What are you saying? Common sports betting terms to know

People make bets at the sportsbook at the Ocean Casino Resort, on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, in Atlantic City, N.J. The American Gaming Association estimates more than 31 million Americans will bet on this year's Super Bowl NFL football game. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

Are you someone reading the articles published on Bet Chicago Sports, but not quite sure what some of the terminology means? If so, allow me to say thank you for reading! But this also might be the place for you.

In this article, I’m going to help teach beginners about common sports betting terms. That way you have a better understanding of how to read the content at Bet Chicago Sports, which is presented by our friends at Caesars Sportsbook. Sign up with Caesars Sportsbook today to take advantage of their new-user offer.

Point spread (or spread)

This the margin assigned by oddsmakers that is factored into the final score of a wager. The point spread will either be added to the score of the underdog team, or subtracted from the favored team’s score, to determine the result of the wager. If you take the Bears +7, you would need them to lose by six points or fewer or win outright.


This is a dollar-value wager placed on a sporting event where a point spread is not factored in at all. This is a wager on which team will win the game outright. Values for moneyline are represented by a plus/minus sign, in which plus represents the underdog and the minus sign represents the team that is favored.

Total (over/under)

A wager based on the total number of combined points/runs/goals scored in a game between both teams involved in the contest. A bettor must choose “over” for whether more points will be scored or “under” for fewer total points scored than the assigned number for that game.


As the team projected by oddsmakers to have a better chance to win a game, the betting favorite will be assigned a point spread that must be surpassed in the victory. The Packers are considered the favorite (-10) against the Bears in their upcoming matchup.


As the team projected by oddsmakers to have a lower chance to win a game, the underdog will benefit from a point spread and can still result in a winning bet without winning the game. The Bears are a 10-point underdog against the Packers, meaning they just need to lose by single digits to cover the spread as an underdog.

Straight bet

The most common sports bet is a straight bet, which is a wager specifically dependent on only one outcome. This can be determined by a point spread, moneyline or total.


A bet involving two or more wagers where all wagers must win in order to collect a payout. Due to multiple wagers, parlays are harder to win than a straight bet, but the payouts for a parlay are much greater.

Propositions (or prop bets)

These are special wagers usually based on statistics of individual players or more uncommon choices than just selecting a point spread or over/under. Prop bets have gained a lot of popularity with sports betting becoming more legalized, and therefore it is important view all of your options when deciding on a prop bet for a particular game.


A teaser allows the player to add extra points on an underdog or subtract points on a favorite on multiple games. The number of points applied to your choice can vary. For a football teaser, you can choose a six-point, 6.5-point or seven-point teaser with varying payouts. Caesars Sportsbook is actually one of the better places to play a teaser, because they offer -120 odds on a two-team teaser during the football season.

In the event of a wagering tie in any game (other than 10 and 14 point teasers), the teaser is reduced to the next lowest number; for example a 4-team teaser with one tie would become a 3-team teaser, etc. In the event of a wagering tie, a 2-team teaser is deemed “No Action” and all money wagered is refunded. Note: 10 and 14 point teasers, ties lose.

Round Robin

A round-robin bet is a parlay or teaser with three or more games, or “legs,” where you are actually betting multiple smaller combinations involving your selections instead of lumping them into one must-win-all wager.


A wager on a future event, involving a player to win an award or team to win a major championship. For example, a bet on Justin Fields to win the MVP like one Illinois bettor recently did is considered a futures bet. A futures bet is not decided until the event occurs, so the person who bet on Fields to win the MVP won’t have the ticket graded until the end of the year.

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Shane Jackson

Shane Jackson

Shane Jackson is the Sports Betting Content Director for the Shaw Media Local News Network.