Sports betting glossary

An A-Z of common betting terminology

Accumulator/ACCA – a type of bet that combines the results from a number of fixtures for longer combined odds. Three or more results on a single bet, with all results needed to win on the ticket.


Aces – a bet available in tennis, based on the player serving the highest number of aces in a match.


Across the Board – a type of horse racing bet, where the wager backs a horse to win, place or show, with odds shortened accordingly.


Also-Ran – any backed selection not winning, placing or showing in a race, e.g. a fifth place finisher in a horse race.


Any To Come (ATC) – an instruction to automatically invest winnings from one bet into another.


Arbitrage – a discrepancy between odds on an event, usually between two bookmakers, that allows a guaranteed profit on any outcome by backing each side simultaneously.


Bad Beat – an unexpected losing bet, common US terminology for an unanticipated loss on an unexpected result.


Banker – a sure-fire bet, a ‘banker’ is a bet or a ticket gamblers expect will win and deliver a return.


Betting Exchange – a type of betting platform where gamblers bet on either side directly, ‘buying’ and ‘selling’ outcomes for the best odds. Unlike the bookmaker setting the odds, the exchange is a direct betting market.


Book – the totality of a bookmaker’s bets on each side of a sporting event, plus the odds and corresponding calculations for profit on each outcome.


Bookmaker (or Bookie) – the person or company accepting bets on sporting events. Also known as the ‘bookie’, ‘Turf Accountant’, or ‘sportsbook’.


Buy Price – the odds, or price, at which a player must back a selection on a betting exchange or index. Contrast with the sell price, when players want to lay a selection. The gap between the buy price and the sell price is the spread.


Carpet – any odds quoted at 3:1, commonly used UK informal term.


Cash Out – a feature of some online bookmakers allowing early settlement for a guaranteed amount. You can choose whether to settle some bets early, at a live price quoted by the bookmaker to buy you out of the bet.


Chalk – a predominantly US term for the outright favourite in a fixture.


Correct Score – a bet predicting the correct score of an event, for example a football match.


Deposit – an amount of money uploaded to an online betting account, the process of adding money to the bankroll


Double – a joint bet on two separate outcomes, for enhanced odds. Both events must win to come good.


Double Up – increasing the size of your bets to make up for losses. A Martingale strategy.


Drift – when odds on an outcome are getting longer, they are 'drifting'.


Each Way – a pair of wagers on first and a place for the backed selection, typically in racing events.


Even Money – a bet that pays 1:1, also known as ‘evens’


Favourite – the shortest odds selection in any event, the market favourite to win.


Fold – the multiple in an accumulator, as in a ‘6-fold accumulator’.


Form – the recent performance of a competitor as a predictor for future outcomes


Free Bet – a free bet offered by the bookmaker as a promotion, a widely used strategy for attracting new players or for specific betting promotions.


French Odds – odds denominated in 100s, based on the metric system. An antiquated method of quoting odds like 100 to 30, 100 to 8.


Goliath – a multi-line bet covering 247 different bets across 8 competitors, often covering a number of sporting events.


Grand – a thousand, as in £1,000.


Half-time Bets – bets on events such as football where you predict the score at half-time, or alternatively the second half score.


Hedge – bookies who bet for the sure favourite to offset their own liabilities, hedging their bets. Or a second bet designed to pay off if your primary bet fails.


In the Money – any runner placing in the top 4 in a racing event, or more broadly any bet that is in a winning position.


Joint Favourite – where two competitors share the shortest odds in any market, with an indistinguishable favourite.


Lay – backing an outcome to fail, an option available on betting exchanges. Betting that an outcome won’t happen, rather than what will happen.


Live Bet – an in-play bet during a sporting event, where live odds are quoted in real time during the event.


Long Odds – odds that reflect an outcome the market thinks is unlikely, the biggest payout for successful bets.


Long Shot – an unlikely bet, hopefully at long odds reflective of its limited chances.


Martingale – a type of betting strategy involving doubling up


Monkey – slang for £500.


Odds – the price quoted by the bookmaker to reflect the chances of any particular outcome, the rate of return offered on different bets, usually expressed as a fraction or a decimal multiplier.


Odds-on – any odds shorter than even money are said to be odds on – 1/10, 4/5.


Overlay – a competitor with a better chance than the odds suggest, e.g. a strong horse with long odds.


Patent – a multiple bet, featuring a treble, three doubles and a single bet on a selection of three outcomes.


Picks – the nominated favourites by industry pundits and tipsters.


Place – finishing in second place, or finishing within a designated threshold depending on the size of the field, short of winning, paid at a fraction of winning odds on an each way bet.


Punter – informal term for a gambler.


Roundabout – a combination bet across three picks in multiple bets, paying enhanced odds.


Short Odds – odds that reflect a likely outcome, very little return on bets. Odds will shorten as a market deems a result more likely, and bets accordingly.


Shortening – odds that are heading closer to evens or below, reflecting a perceived increased likelihood.


Single – any standalone bet on a single outcome.


Smart Money – the bets of those with perceived inside knowledge, who the analysts are backing.


Spread – the gap between the buy and sell price of a bet on a betting exchange.


Spread Betting – a form of sports betting where bets are multiplied by the number of points above or below the market buy or sell price. A bet that pays on a result proportionate to the result.


Sure Thing – a bet that is certain to come good, a very likely result.


Tip – a hotly favoured runner, the analysts pick.


Treble – a 3-part bet across three outcomes, all of which must win for the bet to succeed.


Trixie – three doubles and a treble bet across three different outcomes, with enhanced odds.


Underdog – an outside runner, or specifically a team with a point handicap.


Value – the best odds available for the position you are backing.


Yankee – an 11-way bet on 4 outcomes, 6 doubles, 4 trebles and a 4-fold bet.

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