It's Super Bowl Sunday! Time for parties, fun with friends, and most importantly, snacks. But for many, it's also a day of betting.

When it comes to the Super Bowl, you can pretty much bet on anything, even the outcome of the coin toss. Some bets can get a little tricky to understand though.

There are terms like "over/under" and "prop bet" that, to be honest, I've never fully understood. So let's break it down. Here's a list of popular betting terms you might hear today, and what they mean, according to

Action – any money bet on a contest or race

Against the Spread (ATS) – Betting on one side of the point spread. Can be used in reference to how a team does against the spread. (Ex. The Patriots are 7-2 this season against the spread.)

Cover – This means that a team wins versus the spread. If the Giants are a 2.5 point favorite (-2.5), and win by 3 points, then they have covered the spread.

Laying the Points – When a bettor takes the favorite.

Moneyline – This is a bet in which a bettor simply has to pick the right team to win. However, payouts are less depending on the odds.

Over/Under (Total) – This is a bet based on the total number of points scored between two teams in a game.

  • If the Cowboys play the Bears, the Over/Under might be listed by the sports book as 45. If a player bets the under and the final score is 27-21, that player would lose the bet as the score went “Over” – 27+21=48.
  • If the game ended at 24-20, “Over” bettors would lose as the total only reached 44. If the score ended at 24-21 (45 points total), the bet would be a push and bettors get their money back.

Parlay – A bet in which a person selects more than one outcome that must happen. The payout will be higher based on the number of events, but if one part of the bet does not come through then the entire bet is a loss.

Point Spread – This is the margin of victory for a game. The favorite will have to win by more than the margin the oddsmakers set. If the Broncos are favored by 2.5 against the 49ers, they must win by 3 points or more for a win. If they only win by 2, they didn’t cover the spread and those who bet the 49ers will win.

Points Spreads may be posted in the following ways:

  • Broncos -3.5 — This means the team is favored by 3.5 points, spotting the opposing team a 3.5-point lead. If the Broncos win by 4 or more, they have covered the spread.
  • Broncos +3.5 — This means the Broncos are a 3.5-point underdog. If they lose by 3 points or less, a player would cash a winner on them.

Push – A bet that results in a tie. If the Jets are favored by 7 and win 21-14, neither team won and the bets are returned.

So, keep this cheatsheet nearby,  and you'll sound like an expert today!


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