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Betting Glossary – Some of the Most Common Betting Terms Explained

If you are new to sports betting, a glossary of betting terms will be very helpful in familiarising yourself with betting terminology. This betting dictionary will give you a greater insight into betting rules and the betting terms that you are likely to encounter when you place your first wager.
Although the betting terminology will vary depending on your choice of preferred sport, there are still many common terms which you will come up against again and again. This betting dictionary covers some of the terms involved in a range of sporting bets and to make sure you have a clear understanding, here are some of the most popular betting terms explained.

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This is a cumulative bet in which a bettor makes a selection in a number of events or races and bets on the first one; should he win, his winnings become his wager on the next event and so on.

Across the Board:

Particularly in US horse race, across the board is when equal stakes are bet on each outcome of the win, place and show pools.


A bet is deemed to be Action if it is valid. The rules differ as to whether or not a bet is no action or action from sport to sport.


A slang term in the UK for betting tax.

Also Ran:

A competitor which fails to finish in first to fourth position in their event.


An ante-post price is offered on a sports event prior to the day itself. Punters risk the loss of their stake in the event that their selection pulls out in return for better odds.

Any To Come(ATC):

When all of part of returns from a wager are reinvested automatically on another bet.


A variation in the available odds allows a bettor to place a wager backing both sides to guarantee a win.



A “sure bet”, a vitually guaranteed winner. In permutation betting, a banker is a selection that has to win in order to guarantee any returns.


Competitors who have not been quoted with a price during the early betting shows. A bar price is the lowest odds for unquoted selections.

Beard (US):

An acquaintance or friend who will place a bet on behalf of a bettor who wishes to remain anonymous.


A slang term in the UK for betting tax.

Bettor (US):

A person who has placed a wager. Also called a Punter in the UK.

Betting Tax:

The tax paid on a bookie’s turnover. In the UK, this is a Customs and Excise duty charged at the rate of 6.75p per wagered pound. Commonly, this tax is recouped from returns or the bettor will pay tax on top of his stake in which case there will be no tax deduction from winnings.

Blind Bet:

This is when a racetrack bookie places a bet to draw the attention of other bookmakers away from his large bet on a different horse, thus avoiding shortening of odds on the other horse.


The total amounts of bets a bookmaker has received on each competitor and the odds that are required to guarantee he makes a profit.


A company or individual who takes bets from the public on a sports event. Also referred to as a bookie.


Slang in the UK for odds of 2 to 1.

Breakage (US):

The difference between true pari-mutuel odds and the lower, rounded sums given to bettors who have won.

Bridge-Jumper (US):

A punter whose specialism is big show bets on the odds on favourite.

Buck (US):

Also called a Dollar Bet, a Buck is a bet of $100

Burlington Bertie:

Also called Scruffy and Dirty, this refers to odds of 100 to 30

Buy Price:

The higher figure that is quoted by an index bookmaker in spread betting.

Buy the Rack (US):

To buy every single daily double or combo ticket.


C of E:

Slang in the UK for Customs and Excise.


A bet that consists of 10 doubles and 10 trebles together with 5 four folds and 1 five fold with five selections across different events. This is also sometimes called a Super Yankee.


Slang in the UK odds of 3 to 1

Carpet Joint:

Slang in the US for a luxury gambling casino.


Also called a ton, a bet of £100 GBP .

Chalk (US):

The betting favourite.

Chalk Player (US):

A punter who bets on favourites.

Circled Game (US):

This is when a bookies places a limit on the amount of action he is prepared to take on a game, usually caused by doubts about one or more key players.

Client (US):

Someone who buys betting information from a tipster or horseman.

Clocker (US):

Someone who times workouts, primarily for betting information.

Close (US):

The final odds given on a horse conversely referred to as the Starting Price in the UK.


If 3 or more competitors share favourite status .

Combination (US):

An across the board bet in which a single pari-mutuel ticket has been issued.

Consolation Double (US):

If a horse is scractched from its second race after the daily double betting has begun, money is put to one side to pay anyone who has purchased tickets pairing that horse with the winner of the first race.


During sports betting, this means to beat the spread by the necessary number of points.


Daily Double (US):

A type of pari-mutuel betting during which the punter places a combination bet on 2 horses in 2 races. Should he win on the first race, his winnings become the stake on the second race.

Dead Heat:

If 2 of more competitors finish in a tie. In non-pari-mutuel betting in a dead heat full odds are paid at half the stake.

Dime (US):

Also called a Dime bet this is a bet of $1,000.

Dog (US):

The most unlikely winner in any betting proposition.

Dog Player (US):

A punter who primarily bets on the unlikely winner.


A wager which consists of 2 selections. Both must win for the wager to be successful.

Double Stakes About (or DSA):

Similar to Single Stakes About, but returns from the first winning choice are invested at twice the value of the original stake on the second choice.

Double Carpet:

Slang in the UK for odds of 33 to 1.


The basis of some popular systems. Following a loss, a punter doubles the size of his last bet in the hope of winning back his losses and making a profit. Sometimes called the Martingale system.


If the odds on a competitor have lengthened they are said to be “on the drift”.

Dual Forecast:

A tote bet which operates in races of three or more competitors during which the bettor has to choose the first 2 to finish in any order.

Dutch (US):

After the elimination of heavily wagered non-contenders, others are bet in the exact proportions required to make some profit regardless of who wins.



A bet which involves 2 wagers. The 1st is for the chosen selection to win and the 2nd is for the chosen selection to place, and the price will be proportional price dependant place terms.


Also known as levels or scotch, this refers of odds of 1 to 1.

Exacta (US):

A type of betting where a bettor tries to pick the winning and second horse, by buying a mutuel ticket on a double choice.

Exotic Wager (US):

Any bet which isn’t a straight bet, for example a parlay, teaser or round robin.


Favourite (fav):

Also known as a jolly or sponk, the favourite is the competitor who is considered to be most likely to win and is therefore given the lowest odds.


A fold indicates how many selections there are in an accumulator bet e.g. 4 fold is 4 selections.


To be in with a chance of winning.


A bet which consists of 23 bets on four selections in different events.

Flash (US):

A change of the odds information on a tote board.


A bet which involves the correct prediction of the first and second in a particular event.


Past performance is used to give an idea of the competitor’s chances of winning.

Form Player:

A punter who choose their selections based on past performance.

French Odds:

An expression of odds as 100 to 6, 100 to 4 and so on. This dates back to a time when the French used a metric money system while the United Kingdom still used the Imperial system.

Full Cover:

All doubles, trebles and accumulators that are involved in a certain number of selections.

Futures (US):

The odds that are offered on the winners of a sporting event before the event itself.



A multiple which consists of 247 bets (28 being doubles, 56 being trebles, 70 four folds, 56 five folds, 28 six folds, 8 seven folds and 1 eight fold) which involves eight selections in different events.


Also called a Big Un, a bet of £1,000



A system used by bookies to improve the appeal of a one side event. Teams are given a certain number of points start according to their calibre.

Handle (US):

The total sum which has been wagered on a race, during a day, or in a set period.

Hang Cheng:

A type of betting on soccer which is popular throughout Asia where the returns on a team winning or drawing are determined by part-goal handicaps.


A cautious bookie may place a bet on a competitor on whom he has already accepted large wagers – this will cut his losses if that competitor wins.


A bet which consists of 57 bets (15 being doubles, 20 being trebles, 15 four folds, 6 five folds and 1six fold) involving six horses acros different races.


A place where gambling takes place. Also used to refer to the people or company who are operating a gambling game.


In the Money:

This is a term to describe the horses that finish first, second and third (occasionally fourth) in a race, or the horses on which a payout wll be given to bettors depending on the terms.


Joint Favourites (jt-fav):

If bookmakers are unable to separate two teams for favouritism, they may make them joint favourites.


The favourite.

Juice (US):

A commission that is paid to the bookie.



Slang in the UK for a cheque.



A bookie or someone who lays odds.


In this UK this is short for “Licensed Betting Office”.

Long Odds:

Odds that are offered on a competitor who is very unlikely to be successful.


Points spreads, handicaps and odds that are offered to the bettor.


Someone who sets the betting lines.

Lock (US):

A term referring to an almost guaranteed winner.


A competitor against whom long odds are offered. Also called the outsider.

Lucky 15,31,63:

Multiple bets on every possible combination of four, five or six selections. A Lucky 15 is four selections, so four singles, six doubles, four trebles and ine accumulator which equals 15 bets.


Machines (US):

Pari-mutuel computers or calculators.


A betting system which is based on doubling up.

Minus Pools (US):

During pari-mutuel betting, this is a situation when such a large amount of money is bet on a competitor that the pool is not big enough to pay the winners the legal minimum odds.


The sum of £500

Morning Line:

A forecast of likely odds.

Mutuel Pool:

The entire amount bet to place, win, or show in an event.



The selection that tipsters have nominated as the strongest selection.

Nickel (US):

A bet valued at $500.



The bookmaker’s opinion of the likelihood of a particular competitor winning.

Odds Compiler:

The person who is responsible for setting the odds.

Odds Man (US):

If computers are not in use, the odds man is an employee whose job is to calculate the changing odds during betting.


This is when the odds are less than the evens for example 4 to 7. Should the selection won, the total amount won will be less than the amount wagered.

Off the Board (US):

A competitor that has so few bets that its odds are more than 99 to 1.

Off the Top:

This is the practice of taking off a set percentage from the pool before paying winning ticket holders.


Betting that takes place at a location other than the track.

On the Nose (US):

A bet on a horse to win.


Stands for “Off-Track Betting” in the United States.


If the book makes a loss for the bookie.


When the odds are high when compred to the chances of winning.


A profit margin in the favour of the bookmaker.



A way of betting in which all bets are placed in a pool from which winners are paid their winnings according to the total size of the pool and the number of people who have won.

Parlay (US):

Another term for an accumulator bet during horseracing. Also a term for a wager on 2 or more teams where they both have to win for the bet to make enough money.


A multiple bet which consists of seven bets involving three selections across different events. A single on each selection, plus three doubles and one treble.

Pic Six (US):

A challenge to the punter to pick 6 winners of 6 successive events.


Selections which have been picked out for betting by an expert.

Place (US):

The term used to describe a 2nd place finish.

Place Terms:

During non pari-mutuel betting, returns for place bets are calculated as a proportion of the win odds. This will vary depending on the sport or event.


The start givenby the favourite to the underdog. May also be called the handicap.


A sum of £25.


The entire amount bet for show, win or place.


A term in the UK for someone who places a wager.



Right Price (US):

When pari-mutuel odds offered are high enough to warrant placing a bet.


If an animal is entered into a race using a different name.


A bet which consists of three bets involving 3 selections in different events.


A bet which consists of three bets involving 3 selections in different events.

Round Robin:

A bet which consists of ten bets involving 3 selections in different events.

Round Robin (US):

A series of 3 or more teams into 2-team wagers.


Sawdust Joint (US):

A term that is sometimes used for a gambling club that is not a luxury premises.



Score (US):

Winning a bet.

Scratch (US):

When a competitor withdraws from an event.

Scratch Sheet (US):

A publication brought out on a daily basis including graded handicaps, scratches and tips.


An expert at the bookies whose job is to calculate payouts.

Shoo In (US):

Supposedly a guaranteed winner.

Shortening the Odds:

When a bookmaker reduces the odds offered when there is heavy betting.

Short Price (US):

A small pari-mutuel payoff.

Show (US):

The term that is used to refer to finishing in third place.

Shut Out (US):

If the losing team fails to score.


A bet on just 1 selection to win a single event.

Single Stakes About:

A bet which consists of 2 bets on 2 selections.

Smart Money:

A term to refer to insiders or insiders’ betting.

Spot Play (US):

When a bettor will risk money only on the type of event that seems to be a worthwhile risk.

Spread Betting:

A bet is either lost or won according to whether the punter has correctly predicted the result of the event. Winnings or losses are calculated in direct proportion to how wrong or right the punter is, which can lead to either huge losses or large returns.


Sometimes called handicaps.

Super Yankee:

A different name for a Canadian bet where 5 selections are made not 4.

Store (US):

A bookmaker.

Straight (US):

Another way of saying a bet to win.

Sure Thing:

Any bet that is very unlikely to lose.


A way of betting, generally using mathematics to gain the edge and win more bets.


Taking (US):

When a bet is placed on the underdog.

Teaser (US):

A bet based on points spread when the punter is able, in return for lower odds, to move the line in his favour.

Thick ‘un:

A large bet.


An expert’s selections of who would be best to bet on.


Someone who suggests to punters who may be the likely winners in an event.


A bet on whether the final score will be more or less than a given mark.

Tote Returns:

Also called a divided, this is referring to returns from a tote pool which is calculated by dividing the final amount of stakes in the pool by how many winning tickets there are.


Someone giving betting advice.


A bet which consists of 3 selections. Every one of the three must win for the wager to be a success.


A bet which correctly predicts the first, second and third place in an event.

Trifecta (US):

Bet where the punter correctly selects the first3 finishers in the right order.


A multiple bet which consists of 4 bets with three selections across different events.

Turf: Accountant

Another word in the UK for a bookmaker.



A team that has been given a handicap advantage.



Being able to get the best odds on a bet.

Vigorish (US):

The commission taken by a bookie.



Failing to pay out on a bet.


This refers to finishing in first place.

Winning Margin:

A bet that predicts the winning margin of a team over another.

Wise Guy (US):

A bettor with a good knowledge of the sport.



When betting on soccer, an X on a betting coupon refers to a draw.



A multiple bet which consists of elevent bets on four selections across different events.


Although this is not an exhaustive betting glossary, these are some of the most popular betting terms that you are likely to encounter when online betting. This betting terminology should be adequate to get you started with your first forays into internet sports betting and to give you a good basis from which to operate.