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Navigating the odds: Understanding sports gambling terms

Travis Holshouser
Sports Gambling in North Carolina launches March 11.

As online sports gambling launches Monday in North Carolina, there comes a number of new users looking to partake in a newly added element to sports watching. Below are key terms users should know before placing their first wagers. 

Alternate lines: Instead of betting on the lines set by sportsbooks, a user can choose their own higher or lower spread to change the odds of the selection. 

Backdoor cover: A late-scoring play that is meaningless and has no impact to the overall game, but sways the outcome against the spread, also known as a bad beat.

Bankroll: The amount of money deposited into your sportsbook account that can be used toward wagering. Limits can be placed on the amount deposited into an account’s bankroll.

Cash out: Usually, a part of a parlay as the sportsbook offers a lesser amount of winnings if the user wants to settle and opt-out of a wager that’s in progress. 

Dog: Also known as an underdog, the team that’s not favored or has a lower chance of winning the game or outcome. Provides more winnings at a lower chance of occuring.

Even: A 50-50 chance of winning, as the potential winnings are the same amount as the wager placed.

Favorite: The outcome or team favored and provides less winnings, but at a higher chance of occurring.

Futures bet: A wager set for an end of season or long-term outcome that spans several days, weeks or months. For example, Super Bowl Champion, NBA Finals MVP or NHL No. 1 draft pick selection.

Moneyline: The line set for a head-to-head matchup on the game’s outcome. The wager is on the team that will win the competition.

Odds/lines: An outcome’s probability and the amount of winnings possible. Odds and lines are set by each individual sportsbook. For example, a $100 wager on +180 odds has the potential winnings of $280.

Over/Under: Line set on the games total points scored, a team’s total stats or on a players’ stats. For instance, App State and James Madison’s over/under is set at 48, meaning the combined points scored wagered on is 48.

Parlay: One wager consisting of multiple bets that significantly increase the potential winnings, while additionally increasing the risk of loss. For example, instead of betting on the Carolina Panthers winning, a wager can be placed on the odds of the Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys all winning.

Pick ‘em: A moneyline that has the same odds for both teams, meaning there is no favorite or underdog.

Props: A wager not involving the game’s outcome and can involve the total rushing yards by a running back, the first basket of an NBA game or who will score the last run of an MLB game. Prop bets go hand-in-hand with over/under lines on players’ stats.

Push: When neither the bettor nor sportsbook win the bet, resulting in a tie. The bettor is refunded the original amount placed.

Sportsbook: An organization that takes wagers and pays out winnings. Examples include: DraftKings, FanDuel, MGM and ESPN BET.

Spread: A line placed by sportsbooks to even out the disparity between favorites and dogs. For instance, a wager on the Green Bay Packers at +3 means the Packers must win or lose by less than three points for the bettor to win.

21-plus: Residents of North Carolina must be 21 and older to participate in sports gambling. 

Help line: If you or someone you know is struggling with problem gambling or a gambling addiction call 1-800-GAMBLER for the National Problem Gambling Helpline.

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About the Contributors
Chance Chamberlain
Chance Chamberlain, Associate Sports Editor
Chance Chamberlain (he/him) is a senior journalism major, media studies minor. This is his second year writing for The Appalachian.
Travis Holshouser, Photojournalist
Travis Holshouser is a senior Commercial Photography major. This is his first year with The Appalachian.
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