Betting Terminology (Article No. 256)


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A

Acceptance Stages

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.

AFC

American Football Conference (U.S).

All In

"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.

All Out

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.

Also Ran

A term in Horse Racing for all horses that run, but do not finish in the paid out 'places'.

Ante Post

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

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.

Apprentice

A young jockey who gains a weight allowance over more experienced jockeys. The weight allowance decreases as the jockey gains more victories.

Arber

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%.

ATC

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

Back

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

B.A.G.S. stands for Bookmakers' Afternoon Greyhound Service.

Balloted out

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.

Banker

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.

Best Price

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.

Bet Receipt

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.

Betslip

Where you put your selections and enter your stake before confirming your bet.

Betting Exchange

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'.

Betting W/O

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.

Blinkers

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.

Book

A bookmaker's tally of amounts bet on each competitor/selection within an event, and odds necessary to gain profit.

Bookmaker

This is a person or company, whom is licensed to accept bets from the public. Also known as a "Bookie".

Bumper Races

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.

Buy Price

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.

Century

This is £100 GBP (also known as a 'Ton').

Chasing

Betting on things you normally wouldn’t in order to recover losses.

Circled game

A game that we restrict the betting on, usually because of injuries or bad weather.

Classics

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.

Co-Favourites

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.

Colours

These are the racing silks of the owners, as worn by the jockeys.

Colt

The name for male horse under the age of 5. After which it is called a Stallion.

Coupled

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.

Course Specialist

This is a horse which tends to run well at a particular track.

Cover

In sports betting, beating the spread by a required number of points. To "cover the spread".

D

Dam

The female parent of a horse.

Dead Heat

Where 2 or more selections tie in an event. For more information, please refer to our article on Dead Heats.

Decimal Odds

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.

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).

Dividend

The winning return declared for Pool Betting. Tote payouts are always in dividends.

Doubling-up

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.

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.

E

Early Prices

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.

Evens

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

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

Favourite

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

"The Field" usually refers to all "other selections" in a market excluding the named selection(s) which is(are) usually the favourite(s).

Fillie

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.

First show

The first list of prices for an event.

Fixed Prices

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.

Flat Racing

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.

Foal

A young horse, up to the age of 1 year. Males are Colts and females are Fillies.

Form

Past performances used to give an indication of the competitor's chances. In US, short for the Daily Racing Form.

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 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).

Full Cover

All the doubles, trebles and accumulators involved in a given number of selections.

Full Time

A football term for the standard match length, 90-minutes.

Futures (US)

Odds offered on winners of sporting events in advance of the event itself. Please refer to our article on Ante-Post.

G

Gelding

A castrated male horse.

Going

This is the state of the ground. E.g. hard, good, soft etc.

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.

Grand

This is £1,000 GBP (also known as a 'Big 'Un').

Grand National

The Grand National is a famous National Hunt horse race which is held in April at Aintree Racecourse.

H

Handicap Race

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.

Held Up

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

Home team

The team playing in it's own town or at it's own stadium.

Hurdle

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

IBAS

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

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.

In Running

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

Joint Favourites

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
L

LBO

This is an acronym for 'Licensed Betting Office' in the UK.

Length

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

Lines

Handicap values, pointspreads and odds offered to the punter.

Longshot

The outsider or un-fancied runner, usually against which "long odds" have been offered. Can be referred to as an Outsider.

Long Odds

Odds (e.g. 100 to 1) offered against a competitor unlikely to win.

M

Maiden

A horse that is yet to win a race.

Mare

What a 5 year-old female horse is called. Prior to this they are referred to as Fillies.

MLB

Major League Baseball (U.S).

Monkey

£500 GBP.

Morning Line

Forecast of probable odds.

N

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 strongest selection of the day or meeting. Reputed to stand for "Napoleon".

Considered to be Nailed On.

NBA

National Basketball Association (U.S).

NCAA

National Collegiate Athletic Association (U.S).

NFC

National Football Conference (U.S).

NFL

National Football League (U.S).

NHL

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.

90 minutes

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.

Non-Runner

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.

Normal Time

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

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 odds reflect the bookmaker's view of the chance of a competitor winning (adjusted to include a profit).

Odds-against

Where the odds are greater than evens (e.g. "5 to 2"). The amount you win will be greater 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

A betting price where the odds are less than Evens i.e. the winnings are smaller than the stake.

Off

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'.

Official Result

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.

Off-Track

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.

Outsider

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

P

Pace

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.

Paddock

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.

Pari-mutuel

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.

Permutations

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".

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').

Pitch

The position where a bookmaker conducts his business on a racecourse.

Pitcher Change

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.

Places

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.

Place Terms

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.

Pointspread

This is the start that the Favourite gives the Underdog. Also known as the Line or Handicap.

Pony

£25 GBP.

Postponed

A contest cancelled for any reason prior to it commencing and rescheduled at a later time/date.

Price

These are the odds offered for a selection.

Punter

This is a (UK) term used for someone who has a bet.

Q
R

Re-Run

A greyhound race which was previously started but not resolved due to technical difficulty is usually re-run later in the meeting.

Return

This is the total amount you receive for a winning bet, including the stake being returned.

Winnings + Stake = Returns.

Related Contingencies

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.

Ringer

A horse (or greyhound) entered in a race under another's name - usually a good runner replacing a poorer one.

Run-In

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

S

Score

£20 GBP.

Scratch (US)

This is the withdrawal of a competitor.

Selection(s)

The horse, greyhound, football team etc. that you the customer have predicted as a winner of a particular event.

Selling Race

This is a race in which the eventual winner must be offered for sale by auction.

Settler

A bookmaker's expert who calculates payouts.

Shortening the Odds

A bookmaker's reduction of the odds offered in the face of heavy betting.

Sire

The male parent of a horse.

Smart Money

Insiders' bets or the insiders themselves.

Stake

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.

Stallion

What a 5 year-old male horse is called. Prior to this they are referred to as Colts.

Stalls

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

Stanley Cup

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.

Steamer

This is a selection backed significantly on the morning of a race, causing its odds to shorten markedly.

Steeplechasing

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.

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.

Stoppage Time

Another name for Injury Time.

Superbowl

Championship for American Football in the U.S.

Sure Thing

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

System

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.

Tic-Tac

The sign language which UK bookmakers use to communicate with each other on-course.

Tips

The selections chosen by an expert to bet on (also known as "picks").

Tipster

A person who gives or sells to bettors his estimate of likely winners of a race, game or event (also known as a Tout).

Tongue-Tie

A breathing aid used on horses that has a strip of cloth to stabilise the tongue and stop it from sliding over the bit.

Tote

'The Horserace Totalisator Board' otherwise known as "The Tote". A body in the UK set up to operate pool-betting on all racecourses.

Tote Board

A racecourse information board that displays approximate odds, betting totals, payout prices and other information necessary to the punter.

Tote Prices

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.

Tote Returns

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.

Tournament Bets

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.

Tout

To give or sell betting advice or one who does so (also known as a Tipster).

Trainer's Selected

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.

Trap Number

In greyhound racing, greyhounds start from numbered boxes (usually one to six) which are called traps.

Trip

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.

Underdog

A selection that receives a point start in a Handicap, or a selection that is quite unlikely to win.

US Prices

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

Examples:
$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

V

Value

Getting the best odds on a wager.

Visor

A device fitted to a horse’s head which restricts it’s field of vision in order to help it’s concentration.

Void Bet

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

W

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.

Weighed in

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.

Win

The term used to describe a 1st place finish.

Win-Draw-Win (WDW)

This refers to the three possible outcomes of a sports fixture (home win, draw and away win).

Winnings

Profit from a winning bet, excluding the Stake.

Withdrawn

The decision to remove a horse from a race before it starts either before or after coming Under Starters Orders.

World Series

Championship for baseball.

X

"X"

Taken to mean 'a draw' on a soccer betting coupon.

Y
Z
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