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Betting Explained

When you first enter the world of online betting, it can be overwhelming. There are a lot of betting terms to master, and understanding the various elements of betting terminology can seriously affect your enjoyment of the games. Taking a moment to familiarize yourself with the various terms and phrases will help you to feel more comfortable and sound like a serious player even while you learn the ropes.

The betting terms you will want to master first will be the terms related to odds and placing bets. They are some of the most common terms and will also keep you from being confused by the bookmakers. Once you have mastered some of these terms you can move on to the more advanced and colourful bits of betting terminology.

In Betting many many specific terms are used.
On this online betting glossary page we want to collect and explain all of them

If you miss a term, send it to us, and we will add it to the list!




  • Accumulator: A series of bets on multiple outcomes, all outcomes must be successful for the Punter to win the bet.
    More information: Football Accumulator Bet
  • Action: Any kind of bet.
  • Against the Spread: A bet where you try to determine which team will cover the spread; not necessarily which team will win.
  • Ante Post: It is also possible to place some football bets weeks, months and sometimes years in advance. For example when you bet on the premiership or world cup winner. Such bets are called ‘ante post’-bets. The term ‘ante post’ comes from the world of horse racing. Making such an ante-post bet can be really successful if during the time it becomes clear that the team backed is increasingly favoured to win.
    More information: Ante Post Bet
  • Arbitrage Betting: A system where you can use the highest odds from different bookmakers on one sporting event. Regardless of the outcome of a match you can ensure, by hedging your bets, that you will be getting win. It just takes a bit of work, some calculations and some shopping around to create an arbitrage situation, but the benefits of it can be huge.
    More information: Arbitrage Betting Explained
  • Asian Handicap: Asian handicaps are, as the name suggests, a special type of handicap betting popular in the Far East and commonly used in football betting. In addition to typical +1, 0, and -1 handicaps seen in standard handicap football match betting, Asian handicap allows for a ¼ goal, ½ goal and a ¾ goal start. On the face of it this may not seem to make a lot of sense, since any team that beats (or loses to) a ½ goal start will also beat (or lose to) a ¼ goal start. However, there is more to ¼ and ¾ ball betting than meets the eye. As for normal handicap betting, the underdog will be awarded a head start of a handicap, and the favourite will concede a handicap of the same magnitude. For the purposes of bet settlement, the predetermined number of the handicap will be added to the real number of goals. Where no handicap is awarded (0:0 handicap), a drawn game will result in a tied bet and returned stakes. if either side wins, bets backing that team will win, whilst bets backing the other will lose. Similar rules apply for 1 goal (0:1) and 2 goal (0:2) Asian handicaps. When ½ ball handicaps are applied, bets can only be won or lost – a tied bet is impossible. If the handicap is set at ¼ (or ¾, 1¼, 1¾ etc) of a goal, then any bets on the match will be settled as a split stakes bet, with half the stake going on the handicap ¼ of a goal less than the quote and half on the handicap a ¼ of a goal more. For example, with a ¼ ball handicap, half the stakes will be settled as though the handicap was 0, and half as though the handicap was ½. It follows, then, that if a team beats a ¼ ball handicap by ½ or more, the backer will win the whole bet; if they lose by ½ or more, the backer will lose the whole bet. It is only when the result falls within ¼ of the handicap that the result is different from a conventional handicap. When a team beats the handicap by a ¼, the backer receives half stakes on a win, and half returned. For example, if £10 were staked at odds of 1.95 for a ¼ ball advantage, a drawn game would return a profit of £4.75. This is known as a “win ½”. If a team loses by a ¼, the backer has only half his stake returned. This is known as a “loss ½”.
    More information: Asian Handicap Betting



  • Bar: This shows what the lowest odds of horses not mentioned in the betting forecast are likely to be – ’50-1 bar’ means those not quoted are 50-1 or bigger.
  • Banker: A selection that is fancied very, very strongly indeed. It will often be the cornerstone of combination bets.
    More information: Banker Bet
  • Beard: A friend or acquaintance whose job is to place a bet in order to conceal the true identity of the real bettor.
  • Bet: To lay money on the correct prediction of an outcome.
  • Betting Exchange: An exchange is a peer-to-peer betting network, enabling you to place bets and ‘match’ wagers placed by your fellow punters.
    More information: Betting Exchange Explained
  • Bookie/Bookmaker: A company who is licensed to accept bets on the result of an event based on their provision of odds to the customer.
  • BTTS: Both Teams To Score
    More information: Both Teams To Score Betting



  • Canadian: A Canadian (also known as a Super Yankee) consists of 26 bets involving 5 selections in different events. The bet includes 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 fourfolds plus an accumulator. A minimum of 2 of your selections must be successful to get a return.
  • Cash out: The cash out option has become increasingly popular in online betting. This is when a punter can settle a bet before it has finished, such as cashing out a 6-fold accumulator with five legs already having been won and not wanting to risk the sixth leg winning also. You can cash out on a winning bet in an individual soccer match too for example, and the cash out price offered will naturally be lesser than risking the bet running to full time.
    More information: Cash Out Betting
  • Chalk: The favorite.
  • Chalk player: A person who usually places his bets on the favorite.
  • Circled Game: Applies to US sports. A game where the betting activity is limited by the bookmaker; this usually happens where bad weather or injury may significanlty alter the chances of either team winning, thereby making the outcome far more uncertain.
  • Clean sheet: Think of a clean sheet as a shutout. It is when a team successfully comes through a game without having conceded a goal or any points. This is a big pride of defences and in betting you will see options like To Win To Nil which means that you are backing a side to win without conceding in the game.
  • Combination Bet: A combination bet is where you place multiple bets on your selections to eliminate the risk and to maximise the potential gain. It is a full coverage bet so even if one selection loses, the entire bet won’t be lost (like in an accumulator). So for example if you have five selections you could make ten different 3x combos from them, or five 4x combos.
    More information: Combination Bet Explained
  • Correct Score: Correct score betting is popular with football, where the total number of typical scores is limited. The odds are dependent on the actual match odds between the two teams.
    More information: Correct Score Betting



  • Dog: Somebody who is expected to lose a fight or contest. Also known as the “underdog”.
  • Dog player: A person who usually places his bets on the underdog.
  • Doubles: An accumulator which involves two selections. Both must be successful for the bet to win.
    More information: Double Bet Explained
  • Double Action: An “if-bet” that proceeds if the precedent bet is won, tied or cancelled.
  • Double Chance: Occasionally, bookmakers may reduce the 3 outcomes for a football match to 2, by what is known as ‘Double Chance’ betting, where a single price is offered on a win or draw. If the backed team wins or draws, the bet wins; if the team loses, so does the bet. With double chance bets there is no possibility for the draw. The win/draw odds will always be shorter than for both the individual win and draw odds, because the chances of either outcome occurring are greater than for each one separately.
    More information: Double Chance Bet
  • Double Result: Some bookmakers now offer books for the half-time result only, and more typically the “double result”, that is, the result at both half-time and full-time. For football matches this means a total of 9 betting possibilities is commonly available. This is a popular alternative to simply backing an outright result, which may often be at unattractively short odds. Obviously the risk is greater since there are more possible outcomes (9 as compared to 3 with standard match betting), but consequently the odds are better. The highest odds are obviously available for the home team to be winning at half-time and the away team to win after 90 minutes. Typically, odds of 28/1 can be found for this unlikely double result, and can be even higher if the home team is a strong favourite.
    More information: Double Result Bet
  • Draw No Bet: This is a form of a coverage bet when you back a selection in a football match for example, to win, but if the game is drawn then you will get your stake back. So in the outcome of a draw, essentially no bet has been made. It’s a coverage bet so naturally you will sacrifice odds compared to backing the selection to win outright.
    More information: Draw No Bet Explained
  • Drift: When the price of a selection moves out (gets bigger), often due to a lack of support. That selection is said to be “on the drift”.
  • Dutching: Dutching is where you take your planned stake and then use it to spread over more than one outcome on an event. For example if you had a £10 stake and you spread it on two outcomes. you could use £4 on a home win, £6 on a draw. This is based on the same amount of winnings coming back should either of the outcomes happen.
    More information: Dutching



  • Each Way: In contests with large fields, even the shorter-priced favourites may have quite high odds. To increase the chances of a punter winning something from this bet, it may be offered each way. Each way bets are actually two bets, one for the win and one for a high placing, and are settled as two bets. The place part is calculated at a fraction of the win odds. This fraction will vary by sport and event, and will always be displayed where each way betting is available. In a football tournament the each way part is usually settled at half odds for 1st and 2nd place only. Consider a £10 each way bet on England to win the World Cup at 10/1. If England win, a £150 profit would be made; £100 for the win at 10/1 and £50 for finishing in the top 2 at 5/1. If England lost in the final, the profit would only be £40; £50 from the place part minus the £10 stake lost on the win.
    More information: Each way Bet
  • Edge: A punter’s advantage in a bet.
  • Evens: A betting term for a 50/50 shot in an event. If you see a football team at even money then the bookmaker is assessing them as having a 50/50 shot of winning the game. In decimal odds that will portrayed as 2.0 and which way you go it means that whatever you stake, that is what you would get back. So place a £10 even money stake, you win £10 straight.
  • Exotic: Any bet other than a straight bet or parley – also called a prop or proposition.
  • Exposure: The maximum amount of money a sports book stands to lose in a game.



  • Favorite: The team or individual the bookies rate most likely to win the contest they are betting on.
  • First Goalscorer: A bet placed on a player to score the first goal in the event.
  • First half bet: A bet placed solely on the first half of a game.
  • Fold: A fold represents the number of selections in an accumulator, i.e a Four-Fold Accumulator consists of 1 bet involving 4 selections in different events. All must be successful to get a return.
    More information: Four Fold Bet Explained
  • form: Form rates how a team is currently performing.



  • GamCare: The UK national centre for information, advice and practical help with regard to the social impact of gambling.
  • Goal line: Alternative goal line wagers are those which do something that traditional over/under market does not. It offers whole goals which increases the risk on a bet, because then it introduces a push option which can cause a loss. But the odds may be more appealing and there is also a split bet on alternative goal line wagers available where you split your stake between two goal-line options.
    More information: Goal Line Bet
  • Goliath: A Goliath consists of 247 bets involving 8 selections in different events. The bet includes 28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70 fourfolds, 56 fivefolds, 28 sixfolds, 8 sevenfolds and an accumulator. A minimum of 2 of your selections must be successful to get a return.



  • Half time bet: A bet placed on the half time result.
  • Half time result: A bet that involves the Punter correctly predicting the result of a match at half time.
  • Handicap: A system used by bookmakers to make a one sided event become a more attractive betting proposition to the punter. For example, the weaker team may start with a one goal advantage. Known as the Spread in US sports. For fractional handicaps (0.5, 1.5 etc.), there is no possibility of a draw. If the margin of victory is same as the quoted handicap, all bets on the selected team will lose.
    More information: Handicap Betting
  • Handicapper: A person who studies, rates and bets on sporting events and/or races.
  • Hedging: This involves placing a bet on opposing outcome to the punters original selected outcome.
    More information: Bet Hedging
  • Heinz: A Heinz consists of 57 bets involving 6 selections in different events. The bet includes 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 fourfolds, 6 fivefolds and an accumulator. A minimum of 2 of your selections must be successful to get a return.
  • Hook: Half a point added to e.g. football or basketball betting lines.



  • IBAS: Independent Arbitration Betting Service. An arbitration service which was launched to deal with betting disputes between punters and bookmakers.



  • Lay: When a bookmaker accepts bets it is often said that they lay a bet. A bookmaker It will often be known as a layor. You can lay yourself on Betting Exchanges (see our section)
    More information: Lay Betting
  • Lengthen: When a bookmaker sees little activity on a particular outcome, they may choose to lengthen or increase the odds available.
  • Line: The current odds or point spread on a particular event.
  • Lock: US term for very low risk.
  • Longshot: A team or horse perceived unlikely to win.
  • Lucky 15: A Lucky 15 consists of 15 bets involving 4 selections in different events. The bet includes 4 singles, 6 doubles, 4 trebles, and 1 fourfold. If only one selection wins, as a consolation returns are paid to double the odds. If all four selections win, a bonus of 10% is added to total returns. For the bonus to apply, all selections must win (none void or non-runners). For each-way bets the consolation is paid only on the win part of the bet. Lucky 15 bets are accepted on horse racing and greyhounds only. Also Lucky 31 and Lucky 63 exist.
    More information: Lucky 15 Bet Explained



  • Match Betting: The most popular and common fixed odds betting market is match betting. In standard match bets between two teams, winning odds are available for both, and the wager will either win or lose depending on the outcome of the event. Since a significant proportion of games end without any winner, the “draw” is offered as a betting option. Football fixed odds match betting is sometimes known as 1X2 betting. On fixed odd coupons, a “1” denotes the home team, with the away team represented by a “2” and the draw by an X.
  • Monkey: Bookmakers slang for £500.
  • Multiples: Another term for Accumulators. Multiple bets involve more than one selection. Double and trebles are popular wagers for football match betting. A double is one bet involving two selections in different events, both of which must be successful for the bet to win. The odds for a double are calculated by multiplying together the separate odds for the two single bets. Accumulators contain 4 or more selections. Often, the only limit to the number of selections included within an accumulator bet is the bookmaker’s maximum allowable payout on one bet.
    More information: Multiple Bet



  • Nap: A tipster’s best bet of the day.
  • No action: A bet where no money is lost or won.
  • Non Runner: This is one for horse racing punters and it is an important one. If you back a selection in a race and that horse doesn’t make it to the starting line for whatever reason, then it is called a Non Runner. Because of such unforeseen circumstances that would involve pulling a horse before the race, then most bookmakers will offer your stake back if your horse is a Non Runner as long as it’s not an ante post wager.
  • Number Spread: An index spread based on the number of runs, goals and points scored in an event.



  • Odds: Also referred to as the price. The returns a bookmaker offers for a selection to win.
    More Information: Betting Odds Explained
  • Odds On: Refers to a price where the odds are less than evens (fractional) or 2 (decimal).
  • Odds Against: Refers to a price where the odds are greater than evens (fractional) or 2 (decimal).
  • Outright Bet: An outright bet is the most straightforward wager that you can make. You can place an outright bet on a League winner, a Cup winner, a horse to win a race or who will be the next Prime Minister. This is just a straight single wager when you pick on selection from an event to win.
  • Outsider: The opposite of a favourite.
  • Over: An increasingly popular football fixed odds market is total goals betting, sometimes known as over/under. A commonly available over/under bet available in football is over/under 2.5 goals. By introducing a decimal, this removes the possibility of a draw, leaving only two possible outcomes. Some bookmakers like to introduce an extra outcome to the book. 3 outcomes might include: fewer than 2 goals; exactly 2 goals; and more than 2 goals. Other bookmakers introduce even more, although this is with a view to increasing their profit margin on the book.
  • Over-round: In theory a betting book should be 100%, so a toss of a coin would be even money heads, even money tails. However the bookmakers’ profit margins mean the figure is usually above 100%. In cases where it is less this is referred to as ‘over-round’.



  • Parlay: The US term for an accumulator.
  • Patent: A Patent consists of 7 bets involving 3 selections in different events. The bet includes a single on each selection, plus 3 doubles and 1 treble. Just one successful selection guarantees a return.
    More information: Patent Bet Explained
  • Permutations or Perms: There is a way to find 7 bets from only 3 selections, making use of what have incorrectly become known as permutations or perms. Consider the following 3 selections: Bolton to beat Charlton, evens Leeds to beat Liverpool, 6/4 Southampton to beat Tottenham 5/4 First off, each selection can be taken as a single match bet. Secondly, there is one treble available at odds of 11.25, calculated by multiplying together the odds for each of the 3 singles (2 x 2.5 x 2.25). However, there are also 3 doubles available too, by “perming” any 2 games from the 3 selections. Such a series of bets is commonly known as a ‘Patent’, or a ‘Trixie’ if the singles are left out leaving only 4 bets. The greater the number of selections to choose from, the greater the number of combinations available. Combinations are not, of course, restricted to doubles. If we wish to choose from 4 matches, there are 6 combinations of doubles and 4 combinations of trebles available, in addition to 1 fourfold and 4 singles.
    More information: Betting Permutations (Perms)
  • Point spread: The predicted scoring differential between two opponents as quoted by a sports book.
  • Pony: Bookmakers slang for £25.
  • Price: Betting or gambling odds.
  • Punter: The individual who puts on a bet.



  • Request a Bet: Bookmakers now accept custom-built wagers from their customers. Punters can Request A Bet from operators, so if there is a specific bet that you don’t see available in their sportsbook, you can ask them (usually via Social Media) to price up a bet for you. If they match the bet, it becomes active and you place your wager. Bookmakers also have tools to create your own bet from a set of specific markets so that you can build your own bet to your exact requirements.
    More information: Request A Bet
  • Round Robin: A series of three or more teams in 2-team accumulators. A Round Robin means 3 selections in 3 (different) races, in 3 doubles, 1 treble and 6 single stakes about bets.
    More information: Round Robin Bet
  • Runner: Somebody who places bets for another person.



  • Scout: Somebody who waits for what he thinks is an unusual strong wager. AKA. Sports Player.
  • Sharp: A sophisticated or professional gambler.
  • Singles: The simplest of all bets is the single. With a single bet on a football match, only one outcome is backed, and the bet can generally either win or lose, although in Asian handicap, there are other possibilities. With a simple win/lose single, a selection must be successful to achieve a return. A typical single match bet might be Liverpool to beat Manchester United at 2/1. If Liverpool win, a £10 stake would realise a profit of £20; if they draw or lose, the stake is lost. Singles odds are today generally available for almost any football game.
  • Special Bets: In an attempt to attract spread bettors into fixed odds football betting, some online bookmakers have started to offer specialised markets. Special bets include odds on the number of corners and bookings a televised match will have, odds for team performance, or the time of the first and the last goal scorer. These bets have their origins in the spread markets, and it is only through the availability of online gambling that fixed odds bookmakers have been able to break into this market.
  • Spread Betting: Spread betting is similar to a handicap type system of betting and it is primarily used in north american sports. In spread betting you back a team to cover a spread, essentially saying a team will lose by no more than 3 points, or will win by 5. In order for the spread to covered on a -4 for example, the winner would need to win by 5.
  • Super Heinz: A Super Heinz consists of 120 bets involving 7 selections in different events. The bet includes 21 doubles, 35 trebles, 35 fourfolds, 21 fivefolds, 7 sixfolds and an accumulator. A minimum of 2 of your selections must be successful to get a return.
  • Super Yankee: See Canadian.



  • Tic-tac: The ‘sign language’ with which bookmakers on the racing course communicate.
  • Trebles: A Treble consists of 1 bet involving 3 selections in different events. All must be successful to get a return.
    More information: Treble Bet Explained
  • Trixie: A Trixie consists of 4 bets involving 3 selections in different events. The bet includes 3 doubles and 1 treble. A minimum of 2 of your selections must be successful to get a return.
    More information: Trixie Bet Explained



  • Under: An increasingly popular football fixed odds market is total goals betting, sometimes known as over/under. A commonly available over/under bet available in football is over/under 2.5 goals.
  • Underdog: A team or individual that is expected to lose. Also known as the dog.



  • Value Bet: Simply put, if you believe the odds taken are better than the mathematical chance which the team involved has of pulling off the outcome, then you have a value bet. This means, that if a tennis player has an actual mathematical 50% chance of winning a match, and the odds on that player are above Evens, then bet value is better than the mathematical odds, so that is a value bet.



  • Wise guy: A well informed or knowledgeable handicapper or bettor.



  • Yankee: A Yankee consists of 11 bets involving 4 selections in different events. The bet includes 6 doubles, 4 trebles, and an accumulator. A minimum of 2 of your selections must be successful to get a return.
    More information: Yankee Bet Explained


Some of the terms of this Betting Glossary and some more are explained individually at:   Asian Handicap Bets   Handicap Bets  Match Betting   Over Bets   Single Bets   Special Bets   Under Bets   Value Bet   Betting Companies   Double Chance Betting  Each Way Betting   Football Bet Types explained   How sports betting works   How to read betting odds   In-Play Betting  Lucky 15 Bet   Over Under Betting