Glossary of Betting Terms
A number of selections combined that must win for the bet to be successful, involving four options or more and therefore distinct from a double or treble. The odds accumulate as each bet wins and the final return is based on multiplying the odds for each selection to win. If one team or player does not win the accumulator is a losing bet. This type of bet is attractive to small staking punters because they can win a substantial amount for a reasonably small outlay.
An outcome by which the favourites in a match do not win by more than the handicap. When two teams in a sporting fixture are unevenly matched bookmakers give the outsiders a head start to attract two way money on each result to balance the book. This is in effect a handicap against the favourites or for the underdogs and if the best team win the contest by less than the handicap the fixture is said to have gone against the spread.
A market for an event that takes place some time in the future. The term is derived from the post that marks the starting line in horse racing but is now applied to all sports. Ante post odds are usually attractive but the bet is loser if the selection does not take part. This type of market is subject to fluctuation as circumstances change and weight of money causes price changes. Ante post betting is popular for major horse races and football tournaments.
Maximising the returns from an imbalance in odds for a betting market by placing simultaneous counter bets to take advantage of the discrepancy. Arbing is a situation when it is feasible to back one outcome at high odds and take a bet (laying) at relatively low odds. Bets must be placed at about the same time in the conflicting markets as the arbitrage opportunity will soon disappear due to price movements caused by weight of money.
A type of handicap bet mainly associated with soccer that first came to prominence in Asia. The main advantage of an Asian Handicap is that the way the odds are expressed eliminates the possibility of a tie and void bet. However, a level handicap is the equivalent of the draw no bet option in match betting. Usually the bet applies a handicap to the favourite which equates to a lead for the underdog. There are only two options in Asian handicap bets which are to back the favourite or back the underdog. Full stake bets are allowed but also half stake bets which means half the stake is lost.
A bet where a gambler puts money on something happening as opposed to something not happening. The return from a back bet is determined by the simple relationship between the stake and the odds. A back bet of £10 at odds of 2/1 returns £30 (£10 x 2 + £10). The stake is always returned after a successful back bet. A bettor who places a back bet is known as a backer and a bettor who accepts a bet is known as a layer. Bookmakers on British racecourses will only accept back bets and the traditional bookmaker model is to take bets when a customer wants to back a team or horse.
The betting funds for a particular betting strategy or the amount an individual can afford to bet. The bankroll increases or decreases after a winning or losing run. It is the amount a bettor can afford to invest in betting and can be split by sport or market. In some cases another person may finance somebodies betting by funding the bankroll but will expect a return on this investment after winning bets.
A selection in a multiple, accumulator or system bet that is seen as unbeatable. In horse racing this might be a short priced favourite or in football a team that has a massive edge in ability in an uneven contest on a coupon. Bankers are not certainties so bookmakers are quite happy to accept accumulator bets including bankers. Bettors see bankers as risk free but nothing is certain in sport and bankers can lose.
A form of bookmaker that allows customers to back and lay selections, betting on something to happen and something not to happen. An exchange brings together backers and layers who have a different opinion on an event. Bets can be matched when both parties accept the price, partly matched when some of the bet is taken and unmatched when opposing punters do not find common ground. Odds in an exchange market are constantly fluctuating in response to supply and demand at a known price.
An offer from a bookmaker that gives something to their customers above and beyond the odds for something to happen. Bonuses generally come in the form of free bets and are offered to new customers though some bonuses apply to existing customers. A bonus can be defined as a deposit bonus or no deposit bonus and generally the distinction is between new and existing customers. Bonuses are one of the strategies for attracting new accounts in a competitive and fickle market.
A code that is entered when opening a new account or using an existing account to take advantage of a bonus. The bonus code informs the bookmaker the details of a new or existing account and the bonus for which they are entitled. Bonus codes are optional but must be specified in order to receive a bonus. They are also used to prevent one customer receiving a bonus more than once.
An individual or organisation that accepts bets from customers. Bookmakers can operate from racecourses, betting offices on the High Street, through telephone debit and credit accounts and online. A bookmaker makes money by writing a profit margin into the odds for something to happen. The objective is to balance the book and win regardless of the outcome. This is a hypothetical scenario as weight of money on one outcome can make for a losing book but the mathematics are in favour of the bookmaker who should win over time.
In betting on discipline in a football match 10 points are assigned to a yellow card and 25 points are assigned to a red card. At the end of the match these two figures are totalled to arrive at the booking points. If there are three yellow cards in a match and one red card the total booking points is 55 (3 x 10 plus 1 x 25). Bettors can gamble on the total being above or below the quote and is most common in spread betting. They look at statistics for the teams and referee in deciding whether to back above or below the quote or spread. Bookings points can be traded in-running.
A points spread or handicap that gives a head start to the underdog. It generally applies to betting on ice hockey which is the national sport of Canada. Other spreads move with the money but a Canadian line will always apply a handicap of 1.5 goals. That means the odds change rather than the spread in order to attract a balancing amount of money on either side of the market. Bettors can back the favourite to win by more than two goals or the outsider to lose by no more than one goal but the line is always plus or minus 1.5.
Another term for the favourite which is the shortest priced outcome in an event. Consequently a chalk player is a bettor who always bets on the favourite and is also known as a favourite backer. Some gamblers will indiscriminately back the favourite in a market regardless of the price and the relative claims of other selections. In UK horse racing the ‘chalk’ only wins about 30% of all races so this is a flawed policy.
Generally a football term when a team does not concede any goals. Scores are entered on sheets so if one team wins to nil or the match ends in a goalless draw they have managed to keep a clean sheet. Goalkeepers and defences strive to achieve this objective as it means they have restricted the opposition to genuine scoring opportunities or the goalkeeper has made some saves.
A football bet mainly in which bettors try to predict the score at the end of a match. Correct score betting is popular as the odds are attractive and punters can get good returns from a small outlay. However, bookmakers like this type of bet as so many variables apply and a significant range of outcomes is possible. Teams with a big lead may drop a level and concede a late goal which can spoil many correct score bets. Bookmakers also offer correct score betting on the first half of a match.
An outcome of a contest in which it is not possible to determine the outcome. When two horses cannot be split at the end of the race the result is declared as a dead heat. When the judge cannot decide who has won a race he will call for a photo and this is known as a Photo Finish. Horses can be seen on the line and a result announced even if the distance is one pixel. Customers who bet on a horse in a dead heat get half their stake placed at the applicable odds. The bookmakers keep the other half as they have to pay out on two winners when a dead heat is declared.
The underdog or outsider in a two option event. In most head-to-head betting markets in which there are only two outcomes one player or team will have an advantage and be the favourite. The dog is the least fancied contender and stands on the other side of the market to the favourite. In points betting the dog gets a start of the favourite to attract two way money and balance the book.
A football bet that combines two of the three options in match betting. The 1X2 or Home-Draw-Away markets are other terms for match betting. The double chance is named as the bet provides two chances of winning and the combinations are 1X,2X and XX. The odds are derived from each individual market and as the bet covers two possible outcomes the odds are small.
A football bet that is void if the match ends in a draw. In the case of tied scores stakes from this type of bet are returned. It incorporates the insurance of a definite result not being achieved by either side. The odds are smaller than for the 1X2 as the draw is eliminated and there are only two possible winning outcomes, a win for the home team or a win for the away team.
A horse racing bet that covers a horse to win a race or be placed which can mean anything from second to fourth place. The type of race and number of runners determines the number of horses in the each way places. Odds are from one quarter to one sixth of the win odds depending on the runners and nature of the race. Each way betting is popular on outsiders because even with the divided odds the bet can produce good returns for small stakes. Football tournaments are suited to each way betting. The place odds will be one half the odds for the first two places which covers a team winning the tournament and losing in the final.
An advantage held by the bettor or bookmaker in a betting market. Odds have an edge written in to the prices in the form of betting margins. This means over time the bookmaker hypothetically will win. Customers are always looking for an edge when they feel the odds are wrong. An edge can be based on some information that the odds makers are not privy to so the gambler has an advantage.
A handicap bet that covers three potential outcomes in a football match. The final score is adjusted with the handicap to give the result for handicap betting. The favourite wins the bet if they win the match by more than the number of goals in the handicap. The underdog wins the bet if the score differential is less than the handicap. The draw or X option occurs when a team wins by the number of goals equal to the assigned handicap.
Odds in a market when an option has a perceived even chance of winning and losing. Successful bettors will double their money from a bet on an even money chance. A stake of £10 at even money will return £20 which equates to £10 in winnings and the stake returned. In a market that evenly matches the two possible outcomes the odds will be slightly less than even money to allow for the bookmaker’s margin.
A bet mainly in football matches but some other sports such as rugby and America Football on the first player to score. Variations on this market are first player to score for a particular team and first player to score in the second half. In-running matches provide the option of backing the next scorer once the first goal has been scored. Bettors can back no player to score in these markets which roughly equates to a 0-0 draw. However, own goals do not count. There are so many variables involved with the first player to score that bookmakers like this type of bet and offer what on the surface look like good odds but include a healthy profit margin.
This is a type of betting market in which odds are fixed and not subject to fluctuation. Typically a physical coupon available in UK betting offices for football matches has fixed odds because the coupons are printed several days before the fixtures. The odds are known when bets are placed which are settled on those odds and thus said to be fixed. Bookmakers issue prices so that the mathematics will always be in their favour and fixed odds reflect the perceived probability of something happening.
A term mainly associated with American sports markets that is the equivalent of an ante post bet in Europe. Odds are published before the start of the regular seasons for NFL, ice hockey, basketball and baseball. The aim of the bet is to predict how teams will fare in their leagues in the future. Futures markets are updated after each series of matches and reflect the weight of outright money in a league or conference over the four sports.
A UK based organisation set up to deal with problem gambling and addiction. As part of their commitment to responsible gambling UK bookmakers in shops and online promote the services of GamCare. Staff are dedicated professionals who try to help problem gamblers and their close associates. There is also an education team that raises awareness of potential problems and tries to prevent them.
A baseball market based on the number of runs scored in all matches on any one day. If customers think there will be more runs than the line they bet over. If customers think there will be less runs than the line they bet under. The line is expressed in half runs to eliminate the tie and the return of stakes. The bet can be difficult to win especially when there is a full schedule of up to 15 matches but easier when there are fewer fixtures.
A football double bet that involves predicting the result of a football match at half time and full time. Bettors must get both elements correct for this to be a winning bet. There are three potential outcomes at the end of each half which equates to nine permutations over the full course of the bet. The favourite to win the match will generally be the favourite to be leading at half time. The lead changes by the end of each half if the losing team at the interval wins the match.
A method by which a winning bet is guaranteed by taking out insurance on something not to happen. Hedging is most common when most of the selections in a multiple bet have won and the bettor bets on all the outcomes in the remaining matches. The potential winnings fall when a bet is hedged but some profit is guaranteed due to results going the way of the bettor for the early selections. Hedging bets means betting the other side in a market to ensure a profit or minimises losses.
A term mainly associated with betting on US sports that is the profit margin for the bookmaker in the odds. It can also be applied to a betting market when a punter believes the odds are too high for a selection. The bookmaker juice equates to the commission for laying bets and is also known as the vig or vigorish. It is the cost that must be paid for having the facility to place bets.
The term for accepting bets when gambling with an exchange bookmaker. The exchange model is based on peer-to-peer betting which brings together opposing customers who want to back and lay an outcome. Bookmakers are known as layers as they take bets. Exchanges allow regular punters to assume the role of the bookmaker by laying bets. Bets that are layed off reduce the liabilities of bets that bookmakers have taken. Sportsbooks lay off bets with other bookmakers to reduce liabilities on a particular outcome.
A term generally associated with betting on US Sports which is the number bettors can bet high or low on. The line is generally expressed in half numbers to eliminate the tie and void bets. In American sports the odds don’t change but the line is moved to reflect the action. The Vegas line is the first on the market and is the basis for betting business in the days leading up to fixtures.
A bet that cannot lose in the opinion of the bettor and similar to a banker. The term is mainly associated with American sports betting and is linked to the phrase locked in profits. Bankers can lose as can lock selections and this often happens at short odds so bookmakers are comfortable with lock selections. Nothing is guaranteed in sport and betting so even the shortest priced lock selections have been beaten in the past as there is no such thing as a certainty.
A bet covering the three possible outcomes usually in a football match but also for other sports in which two teams can win a fixture and it can end in a draw. This bet is also known as the 1X2, Win-Draw–Win or Home-Draw-Away. It is the most popular and simple wager in football betting as it involves predicting the result of a match. Match bets are often combined in multiple and system bets and the odds accumulate but more than one team must win for the bet to be successful. The most common outcome in a match bet is a home win.
A bet associated with US sports that is the equivalent of the match bet in European betting. The wager involves predicting the outcome of a fixture without a handicap as the points spread is replaced by odds. The most common outcome of a money line bet is a win for the favourite. The term is derived from the money that can be won from the line for each team to win a match. In American sports overtime counts and US punters don’t like the concept of betting on a draw so the money line is often expressed as a two way and not a three way.
This is a term usually associated with horse racing and is used to describes a situation whereby a horse does not run when declared for a race. A horse is also described as being as a non-runner when it is not able to start a race because of injury or after being withdrawn due to changes in the conditions of the track. It is also used in other sports when a player that was in a starting list does not appear in a fixture. The term is used more often in American sports betting when a player suffers an injury near the time of a fixture and is not able to play.
The numbers used to express the probability of an event happening in the opinion of a bookmaker and the price at which bettors place a bet on an outcome of an event. The return from a winning bet is calculated my multiplying the odds by the stake. Outcomes can be expressed as odds-on when the event is more likely to take place than not or odds against when the event is less likely to take place than not.
Odds are expressed differently in different parts of the world but the basic principle applies in that they are an expression of the likelihood of something occurring. Bettors assess the odds and compare odds and decide if the bet is worthy placing. Bookmakers compete with the odds for a market which include a hypothetical profit margin. This means in theory the bookmaker will always win but in practice this is not always the case.
A bet in which customers are trying to predict whether the number of occurrences in a sporting fixture is odd or even. All sports have a scoring system whereby the status of an event is expressed in numbers which can be odd or even. This is in effect a roulette bet like on black or red as there is no form and logic to the eventual outcome. In some cases there could be no scoring and the final total is zero which counts as even for the purpose of this bet.
A bet on whether the totals will be higher or lower than the spread. This bet can be applied to all sports with a scoring system and is often expressed as a two-way market. In football wagers can be placed on the number of goals being greater or less than the opening prediction set by the bookmakers. Totals are generally set in half numbers to eliminate the tie and prevent void bets.
The equivalent in US sports betting to the accumulator or multiple in UK betting. The bet involves the outcome of more than one fixture and odds are accumulated. Each selection must win for a parlay to be successful. Bookmakers prefer parlay bets to single money line bets as they have more chances for the bet to be unsuccessful. The attraction to the bettor is the odds that can accumulate to provide a decent potential return for a small outlay but most parlays are losing bets.
American sports are divided into periods and bookmakers provide a full range of odd for each period in a match. This type of bet is most commonly associated with ice hockey which is played over three periods of 20 minutes. American Football and basketball are played over four quarters but the equivalent markets are available for these divisions of a full match. Period betting is not possible on baseball as this sport is played over innings that are not time specific.
The difference in scores by two teams as predicted by the bookmaker. This equates to the handicap and reflects the difference in ability and probability of winning a match as expressed by the money line odds. There is a direct relationship between the money line and points spread. The spread is often expressed in half points to prevent a tie and bettors can wager that the score differential will be higher or lower than the spread.
A type of betting in which the returns are not based on the odds but the share of winning bets placed on an outcome of a sporting event. Stakes are pooled and divided amongst the winners after an adjustment for the operator’s profit which is guaranteed. The pool betting bookmaker will win regardless of the outcome and takes the risk out of offering odds and laying bets. Pool betting is often run by the state and provides valuable tax revenue.
The person that places a bet with the bookmaker and also known as a gambler or bettor. A punter instigates wagers with bookmakers having assessed the odds in a market. In making a transaction a punter is said to have taken a punt on the outcome of something not known and not predictable. He punts some money in the hope of receiving a return which is determined by the odds and stake. A punter is different to an investor who assesses the potential returns and looks for an edge before making an investment.
Betting on the result of a sporting fixture. In any sport there is a loser and winner and some matches are drawn. The most basic bet is betting on the outcome of a fixture in terms of the final score and result. In football this bet equates to the 1X2 or Home-Draw-Away result. Some sports like tennis and snooker can only have two results so punters bet on which player wins a match in result betting.
A football bet which combines the first player to score in a match and the correct score. The bet applies for 90 minutes only and does not include extra-time. The scorecast odds are not calculated by accumulating the odds in both markets due to related contingencies. If a player scores the first goal his team are more likely to win the match so odds are adjusted to take into account this situation.
A shortened term for points spread which equates to the difference in odds between the favourite and underdog. A spread is applied to a fixture when the teams are not evenly matched to attract equal money on both sides of the market. In spread betting the spread is gap between the upper and lower quote for the likelihood of something taking place. Bettors can go high by buying the spread or go low by selling the spread. The more they are right the more they will win and the more they are wrong the more they will lose. The spread is the mean point of a potential number of things happening and is fixed by spread betting compilers but subject to fluctuation based on weight of money.
The amount wagered in a bet. Bookmakers have minimum and maximum stakes depending on the sport and the importance of a league within a sport. Obscure fixtures will have low maximum stakes and winnings. The return from any bet is determined by multiplying the stake by the odds and the stake is always returned if a bet wins. Bookmakers keep the stake in the case of a losing bet. Staking strategies can be based on level stakes when the stake unit is constant or adjusted stakes when the stake unit changes in keeping with a losing or winning run.
A type of gambler associated with betting on US sports. A square is seen as a bettor who follows the wise guys who bet early in a market when they see an edge. Wise guys are monitored by betting companies because they will highlight mistakes with odds if they have more or better information. A square will bet in response to price shifts due to wise guy betting activity. There are many more squares than wise guys and in theory one wise guy sets trends and all the followers are squares. A square is generally a casual or unsophisticated bettor with no reasoning or strategy in betting.
A momentum of bets in one direction or one option in a betting market. Punters ‘steam’ in and cause a line or odds to move unusually fast. Other punters notice the rapid shift in odds and place the same bets to increase the momentum of the steam which feeds upon itself. A steam can be caused by a syndicate placing the same bet simultaneously or when a tipster makes a recommendation. It can also caused by a market reaction to weather or injury news.
When a match is drawn and there is no declared winner for betting purposes. In some sports and markets it is possible to bet on a tie such as the match result in football which has three possible outcomes. A football fixture can be won by the home team, won by the away team or end in a tie. Some betting markets eliminate the potential for a tie by quoting odds in half numbers, such as handicaps and totals. In other cases a tie can result in dead heat rules applying when stakes are split over the two outcomes.
Most commonly a horse racing bet that includes three selections but also popular with other sports such as tennis and football. A trixie bet can be placed win or each way and is a system bet including three selections. A trixie is made up of three doubles and a treble so four bets in total for a win trixie and eight in total for an each-way trixie. One loser in the bet eliminates the treble and two doubles leaving just one double and this is one reason bookmakers like trixies.
The outsider in a two way betting market also known as the dog. In match betting teams are rarely so evenly matched that the odds of both winning are identical. There will generally be a favourite and an underdog. The favourite is a shorter price than the underdog in two way match betting. When betting on the spread the underdog will receive a start over the favourite. The underdog is the team that is expected to lose a match in money line or straight outright result betting.
A betting concept in which the bookmaker’s odds are perceived to be wrong which allows customers to find an edge. Bettors assess the odds of something to happen based on the available information. If better odds are available they will place a bet and if only worse odds are available they will not bet. A value bet is one in which there is a disagreement between the odds compilers and bettors who see some value in the odds on offer and wager accordingly.
The profit margin written into bookmaker’s prices or the value in a betting market perceived by the bettor. If something that is seen as a 10/1 chance can be backed at 12/1 there is plenty of vig in this betting proposition. The vigorish is also called the juice because it equates to the juice that can be extracted from fruit.
A bet when the stake is returned due to special circumstances which means the bet cannot be a winner or loser. Void bets are common in handicap markets when the totals or spread are expressed in full numbers. Bookmakers state that if they make a mistake with odds they can void a bet. Stakes are refunded even if the wrong team or player is backed. Unexpected events that mean a fixture cannot be completed result in void bets. Winning bets can be turned into void bets in some circumstances.
Two types of bet that can be placed on a betting market generally for horse racing but also other sports. Backing a horse to win a race means the bet is only a winner if the horse wins. Backing a horse to win or be placed means the bet is a winner if the horse wins a race or is placed. Place terms vary according the number of runners and type of race. Place betting is common on outsiders as the odds can still be generous after being divided in keeping with the place terms. A win bet is one bet and a win/place bet is two bets so double the win stake is required for a win/place bet.
A sophisticated bettor who sets the market because he has better information than the bookmaker. A wise guy will bet early and take advantage of a perceived edge. Bookmakers monitor customers and can identify the wise guys and follow them when adjusting their odds. A square bettor will follow a wise guy and use the change in odds to make betting decisions. A wise guy is generally a professional gambler and also known as a sharp.