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Sportsbetting Glossary

There are more terms specifically associated with sports betting than almost any other area of life. In this Glossary you will find a few of these expressions explained!





A bet in which a single stake is used to generate two or more bets in succession. The punter makes a series of selections each from a different race or event. Every time a selection wins, the stake plus winnings is put onto the next selection. If any selection loses, the whole bet is a loser. (Accumulators are also known as doubles, trebles, four-folds, five-folds, six-folds, etc., depending on the number of selections.

Ante Post

Betting prior to the day of the race or event and in some cases many months or even years in advance. The odds are likely to be better at this early stage, but be warned: you will lose your stake if your selection does not take part. Exceptions to this (where your stake is returned) are;
*Your selection is balloted out of a race and the bet is void
*Your selection is withdrawn but the race is abandoned
*You bet 'with a run' which returns your money in the event of a withdrawal

Asian Handicap

The idea of Asian Handicap betting is to eliminate the draw, so that there are only two possible bets on each match: you bet either home or away. Consequently the handicap will often include 1/2 goal, thereby eliminating the chance of a draw. (i.e. if the match is drawn the bookie will payout on the team with the +1/2 goal handicap). Sometimes however the handicap will not include 1/2 goals and in these situations if the match results in a draw the stake will be refunded. There is also a 3rd possible handicap and that is the 1/4 goal handicap. This can often be misunderstood and is in fact a combination of the bets described above (i.e. it is two separate bets - 50% of your stake goes on he single goal handicap and 50% of your stake goes on the half goal handicap). See What are Asian Handicaps? for example bets

Bar Price

Usually used as helpful shorthand when talking about large field events, with long lists of participants. It refers to the odds of all those at the last quoted price and bigger. An example might be odds to win the English Premier League, which would read: 2/1 Manchester United, 3/1 Liverpool, 5/1 Arsenal, 8/1 Newcastle, 12/1 BAR. This shows that every other team in the betting list has odds of 12/1 or bigger

Best Book

Term used for referring to the market that had the lowest over-round or book percentage figure. There is an entire section on odds checker dedicated to finding which markets have the “best book” and therefore, the best margin for the punter


US term for person placing a bet. In the UK they are known as a punter or customer


A business or person that lays odds and takes bets

Book Percentage

This is a term that refers to how much of a profit margin there is in a particular market for a bookmaker


A Canadian (Super Yankee) consists of 26 bets involving 5 selections in different events, i.e. 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 four-folds plus 1 five-fold


Three or more participants who are favourites with the same odds

Correct Scores

A bet that predicts the final score of the match during normal time. (Extra time does not count)

Credit Bet

Bets accepted by the Bookmaker without a cash deposit

Dead Heat

The result of a race or competition in which two or more entrants finish equal. If your selection dead-heats you receive the full odds but your stake will be divided by the number of winners before your return is calculated

Debit Bet

Bets accepted by the Bookmaker without a cash deposit but which allows the Bookmaker to directly debit the gambler's bank account


The return for a single winning unit on a Tote bet


An accumulator involving two selections


A result where the scores are level at the end of play (also known as a "Tie" or “Push” in the United States.)

Each Way

This describes a transaction that is effectively two bets in which equal stakes are laid 1) on the selection coming first, and 2) the selection being placed, i.e. coming first, second, third or fourth, depending on the race. When the punter asks for, say, "£10 each way" this is actually two bets, at £10 stakes each, and the Bookmaker would ask for a £20 deposit.
If the selection wins, the return is:
Total Stake + (Stake x Win Odds) + (Stake x Place Odds (usually 1/4 or 1/5 of Win Odds))
If the selection is placed but does not win, the return is:
Place Stake + (Stake x Place Odds)

Early prices

Prices offered on selected races that day in advance of racecourse betting. Some bookmakers will offer early prices on every race every day, but this is rare


Odds which indicate that winnings will be the same as the amount staked Also displayed as 1/1


The horse or team with the lowest Odds (in essence, the horse or team believed to be the most likely winner)


When preceded by a number, a fold indicates the number of selections in an accumulator. An 8-Fold would be an accumulator with 8 selections, all of which must win for the wager to be successful


Predict the result. Also a type of bet in horse racing where the punter bets on the winner and the second place horse in a specific order


A Goliath consists of two hundred and forty-seven bets on eight selections in different events i.e. 28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70 four-folds, 56 five-folds, 28 six-folds, 8 seven-folds and an accumulator. NB A £1 Goliath has a total stake of £247

Half Time / Full Time

A bet that predicts the result of the match at half - time and the result of the match at full-time. In order to win the bet, both predictions must be correct


The only sport that uses handicapping is horse racing. All horses (once they’ve run often enough) are given an official rating. Ratings range from 0-140 points for flat racing and from 0-175 points for jump racing. Each point is equal to one-pound weight (carrying the extra weight is the handicap). The handicap system is designed to ensure that all the participants in the race are well matched. Handicap) ratings for every horse are assessed and may be revised weekly depending on how well the horse performed given the quality of the other horses in the race


A Heinz consists of 57 bets involving 6 selections in different events, i.e. 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 four-folds, 6 five-folds and 1 six-fold


A bet that predicts the result of the match


A term used to describe a race or event that is in progress


Offer odds


Person offering odds, usually a Bookmaker. One to one betting services and some smaller Bookmakers will allow a punter to lay as well as place bets

Laying Off

Where a Bookmaker reduces their exposure on a winning horse or team by backing it with other Bookmakers

Lucky 15

A Lucky 15 consists of 15 bets involving 4 selections in different events, i.e. 4 singles, 6 doubles, 4 trebles, and 1 fourfold. The bookmaker will often pay a bonus if you get all 4 selections correct, or if you only get one correct

Lucky 31

A Lucky 31 consists of 31 bets involving 5 selections in different events, i.e. 5 singles, 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 four-folds plus 1 five-fold. The bookmaker will often pay a bonus if you get all 5 selections correct, or if you only get one correct

Lucky 63

 Lucky 63 consists of 63 bets involving 6 selections in different events, i.e. 6 singles, 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 four-folds, 6 five-folds and 1 six-fold. The bookmaker will often pay a bonus if you get all 6 selections correct, or if you only get one correct

Margin Call

A call made by a Bookmaker to the punter for cash to cover some or all of the punter's exposure to loss


A tipster’s best bet of the day


Also known as the price. The chance a Bookmaker offers for a selection to win. May be shown as:
A ratio expressed as a fraction e.g. 4/1 (or 4-1) usually called traditional odds. In this example, for a winning £1 bet you would get back £5 (£4 winnings, plus your £1 stake).
A ratio expressed as decimal number e.g. 5.0, usually called decimal odds. In this example, for a winning £1 bet you would get back £5 (£4 winnings plus your £1 stake). The return is calculated by multiplying the odds by the stake. 5.0 in this notation is the same as 4/1 in the fractional form. Similarly 1.62 is 8/13 (or 13/8 on)

Odds Against

Describes the odds when the amount you receive for a winning bet, not including your returned stake, is more than the amount you staked

Odds Compiler

See odds layer

Odds Layer

The person working for a Bookmaker who sets the odds. The odds layer is usually an expert on one or two sports and concentrates entirely on setting the odds for those sports

Odds against

Odds greater than evens where potential winnings are more than the amount staked. E.g. 6/1


Describes the odds when the amount you receive for a winning bet, not including your returned stake, is less than the amount you stake. For example you stake £1 at 8/13 (13/8 on) and receive £1.62, made up of your £1 stake and 62p winnings

Off The Board

Term used to signify that the Bookmaker is not accepting bets on a particular event


At the racecourse or event


Away from the racecourse or event. This covers Bookmakers operating retail outlets, telephone and Internet services


Bookmakers who are based outside the UK. There are three types of off-shore Bookmakers - firstly, those that are the off-shore site run by an existing British Bookmaker; secondly, those that are existing off-course Bookmakers in another country, often Ireland; and the third type are Internet and/or telephone Bookmakers set up specifically to conduct off-shore business


A participant in an event considered unlikely to win, which will have large odds to reflect this


A type of bet in which the punter bets on whether the total combined points, runs, goals, etc of both teams in the game will be more or less than a number chosen by the Bookmaker

Over-round and Over-broke

Adding up the probabilities as shown by the odds of all the participants in an event for a particular Bookmaker gives a percentage. While mathematically the total probabilities of all participants in an event must be 100% (one participant - and only one - can win) Bookmaker’s total percentages are set to add up to over 100% because it’s the amount over 100% that represents the Bookmaker’s profit. A book with a total percentage over 100 is called over-round. A book that adds up to less than 100% is called over-broke which means that a punter could back all the participants and know that the total of their lost stakes will be less than their winnings if they have staked accordingly (a good, if rare, thing)


US term for accumulator

Permutations (Perm)

It is also possible to perm selections. For example, if you have made 3 selections (A, B and C) you can perm all the possible doubles. In this case all the doubles possible are AB, AC and BC; a total of 3 individual bets or lines.
Similarly, if you have made 4 selections (A, B, C and D) you can also perm all the possible doubles from these four. Now the doubles are AB, AC, AD, BC, BD, CD; a total of 6 individual bets or lines


A Patent consists of 7 bets involving 3 selections in different events, i.e. a single on each selection, plus 3 doubles and 1 treble

Place Bet

A bet on the selection being placed, i.e. coming first, second or third (sometimes fourth or fifth depending on the number of participants). UK bookies usually offer each way rather than place bets

Place Bet

Refers to a selection coming second or third (sometimes fourth or fifth depending on the number of participants) in an event. The positions that are considered to be placed depend on the size of the field (e.g. in a race with only 5-7 participants, only second and third count as placed). The odds for bets on selections being placed is usually calculated as a fraction of the odds to win (e.g. in the race referred to above, second and third get odds at a quarter of the winning price)


See Odds


The odds are an indication of what the odds layer thinks is the probability of a participant winning an event. If you were to add up the probabilities of each participant they have to total exactly 100% (one participant - but only one - must win). You can calculate the probabilities from the odds (there’s an example table below). To calculate the percentage, divide 100 by the sum of the two parts of the ratio and then multiply the result by the second part of the ratio. For 11-4 this works out as 100 divided by 15 (11 plus 4) equals 6.666. This multiplied by 4 gives 26.67 Converting the odds to percentages is particularly useful for calculating the over-round.

Odds Against

Percentage / Probability

1-1 (Evens)





























Someone who places a bet

Related Contingency

When the result of one event has a direct influence on the outcome of another, there is a related contingency. Selections from related events cannot be combined in an accumulator. E.g. Liverpool to beat Chelsea in a league match, and Liverpool to win the league


Total money paid out (including stakes) on a winning bet

Rule 4

When a horse is withdrawn shortly before a race and there is insufficient time to form a new market, a deduction is made from all winnings. The amounts deducted are set by Rule 4, which is laid down by the Tattersalls Committee, the body that controls horse race betting in the UK. The shorter (lower) the price of the horse at the time of withdrawal the bigger the deduction. (The returned stake money is not subjected to a percentage deduction.) These deductions will also be made from odds bets which have been placed prior to the withdrawal of the horse. For example, if you placed a bet on a horse at 10/1 and then the 5/4 favourite was withdrawn, your winnings would be subject to a 40p in the £ deduction. This would apply even if the market had been reformed and a new price given to your horse because you have placed your bet at fixed odds. Current values are:

Price of Runner at time of withdrawal

Amount deducted from winnings

3/10 or shorter

75p in £

2/5 to 1/3

70p in £

8/15 to 4/9

65p in £

8/13 to 4/7

60p in £

4/5 to 4/6

55p in £

20/21 to 5/6

50p in £

Evens to 6/5

45p in £

5/4 to 6/4

40p in £

13/8 to 7/4

35p in £

15/8 to 9/4

30p in £

5/2 to 3/1

25p in £

10/3 to 4/1

20p in £

9/2 to 11/2

15p in £

6/1 to 9/1

10p in £

10/1 to 14/1

5p in £

Over 14/1

No deduction

In the event that two or more horses are withdrawn before coming under starter’s orders, the total deductions will not exceed 75p in the pound

Seven-Fold Accumulator

A Seven-Fold Accumulator consists of 1 bet involving 7 selections in different events


The most common and simplest kind of bet. A single wager on an event. The single can be win, each way, or win and place. See relevant terms

Six-Fold Accumulator

A Six-Fold Accumulator consists of 1 bet involving 6 selections in different events

Spread Betting

A form of betting derived from financial markets where the punter bets on a 'spread' of numbers relating to the particular event - for example, runs scored in cricket, points in Rugby Union, or the number of lengths between named horses at the end of the race. The Bookmaker quotes the spread: say, regarding the number of points to be scored by one side in a Rugby game, 28-30. If you think the side will score more than 30, you 'buy' at 30; if fewer, you 'sell' at 28, and stipulate your stake per point. If you buy the spread at £1 and the team scores only 25, you lose £5 - 30 minus 25 leaves 5, which multiplied by your stake is £5; if that team scores 35, you win £5. The attraction of spread betting is that the more right you are, the more you will win - and by the same token the more wrong you are, the more you will lose.
Note: you cannot have a spread bet unless you have an account with the Bookmaker concerned, since you cannot stake the bet in advance as you do not know how much you might lose


Amount of money you give the Bookmaker – therefore the money you will lose if the result is not what you predicted

Stewards Enquiry

Racecourse stewards will investigate an objection or suspected infringement of the Rules of Racing. This may amend the result, so bets are not settled until the outcome of the enquiry is known

SP (Starting Price)

The odds determined by the official starting price reporters on the racecourse at the start of the race, which is an average of the odds being offered at the racecourse. For certain races, some Internet and other off-course Bookmakers will only quote SP for each participant rather than different odds. This means that the off-course Bookmaker has not determined their own prices for this race and is letting the market be made at the racecourse. Typically this happens when the volume of money and the number of bets placed on this event with the off-course Bookmaker is too low to make a representative market of their own. Accepting the Starting Price from a Bookmaker means that you don’t know exactly what the odds will be when you place your bet


A horse or participant, which is backed significantly prior to the event, causing its odds to shorten markedly

Super Yankee

A Super Yankee consists of 26 bets involving 5 selections in different events, i.e. 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 four-folds plus 1 five-fold

Super Heinz

A Super Heinz consists of 120 bets involving 7 selections in different events, i.e. 21 doubles, 35 trebles, 35 four-folds, 21 five-folds, 7 six-folds and 1 seven-fold


The sign language in which Bookmakers communicate with each other on the course


Individuals or businesses whose job it is to provide hints or tips about the likely outcome of a race or event. Some tipsters publish their advice in newspapers or for free on the Internet; others charge for their services. There are many types of tipsters; the best ones submit their tips to proofing services that track the success of their tips over the long term

Tissue Prices

The forecast of how the betting will open


Its full name is the Horse race Totalisator Board. It is a pool or “pot” based system. All bets are pooled and following the race the pool (less deductions - the Tote’s profit) is shared out among those who won. This means that your bet isn’t made at fixed odds as the amount you stand to win is affected by all those who have bet before and after you. Tote prices - they call them “will pays” (an indication of what you would win if there were no bets after yours) are shown at racecourses and on the Tote’s web site. In practice although there are usually some small differences between the Tote’s prices and Bookmaker’s prices, they end up pretty even. Some punters have famous stories about big differences on outsiders


A Treble consists of 1 bet involving 3 selections in different events


A wager that involves correctly predicting the first, second and third place in a particular event. This wager can be permed. Normally offered on handicaps of eight or more declared runners and no fewer than six actual runners


A Trixie consists of 4 bets involving 3 selections in different events, i.e. 3 doubles plus 1 treble

True Odds

Punters talk about the true odds. This refers to the odds as they would be if they reflected the actual probability of winning (as opposed to reflecting where the money goes). This must always be an opinion


If you believe that the true odds are lower than the Bookmaker is offering, then that is a value bet


A bet

Win Bet

In this bet, the punter bets that his or her selection will come in first place

Win and Place

This is similar to an each way bet, except that the stake laid to win is greater than the stake laid to place. The punter could for example stake ten pounds on his selection coming first, and a further five pounds on the selection coming second, third or fourth. (Total stake = £15)


A Yankee consists of 11 bets involving 4 selections in different events, i.e. 6 doubles, 4 trebles, and 1 fourfold 

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