DFS / Sports Betting 101 – Terminology

If you are new to daily fantasy sports or sports betting, you have come to the right place! At first glance, it probably seems like a lot to take in. There are so many stats to pay attention to, so many games to watch, so many box scores to check, and that’s just the beginning. At the end of the day, we all ended up in this exact place, at this exact moment, for one reason and one reason only: we’re here to make money. We have evolved past paying that pesky $50 entry fee with your buddies, only to have that money sit around all season long before you see your potential return.

If you have never played daily fantasy sports (DFS) or placed a sports bet in general, we are here to give you an overview of general terminology you can expect to hear on a daily basis. You might not know what some of our pros here mean when they say, “we’re fading Josh Allen opening night to be contrarian from the field and plan to leverage it with a full blown Rams stack”. When I started playing DFS in 2014 (and eventually made my way into sports betting), I thought my high football IQ would immediately carry me to big wins. I slowly realized this was way different than season long. There were totally different strategies that needed to be implemented to win on a weekly basis. After digging into these strategies, I started to realize that I had no idea what any of this meant. I had never seen any of this terminology they were using to describe their methods. I had to figure this out on my own and there were A LOT of growing pains along the way. We’re here to limit those growing pains. We want you to start implementing these strategies faster so you can start growing that bankroll as soon as possible. Here is a general glossary of terms our pros will be using on a daily basis in their articles, podcasts, and voice chats to help you maximize your returns and get that cash in your pocket.


50/50 – A contest where the top 50% of entrants are paid out just shy of double their money (the house/site usually takes a %). These are considered “cash games”.

Action – A wager of any kind. Also used to describe the amount of DFS contests in play.

Against the Spread (ATS) – Taking or laying points (the spread) opposed to betting the game straight up (moneyline).

Bankroll – The amount of funds available.

Buy-In – Amount of money required to enter a contest, often referred to as “entry fee”.

Buying Points – Paying additional fee in order to get a more attractive price. Typically found in “teaser bets”. Bettors will buy points around key numbers.

Cash Game – Safe DFS contests where the probability of winning is roughly 50%. These include: head to heads, 50/50s, and double ups. The key contests to grind for bankroll building.

Ceiling – The best possible outcome for a particular statistic. Optimal tournament lineups are best built attempting to capture the highest ceiling possible. Opposite of “floor”.

Chalk – In sports betting, the favored team. In DFS, players with high ownership.

Contrarian – In sports betting, betting against the public to find projected value. In DFS, going against the public in hopes of low ownership to maximize tournament value. Example: playing a top guy in a tough matchup or playing a QB/WR stack against a highly owned RB.

Correlation – A statistical technique used to measure/describe the strength and direction of a relationship between two variables. Example: QB passing yards up – WR1 receiving yards up – TE receiving yards up – RB rushing yards down

Cover – A bettor wins if they win or lose by the point spread. Example: 3.5-point favorite wins by 7, you have covered the spread.

DFS – Abbreviation for daily fantasy sports.

Dog – Short for underdog, assuming they will lose the game.

Double-up – A contest where all winners double their entry fee. Slightly different than a 50/50 because only the top 40% win to cover fees taken out by the website.

Draw – If the game ends exactly on the spread, the bettor receives their money back because there is no winner. Also known as a push.

Edge – An advantage against the house where there is positive expected value. In DFS, a leverage play vs the field.

Even Money – A bet you are not paying a vigorish, or the juice. Odds are +100.

Exposure – Number of lineups you have invested into a single player.

Fade – Player(s) to avoid. Typically done to avoid heavily owned players to be contrarian or because of projected negative value.

Favorite – A team expected to win.

Field – Used to refer to the general population of DFS players.

Fish – An inexperienced DFS player.

Flex – A lineup spot that can be filled by more than one position.

Floor – The worst possible outcome for a statistic. Optimal cash lineups are best built attempting to capture the highest floor possible. Opposite of “ceiling”.

Freeroll – A DFS entry that costs nothing to enter but has cash prizes.

Full PPR – A scoring system that awards one point per reception. Most notably, Draftkings is a full PPR site.

Future – A bet that happens in advance of an event. Example: betting a Super Bowl winner before the season starts or at some point within the season.

Grinder – A DFS player who plays a majority of their money in cash games with the goal of turning in a large profit over time.

GPP – Guaranteed Prize Pool – a DFS contest with the prizes guaranteed no matter if the contest fills or not. A smaller number of entrants get paid (typically 10-20%) and winners receive the largest share of prize money. Also known as a “tournament”.

Half-PPR – A scoring system that awards 0.5 points per reception. Most notably, FanDuel is a half PPR site.

Head-to-head – A DFS contest against one single player for roughly double the entry fee. A very good alternative cash game on slates where 50/50 contests do not fill.

Hedge – Placing a bet on the opposite side after a wager has already been placed on a side. Used to either cut your losses or guarantee a profit. In DFS, it is a strategy to reduce overall risk of losing large portions of your bankroll. This also reduces your potential rewards. Example – build a second lineup with completely different players than your main lineup.

High-stakes – DFS contests with large entry fees.

Hook – In spread based betting, the hook is the extra half-point (3.5 instead of 3).

Juice – The tax sportsbook creates for placing a bet. Most commonly sportsbooks offer bets of -110, which means you need to win 52% of your bets to break even.

Key Numbers – The most common margins of victory. In football, many games end with one team winning by a multiple of 3 or 7.

Late Swap – A feature where a player can be swapped out of a lineup after the slate has started but before their individual game has started.

Limit – The most money a sportsbook will take on a single event.

Lines – Another term for odds.

Middle – When you bet both sides of a game based on line movement with an opportunity to win both bets.

Moneyline – A bet on whether or not a specific team is going to win straight-up, without considering the spread.

Multi-Entry – A DFS contest where multiple entries are allowed, typically large GPP tournaments. The opposite of Single-Entry.

Off the Board – An instance sportsbooks remove a game and will not allow you to bet on it. A game is typically taken off the board with uncertainty surrounding injury or the weather.

Over/Under – The total amount of points scored in a game. If both teams combine to score more than the number, the over wins. If both teams combine to score less than the number, the under wins. Also known as the “total”.

Overlay – The result of a GPP contest not filling. GPP contests pay out the same amount whether or not the contest fills or not, resulting in less entrants to beat

Parlay – Multiple bets tied together that need all events to hit for higher payouts. A very risky bet but with extremely high payouts.

Pay Up – Paying a high salary on a player or position.

Pick ‘Em – An instance where neither team is favored to win the game and the spread becomes “zero”.

Point per Dollar – The projected number of points scored per dollar of salary. The higher this number, the better for maximizing total points scored for your DFS lineup.

Prop Bet – A bet on a specific player statistic rather than the outcome of the game. In DFS, these can be used to make roster decisions based upon how high/low prop bet lines are set at.

Punt – Spending near minimum salary on a position due to unpredictability or low scoring at the position to prioritize high-priced players in other positions in your lineup.

Push – When a bet lands exactly on the spread and there is no winner.

Qualifier – A GPP contest where the grand prize(s) is a free entry into another contest with a larger prize pool at higher entry cost.

Rake – The amount of commission a site takes off an entry fee.

Regression – An instance where a statistic is extreme on its first measurement but lands closer to the average on the second measurement. If a player posts a very high score in the previous week, assuming the following week they score closer to their average.

Return on Investment (ROI) – A performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment. In DFS this can apply to points scored by a player relative to their salary or how much profit made relative to money in play.

Shark – An experienced DFS player who preys on inexperienced players (fish), most noticeably in head-to-head matchups.

Single-Entry – A DFS contest where only one entry is allowed. Opposite of Multi-Entry.

Stacking – A DFS strategy used to increase or decrease lineup volatility by pairing multiple players from the same team or same game. To increase, stack multiple players who are dependent on each other (stacking a QB with at least one WR/TE). This raises your ceiling because if one goes off, it is likely the other will as well. To decrease, stack multiple players who negatively correlate (stacking a QB with a RB). This lowers your ceiling but you will get credit for all yardage/touchdowns.

Studs and Scrubs – A DFS strategy where you play a bunch of very cheap players with the most expensive.

Teaser – A bet where you are able to adjust the point spread of a game resulting in lower odds at a more favorable outcome.

Tilt – Poor decision making caused by frustration.

Tournament – A high-risk, high-reward DFS contest where only the top 10-20% win with higher payouts to the top finishers. Also known as “GPP”.

Train – An instance where multiple of the same lineups are entered into a DFS contest.

Units – A general monetary measurement used with sports betting used to measure wins/losses. This number is typically 2-4% of your total bankroll.

Upside – The potential outcome resulting in a player outperforming his salary. Also known as “ceiling”.

Value – The amount of points scored relative to their salary. The higher the player’s value, the more attractive a player is. This is similar to “points per dollar”.

Viable – Used to describe a player expected to return value at his price point.

Wager – Any type of bet.