The slot in a slot machine is a narrow opening. A three reel machine has 1000 possible combinations. While a five reel machine has 10,648. This means that the theoretical payout of a slot machine would be about ten times the amount of money deposited into it.
Slot receivers are used to create mismatches downfield and to protect the quarterback. They are faster than wide receivers and often run quick routes. These players can also serve as an outlet receiver. If a defender breaks through the line of scrimmage, a slot receiver can pick up the ball and run a slant or a straight downfield.
Generally, a slot receiver is positioned slightly behind the line of scrimmage. He or she is able to pick up defensive linemen who break through the line. This can be very confusing to the defense and can require that the defense switch formations. Alternatively, a slot receiver can be in place of a fullback or tight end.
Slot receivers can be a great asset to an offense because of their speed and ability to run slants. Because they can be mixed on both sides of the field, they can make a big play. As such, they are becoming more and more common in the NFL.
Some other ways that the slot receiver can be useful are by generating a mismatch against the linebackers. Another example is by stretching the defense vertically off pure speed. Branden Cooks is a player who has the ability to do this.