Sports Betting Glossary

Newcomers to the world of sports betting may initially feel a bit daunted by the terminology that is used by those who are already familiar with this activity. It can almost feel like learning a new language. One of the most confusing things is that words that have a generally understood meaning in everyday life can be used to mean something different when talking about sports betting.

An example of this would be the word ‘chalk’ which usually refers to a type of material, but it sports betting it refers to the favourite to win an event. The good news is that the terminology is not that difficult to pick up, and by learning the words the person will be finding out more about the world of sports betting.


Accumulator – this involves a series of bets where the winnings from the last bet are used for the next bet. If any of these bets lose, it means that there will be no winnings to collect.

Across the board – refers to a bet in a horse race where the person predicts the first three horses to cross the line –win, place, and show.

Ajax – this is another name for betting tax.

Also ran – is a term used in horse racing to refer to any horse that does not finish in a winning position (i.e. not in the first four).

Ante post – is when an individual places money on the outcome of an event that will take place sometime in the future. For example, they may predict the winner of the next world cup before the start of this event. This term comes from horse racing, and it refers to the act of betting on a horse before they go to the post.


Back – to bet on a golfer in an event.

Backstretch – the part of the racing track that is opposite the finish line.

Bar price – refers to minimum odds for bets not already mentioned in a betting forecast. For example, if the betting forecast for a horserace has ‘60-1 bar’ it means that any of the horses not already mentioned will have odds of at least 60-1.

Banker – this is the bet that is most fancied to win – people will also refer to it as a “sure thing”.

Bankroll – the amount of money that the individual has to place on bets.

Bet – to wager money on a certain outcome.

Betting limit – this is the maximum amount of money that the person is allowed to bet.

Bookie – is short for ‘bookmaker’ and it refers to a person or company who is licensed to take bets.

Break-even point – this is where the amount of money that the person has used for bets is equal to his/her winnings.


Carpet joint – refers to a casino

Century – is slang for £100

Chalk – the favourite to win in a sports event.

Chalk player – is a person who always likes to bet on the favourite.

Co-favourites – this refers to other favourites in an event who have lower odds than the favourite.

Combination forecast – is when a person bets on all the combinations in the winning place. For example, in a horse race the person could choose three horses and bet on all combinations where they finish in first, second, and third place – in this case there would be six possible outcomes.

Correct score – this is where people bet on the actual score of the match.


Daily double – this is a bet when a person tries to predict the winners of the first two races of the day.

Data mining – is where people go searching for any information that will increase their chances of placing the right bet.

Dead heat – refers to a situation when it is impossible to determine a winner between two contestants. In this type of situation, the person who has placed a bet on either of these contestants only receives a portion of what they would have collected if their selection had won outright.

Dog – this refers to the underdog in a sporting event.

Dog player – refers to a person who likes to bet on the underdog.

Draw – this is where it is not possible to establish a winner in an event.


Each way – this is where one bet acts as if it were two bets because the person is wagering on the winner as well as their selection finishing in a place. For example, if the individual bets on a horse ‘each way’, they will collect money if the horse wins, and they will also collect money if the horse finishes in a place (usually first or second place). So when the horse wins the person will collect money for the win as well as the place, but if the horse comes in second they will just collect on the place bet.

Even money – is when the person wins the amount they wagered as well as getting the money they wagered back. So if the individual has wagered £10, they will get back £20 and £10 of this will be their winnings (this is ignoring tax). Even odds are written 1:1, and they can also be referred to as ‘double your money’.


Fast – this can refer to the state of a racecourse for a particular race. To say that the ground is fast means that the conditions are right for a fast race.

Favourite – this is the competitor that is most likely to win.

Field – the number of horses in a race.

Fixed – this is a claim that the result of a race has been staged, so that one competitor or team is allowed to win.

Forecast – is a type of bet where the person predicts who will come first and second in an event.

Form – this is an estimation of the competitor’s likelihood to win based on their previous record.

Form player – this refers to those people who like to place bets based on the past performance of a competitor.

Frame betting – this is a bet that people make on the number of frames that will be played in a snooker match.


Grand - £1000


Half-time bet – this is a bet placed at half time during an event such as a football or rugby match.

Hedge bet – is where a person also bets money on the opposite outcome, so that they do not lose too much money.

Highest break – this is where people bet on the highest break in a snooker tournament. This type of wager usually involves predicting who will make the break and the total number reached in the break.

High roller – this is a person who is placing large amounts of money on individual bets.

Hot – is when a person is on a winning streak.


In-running golf betting – refers to the ability to place bets on a golf tournament during the event.

In the money – this means that a competitor has finished in a position that will mean a payout for people placing bets on them.


Joint favourite – this can refer to two horses in an event that seem equally likely to win.

Jolly – slang for the favourite to win an event.


Long odds – are usually more than 100 to 1, and these odds are given to competitors that bookmakers feel are unlikely to win.

Long-shot – this refers to the competitor that is least likely to win in an event.


Multiples – this is another name for accumulator (see above).

Monkey - £500


No action – this is where bets are not paid out because there is no result from the sporting event. This type of outcome can happen with sports like cricket.

Nose – this is used in horse racing to refer to a horse that just barely achieved victory.


Odds – refer to the ratio of probability of an event occurring, and this is what bookmakers use for determining bets. The higher the odds the less likely an event will be to occur, and the more money the person can potentially collect if this event occurs.

Odds on – this is the odds given to the competitors that are most likely to win. If an individual places an ‘odds on’ bet, they will get less than even money if they win – in order words they will collect less than their original wager, but this will be on top of the amount they invested in the bet.

Odds against – is when the person will be able to collect more than their original bet because their selection is seen as less likely to win.

Outsider – an underdog in an event.

Over – is often used in football betting to refer to a wager on the number of goals being over a certain amount.


Past post – this refers to a wager that is placed after the event has commenced. It is the opposite of ante post.

Photo finish – this is a race that is so close that a photograph of the competitors crossing the line needs to be used in order to decide on the winner.

Place – means that a horse or greyhound has finished in first or second place.

Pool – the total amount of money that has been wagered on an event.

Price – this is another way to refer to betting odds.

Punter – the person who is placing the bet.


Reverse forecast – is where the individual bets on two horses to finish first and second where it does not matter which of them ends up in first or second place.

Runner – a person who places bets on behalf of somebody else.


Scratch – this is where a wager is cancelled.

Schooling race – this is a race where it is not possible to make bets because it is not a competitive race.

Sharp – somebody who is highly skilled at placing bets.

Show – this is when a horse or greyhound finishes third place in a race.

Singles – this is the most basic type of bet and involves putting money on one particular outcome.

Spread betting – this is a type of wager where the person bets money on the spread of certain outcomes in the sporting event. An example of this would be betting that one football team will be awarded more than 14 corners during the game – if the number of corners is less than this, the person will lose the bet.

Starting price – the final odds for a race just before it commences.

Stake – the money that is wagered on an event.

Sure thing – this is a bet that is almost certain to result in winnings.

System – this is a method for placing bets that involves using mathematical formula to increase the likelihood of winning.


Tic-tac – this is the sign language used by bookies on racing tracks.

Ton – this is slang for £100 (aka a ‘century’)

Tote board – is a board on a race track that displays the odds on different horses in a race. After the event is complete it will display the results.

Tout – a person who sells or provides betting advice for free.

Trebles – this is one bet on three selections in an event. All three of these selections will have to win in the event for this bet to pay out.

Tricast – refers to a bet on the first, second, and third place in an event.

Turf accountant – is another name for a bookmaker.


Underdog – this is the competitor is predicted to have a low chance of winning and will therefore be given high odds.


Void – means that the bet is invalid because there is no result.


Winner’s circle – this is where horses or greyhounds go if they have won an event.

Winning margin – refers to a bet on the predicted margin by which one team will win over another.

Wire – the finish line in horse or greyhound racing.


X – this letter is used to refer to a draw on a betting coupon.


Yankee – this involves multiple bets on four selections and includes 6 doubles, 4 trebles, and an accumulator. A Yankee is a complex type of wager that is popular with seasoned gamblers.


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