Sports betting can be a great source of entertainment and profit for those who know what they’re doing. However, understanding the various sports betting terms and definitions can be overwhelming, especially for beginners.
In this guide, we will cover the most common sports betting terms to help you understand them better.
Sports Betting Terminology
Ante-post betting is when you place a bet on an event in advance of the day it takes place. The advantage of this is that the odds are usually higher than on the day of the event, but the disadvantage is that if your selection does not participate, you will lose your stake.
Arbitrage is a betting strategy where a punter takes advantage of discrepancies in odds between different bookmakers. By placing bets on all possible outcomes of an event at different bookmakers, the punter can ensure a profit regardless of the result. However, it requires careful research and timing to find opportunities for arbitrage.
A type of handicap betting that gives one team a head start, often expressed in fractions, to level the playing field.
An accumulator bet, also known as an “Acca” and “Parlay”, is a single bet that combines multiple selections into one. All selections must win for the bet to be successful, but the potential payout is higher than placing individual bets.
A type of odds format that is commonly used in the United States, with the odds displayed in either positive or negative numbers. Positive numbers indicate how much profit a $100 bet would yield, while negative numbers indicate how much needs to be bet in order to win $100.
A promotion offered by some bookmakers that offers customers their money back, or a free bet, if one selection in their accumulator bet lets them down.
A banker refers to a selection that is considered to have a high probability of winning. It is a term commonly used in accumulators or multiple bets, where the bettor selects several outcomes and requires all of them to win in order to receive a payout.
Betting in Running
A type of live betting where bets can be placed during the event or competition.
A type of headgear worn by horses during races to restrict their vision and keep them focused.
To “back” a selection means to place a bet on it to win. For example, if you back Arsenal to winning the Premier League, you are betting on them to come out on top.
A betting exchange is a platform where punters can bet against each other rather than against a bookmaker. Punters can back or lay selections, which means they can either bet on an outcome to win or bet against it to lose. The exchange takes a commission on the winnings of the winning bets.
The odds or point spread offered by a bookmaker on a particular event or selection.
A physical or digital document that lists the selections, stake, and potential payout of a bet.
The range of potential outcomes and selections that bookmakers offer odds on.
A bookmaker is a person or company that offers odds and takes bets on sporting events. Bookmakers make a profit by offering odds that are slightly worse than the true probability of an outcome, ensuring that they make money in the long run.
A short for “bookmaker”
A bankroll is the amount of money that a bettor has set aside for sports betting.
A horse racing term for a race with a prize purse of £100,000.
The five most prestigious horse races in the UK: the 1,000 Guineas, the 2,000 Guineas, the Oaks, the Derby, and the St. Leger.
Chalk refers to the favourite team or player in a game or tournament.
A feature offered by many betting sites that allows you to settle a bet before the event has finished, often at reduced odds, to guarantee a profit or reduce potential losses.
A type of bet where two selections are combined and both must win for the punter to receive a payout.
A situation where two or more selections finish a race or event in a tie.
A type of odds format used in Europe, where the odds are displayed as a decimal number representing the payout per unit bet.
A type of bet where the punter predicts that an event or competition will end in a tie.
Draw No Bet
A type of bet where you back a team to win, with the stake refunded if the match ends in a draw.
A type of bet that consists of two bets: a win bet and a place bet. The win bet is on the selection to win the event, and the place bet is on the selection to finish in a certain position, usually first, second or third, depending on the number of runners. Each-way bets are commonly used in horse racing, where there are many runners and the odds of a win are lower.
A bet where the odds are 1/1, meaning the punter will double their money if they win.
The selection with the lowest odds and therefore seen as the most likely to win.
A bet where the punter predicts the first and second finishers in a race in the correct order.
A type of odds format used in the UK, where the odds are displayed as a fraction representing the payout relative to the stake.
Futures bets are long-term bets, where you wager on the outcome of a season or tournament.
A type of promotion offered by bookmakers where a bettor can place a bet without risking their own money, with the bookmaker covering the stake.
A male horse that has been castrated.
The condition of the ground or surface in horse racing or other outdoor events, such as soft or firm.
A type of multiple bet consisting of 247 individual bets on eight selections.
A horse racing term for a race with a prize purse of £1,000.
A type of multiple bet consisting of 57 individual bets on six selections.
A handicap bet is when one team is given a virtual advantage or disadvantage to even out the playing field. For example, if one team is heavily favoured to win, they may be given a -1 handicap, meaning they must win by two goals for the bet to be successful.
The handle refers to the total amount of money wagered on a particular game or event.
A type of bet where you can place wagers on the outcome of a game at half-time, including the winner or loser, total score, or any other outcomes offered by the bookmaker.
In-play betting is betting on an event while it is in progress. It is a popular form of betting because it allows punters to react to changes in the game and adjust their bets accordingly. In-play betting is available on most sports, including football, tennis, and cricket.
A type of multiple bet where the punter must correctly predict the winners of several races or events to win a large payout.
Two or more selections with the lowest odds, and therefore seen as equally likely to win.
Slang term for the ‘favorite’, or the selection with the lowest odds to win.
A selection with high odds and therefore seen as unlikely to win.
A type of bet that consists of 15 bets: 4 singles, 6 doubles, 4 trebles and a fourfold accumulator. The bet covers all possible combinations of four selections. One selection must win for the punter to receive a payout.
A lay bet is when you bet against a selection winning. This is a popular option for experienced bettors who believe a selection is overpriced or unlikely to win.
Also known as “In-Play”, a type of betting that allows you to place wagers on an event while it is in progress, with odds and markets updated in real-time.
A horse that has never won a race.
A slang term for £500.
This is the simplest type of sports bet, where you wager on which team will win the game.
The difference between the odds offered by a bookmaker and the true probability of an event occurring, with a smaller margin indicating that the bookmaker is offering more favorable odds.
Money Back Special
A promotional offer by bookmakers where they refund your bet if a specific event occurs, such as a goalless draw in a football match or a horse falling in a race.
A selection that is seen as an absolute certainty to win.
The selection that is seen as the bettor’s best bet of the day.
A type of bet that is not related to the final outcome of a game or event, but rather specific occurrences within the game or event, such as the color of a player’s shoes or the length of the national anthem.
Odds represent the probability of an event occurring. They’re expressed in different formats, including decimal, fractional, and American. The higher the odds, the less likely the selection is to win, but the higher the potential payout.
Over/under betting is a type of betting where the punter bets on whether the total number of points, goals or sets scored in a game will be over or under a certain number. For example, if the over/under for a football match is set at 2.5, the punter can bet on whether there will be more or fewer than 2.5 goals in the game.
A type of bet where you predict the winner of a tournament or competition, rather than the outcome of individual matches or games.
A type of multiple bet consisting of seven individual bets on three selections: three singles, three doubles, and a treble. At least one selection must win for the bet to be successful.
A term used to describe the selections chosen by a punter for a particular bet.
A person who places bets on an event or competition.
Price is another term for odds. It represents the payout that the punter will receive if the selection wins.
Point Spread Bets
In point spread bets, you bet on whether a team will win by a specific margin or not.
Prop bets are bets on specific events that may or may not occur during a game or tournament.
A push occurs when the result of a bet is a tie, and the bettor receives their original wager back.
A type of bet where neither team is given a point spread or handicap, and the bettor simply picks the winner of the game.
A promotion offered by bookmakers that increases the odds for a particular outcome, usually for a limited time or on specific events.
A qualifying bet is a bet that a customer places in order to qualify for a bonus or promotion offered by a bookmaker. Typically, the bookmaker will require the customer to place a certain amount or type of bet in order to be eligible for the bonus or promotion.
The amount of money paid out to a punter when their bet wins, including their original stake.
Rule 4 is a deduction made from your winnings if a horse is withdrawn from a race after you have placed your bet. The amount deducted depends on the odds of the withdrawn horse, with higher odds resulting in a larger deduction.
A type of bet in baseball that involves a point spread, where one team is given a handicap and the other is the favorite to win.
A requirement imposed by some bookmakers or promotions, where you have to place a certain amount of bets or wager a certain amount of money before you can withdraw any winnings.
A type of bet where the punter predicts the correct score of a match as well as the first scorer.
Spread betting is a type of betting where the punter bets on whether the outcome of a game will be above or below a spread. The spread is a range of outcomes that the bookmaker sets based on their prediction of the game.
The punter can bet on whether the actual outcome will be above or below the spread. For example, if a team has a spread of -3, they are expected to win by three points or more, and a bettor can place a bet on whether they will win by four or more points (covering the spread) or two or fewer points (failing to cover the spread).
Starting Price (SP)
The starting price is the final odds offered by bookmakers at the start of a race or event. This is the price that all bets are settled at unless a price is taken at the time of placing the bet.
Stake refers to the amount of money that a bettor places on a particular outcome. The stake is multiplied by the odds to determine the potential payout if the bet is successful. For example, if a bettor places a £10 stake on an outcome with odds of 2/1, the potential payout would be £30 (£10 x 2 = £20, plus the original £10 stake).
A place or platform where you can place bets on sporting events.
Similar to a double, but with three selections that must all win for the bettor to win.
A type of pool betting where the stakes are pooled together and then divided among the winners, with the operator taking a commission.
A type of bet where the punter predicts the first, second, and third finishers in a race in the correct order.
A Trixie is a type of bet that consists of four bets: three doubles and a treble. The bet covers all possible combinations of three selections. At least 2 selections must win for the bet to be successful.
A type of bet that allows you to adjust the point spread or total of a game in your favor for a lower payout.
A type of bet where you predict the total number of points, goals, or runs that will be scored in a game.
A type of bet where you predict the player who will score the most goals in a season or tournament.
A person who provides sports betting advice or predictions to others.
The underdog is the team or player that’s not expected to win the game or tournament.
A bet that is cancelled or declared invalid for some reason, such as a postponement or cancellation of the event.
Value is a term used to describe when the odds offered by the bookmaker are higher than the punter’s estimation of the true probability of the selection winning. A value bet is one where the punter believes the selection has a higher chance of winning than the bookmaker’s odds suggest.
Vigorish (or vig)
Also known as “juice”. It Is the commission or fee that a bookmaker charges on a bet.
Computer-generated simulations of sporting events that you can bet on.
A loyalty program offered by some bookmakers to reward high-stakes or frequent bettors with perks and bonuses.
The statistical measure of the degree of deviation from the expected outcome. In betting, it refers to the amount of fluctuation in results over a period of time.
The amount of money that is bet on a particular event or market.
Win Both Halves
Win both halves is a type of bet that requires the punter to predict that one team will win both the first and second halves of a game. This type of bet is usually offered for football matches.
A bet or the act of placing a bet.
The process of taking money out of your betting account.
A betting offer that is given to new customers who sign up for a betting site.
A type of victory in which a participant wins a competition because their opponent fails to show up or complete the event.
A type of bet where you predict the margin by which a team or player will win.
A type of bet where you predict the outcome of a match as either a win for one team, a draw, or a win for the other team.
A type of bet where you predict the player who will score the first goal or points in a match and the team that will win the game.
A type of bet that consists of 11 bets: 6 doubles, 4 trebles and a fourfold accumulator. The bet covers all possible combinations of four selections. At least 2 selections must win for the bet to be successful.
We hope that this guide has helped you understand sports betting terms better. Being familiar with the terminology will not only help you understand how betting works, but it can also increase your chances of making informed decisions and placing successful bets.
About the author:
With my journalism and editing background, I am able to research and provide readers with accurate and up-to-date information about online sports betting in the UK.