Glossary Of Betting Terms

Never get confused again with Glossary of betting terms for gambling and bookmakers and punters

A glossary of betting terms to make sure you are never left wondering about bookmaker, gambling or punter jargon again

This glossary of betting terms took a while and a bit of effort. Now you need never be confused by a bloke in the bookies again. If there is anything you would like added or clarified just comment at the bottom of the page.


Accumulator – A cumulation of bets, often known as a multiple. They can range in size from 2 (a double), 3 (a treble) to any number. Often described by the integer (number of bets) and “fold”. e.g. a ‘five-fold’ for an accumulator comprising of five bets. All bets on an accumulator are linked and must all win to get a return (not so for “Permutations”).

Ante-post – This refers to any market that a bookmaker prices up before the market commences. It is most commonly referred to in horse racing when punters will often bet months in advance to avail of better prices.

Arbitrage – Variation in prices can offer layers the opportunity to profit regardless of the outcome i.e. backing both outcomes resulting in profit.

Asian handicap – A form of spreadbetting originating in Asia but now popular elsewhere. The Asian market allows for outcomes that see a return of your stake (a ‘push’) by breaking outcomes up into halves or point fives (0.5).


Back(ing) – When you place a bet you are backing that outcome to win.

Bag Of Sand – £1,000 or a grand. Punters often use slang in referring to the size of their bets.

Banker – Punters will often refer to a banker when discussing what they consider to be a low-risk bet. Often included as part of accumulators and permutation bets to ensure at least one winning selection. Odds are often low.

Bankroll – The amount of money a bettor has available to bet with.

Bettor – Someone placing a bet. Also referred to as a ‘punter’.

Book – The term arises from bookmakers literally creating a book of all bets that have been placed with them. Usually in the form of a ledger it is used to aid the bookmaker in guaranteeing profit.

Bookmaker – The person/company who holds the bets placed by punters. More commonly referred to as a ‘bookie’. Examples include bet365, Betfair, McBookie, Coral, Ladbrokes, William Hill, Paddy Power etc.


Cennie – £100, derives from ‘century’.

Co-favourites – When more than one selection shares the tag of favourite. Also known as joint-favourites.

Cover bet – Punters and bookies will often bet against a desired outcome to at least minimise their losses. Most common when, for example, their chosen outcome takes the lead resulting in a shortening of odds.


Dead-heat – When more than one competitor finish level, or tied. Bookmakers have specific rules for paying out on dead-heats.

Decimal odds – When the bookmaker displays the prices in decimal form. Returns are calculated by multiplying the odds by the stake.

Dividend – The amounts paid out from a betting pool to the winning selections. Most commonly seen in ‘Tote’ betting at racetracks.

Double – When a bet consists of two outcomes required to win to get a return.

Drift – When odds on an outcome lengthen or get bigger.

Dutch – Betting varying amounts on multiple outcomes to guarantee a return regardless of the outcome.


Each way – Betting on a selection to finish in a nominated number of positions e.g 1st or 2nd. The number of runners usually defines the amount of places available for each way returns. Also known as ‘place’ betting.

Evens – When the profit for your bet is even (1/1) to the amount placed. Also known as ‘even money’.

Exchange – Betting sites where you can back and lay competitors and outcomes e.g Betfair.


Favourite (Fav) – The shortest price available on a multiple outcome market. The bookmakers consider the selection most likely to win. Bookmakers selections can often start out as favourites but heavy backing from the market can change it.

Forecast – Correctly predicting who finishes 1st and 2nd in an event. A dual forecast or reverse forecast allows any two selections to finish in either of the top two places.

Form – The recent form of a selection or competitor in their most recent performances. Punters and bookmakers use form to determine the chances of a competitor.

Fractional odds – When a bookmaker compiles odds in fractional form e.g. 5/2 (five to two). The first integer is the profit based on amount bet, which is the second integer. Returns are calculated by adding the two numbers together.


Glossary – A glossary of betting terms such as this one that explains betting, gambling and bookmaker jargon.

Goalline – Bookmakers offer markets on a predicted amount of goals in a match. The line is the predicted outcome by the linemaker/trader and is usually close to evens. You can then bet on the line or above and below the line for variable odds.

Goliath – A multiple bet consisting of  8 selections permed into 247 bets made up of 28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70 4-folds, 56 5-folds, 28 6-folds, 8 7-folds and one 8-fold. You must place an individual stake for each bet and get paid out on every winning fold.


Handicap – When competitors are handicapped (with extra weight in horse racing) based on form and handicappers estimates to try and level the playing field. It can also refer to a bet that chooses a competitor starting with a points advantage or disadvantage to make the bet more attractive.

Hedging – Mostly used by bookmakers who try to limit potential losses by ‘laying-off’ selections that are heavily backed. Effectively the bookie backs the selection elsewhere.

Heinz – A multiple bet consisting of  6 selections permed into 57 bets made up of 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 4-folds, 6 5-folds, and one 6-fold. You must place an individual stake for each bet and get paid out on every winning fold.

House – Usually refers to casinos, the place that hosts the gambling activities.


In running – When a market has commenced e.g a horse race has started.

In the money – When a selection finishes in a place or each way position resulting in a return.

In play – This normally refers to betting after an event has started. bet365 are the number one bookmaker for in-play betting.


Joint-favourite – When more than one selection shares the tag of favourite. Also known as co-favourites.


Lay – When you bet against an outcome or competitor. Exchange betting has changed betting for the average punter with Betfair the most popular of them.

Layer – A bookmaker or someone who lays bets on the exchanges.

Line – Offers on goal, points and handicap markets. The line is what the bookmaker predicts to be the most likely outcome. Often known as a ‘spread’ in the US.

Long – When the price of an outcome is high suggesting it has a low chance of success.

Longshot– An unlikely outcome at high odds that, if successful, offers big returns.

Lucky 15/31/63 – Permed bets of 4, 5 or 6 selections that include singles, doubles, trebles and 4/5/6-folds.


Market – All punters together are the market. The market is often used when referring to punters as a whole and their effect on prices.

Martingale system – A betting system based around even money selections. The idea being that you keep backing even money selections until one wins. Profit is (theoretically) guaranteed by doubling your stake after a losing selection so you will always win back your original stake plus one.

Monkey – £500

Morning Line – When probable odds are forecast by analysts before a market opens.


Nap – The most likely to win of a particular amount of selections. Often based over periods of one day. Also known as ‘nap of the day’.

Nb – Next best. After the nap this is the selectors 2nd best selection.


Odds – The price offered by the bookmaker on an outcome. See ‘fractional odds’ and ‘decimal odds’.

Odds against – When the price/odds offered are greater than evens.

Odds on – When the price/odds offered are less than evens.

On the nose – Betting on a selection winning i.e. not betting each-way.

Outsider – An unlikely outcome. The ‘long shot’.


Palp/Palpable Error – A palpable error (palp) is when a bookmaker can refuse to pay out on the basis that the acceptance of the original bet was demonstrably incorrect. Obvious Errors such as hot favourites being priced as the underdogs fall into this category.

Patent – An accumulator bet consisting of three selections permed into seven bets consisting of 3 singles, 3 doubles and 1 treble.

Perm(permutations) – A bet on multiple outcomes where all selections do not have to win to gain a return. Bets are permed between singles, doubles, trebles etc.

Picks – A punters selections.

Place – When a selection finishes in the money. See ‘Each way’.

Pony – £25

Punter – The term for the person who places the bet. Also known as a ‘bettor’.


Real value – If you determine that an event has a 1 in 2 chance of being successful the price to break even would be evens. If the bookmaker is offering anything above evens (6/4 or 2/1) then you have ‘real value’. This means that over time your bet should return a profit.


Score – £20

Shoo in – Similiar to ‘banker bet’.

Short – The opposite to long. When the price of an outcome offers a small return as it’s considered likely to win.

Shortening – When a price is getting smaller, often due to heavy backing by the market.

Single – A bet on an individual outcome.

Smart money – Bets originating from insider knowledge. ‘Where is the smart money going’?

Spread betting – A spread’ is a range of outcomes and the bet is whether the outcome will be above or below the spread. The point spread is essentially a handicap towards the underdog. The wager becomes “Will the favorite win by more than the point spread?” The point spread can be moved to any level to create an equal number of participants on each side of the wager.

Standard bet size (SBS) – the amount a bettor places on selections based on the size of their bankroll.

Starting price – Most common in racing it refers to the price the horse was when the race started. With most bookmakers all wagers are settled at starting price unless otherwise requested.

Straight forecast – When you select the 1st and 2nd places in the correct order.

Stake – An amount placed on each bet. A wager.


Tips – Selections chosen by someone with expert knowledge on the markets. Also known as ‘picks’.

Tipster – Someone who offers advice and information on the outcome of particular markets. The emergence of social media has resulted in an abundance of ‘tipsters’. It is always advised to watch a tipster’s performance and results before following their selections.

TOTE – The organisation that operates pool betting at UK racetracks.

Treble – An accumulator consisting of three selections. All three must win to gain a return.

Tricast – When you correctly predict the 1st, 2nd and 3rd places finishers in an event in the exact order.

Trixie – A permed multiple consisting of four bets on three outcomes. 3 doubles and 1 treble.


Underdog – The least likely outcome in an event. Usually refers to head to head outcomes in sports where there is a favourite and an underdog.


Value – Where a punter sees a misquoted (priced wrong by the bookmaker) and determines that there is extra value in backing that selection. This term is often misused by punters who simply use it to explain long odds. This is why the term ‘real value’ is used.

Vigorish – The bookmaker’s commission.


X – Denotes a draw in football betting and other sports where the outcome can finish as a tie.


Yankee – A multiple bet consisting of  4 selections permed into 11 bets made up of 6 doubles, 4 trebles and 1 4-fold. You must place an individual stake for each bet and get paid out on every winning fold.

Yap – The same as a Yankee but including the 4 singles also.

If you have any more words you would like added to the glossary of betting terms just comment at the bottom of the page.


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