Super Bowl Betting Explained - Football Gambling Glossary

Those wanting to have Super Bowl 2017 betting explained probably want the most basic gambling terms explained to them, so that's what this page is about. I'll give a basic glossary of terms you need to know, define those basic terms, and then explain what they mean when you bet on a game. This may be basic for people who want to know which bets to place on Super Bowl XLVII, but this site has a number of other articles which are perfect reading material for you.

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NFL Football Betting Glossary

Super Bowl - The Super Bowl is the annual NFL championship game. It pits the winner of a 16-team conference called the American Football Conference versus the winner of a 16-team conference called the National Football Conference, which are themselves descended from two separate leagues: the AFL and NFL. The Super Bowl happens in late January or early February, two weeks after the AFC and NFC Championship Games. Though the Super Bowl only involves the American football champions, they're called the world champs, since everyone assumes the United States could beat every other country in football--combined. Canada might present the stiffest challenge, but most other countries are more interested in soccer (they call it futbol/football).

Super Bowl Bet - Any wager placed on the Super Bowl. This can be done (legally) through a Las Vegas casino sports book, an online sportsbook, or as betting pools and side bets among friends. This can be done illegally through a number of other means I won't discuss or encourage.

Action - Any sort of wager or the amount wagered.

Book - Establishment which accepts wagers on the outcome of sporting events and parimutuel horse racing. These are also called bookmakers or sportsbooks. One who does so off-the-record is called a bookie.

Favorite - The team expected to win in a game. See "Dog".

Longshot- A football team unlikely to win. The longshot bet isn't like to pay off, but if it does, it pays off at an impressive amount.

Odds-on-Favorite - When a team is favored enough that the odds are less than even.

Dog - The underdog in a bet. This is the team most people assume is going to lose. To make bets fair involving mismatched teams, odds are giving to the underdog. This can be done in a number of ways I'll discuss in a minute.

Handicapping - The process of assigning odds to mismatched sporting events. A person who sets these odds is called a handicapper.

Pointspread - Also called "the spread", the most common form of handicapping in football. If a team is assumed to be a touchdown favorite--that is, they'll win by 7 points--then the handicapper offsets this advantage by assigning -7 to the favorite. This allows people to make even-money bets on NFL games. To place a bet on a favorite and win, the favorite must win by 8 points or more. To place a bet on an underdog and win, the underdog must win or lose by no more than 6 points. If the favorite wins by 7, then it's a push.

Push - A tie against the spread. All bets are returned to the betters, as if they never happened.

Getting Points - Term used to describe the underdog receiving that +7 handicap. It should be noted an underdog might receive all kind of points, from +0.5 all the way up to +50 or more (though that only occurs in college football). It's rare than an NFL team receives more than +14, but it happens. Some betters always take an NFL team getting 10 points.

Line - Listed odds on a game. If the Green Bay Packers are 6 point favorites over the Detroit Lions, then you'll see the line written "Green Bay Packers -6" or "Detroit Lions +6".

Newspaper Line - The line printed in most newspapers, syndicated across the nation. This line is often inaccurate, so betters should take a look at the latest lines direct from the sportsbooks.

Official Line - The line offered by Las Vegas casinos and is actually used for betting. More accurately, the "official line" would be whatever line you use for your betting, whether it's from Vegas, Bovada, or a local bookie.

Cover - When a person bets on the favorite and the favorite wins by more than the point spread. When the favorite wins the bet, called "covering the point spread".

Hook - When a half-point is added to a betting line.

Hedging - Placing a bet on both sides of a ledger, often to minimize losses or assure a small win (through arbitrage). If you place a big bet on the Eagles to defeat the Redskins, then find out later that Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy are going to miss the game, you might place a second wager on the Redskins to hedge your bet.

Juice - Also called the "vig" or "vigorish", this is the fee a sportsbook charges for processing bets and assuring payoffs. This is how the casino makes money off of betting--not actually through winning bets (which are riskier). This is why amateur gamblers don't win at gambling, because they can't stay ahead going 50/50 on their gambles. They have to win at a 52% or 53% clip to assure small profits.

Prop Bet - You don't gamble on the outcome of a game, but on some event during the course of the game. They gamble on some proposition, usually starting with words like "what", "where", "who", "when", or "will". You might bet on the first touchdown scorer, what color Gatorade is dumped on the winning coach, or how long the National Anthem takes. These tend to be the oddest bets made by sports gamblers.

Money Line - When a person doesn't want to bet against the line, they can choose to bet the moneyline. You bet on who wins straight up. To even out betting, the favorite pays out less than 1-to-1, while the underdog pays out at greater than 1/1. You might see the favorite noted as Baltimore Ravens -150, meaning you would have to be $150 to receive back $100 in winnings. The underdog in the same game might be listed Cleveland Browns +140, which means if you wagered $100, you would receive $140 in winnings if the Browns won. Notice that these values aren't even, accounting for the vigorish. In a money line bet, the line can rise as high as 700 or higher, but that's not likely to happen in an NFL game.

Over/Under - Another type of bet, where you gamble on how many points will be scored in a game. For instance, if the Over/Under is 48, you can bet the Over of 49 or more, or you can bet the Under of 47 or less.

Steam - When the betting line moves significantly one way or another. Remember, an oddsmaker isn't setting a line based on his or her prediction of how the game will end, but instead on their assessment of where they think half of gamblers will be one way and half the other. If the New England Patriots are an 13-point favorite over the Indianapolis Colts, the bookmaker assumes half the fans will take the Colts and the points and half the gamblers will be on a two-touchdown blowout or more (by the Patriots).

Betting Against the Public - Betting lines often move during the week. It takes a lot of bets to move the line, especially when it moves several points. Thus, steam builds when the public is betting one way a lot more than the other. When a lot of steam pushes the betting line in one direction or another, many veteran gamblers bet opposite of where the public is betting. They assume the bookies knows more than the average gambler, so they "bet against the public".

Value Bet - When a gambler shops around at multiple sportsbooks to find the best odds for the wager they want to place. The MGM Grand might have the New York Jets as a 4-point favorite over the Miami Dolphins, while Caesars Palace might have the Jets as a 5-point favorite. It makes sense to place your bet at Caesars Palace.

Super Bowl Betting Explained

That's a short glossary of gambling terms, which probably explained a lot. When it's time to make a Super Bowl bet, just apply what you learned. For instance, you can make Super Bowl bets against the pointspread, Super Bowl proposition bets, Super Bowl over/under bets, or even Super Bowl moneyline bets. Also, you'll have your choice of establishments or books to place a wager. The Super Bowl is the biggest gambling day of the year, so every sportsbook known to man is going to set their own odds and lines. That means the action is amazing and you can engage in value betting like no other time all year. Just remember, if you see a line move several points in one direction, do like the experts do and bet against the steam.