We’ve all heard of the guy who bet on the underdog team in the Superbowl and walked away with thousands of dollars, or the friend of a friend who knows a guy that can hook you up with a Filipino cock fight next weekend.
If you’re a sports fan, it’s a pretty safe assumption to say you know that betting, both legal and illegal, takes place on practically every professional game and many college games.
Simply placing a bet can be a confusing affair — sports books have their own lingo, and the systems vary. Figuring out how to bet well enough to make some money is another matter entirely. How are the odds determined? Who sets the line? What percentage of the time do you need to win to break even?
In this article I’ll make you familiar with the lingo in the world of betting and odds making and show you how one of the world’s favorite pastimes can earn you a lot of money when you know what you are doing.
Sports Betting Basics
Different sports have different systems for oddsmaking and betting. There are even different systems for the same sport, depending on what kind of game the bettor wants to play. But to understand any of these systems, you first have to understand the jargon.
Action – Action is simply betting activity. Phrases such as “I want in on the action” or “Show me where the action is” come from this term. Since betting on sports is illegal in many places, you can’t always look up your local bookie in the phone book.
Handicap – In sports betting, “to handicap” is to give one team a points advantage in order to level the betting field.
Sportsbook – An establishment that takes bets, also known as a book. An individual who takes bets is a bookie.
Juice – This is the percentage of all bets taken by the bookie as profit. The juice is also known as the vig, short for vigorish. Sometimes bookies take a straight percentage of the handle, but more often the vig is figured into the odds
Handle – The handle is the total amount of money wagered on bets. Super Bowl betting generates the biggest handle o