What Does Chalk Mean In Sports Betting?

It today’s world, the English language has taken a back seat to slang. Whether it be on social media, instant messaging platforms, through text or email, every body is using some sort of slang which saves them the slightest bit of time and makes them sound like a goof. In sports betting, it is no different. There is a short form or synonym for just about any topic you can think of. Sometimes it makes sense and sometimes, like in this article, it really doesn’t.

What Does Chalk Mean?

When you hear someone using the term “chalk” they are referring to the betting favorite which includes a team, individual or horse. Generally speaking, when you hear the term “chalk” they are not just describing the favorite, but strong favorites with super low odds – think -300, -500, or 1/9 in horse racing.

For example, if you are looking at a game between the Golden State Warriors and Brooklyn Nets, the Warriors would be considered heavy chalk. They would likely by close to 15 or 16-point favorites and the money line odds would be close to -400. It doesn’t get any chalkier than this.

Where Did the Term Chalk Originate From?

Every word has an origin and a back story and “chalk” is no different. It is believed that back in the old days (long before computers), bookies used chalkboard to update odds. Bookies used to have to change the odds on a favorite regularly as the action came in. Each time they changed the price they had to rub the old price off. After a while, the odds were changed so frequently that the name of the favorite was nothing but chalk dust – hence the term betting the chalk. Over time the phrase spilled over first into modern horse racing and then into sports betting in general.

Will Betting Chalk Win You More Money?

Technically speaking, not really. Sure, favorites win the majority of games, but if you love betting the heavy favorites, the price you will have to pay is steep. To use the example above, you would have to wager $400 to profit $100. If, by the off chance the Warriors had an off day and lost, your bankroll would take a major hit and it would take a very long time to recoup that $400.

When you are betting the chalk, you are rarely making a bet that has any value. However, this doesn’t mean you should only bet underdogs. You need to be aware of what you are doing and pick the right spots to do so.

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