Whether you are new to betting or a betting regular, this page is where you can find betting terminology explained. Here you will find descriptions of all the common and not so common terms used within betting. All sports betting terms are explained. Use the betting glossary at the end of the page for a 'go to' reference for quick answers to your queries.
There are many different types of betting strategies and types of betting within the sporting world. Some are more complex than others and some, when used correctly, will give the punter a much higher chance of receiving a pay out on their bet. The list below explains some of the more common sports betting strategies.
Can also be known as arbing, surebets, miraclebets, surewins.
Opportunities to place arbitrage bets are possible when a discrepancy between the odds allow a profit to made by betting on all possible outcomes. This most commonly occurs in events in which there are only 2 possible results. Discrepancies can arise due to differences in the opinion of bookmakers or errors in drawing up odds. In essence, a punter places bets on all possible outcomes, ensuring a profit will be made regardless of the result.
The pros of arbitrage betting are obvious. There are however, several drawbacks. In order to be significantly profitable, large sums of money need to be staked (return opportunities are generally low). Bookmakers are also quick to detect the practice, which is generally frowned upon and bets or future bets can be cancelled.
Can also be known as 'hedging' (originating from the term 'hedge your bets').
Hedge betting involves placing a follow up bet after an initial bet to ensure a profit, regardless of outcome. The second bet is placed following a change in circumstance or change in odds. As an example; a bet is placed on an underdog football team to win the FA cup. This team reaches the final. However, the odds are still against them winning. A second bet would be placed on the opposing team to win, at an amount that would cover the losses should the original team lose.
Also known as 'laying a bet' or betting on something/ someone to lose (betting that something will not happen).
When a punter 'lays' a bet, they are betting against something happening. For example, instead of backing Horse A to win the race, they 'lay' Horse A. The punter wins their bet if any horse other than Horse A wins the race. As lay bettors are betting against other users, they are in essence acting like a bookmaker. The punter offers odds to sell a bet rather than the usual odds to back a bet.
Spread betting involves placing bet on the outcome of an event. However, rather than the payout being based on a 'win or lose' situation, the payout is related directly to the accuracy of the bet. For example, rather than betting a team to simply win or lose a match, the punter places a bet on how many goals the match will be won by. As a result, the winnings (or losses) are not known until the event is over as only then will the punter know how right or wrong their prediction was. Bookmakers will offer predictions for a range of scenarios and the punter will need to decide how close they think the prediction is to the final result. If the punter thinks the bookmaker has quoted too low, they would "buy" a bet and if the punter thinks the bookmaker has quoted too high they would "sell" a bet. The amount won (or lost) depends on the skill of the punter in predicting an outcome.
The martingale strategy involves placing a bet on an outcome with even odds and if the bet loses, placing a subsequent bet at double the amount to the original on another bet at the same even odds. If the second bet wins, the punter gains a profit and recovers their original losses. If the second bet loses, the punter places a third bet with a wager double to the amount placed on the second bet. Again, if the 3rd bet wins, the punter nets a profit plus recovers their losses from the previous 2 bets. As long as the bet is doubled after every loss, the first win will net a profit and recover all losses. In theory, this trend could go on indefinitely so long as the punter has sufficient funds. However, the losses can grow quickly and therefore the stakes can become very high if there are several losses in a row.
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An accumulator is a single bet that links together 2 or more separate bets, with the winnings from the first bet placed on the second and so on. All of the separate bets placed must win for a pay out.
A quick form of betting in which an outcome will be known promptly. For example, betting on when the next throw in will occur in a football match.
Against the Spread (ATS)
A bet placed on the least likely outcome.
Slang. "Betting tax".
A team or individual that consistently fails to win or place.
A bet placed in advance of an event. For example, the odds are fixed before the runners of a race are known, on horses that are likely to enter.
Placing a bet on all possible outcomes to guarantee a profit. Usually made possible by an odds discrepancy between bookmakers or errors in drawing up odds.
A version of spread betting used in football. A team is handicapped according to how well they are going and therefore a stronger team must win by more goals for a bet to be won.
Placing a bet, then laying the same bet at a later time. The lay bet is often used during the event as circumstances change.
Back Door Cover
When an event happens late in the day that ensures the underdog has covered the spread.
A term used in horse racing to describe the runners in a race not given pre-race odds. It shows what the lowest odds of these horses are most likely to be, e.g. 40-1 bar.
Placing a bet on an outcome that is very likely to happen.
The sum of money a punter sets aside (and is prepared to risk losing) when betting.
A person who places a bet on behalf of another person.
Slang for "betting tax". The tax a bookmaker pays on their turnover, sometimes recouped through adding the tax to a punter's stake.
A sum of money placed on an event.
A forum that allows bettors to bet against their peers, rather than the bookmaker. Betting exchanges can offer more opportunities such as betting on outcomes that bookmakers would be reluctant to set odds for.
One who places a bet.
A bet placed to divert attention away from another, larger bet.
Best Odds Guaranteed. Bookmakers offering BOG will pay out at the higher price if the starting price is higher than the odds the punter takes.
The organisation or person that accepts (and pays out) a punter's money as a bet on events.
Slang. Odds of 2:1.
Both Teams To Score.
Odds of 10/3, usually stated as 100/30.
The higher of the 2 prices offered by a bookmaker in spread and index betting.
26 bets (10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 4-folds, plus an accumulator) involving 5 selections in different events. At least 2 of the bets must be successful to gain a return.
Carpet (also known as "tres" or "gimmel")
Slang. Odds of 3:1.
Settling a bet early and accepting a lower pay out as a result.
A punter who bets on the favourite.
A game is circled when a bookmaker puts a limit on the amount of activity they are prepared to take on a game. This usually happens when there is some uncertainty around an event, making the outcome less predictable.
When a team finishes a game without having conceded any points.
The final betting line offered by bookmakers before an event begins.
Placing multiple bets on a series of selections. Not all selections have to be correct for the punter to receive a payout.
The punter places a bet on what they think the final score of a game will be.
A list of all the available matches to bet on, with space for punters to make their selections.
Bets that are likely to lose.
An outcome that is very likely to happen.
When there are 2 or more joint winners in an event.
A punter who bets on the underdog.
A type of accumulator, involving just 2 selections.
Also known as an 'if bet'. The punter places an original bet with a clause, if that clause occurs then the second bet is played.
Used in football. The 3 outcomes of a football match are reduced to 2, with a win/ draw or lose option being used instead of win or draw or lose.
Punters place bets on the results at both half time and full time.
Draw No Bet
A coverage bet where a punter backs a team to win but will get their stake back if the match is drawn.
When the odds on a selection get bigger (lengthen) over time.
Used in horse racing. The punter picks the first 2 finishes in races of 3 or more.
To spread the stake over several outcomes in the same event. Calculated so that the same amount is won irrespective of the outcome.
A bet consisting of 2 wagers. The first wager is for the selection to win and the second is for the selection to place.
A bet placed at even odds.
Exacta, or perfectans
One bet placed in which a punter will try to predict the winner and the second place.
Any bet which is not a straight bet (i.e. not a bet for a win).
The amount that could be lost by either a bookmaker or a punter during an event.
The team or individual most likely to win an event.
To be in with a winning chance.
A bet placed on the first person to score a goal in an event.
First Half Bet
A bet placed on the outcome of the first half of an event.
23 bets (a 4-fold accumulator, 4 trebles, 6 doubles and 6 single stakes) involving 4 selections across different events.
The number of selections in an accumulator.
How a player or team is currently performing.
An incentive used by bookmakers to entice punters, often with strict terms and conditions.
Free Bet Guide
Expression of odds as 100 to 8, 100 to 4. For example, the Burlington Bertie.
A bet which includes all available multiple bets in a given selection. Not all selections have to win for a payout.
The UK's leading provider of free information and advice and in the prevention and treatment of problems associated with gambling.
The number of goals scored at the end of play.
247 bets (28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70 4 folds, 56 5 folds, 28 6 folds, 8 7 folds and 1 8 fold) with 8 selections over different events. 2 or more of the selections must win to gain a return.
Slang for £1000.
Half time Bet
A bet predicting the score at half time.
Half time result
The score at half time.
A type of spread betting often used when one player or side has clear advantage. For example, a football team likely to win may be awarded a handicap of minus one goal, meaning that they have to win by more than one goal for the bet to pay out.
A person who tries to predict the outcome of an event.
Another term for Asian Handicap.
Hedging Your Bets
Placing a follow-up bet after an original bet to ensure a profit, regardless of the outcome.
57 bets (15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 4 folds and 1 6 fold) used across 6 different selections. 2 or more selections must win to gain a return.
A half point added to a spread to prevent break-even situations.
Independent Betting Association Service.
Betting on an event that is already underway.
In the Money
The horses in a race that are placed ensuring a punter will receive a payout, usually those placed 1st, 2nd and 3rd.
Joint Favourites (jt-fav)
Players, teams or horses that are equally as likely to win according to the odds.
A cheque. UK slang.
A bookmaker or person who lays odds.
Licensed Betting Office
When the odds on an outcome are increased.
The odds, spread or handicap offered to a punter.
A bookmaker or person who sets the betting lines.
The odds on an outcome unlikely to happen.
The unlikely winner or outcome of an event.
15 bets (4 singles, 6 doubles, 4 trebles and 1 4 fold) involving 4 selections across different events. Used in horse and greyhound racing.
Betting on a match with the outcome offered as win, lose or draw. The most common form of fixed odds betting.
UK Slang for £500.
Incentives used by bookmakers to entice punters who will receive their money back if the bet is not successful.
The entry list and likely odds for runners in a race posted before betting starts.
Another name for an accumulator.
The total amount of money bet on a race.
A bet that is considered a guarantee to win.
The choice that tipsters and pundits consider to be the strongest selection for the event.
A bet in which no money is won or lost.
A horse that fails to make the starting line up.
An index spread that considers the number of runs, goals and points scored in an event.
The bookmakers view on how likely an event is to happen.
The odds are less than evens.
The odds are more than evens.
The person who sets the odds.
Off the Top
When bookmakers take a fixed percentage from the total amount of money bet on an event before paying out.
Betting that occurs away from the race track.
Off the Board
When a bookmaker stops taking bets on a particular event.
On the Nose
A bet placed that a horse will win.
A simple bet where the punter picks one selection to win an event. For example, which team will win the FA Cup.
The competitor least likely to win.
Betting over the predicted total number of points or goals in an event.
When the bookmaker returns a loss following an event.
When the odds favour the punter.
When the profit margin is in the favour of the bookmaker.
Betting over or under the predicted total number of points or goals in an event.
When all the bets on a race are pooled together. The size of the winnings will be according to the size of the pool and the number of winners.
US term for an accumulator.
7 bets (3 singles, 3 doubles and 1 treble) across 3 selections in different events. Only one selection needs to be successful for a return to be gained.
Permutations or Perms
Making doubles from individual selections, increasing the number of bets over a number of selections. For example, if the individual selections W,X,Y,Z were 'permed', there would be WX,WY,WZ,XY,XZ AND YZ, making 6 possible bets.
Looking at photographic evidence to determine the winner of a race.
The odds given to 'place' rather than to win.
Another term for spread betting.
The predicted scoring difference between players or teams. A form of handicap betting.
A £25 bet.
Total amount of money bet for a win, place or show.
The odds given.
When a bookmaker offers an enhanced, more attractive price for an event outcome.
A person who places a bet.
The punter places a bet predicting the horses that will finish in 1st and 2nd place. The order of placing does not matter.
Where the outcome of one event will affect the outcome of another. In this instance, multiple bets will not be allowed on these events.
Used in horse and greyhound racing. Entering a (usually good) runner in the name of another (usually poor) runner.
3 bets involving 3 selections across different events.
Another term for 'roundabout'.
10 bets (3 pairs of 'Single Stakes About', 3 doubles and 1 treble) involving 3 selections across different events.
1) To win a bet
2) A £20 bet
The punter tries to predict the final result of a match and also the player that scores the first goal.
A punter who waits to bet on a very likely outcome.
The expert at a bookmaker who calculates payout.
One who gambles professionally.
Shortening the Odds
When the odds are reduced, usually as a result of heavy betting activity.
A simple bet where only one outcome is backed, usually a win or lose.
Single Stakes About (or SSA)
2 bets (1 single across 2 selections any to come and 1 single on the opposite selection reversed).
The wager's of those in the know.
Betting on a more unusual aspect of an event. For example, the number of corners in a football match.
See handicap. Often used when a player or side has a clear advantage.
The odds at the start of a race.
Placing a bet on the racers that will come first and second in the correct order.
120 bets (e.g. 21 doubles, 35 trebles, 35 4 folds, 21 5 folds, 7 6 folds and an accumulator) consisting of 7 selections across different events.
Another term for 'Canadian'.
A bet that is very likely to win.
A type of accumulator with several combination and single bets picked.
The line of spread is moved in the punter's favour and lower odds are accepted.
The hand signals used by bookmakers at a racing course to convey information.
A large bet.
A bet placed on which horses will finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd.
The outcome predicted most likely to happen by tipsters.
A person who predicts the likely outcome of an event and gives away or sells this information.
"The Horserace Totalisator Board". A UK organisation that operates pool-betting on racecourses.
Another term for tipster.
A bet formed of 3 selections across different events. All 3 must be successful for a pay out.
A bet placed on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers.
4 bets (3 doubles and 1 treble) across 3 selections in different events.
Betting under the predicted number of points or goals in an event.
Underdog ("Alpo", "Dog", "Puppy" or "The Short")
The least likely to win.
A bet formed of 8 trebles across 9 selections.
A bet placed when the punter believes the bookmaker has made a mistake, therefore increasing their chance of winning.
The bookmaker's commission.
The stake is returned to the punter, usually due to unforeseen circumstances in an event.
Placing a bet on a team to win a football match, or for the match to be drawn after 90 minutes (if the team has not won after 90 minutes the bet is lost).
An unpaid bet.
The 1st placed.
A successful bet.
A bet predicting by how much one team will beat another.
US term. A well-informed gambler or handicapper.
With the Field
Linking one horse with all the others in an event.
11 bets (6 doubles, 4 trebles and 1 4 fold) across 4 selections in different events.
See "Lucky 15".