Betting Terminology A-Z (Article No. 256)
Betting terminology can be a bit confusing at first, so here's a run down of what some of the most common terms mean.
And if you're still unsure, just get in touch and we'll be happy to help!
And if you're still unsure, just get in touch and we'll be happy to help!
If you would like to read our A-Z of "Bet Types" instead of "Betting Terminology", please click here.
TOP TERMS FOR NEW BETTORS!
In betting markets, prices are typically expressed as fractions e.g. 10/1 - meaning that should the bet win, for every unit staked, you would receive 10 in return (plus the original stake back). 'Evens' means even money e.g. winnings would be exactly the same as the stake (plus your stake back), whereas a shorter odds price such as 1/2 indicates that for every £2 you stake, a successful outcome would result in a £1 profit.
The Cash Out facility allows you to settle your bet before the market/event you bet on has been completed (available on indicated markets). This lets you secure a profit or minimise your losses if your selection is doing well or badly. The bet will be settled at the Cash Out price which is different to the original price you took; this is calculated using a formula relating to the price at the time of the bet and the price at the time of the request to cash out.
Bet on any horse and if its Starting Price (SP) is longer than the price you took, we'll pay you out at the bigger price. For example, if you take a price of 3/1 and the selection wins with a SP of 4/1, we pay you at 4/1. Of course if you take a price of 3/1 and your selection wins with a SP of 2/1, we'll still pay you at 3/1.
A combination of a Win and a Place bet - of equal size. Checking the EW box on your betslip, typically on Horse Racing, means you will be putting half of your total stake on your selection to win the race, with the other half on your selection to 'place' (finish in the top two, three or four etc - varying depending on the size of the field).
Any bet involving more than one selection, such as a Double, Treble or Accumulator, including combination multiple bets like Trixies and Lucky 15s.
A single cumulative bet involving four or more selections, all of which must win to get a return. Returns are easily calculated, with the stake going on to the first selection, and then the returns of that going on to the second, and so on.
Price Boosts are where a selection's price is improved for a set period of time, bettering the value offered by the original price stated. For example, a horse might be priced at 3/1, but we might offer 4/1 for a short period of time.
Moneyback offers are where stakes are refunded as a Free Bet on bets on specified markets where a specified set of conditions are met. For example, moneyback on Correct Score bets if both teams score in a football match.
Extra Place promotions are usually offered on Horse races. In these offers we may increase the number of 'places' paid out on, for example, from 3 to 4 or from 4 to 5.
Betting during a live event e.g. after a football match has kicked-off.
A sports market similar to match betting, where the stake is returned to you if neither team wins an event, essentially removing the 'draw' from the Win-Draw-Win market.
An at-a-glance view of the same market (typically the Win-Draw-Win market) across many different events, ideal for building a Multiple bet.
If you want to get stuck in and become an expert on the lingo, read on for our full A-Z guide below.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Dates leading up to a race when Owners and Trainers must decide whether or not to run their horses in particular races. Each race has 2, one 5 days prior to the event, and one the day before. These can also be called declaration stages.
Across The Card
Betting on races at the same time at different meetings.
American Football Conference (U.S).
"All in" or "All in play or not" markets are markets that have been priced up to reflect the fact that the selection may not take any part in the event. Therefore if your selection does not play, or take part in the event, your bet will stand as a loser.
When a horse is trying its hardest.
All Weather Racing
Some racecourses have an artificial surface, enabling racing to commence when other grass tracks may be closed by weather conditions. All weather tracks are for Flat Racing only, and include venues such as Lingfield, Kempton Park, Wolverhampton and Southwell.
A term in Horse Racing for all horses that run, but do not finish in the paid out 'places'.
Ante Post markets are set up far in advance of the scheduled start of certain events. Ante post prices are usually higher to reflect the additional risk that the selection may not even take part in the event. Ante Post markets are "All in", in that, the bet still stands whether the selection takes part in the event or not.
Many Major Horse Racing events have Ante Post markets created sometimes a year in advance, for example the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National.
Please also see our full article on Ante Post Bets.
Ante-post prices are offered in the days, weeks or months preceding a major race, such as the Grand National. When you bet a selection ante-post you are betting on the chances of it competing as well as winning. Hence if it is unable to participate due to injury or not being entered in the race your bet is a loser. The only exception to this is when a horse is entered in a race but is balloted out in which case stakes will be returned.
A young jockey who gains a weight allowance over more experienced jockeys. The weight allowance decreases as the jockey gains more victories.
A punter who locks in profit through exploiting a market by backing all outcomes of an event at a combined book of less than 100%.
Synonym of Any To Come.
At The Post
A term indicating that all the horses are at the starting point of the race, and that the event will begin imminently.B
To back a selection is to place a bet of any amount, on a stated event occurring. 'Backing' a football team, is betting on that team winning.
B.A.G.S. stands for Bookmakers' Afternoon Greyhound Service.
The process by which the number of runners in a handicap race is reduced, on the occasions when more horses have been entered for a race than is permitted for safety reasons. This is done in ascending order of weight.
A selection that is an extremely strong favourite, may be considered by many as a banker. Bankers are often used as the cornerstones of combination bets to boost value.
The price of a horse may vary throughout the day of the race. Best Price is the price on the day that gives you the best return for your money. For example if a Horse was 10/1, but the price drifted to 12/1 before coming into 9/1, the Best Price would be 12/1.
Once a bet is placed successfully, you will receive a receipt on which will be a unique bet receipt number. If you do not receive a bet receipt then your bet is not confirmed.
Where you put your selections and enter your stake before confirming your bet.
A betting exchange is a form of bookmaking in which the operator offsets its risk perfectly through technology, such that the effect to the customer is that customers are seen to bet between themselves.
Betting In Running (BIR)
Markets that are still available to bet on throughout the course of an event. Also known as 'Live Betting' or 'Betting In Play'.
Stands for 'Betting Without', and usually refers to the favourite(s) of an event. For settlement purposes the selection(s) excluded are disregarded.
BIR and BIP
Acronyms for Betting In Running or Betting In Play.
A device fitted to a horse’s head which restricts it’s field of vision in order to help it’s concentration.
Board / Show Prices
The prices currently displayed by the trackside boards of the on-course bookmakers. These prices replace Ladbrokes early prices normally around ten or fifteen minutes before the race begins. The Starting Price (SP) is derived from these prices.
A bookmaker's tally of amounts bet on each competitor/selection within an event, and odds necessary to gain profit.
This is a person or company, whom is licensed to accept bets from the public. Also known as a "Bookie".
These are Flat races run under National Hunt rules so as to give inexperienced jumping horses experience of racing without any jumps. These races are between two and two and a half miles long, called National Hunt Flat races, but are informally known as Bumper races.
In Spread or Index betting, the higher figure quoted by an Index bookmaker.C
CD / C&D
Course and Distance. A form guide indicator for a horse. 'C' - has won at the same course, 'D' - has won at the same distance, 'C&D' - has won a race at the same course and distance.
This is £100 GBP (also known as a 'Ton').
Betting on things you normally wouldn’t in order to recover losses.
A game that we restrict the betting on, usually because of injuries or bad weather.
The five major races of the flat season for 3 year olds: the 1000 Guineas, the 2000 Guineas, the Derby, the Oaks and the St Leger. Fillies can be entered for all five, but colts are not allowed to be entered for the 1000 Guineas or the Oaks.
Clerk of the Scales
The official responsible for ensuring all jockeys weigh in correctly at the end of a race.
Where three or more competitors are all favourite (have lowest odds).
If you back a successful co-favourite you need to divide your stake by the number of favourites to calculate your winnings.
These are the racing silks of the owners, as worn by the jockeys.
The name for male horse under the age of 5. After which it is called a Stallion.
Available in Pool Betting. One or more selections that have been grouped together for the purposes of betting. Most commonly, horses are coupled in US or French racing if they share the same Owner or Trainer.
This is a horse which tends to run well at a particular track.
In sports betting, beating the spread by a required number of points. To "cover the spread".D
The female parent of a horse.
Where 2 or more selections tie in an event. For more information, please refer to our article on Dead Heats.
You can choose how you want to view your odds to be displayed on your account. Decimal Odds show the odds as a decimal (e.g. 4.00). Decimal odds include both your stake and winnings. Your returns are easily calculated in this format, by simply multiplying the decimal odds by your stake.
For example, £10 at odds of 4.00, returns you (£10 x 4.00) £40. This is inclusive of the stake being returned.
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).
The winning return declared for Pool Betting. Tote payouts are always in dividends.
The basis of some widely used systems. After a loss the player doubles the size of his previous bet hoping to win back the money lost and make a profit. Also known as a Martingale system.
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.
This is where the price of one selection increases because of the lack of interest from punters.E
Prices which are offered on selected races that day in advance of racecourse betting, sometimes offered the day before, but usually announced on the day of the race. These prices are fixed if you take them but may be subject to a Rule 4 in the case of any withdrawals. If your early price selection does not run you will normally have your stake refunded.
Odds of 1 to 1, or 1:1. A £10.00 stake would return £20.00 (£10.00 win plus £10.00 staked). Also known as "scotch" or "levels". Evens In Decimal Odds = 2.00; in Fractional Odds = 1/1; in US Odds = +100.
Extra Time in football is an additional 30 minute period (2 x 15 minute halves) played to decide the winner of a tied fixture in Knockout competitions where one team is required to be victorious. Standard football bets do not include Extra Time, they are settled on the result in 90-minutes, and so to include Extra Time, the market you bet on must specifically state that it is included, or state 'Outright' or 'To Qualify'.F
The selection considered most likely to win an event and therefore has the shortest or lowest odds (also known as the "jolly").
When two selections share this position they are named Joint-Favourites.
If three or more share this position they are named Co-favourites.
"The Field" usually refers to all "other selections" in a market excluding the named selection(s) which is(are) usually the favourite(s).
The name for female horse under the age of 5. After which it is called a Mare.
First Past the Post (FPP)
The first horse to cross the finish line in a race. All bets placed on UK and Irish horse racing will be settled on First Past the Post and the Official Result. This offer applies to winning single and multiple bets and the win part of Each-Way bets. There are exceptions to this rule, and these as well as more information can be found in our article on First Past the Post.
The first list of prices for an event.
A fixed price is the price you get if you choose to take a price on a particular selection. On the internet this is done by selecting the price rather than the Starting Price (SP). In a betting shop you can ask the staff to write the price on the betting slip to have the bet at a fixed price. Otherwise it will be settled at the SP. For telephone bets the operator will quote a price and if you request that price then it will be read back to you and that is the price the bet will be settled at.
Races are run over a minimum distance of five furlongs and a maximum of 2.5 miles.
The official Flat Racing season now runs all year round to include races run on all-weather surfaces such as at Kempton, Lingfield, Southwell and Wolverhampton.
A young horse, up to the age of 1 year. Males are Colts and females are Fillies.
Past performances used to give an indication of the competitor's chances. In US, short for the Daily Racing Form.
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 on to calculate your Total Return.
For example : £10 @ 6/4 = £15.00 (this is your Profit) plus your stake back (£10) = £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).
All the doubles, trebles and accumulators involved in a given number of selections.
A football term for the standard match length, 90-minutes.
Odds offered on winners of sporting events in advance of the event itself. Please refer to our article on Ante-Post.G
A castrated male horse.
This is the state of the ground. E.g. hard, good, soft etc.
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.
This is £1,000 GBP (also known as a 'Big 'Un').
The Grand National is a famous National Hunt horse race which is held in April at Aintree Racecourse.H
A Handicap race is a horse race where horses carry different weights. A better horse will carry a heavier weight in order to make the race fairer. This allows for more skill in betting.
This is restraining a horse behind the other runners in the early stages of a race.
The team playing in it's own town or at it's own stadium.
A race run under National Hunt Rules. In this race, the jumps are smaller and more flexible than those in the Chase, and they are a minimum of three and a half feet high. Races are between two miles and three and a half miles long.I
Independent Betting Adjudication Service: An independent betting adjudicator which deals with any disputes which cannot be resolved between a bookmaker and a customer. Please see our full article on IBAS.
Injury time is the amount of additional time, usually a few minutes, added on by the referee of a football match at the end of each 45 minute half. The time added is to account for any stoppages for substitutions or injuries etc, and is classified as part of the standard 90 minutes.
A term referring to an event which has started and is In Play. BIR and BIP (Betting In Running and Betting In Play) also refer to betting on events that have already begun.
In The Frame
A selection that has finished 'in the frame', is one that has finished within the specified Place Terms for a particular race. As well as first, this may also include second, third or fourth, but depends on the event type and number of entries - for more details please see our Each Way article.
In The Money
This describes the horses in a race that finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd (and sometimes 4th) or the horses on which money will be paid to punters, depending on the Place Terms.J
When two or more horses share the shortest price at the start of a race. Bets on the favourite will have the stake split, half on each of the 2 favourites.K
This is an acronym for 'Licensed Betting Office' in the UK.
This is the length of a horse from the horse's nose to the start of its tail.
Handicap values, pointspreads and odds offered to the punter.
The outsider or un-fancied runner, usually against which "long odds" have been offered. Can be referred to as an Outsider.
Odds (e.g. 100 to 1) offered against a competitor unlikely to win.M
A horse that is yet to win a race.
What a 5 year-old female horse is called. Prior to this they are referred to as Fillies.
Major League Baseball (U.S).
Forecast of probable odds.N
The selection which is considered to be a racing 'Certainty'.
This is the selection that Racing Correspondents and Tipsters nominate as their strongest selection of the day or meeting. Reputed to stand for "Napoleon".
Considered to be Nailed On.
National Basketball Association (U.S).
National Collegiate Athletic Association (U.S).
National Football Conference (U.S).
National Football League (U.S).
National Hockey League (U.S).
National Hunt Rules
This can also be called 'Jumps Racing'. This is for Horses a minimum of 4 years old, and involves competing over a minimum distance of 2 miles.
The standard match length in football. 90-minutes includes bets are all on 90-minutes unless specifically stating otherwise. In knockout competitions, to include the result after Extra Time or penalties, To Qualify markets must be used.
This is a selection that does not take part in a race or event for which it is entered.
Non-Runner No Bet
If your selection is non-runner no bet then you will get your stake back if your selection doesn't participate.
Football term for 90-minutes.
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.O
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.
This is another name for the price. The odds reflect the bookmaker's view of the chance of a competitor winning (adjusted to include a profit).
Where the odds are greater than evens (e.g. "5 to 2"). The amount you win will be greater than your stake.
This is a person who sets the odds by using research, their own knowledge and judgement about a sport.
A betting price where the odds are less than Evens i.e. the winnings are smaller than the stake.
The specific time to the second that an event actually starts at. Can also be referred to as 'The Off', 'Race-off' or 'Off-Time'.
The Official Result is the final result of an event on which settlement of bets will be based. This is announced shortly after an event finishes to ensure fast settlement of bets, and therefore ignores any subsequent disqualifications or enquiries. Please see our full article on Results.
Betting conducted away from the track.
On the Bit
When a horse needs no riding from the jockey.
On The Nose
This is backing a horse to win only.
This is the opposite to the favourite, usually to be found at lengthy odds. Also known as a Longshot or 'The Rag'.P
This is the speed at which races are run at different stages. 'Up with the pace' means close to the leaders and 'Off the pace' means some way behind the leaders. Form for a race is often linked to the pace at which it was run, particularly relevant in the early stages.
This is the part of the race course incorporating the pre-parade ring (where horses are paraded prior to the race) and winner's enclosure.
These odds refer to dividends declared at races which are run outside the UK and Ireland. All bets are pooled and winners are paid according to size of pool and the number of other winners.
It is possible to 'Perm' selections, which is a way of 'combining' selections in multiple bets. 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.
In football betting it is often used to mean "any", e.g. "Perm three from five" means "All of the available trebles from five selections".
This is a method of determining the result where there is a close finish using Photographic evidence.
These are the selections chosen by an expert to bet on (also known as 'Tips').
The position where a bookmaker conducts his business on a racecourse.
The pitcher's performance in Baseball greatly affects the outcome of a game. Therefore, if a game is subject to a late Pitcher change, all previous odds are irrelevant and all bets are void.
A selection that 'Places', is one that has finished within the specified 'Place Terms' for a particular race. As well as first, this may also include second, third or fourth, but depends on the event type and number of entries - for more details please see our Each Way article.
In non pari-mutuel betting, the returns for place bets are calculated as a proportion of the win odds. This varies between events and sports. The place terms should be clearly advertised when the bet is struck. Please also see our Each Way article.
This is the start that the Favourite gives the Underdog. Also known as the Line or Handicap.
A contest cancelled for any reason prior to it commencing and rescheduled at a later time/date.
These are the odds offered for a selection.
This is a (UK) term used for someone who has a bet.Q
A greyhound race which was previously started but not resolved due to technical difficulty is usually re-run later in the meeting.
This is the total amount you receive for a winning bet, including the stake being returned.
Winnings + Stake = Returns.
You may find that there are some bets you can't combine on the betslip. This may be because the bets are related. For example, you cannot place a double on Chelsea to beat Liverpool in the semi-final and on Chelsea to reach the final.
A horse (or greyhound) entered in a race under another's name - usually a good runner replacing a poorer one.
This is the distance from the home turn (or last obstacle) to the winning post.S
This is the withdrawal of a competitor.
The horse, greyhound, football team etc. that you the customer have predicted as a winner of a particular event.
This is a race in which the eventual winner must be offered for sale by auction.
A bookmaker's expert who calculates payouts.
Shortening the Odds
A bookmaker's reduction of the odds offered in the face of heavy betting.
The male parent of a horse.
Insiders' bets or the insiders themselves.
This is the amount of money invested on a particular selection in a wager.
Stake unit (or 'Unit Stake')
The value of each bet in a multiple bet. Example: A Lucky 15 (15 bets) totalling £15, has a Unit Stake of £1, as there is £1 invested on each of the bets within the Lucky 15.
What a 5 year-old male horse is called. Prior to this they are referred to as Colts.
Stalls are a row of compartments designed to give all the runners in a flat race an even start.
Championship for Ice Hockey in the U.S.
Starting Price (SP)
The starting price of a horse is the final price returned by the bookmakers on the course for a particular horse. The starting price is calculated by the average price on the course at the time the race starts based on the prices of a selection of the bookmakers who stand on the course. The starting price is usually the same price available just before the start of a race but occasionally differs slightly from this.
This is a selection backed significantly on the morning of a race, causing its odds to shorten markedly.
A Steeplechase (or Chase) is a form of National Hunt racing, over fences that are a minimum of four and a half feet high. The fences are more rigid than the other types of races, and the race is between two miles and four and a half miles long. The most prestigious Chase event is the Grand National.
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.
Another name for Injury Time.
Championship for American Football in the U.S.
This is any bet that has very little chance of losing.
This is a method of betting, usually mathematically based, used by a punter to try and get an advantage (if successful!).T
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 can be found in our full Rule 4 article.
The sign language which UK bookmakers use to communicate with each other on-course.
The selections chosen by an expert to bet on (also known as "picks").
A person who gives or sells to bettors his estimate of likely winners of a race, game or event (also known as a Tout).
A breathing aid used on horses that has a strip of cloth to stabilise the tongue and stop it from sliding over the bit.
'The Horserace Totalisator Board' otherwise known as "The Tote". A body in the UK set up to operate pool-betting on all racecourses.
A racecourse information board that displays approximate odds, betting totals, payout prices and other information necessary to the punter.
Tote bets are based on a pool. This means the returns for a particular selection is based on the amount of money that has been paid into the particular pool, for example the win or place pool. For this reason the actual amount returned on the bet can only be calculated after the race when all the money is in. The dividend which is displayed on screens and shops and in race courses is only an approximation of what the return or 'dividend' will be.
Returns from a tote pool (also known as a Dividend). Calculated by taking the total stake in each pool (after the take out) and dividing it by the number of winning tickets. A dividend is declared to a fixed stake, for various win, place and forecast pools.
In a Tournament, all participants are competing to come first and therefore win the Tournament. Competitions, leagues, races and championships are also classed as Tournaments. In the US, Tournaments are known as Futures.
To give or sell betting advice or one who does so (also known as a Tipster).
If a trainer runs two or more horses in the same race, the Trainer's Selected is the one that starts at the shortest price.
In greyhound racing, greyhounds start from numbered boxes (usually one to six) which are called traps.
This is the race distance.U
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 is Off. Bets on any runner failing to start after this signal, are lost.
A selection that receives a point start in a Handicap, or a selection that is quite unlikely to win.
These are commonly used in North America and Canada when betting on US sports. To calculate the Payoff on US Prices, convert the US Prices to decimal prices as follows:
- For a Favourite, for example -1.25, divide 100 by 125 and add 1 = 1.80
- For an Underdog, for example +1.25, divide 125 by 100 and add 1 = 2.25
$10 at -125 gives you a Total Return of 10 x 1.80 = 18
$10 at +125 gives you a Total Return of 10 x 2.25 = $22.50
Getting the best odds on a wager.
A device fitted to a horse’s head which restricts it’s field of vision in order to help it’s concentration.
This is a bet which is declared invalid. The stake is returned without deduction.W
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.
The "weighed in" signal is given when the weight of all jockeys has been checked after the race. It is the duty of the Clerk of the Scales to confirm they weigh approximately the figure allocated to their mounts. After this signal the result cannot be changed from a betting point of view.
The term used to describe a 1st place finish.
This refers to the three possible outcomes of a sports fixture (home win, draw and away win).
Profit from a winning bet, excluding the Stake.
The decision to remove a horse from a race before it starts either before or after coming Under Starters Orders.
Championship for baseball.X
Taken to mean 'a draw' on a soccer betting coupon.Y