or by how much. All that matters to this bet is the combined amount of points (or runs, goals, etc) scored by BOTH teams. For example, say two great defensive teams are matching up in the NFL like then the Giants and Ravens hooked up in the Super Bowl. Youre not sure which team will win the game, but youre pretty confident that it will be very low-scoring. In addition to the point spread, the oddsmakers post a total (or over/under) for virtually every game on the board. Lets say the number is posted at 34 for our Giants-Ravens matchup. If you think its going to be a low-scoring affair you would place your money on the UNDER 34. If the games turns out to be the 13-10 type game you thought it would be, youre going to the cashiers window to collect. But if the game ends up 20-17, that is 37 total points and would result in the OVER being the winning result. Note: should the final score land exactly on the posted total (in our case 34), the bet is a push and all wagers are refunded whether you took the OVER or the UNDER.

What is a FUTURES bet?

A futures bet is a bet on a competition in advance. Instead of betting an individual game, you are placing a wager on the winner of the entire season or tournament. Super Bowl, NBA and World Series winners are offered on futures bets from before the season starts right up until the final playoff games of the season. You can also bet futures for events like Wimbledon tennis or big NASCAR and golf events. Normally every option in a futures bet will be at + money. Leicester City of the English Premier League famously paid off at 5000-to-1 in probably the biggest longshot in the history of team sports a few years ago. Daring bettors won $5000 for every $1 risked (really!). On the other side of the spectrum, a Super Team like the Golden State Warriors may enter the season as a favorite to beat the entire rest of the league. Prices such as -200 (you have to risk $200 for every $100 of profit) on the Warriors are not uncommon in their dynasty years of late. Futures prices can vary (drastically sometimes) based on what sportsbook you bet them at. One book might have the Astros at +800 (aka 8-to-1, make $800 profit for every $100 wagered) to win the World Series while another could have them as low as +500, so its always wise to shop around to maximize your value when betting futures.

What is a TEAM TOTAL?

A team total is an over/under bet on a single team in any given game. Say the Patriots are playing the Jets in an NFL game. The over/under or total for the entire game is set at 49 points. Youd like to play the OVER because you love Tom Brady and company to put up a lot of points, but youre not sure how much the Jets will be able to contribute to the final score. So instead of counting on them to help you out, you can opt to simply take the New England TEAM TOTAL over or under. The team totals for each side generally add up to the exact game total or very close. In our example, say the Pats are favored by 7 in the game and the over/under is 49. The Patriots team total would be set around 28 points with the Jets being about 21. That adds up to a combined 49 points and a spread of 7, exactly mirroring the full-game lines. If you decide to take just the Patriots TEAM TOTAL OVER the 28 point, then what the Jets do is irrelevant. Your bet relies solely on New Englands final score. If they get 29 or more, you win your bet. If they finish with 27 or less, you lose. And if they land right on 28, you get a push and a refunded wager. Team totals can be very profitable when used in the proper spots.


A straight bet is the standard meat and potatoes of sports wagering. Its single bet where you pick the point spread, moneyline or over/under winner of a given game. You are not relying on any other games to win as you would in a parlay. The standard juice for football or basketball straight bet is -110 (or 10%), meaning you have to risk $110 to win $100, $55 to win $50, $2200 to win $2000, etc. Some books will offer promotions to lower the juice to -105 or even money at times. You may also see lines priced up to -115 or -120 if the book is receiving one-sided action on a given game. Most professional sports bettors rely on straight bets for the majority of their wagers and profits.

What is a PARLAY?

A parlay is a high-risk, high-reward combination bet. Generally sportsbooks take parlays from 2 up to 10 teams or more. While parlays can have big payouts, they also involve more risk as you have to win every single leg of the parlay to get paid off. If you do a 4-team parlay with the Eagles, Giants, Redskins and Cowboys but win only 3 of the 4 games, your ticket is a loser. But if you win all 4, the payouts can be very tempting. In general most books pay about 13/5 (+260) for a 2-team parlay in football and basketball, meaning youd profit $130 for every $50 risked. 3-team parlays get paid out at 6-to-1 odds, while 4-teams get 10-to-1 or so and the payouts keep getting higher with each added team. If one of your teams pushes in a parlay, the payout will simply drop down one level. For example, say the Giants, Eagles and Redskins all covered in your $100 4-team parlay, but the Cowboys won 24-21 as 3-point favorites and pushed. Instead of making a $1000 profit (at 10-to-1) or losing, your parlay reverts to a 3-teamer (like the Dallas game wasnt even on it) due to the push and youll make a tidy $600 profit off your $100 stake. Note: Baseball parlay payouts are different, as they depend on the moneyline associated with each selection you make.

What is a Round Robin Parlay?

A Round Robin bet is an easy way to wager multiple parlays with a single bet that covers all possible combinations. A common Round Robin would be a 3-team parlay lets say with the Yankees, Astros and As. If you do a Round Robin, you can cover all of the 2-team combinations (Yankees-Astros, Yankees-As, Astros-As) ensuring you win one of the bets if 2 out of your 3 picks win. If all 3 win, you sweep the board and cash all 3 two-team parlays on the Round Robin.

What is a TEASER?

A teaser bet is when you bet two teams or more in on bet to receive more points added to the current point spread established by the oddsmakers. Teasers are most common in football, though some books allow basketball teasers as well. The standard football teaser is 6 points and the price for a two-team 6-point teaser is usually around -120. Many books will charge -130 for a 6.5-point teaser, while a 7-point teaser costs -140. Some books offer special 3-team 10-point teasers and 4-team 14-point teasers at various prices. The most common teaser is the 2-team 6-point variety. Lets say the Saints are favored by 8.5 over the Bucs, while the Packers are -7.5 over the Bears. You like New Orleans and Green Bay to win, but youre not sure if they can cover those spreads of over a touchdown. With a 6-point teaser youre able to adjust the line 6 points in your favor on BOTH games. Your new spread with the teaser would be the Saints -2.5 and the Packers -1.5, much more desirable numbers. Of course you have to win BOTH selections in a teaser for it to win, just like a parlay. Books have different policies when one leg of a teaser ends in a push, so be sure to know all the options and rules thoroughly before betting a teaser.


When a sportsbook first posts its odds on a game it is known as the opening line. During the football season, many books often posts the NFL lines for the next week as early as the Sunday night prior. Lets say the Vikings looked great on Sunday afternoon of Week 3 while the Bears looked miserable. Next week the Bears are visiting Minnesota for a divisional game, so the oddsmakers post an opening line of Vikings -9 with a total of 37 for the Week 4 matchup. After opening up for wagering, the books receive heavy early action on bettors willing to lay the 9 points with the Vikings. The sportsbook manager will adjust the number to -9.5 to try to encourage some Chicago money. If the bets keep pouring in on Minnesota, the number may move to -10 or even higher. Sometimes the number will bounce back down if money comes in on the other side. In general, sportsbooks are looking for near even action on any given game so they can let their built in commission (the 10% juice on straight bets, even more on parlays and teasers) kick in. They dont want overwhelming action on any one selection, thus exposing themselves to losing money on a game if the bettors are on the winning side. Keeping track of line movement can be a valuable tool to see which teams are attracting the big money as the week goes on. Getting your wagers in early at the optimal price is often a key to sports betting success.


A circled game simply means the bookmaker is limiting the amount of action you can put on a given game. Lets say the books usual limit for an NFL straight bet is $10,000. If a game is circled, the limit may drop to $5,000 or even $2,000 depending on the book. A game can be circled for a variety or reasons. A key injury leaving a quarterbacks status in doubt for the game is a very common reason. There also could be the possibility of bad weather which could lead to a circled game, particularly on the over/under line. Books circle the games (limit the wagering) to avoid unnecessary exposure to unknown situations.


Reverse line movement is an advanced phenomnom that only the sharpests of analysts normally even notice. In each sport there are certain public teams that get beat heavily no matter what. Think Dallas Cowboys, New York Yankees, whatever team LeBron James is on, Notre Dame football, etc. These highly popular teams will receive a ton of money on them week in and week out due solely to their massive fan bases. But sometimes the line will move the opposite direction of the team getting the overwhelming majority of the bets. For example, the Cowboys are playing the Chargers on Sunday Night Football and everyone and their brother seems to love Dallas. But somehow the point spread which opened at Dallas -4 has dropped to -3.5. That is an indicator of reverse line movement and could indicate some very sharp bettors are bucking the public and putting significant cash on the Chargers to cover. Identifying and knowing how to act on reverse line movement is an acquired skill that Wagerpro will be able to help you learn as the season goes on. We have software programs designed to track not only the money being bet, but the line moves that follow.


A consensus play is simply a side that everyone seems to agree on. Youve seen it countless times on the Monday Night Football pregame show when all 8 experts pick the same side of a game. Often times consensus plays seem easy, but be careful. The bookmakers are well aware of public perception and can often set trap lines to encourage you to follow into the belief that a sure thing is coming. Remember, if something looks too good to be true, it usually is.