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Common sports betting terms explained

Thomas Barrabi

Sports betting is gaining mainstream acceptance throughout the country as more states opt to legalize and regulate the industry.

As of June, legal sports betting is active in 18 states. Several other states have either recently legalized sports betting or are expected to do so in the coming months.

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The legalization push began in May 2018, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal ban that had been in place since 1992. The NBA, NHL and MLB each have multiple official sports betting partnerships, while the NFL has begun allowing teams to sign deals with firms on an individual basis.

FOX Business breaks down some key sports betting terms and concepts below:

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Favorite: The team or player expected to win a game.

Futures Betting: Wagers placed well in advance of major upcoming events on the sports schedule. For example, bets can be placed on which NFL team will win the upcoming Super Bowl before the season even begins.

Handle: The total amount of money wagered at a sportsbook.

Money line: A wager in which the gambler picks a team or player to win a sporting event outright. Payouts are based on the team or player’s odds of victory as determined by the sportsbook.

Over/Under: A popular type of wager in which gamblers predict whether a specific statistic will be higher or lower than a number determined by a sportsbook. For example, the bets could be tied to whether two NFL teams will combine to score more or less than 42 points during a game.

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Parlay: A wager in which the gambler attempts to correctly predict the outcome of multiple games at once. These bets are difficult to win but generally provide larger payouts if successful.

Point spread: Sportsbooks set an expected margin of victory for favorites in order to incentivize bets for teams of differing quality. To win a bet, the gambler has to “cover” the point spread.

For example, the New England Patriots might be listed as a -7 point favorite against the New York Jets. A bettor would win their wager if the Patriots defeated the Jets by at least seven points.

Prop bet: A type of wager based on a possible occurrence during a game that, in most cases, is not tied to the game’s outcome. For example, gamblers can often bet on whether an individual player will score a touchdown during a football, or what color Gatorade will be dumped on the winning coach at the Super Bowl.

Sportsbook: An entity that offers and accepts wagers on sporting events.

Tout: A self-proclaimed sports betting expert or service that offers their picks for a fee.

Underdog: The team or player expected to lose a sporting event.

Wager: The amount of money placed on a bet.

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