Five Terms North Carolina Sports Bettors Should Know

North Carolina sports betting is nearly here. Sportsbooks in the state now offer pre-launch bonuses for early-bird bettors who sign up before the official March 11 launch. Once that date hits, we expect multiple sportsbooks to go live, including DraftKings, FanDuel, bet365, and BetMGM.

A new sports betting market means many bettors will be gambling on their favorite sports for the first time. This post is for you if you count yourself among the new North Carolina sports bettors. Here are five terms North Carolina sports bettors should know.

Read More: North Carolina Sports Betting | Best North Carolina Sportsbook Promos

Betting Line

One of the most common terms I heard when sports betting first came to my state was “line.” My sports-savvy friends would spout it constantly: “What’s the line on that?” At first, I assumed it was synonymous with “odds,” but that’s not the case. In sports betting, a “line” represents the threshold of points you need to exceed to win. It is most commonly applied to point spreads and totals bets.

For example, you might say the line on the Utah Jazz is +6.5. That indicates Utah must either a) lose by 6 points or fewer or b) win outright. In spread betting, the line can also be negative. The Jazz are playing the Orlando Magic, the latter of which has a line of -6.5. The Magic must win by 7 points or more for that bet to hit.

Totals work similarly. In totals betting, there is a single line, and it determines the Over/Under mark for the game. For example, the line for the Jazz-Magic game is 225. You can bet on the Over to indicate you think the teams will combine for more than 225 points, or you can bet on the Under to indicate you think they’ll combine for fewer points.

Favorite and Underdog

These terms may seem self-explanatory, and they are… for the most part. I included them on this list because they relate to odds in unexpected ways. Let’s start with simple definitions:

  • The “Favorite” is the team or player expected to win a matchup
  • The “Underdog” is the team or player expected to lose a matchup

Easy enough, right? But how do you determine which team is the favorite or the underdog at a sportsbook? Let’s look at a set of odds to find out. Note that this game will have been played by the time you read this; I’m just using past odds to help explain the concept.

  • Milwaukee Bucks: Spread -12 (-105), Moneyline -675
  • Charlotte Hornets: Spread +12 (-115), Moneyline +490

When you see a point spread line with a minus (-) symbol in front of it, that team is the favorite and is expected to win by about that many points. Alternatively, a spread with a plus (+) sign means that the sportsbook gives the team an advantage and is the underdog.

Moneyline bets work by the same rules. A moneyline of -675 on the Bucks means Milwaukee is the favorite; you must bet $675 to win $100 on them. On the other hand, the Hornets are the underdog at +490 and would win you $490 if you bet $100, making them a heavy underdog.

As you may have gathered, the bigger the number after the “-” or “+” symbol, the more heavily the team is expected to win or lose, respectively.

Vig, Vigorish, or Juice

All three of these words mean the same thing (vig is, indeed, short for vigorish). The vig is a fee imposed by a sportsbook when it accepts your wager. Importantly, you don’t “pay” this fee by forking up some change on top of your bet amount. Instead, vig or juice is baked into the odds. If you have two teams that are close to evenly matched, you might see they both have moneyline odds of -110 (or thereabout).

Sportsbook Apps Coming to NC: FanDuel | bet365 | BetMGM | Caesars Sportsbook | DraftKings | Fanatics | Underdog

In a perfectly mathematical world, evenly matched teams would have odds of +100 (you win the exact amount of your bet if successful). However, we don’t live in a mathematically perfect world. We live in a world where businesses seek profit. That’s where the vigorish comes in. Teams that’d otherwise be evenly matched have -110 odds (or similar) because the sportsbook will make money with this system.

Despite everything I just said, you may not need to know the terms for vig or juice. Instead, it’s just helpful to understand the concepts they represent. The casino world has a similar concept called “house edge.”

Cover or Cover the Spread

Take a look at the point spread betting odds:

  • Milwaukee Bucks -12 (-105)
  • Charlotte Hornets +12 (-115)

Point spreads even the odds by giving “phantom points” to the underdog team and doling out a handicap to the favored team. In this example, the Milwaukee Bucks would need to win by more than 12 points for that bet to hit. If they did, they would “cover the spread.”

Note that it’s possible for a team to cover the spread without winning the game itself. Using the odds above, the Charlotte Hornets could lose 80-88 to the Bucks. However, with the 12-point advantage granted by the spread, the adjusted score is 92-88, and the Hornets successfully cover.


In short, arbitrage betting is the practice of betting on opposing lines and odds to guarantee a profit. Many sports bettors will try to use odds boosts or other promos to secure a small profit by wagering on both outcomes of a given event. There are countless resources, social media accounts, and bloggers that explain this concept in more detail. Chances are, if you’re a new or casual sports bettor in North Carolina, you won’t need to fiddle with arbitrage at all. However, it’s a fun term to know, and it may be an exciting option for bettors who closely and regularly check the odds.


About the Author
Cole Rush

Cole Rush

Writer and Contributor
Cole Rush is an industry writer and contributor at Gaming Today. He is a Chicago-based writer in the gambling and media spaces. His work has been showcased in various gaming industry magazines and online columns. Rush also covers pop culture and books for Reactor Mag (formerly and, a sci-fi and fantasy book review site. He has more than eight years of experience writing about gambling and entertainment.

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