Betting Terminology

Check our betting glossary to get explanations around the main betting terms in the industry.

Accumulator -

Accumulators feature a chosen number of selections with the total winnings from the first successful selection being re-invested on to the next selection, this is repeated all the way through the bet and winnings can accumulate in to a large return. The returns are very easy to calculate, if all your selections are successful, simply multiply the return of each selection with your stake to arrive at your expected payout. For example, a £10.00 accumulator on: Manchester United to beat Liverpool at 2.25; (5/4) Chelsea to beat Arsenal at 2.50; (6/4) Manchester City to beat Tottenham 2.00; (Evs) West Ham to beat Southampton 3.00; (2/1) would return £337.50 This calculates at £10.00 x 2.25 x 2.50 x 2.00 x 3.00 (See 'fold')

Ante post -

This is a bet that is placed on future major sporting events, usually prior to the day of the event itself. In return for the chance of better odds, an Ante Post price means you may lose your money if your selection does not take part in the event (depending on when the bet when was struck).

Banker -

This would be your strongest selection; a 'sure thing'. For example, 'Manchester United beating Bradford is a banker'. Bankers will usually form the base of combinations and accumulators and they must win for the bet to be successful.

Bar price -

This refers to the odds of selections at the last quoted price and bigger. For example, in a large field. The Premiership outright markets may read Manchester United 2/1, Arsenal 7/2, Liverpool 4/1, Leeds 5/1, 8/1 Bar - meaning every other side is quoted at 8/1 or bigger.

Blanket finish -

This is a close finish involving several horses; when horses finish so close together that 'a blanket could cover them.'

Board/Show price -

This is the price, relayed by S.I.S from the racecourse. You can, if required, usually 'Take' this price and it will remain the price your selection finishes at, regardless of the final Starting Price. (Can be subject to a Tattersalls Rule 4.)

Book -

This is a Bookmaker's tally of amounts bet on each competitor, and odds necessary to ensure profit.

Canadian -

This is a multiple bet consisting of 26 bets (10 doubles, 10 trebles, five 4-folds and a 5-fold) with 5 selections in different events (also known as a "Super Yankee").

Classic -

This term is used to describe the five major three-year-old races of the flat season: the 1000 Guineas, the 2000 Guineas, the Derby, the Oaks and the St Leger. Of these, fillies can be entered for all five, but colts are not allowed to be entered for the 1000 Guineas or the Oaks.

Correct score -

This is a bet to predict the final score in a game, and it is based on the number of goals scored by each Soccer team or the number of sets won by each Tennis player.

Dead heat -

This is when two or more selections cannot be separated by the Judge, even after consulting the photo finish. When calculating your bets, simply divide the stake by the amount of runners involved in the Dead-Heat.

Decimal prices -

This price system is commonly used for betting throughout Europe and Asia. This provides the simplest way of calculating your Total Return, i.e. your winnings including your stake. All you have to do is multiply your stake by the decimal price given. For example: £10 x 1.90 = £19.00, including your stake

Distance -

This is the distance of a Race; Five furlongs is the minimum and the four and a half mile Grand National is the longest. Distance is also the margin by which a horse is beaten by the horse directly in front. This can range from a Nose to 'By a distance' (even more than thirty lengths).

Double -

This is a bet which consists of 1 bet involving 2 selections in different events. Both must be successful to get a return.

Draw -

At the overnight declaration stage, all entries in a flat race are given a stall number from where they will start. Depending on the state of the going, the position of the stalls and the layout of the course, the draw may favour high, middle or low numbers at different tracks. Stalls are not used for National Hunt racing and therefore the draw does not apply.

Drift -

This is where the price of one selection increases because of the lack of interest from punters.

Each-way -

This is a common bet which allows you to place a stake of equal amounts on a selection to either win an event or to be placed, usually in the top three or four depending on the size of the field. The price for the place part of the bet is usually a quarter or a fifth of the odds for an outright win. For Horse Racing the place part of Each-Way bets are usually settled at the following Place Terms: NON HANDICAP RACES: 2-4 Runners Win Only 5-7 Runners ¼ the Odds 1, 2 8 or more Runners 1/5 the Odds 1, 2, 3 HANDICAP RACES: 2-4 Runners Win Only 5-7 Runners ¼ the Odds 1, 2 8-11 Runners 1/5 the Odds 1, 2, 3 12-15 Runners ¼ the Odds 1, 2, 3 16 or more Runners ¼ the Odds 1, 2, 3, 4 For Greyhound Racing the place part of Each-Way bets are usually settled at the following Place Terms: 2-4 Runners Win Only 5-7 Runners ¼ the Odds 1, 2 8 Runners 1/5 the Odds 1,2,3

Even money -

This is a 1:1 odds bet. A £10.00 stake would return £20.00 (£10.00 win plus £10.00 staked).

Exacta -

This is a Tote bet operating in races of 3 or more declared runners in which the punter has to pick the first two to finish in the correct order.

Favourite -

The favourite is the shortest priced selection in an event. (also known as the 'Jolly' or 'Sponk'). You can select the 'unnamed favourite' if you don't want to pick any horse in particular. This will be the runner with the shortest price when the race goes off. When two selections share this position they are named 'Joint-Favourites'. If you back a successful joint-favourite you need to halve your stake to calculate the returns. If three or more share this position they are named Co-favourites. If you back a successful co-favourite you need to divide your stake by the the number of favourites to calculate your winnings.

Field -

To have a winning chance or the handicapper's rating number that identifies the winning chance.

First goal scorer -

This is a bet on who will score the first goal in a Soccer match.

First try scorer -

This is a bet on who will score the first try in a Rugby match.

Fixed odds -

Fixed odds are prices which are not dependent on the outcome of an event. Unlike 'Spread Betting' you know how much stake you are risking.

Flag -

This is a bet consisting of 23 bets (a 'Yankee' plus 6 'Single Stakes About' bets in pairs) on 4 selections in different events.

Flat racing -

Begins in March and runs through to the middle of September on turf. Races are run over a minimum distance of five furlongs and a maximum of twenty-two furlongs. A furlong is 1/8 of a mile, there are 8 furlongs in a mile. When a race is 8f or more they are shown differently on a British Racecard, for instance a 12 furlong race will be shown on the racecard as 1m 4f, a 14 furlong race will show as 1m 6f. The official Flat Racing season now runs all year round to include races run on all-weather surfaces such as at Lingfield, Kempton, Southwell, Wolverhampton and Chelmsford.

Forecast -

This is a horse or Dog racing bet where you have to correctly predict the order of the first two selections. This bet can be reversed or permed.

Form -

The 'Form' is the history of a selection's race performance.

Fractional odds -

These are commonly used for betting in the UK, and for Future bets on US sports. Fractional odds give you your Profit excluding your stake, so your stake needs to be added back in to calculate your Total Return. For example: £10 @ 6/4 = £15.00 (this is your Profit) plus your stake = £25.00 (your total return). To convert the fractional odds to decimal prices, divide the left hand figure by the right hand figure and add 1. For example: 6/4 + 1 =1.5 +1= 2.5 (therefore £10 x 2.5 = £25.00 = your Total Return).

Going -

This is the state of the ground. For turf races in the UK there are 7 grades of surface, which are: Hard, Firm, Good to Firm, Good, Good to Soft, Soft, Heavy. The 'hard' grade is rarely used, as a racetrack with this type of surface is generally deemed to be dangerous to both horses and jockeys. In Ireland the term "yielding" is used for "good to soft" going. For All Weather surfaces in the UK the official grades are: Fast, Standard to Fast, Standard, Standard to Slow, Slow.

Going in -

This is when greyhounds are being put in to the traps or horses into the stalls.

Going to post -

This is when horses are on the way to the start of a race.

Goliath -

This is a multiple bet consisting of 247 bets (28 doubles, 56 trebles, seventy 4-folds, fifty-six 5-folds, twenty-eight x 6-folds, eight 7-folds and an 8-fold) involving 8 selections in different events.

Half-ball handicap betting -

Also known as Asian Handicap or the Hang Cheng . This is used to balance two sides and remove the draw from the game.

Handicap -

This is a method of making a one-sided event become a more attractive for betting purposes. For example St Helens (-7) to beat Bradford Bulls would mean that St Helens would have to win by more than seven points for you to win your bet. Consequently the non-handicap price of Bradford Bulls would be more attractive. A handicap race in horse racing is a race in which horses carry different weights, allocated by the handicapper. A better horse will carry a heavier weight, to give him or her a disadvantage when racing against slower horses. The handicapper's goal in assigning handicap weights is to enable all the horses to finish together (in a dead heat).

Head to head -

This is where you need to select the team, or player, you believe will win the game or an event.

Hedging -

This is a bet made by a cautious Bookmaker on a horse on which he has accepted large bets. This would cut his losses if the horse wins (also known as a 'lay-off bet').

Heinz -

This is a multiple bet consisting of 57 bets (15 doubles, 20 trebles, fifteen 4-folds, six 5-folds and a 6-fold) involving 6 horses in different races.

Held up -

This is restraining a horse behind the other runners in the early stages of a race.

In the frame -

If your selection has finished 'in the frame' this means that it has finished either first, second, third or fourth.

Joint favourites -

This is when selections cannot be split for favouritism - for example, 2 selections in the same event are the same price. Chelsea & Liverpool could both be the same price to win the F.A. Cup @ 3/1, thus making them Joint Favourites. Another example where 2 horses in the same race are the Joint Favourites, B Fifty Two & Come On Dave both 11/2.

Lay -

This is to bet or wager.

Layer -

This is a bookmaker or one who 'Lays' odds.

Length -

This is the length of a horse from the horse's nose to the start of its tail.

Long odds -

These are odds (e.g. 100 to 1) offered against a competitor unlikely to win.

Long shot -

This is a selection at long odds, not given as high a chance of winning as other selections. (Also known as an 'Outsider'.)

Lucky 15, 31, 63 -

These are multiple bets on all possible combinations of 4, 5 or 6 selections. A Lucky 15 - includes 4 singles, 6 doubles, 4 trebles and an accumulator (= 15 bets) from four selections in different events. A Lucky 31 - includes 5 singles, 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 four-folds, and a five-fold accumulator (= 31 bets) from five selections in different events. A Lucky 63 - includes 6 singles, 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 four-folds, 6 five-folds and a six-fold accumulator (= 63 bets) from 6 selections in different events.

Match bet -

This is a Golf bet between two players, to predict who will get the best score in a tournament. The players may not physically play against each other in any round; this bet is based purely on their individual scores over the whole tournament (i.e. 72 holes).

Nailed on -

The selection which is considered to be a racing 'Certainty'.

Nap -

This is the selection that Racing Correspondents and Tipsters nominate as their major selection of the day or meeting. Considered to be 'Nailed on'.

Non-runner -

This is a selection that does not take part in a race or event for which it is entered.

Not under orders -

On the 'Off' of a race the flag is raised, and any runner withdrawn before the signal is deemed not to have come 'Under Starter's Orders'. Your stake on such a selection would be returned but any winning bets on the Race may be subject to a 'Rule 4' as there was insufficient time for a new market to be formed.

Objections -

This is where a Jockey or Trainer objects to the conduct of a participant in a Race and an investigation is carried out; similar to a Steward's Enquiry.

Odds -

This is another name for the price. The chance offered for a selection to win.

Odds-against -

This is when the amount you win is more than your stake.

Odds compiler -

This is a person who sets the odds by using research, their own knowledge and judgement about a sport.

Odds-on -

This refers to a price where you have to stake more than the amount you expect to make as profit.

Off the bridle -

This is when the horse has to be urged on by its jockey.

On the nose -

This is backing a horse to win only.

Outsider -

This is the opposite to the favourite, usually to be found at lengthy odds. Also known as a 'Longshot' or 'The Rag'.

Overround -

This is profit margin in the bookmaker's favour.

Over/under -

This is a bet on whether the total points or goals scored by either teams or selections score over or under a specified number. For instance in a football there will be an under/over market on the total match goals, also in Tennis there will be a market on under/over total games played.

Patent -

It is possible to 'Perm' selections. E.g, if you have made 3 selections (A, B and C) you can 'Perm' every possible double. In this case, all the doubles possible are AB, AC, and BC making a total of three bets. 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 six bets.

Photo-finish -

This is a method of determining the result where there is a close finish using Photographic evidence.

Picks -

These are the selections chosen by an expert to bet on (also known as 'Tips').

Placepot -

UK Tote bet where your selection in the first six races of a meeting has to be placed to receive a share of the pool. Jackpot bet also available where your selection in the first six races of a meeting has to win for you to receive a share of the pool. Paid to £1.00.

Price -

These are the odds offered for a selection.

Return -

This is the total amount you receive for a winning bet.(winnings plus stake).

Reversed forecast -

This bet involves 2 selections in 1 race finishing 1st and 2nd in either order. As such it is the equivalent of two straight forecasts.

Run-in -

This is the distance from the home turn (or last obstacle) to the winning post.

Related Contingency -

A related contingency occurs when one part of the bet affects the outcome of the rest of the bet.

Example: A double bet for Team A to win 2-0 and Team A to win the match.

If Team A win 2-0 then they also win the match. The price for Team A to win 2-0 already takes this into account so the two selections cannot be combined in a multiple bet. This is one form of related contingency.

If a related contingency message appears William Hill cannot accept the bet. If taken in error the stake will be invested on the selection with the largest price. Where two or more selections are quoted at the largest price the stake will be divided equally between them.

However, where the related parts of the bet are resolved at different times, unless 'special double' or 'special accumulative' odds are available, bets will be settled as instructed with the odds for the second or subsequent legs being determined at each individual stage.

Shortening the odds -

This is the Bookmaker's reduction of the odds offered in the face of heavy betting.

Show -

This is a list of odds for a race

Singles -

This is the simplest type of bet to have. It is one bet for your selection to win, this could be Spurs to beat Arsenal in a particular match.

Smart money -

These are insiders' bets or the insiders themselves.

Spread betting -

This is where a bet is won or lost according to whether you correctly predict the result of an event. Returns or losses are calculated in proportion to how right or wrong the punter is, and can consequently can lead to huge returns or losses.

Spreads -

There are also known as handicaps.

Stake -

This is the amount of money invested.

Stalls -

Stalls are a row of compartments designed to give all the runners in a flat race an even start.

Standard bet/single event bet -

This is the basic bet on the outcome of a game or match, i.e. A to win or B to win. When a price is given for the draw, this is also a valid bet.

Starting price (SP) -

The starting price is arrived at by taking the average price available in the betting ring (Members', Rail and Tattersalls') on the racecourse shortly before the off.

Steeplechasing -

Steeplechasing is a form of National Hunt racing run over distances of two miles up to four and a half miles. Horses jump fences of varying height, and consistency.

Steward's enquiry -

If there are any suspected infringements of the 'Rules of Racing' the Stewards hold an investigation. These are carried out in a similar manner to objections.

Super Yankee -

Alternative name for a multiple bet known as Canadian. A 'Super Yankee' is a 'Yankee' type bet with five selections instead of four. A Super-Yankee consists of 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 6 four-folds and an accumulator. Two of the selections must win to gain a return

Straight forecast -

This is a Tote bet operating in races of 3 or more declared runners in which the punter has to pick the first and second to finish in the correct order.

Super Heinz -

A Super Heinz consists of 120 bets involving 7 selections in different events. The bet includes 21 doubles, 35 trebles, 35 fourfolds, 21 fivefolds, 7 sixfolds and an accumulator. A minimum of 2 of your selections must be successful to get a return.

Sure thing -

This is any bet that has very little chance of losing.

Tattersalls' Rule 4 (C) -

If a horse is withdrawn without coming under starters orders, and there is insufficient time to re-form the betting market, backers of the withdrawn horse are entitled to their stakes back. However, deductions are then made to winning bets. Details of the relevant deductions are in the General Betting Rules.

Tic-tac -

The sign language which UK bookmakers use to communicate with each other oncourse.

Tips -

These are selections chosen by an expert to bet on (also known as 'Picks').

Tipster -

This is a person who gives or sells to punters his estimate of likely winners of a race, game or event (also known as a 'Tout').

Totals -

These are Sports bet on whether the total score will be over/under a given mark.

Tote -

The tote is where all the bets are pooled together and the odds are worked out after 'The Tote' have taken their % of the amount wagered returning the remainder of the pool to the winning tickets. Winning dividends are calculated by dividing the total amount of stakes entered into the pool (less deductions) by the number of winning units. The % taken from each pool bet offered differs, in the UK for example Win single pool deduction is 13.5% and the Placepot pool deduction is 27%. The pooled bets offered by the Tote are: Win, Place, Exacta, Trifecta, Quadpot, Placepot, Jackpot, Scoop6 and Swinger.

Trap number -

In greyhound racing, greyhounds start from numbered boxes (usually one to six but is some race there are eight) which are called traps.

Treble -

A Treble consists of 1 bet involving 3 selections in different events. All must be successful to get a return.

Tricasts -

This is a popular bet where you have to correctly predict the first, second and third in a particular race. Tricasts are only accepted on: Horses : Handicap races with 6 or more runners Greyhounds : Featured race meetings.

Trip -

This is the race distance.

Trixie -

A Trixie consists of 4 bets involving 3 selections in different events. The bet includes 3 doubles and 1 treble. A minimum of 2 of your selections must be successful to get a return.

Turf accountant -

This is the UK euphemism for a bookmaker

Underdog -

This is the team that receives a point start in a handicap.

Under (Starter's) orders -

When the official starter of the race is satisfied that all the runners in the race are at the start (in flat races, in the stalls) and ready to race, a flag is raised signalling that the field is under orders and 'Off'. Bets on any runner failing to start after this signal, are lost.

Union Jack -

This is a bet consisting of 8 trebles on 9 selections. These are settled as trebles in the formation of a 'Union Jack'. A to I: ABC, DEF, GHI, ADG, BEH, CFI, AEI, and CEG. A B C D E F G H I Each treble can also be turned in to a patent or Round Robin etc.

Value -

This is getting the best odds on a wager.

Void bet -

This is a bet which is declared invalid. The stake is returned without deduction.

Walk-over -

A walk-over occurs when only one participant runs in the race. In order to collect the prize money the participant must go through the normal procedure. For settling purposes the winner of a walk-over is considered to be a non-runner.

Win -

This is the term used to describe a 1st place finish.

Winning margin -

This is a bet to predict the winning margin of one team over another.

With the field -

This is having one horse linked with all the other horses in an event. It can apply to forecasts or in doubles.

Yankee -

This is a multiple bet consisting of 11 bets (6 doubles, 4 trebles and 1 4-fold) on 4 selections in different events.

Quinella -

A bet in which the first two places in a race must be predicted, but not necessarily in the correct order.