In sports betting, the term “hook” refers to a half-point. Consequently, saying “two and a hook” is the equivalent of saying “two and a half.” The hook is often added to basketball and American football betting lines and comes into play whenever key numbers are involved.
The most common key numbers in American football are 3, 7, 10, 13 and 14. In the case of basketball, they are 2 and 3. Those numbers are important because they correspond to the point values that are assigned to a scoring event, such as field goal or a touchdown.
“John bet his team 6.5, but lost by the hook when it won the match by a score of 120-114.”
Adding half a point to key numbers is often considered to be crucial in odds makers’ efforts to tempt or even force bettors to wager on the underdog or the favorite in any football or basketball sporting event. This makes the reasons why sports bettors call it the hook fairly obvious, as the term has strong connotations with fishing, baiting and being tempted into doing something we possibly wouldn’t otherwise even consider.
Nevertheless, it’s worth pointing out that the hook has no negative connotations inside the sports betting community, as it doesn’t decrease the punter’s chances of winning the wager.