Ante-Post – Odds and prices are given on an event in advance of the commencement, usually months and weeks but at least 24 hours in advance. Generally applies to horse racing. Odds are usually higher to take account of increased risk that a selection may fail to actually take part in an event.

American Odds – Referred to as US odds, this is an odds style displaying the amount that would be won if betting 100, if positive odds, or the stake required to win 100 when negative, e.g. evens (2.0) would be 100, 1/2 (1.5) would be -200.

Arbitrage – Backing all selections within a market, across several bookmakers, to exploit the price discrepancies and guarantee a positive return.

Arber – short for arbitrator, a punter who guarantees profit by backing different outcomes on through different bookies to guarantee combined odds of over 100%. Not allowed by UK bookmakers.

Asian Handicap – Two-way market that uses a point/goal Handicap to alter perceived bias between two competing teams and also eliminates the possibility of a draw.

ATS – Acronym meaning against the Spread. ATS is betting on a selection that is giving away points/goals and opposing the perceived logic of the spread.

Back – Wager an amount of money on a contestant or an event, e.g. ‘backing Liverpool to win’. Common derivatives include back a winner, back a loser, back a duff horse, etc.

Banker – A bet or selection that is felt to be extremely likely to win. Often used to boost the value of multiple bets or combination bets.

Best Price – The odds that give you the best value on for a horse, contestant, team or event. Derivatives include best price guaranteed, best price promise, best price matched, etc.

Bet Slip – The form or slip where you write your bets or if online the box in which your bet selections appear. Here you select your bet type and stake.

Betting Exchange – A betting site that doesn’t accept bets, but instead matches backers (those betting on odds) with layers (those offering the odds) taking a commission on the winning bets.

Bookmaker – An company or individual licenced to receive bets from members of the public. Bookmakers must have a licence to operate in the UK.


Bookie – Short term used for bookmaker.

Chase – Chase or Chasing is where you place bets to recover losses, usually on markets you would not usually bet on.

Commission  – The cost of placing a bet calculated by summing the implied probability and subtracting from 100, the measure of a fair market. In relation to Exchange betting, commission is the charge applied to winning bets, applied as a %.

Decimal Odds – Odds displayed in decimal format, odds include your stake. Returns are calculated by multiplying your stake by the decimal. For example decimal odds of 4.0 (3/1) with a bet of £10 will pay 10×4.0 = £40.

Drift – The process of odds moving outwards (increasing) before the start of an event.

Dutching – Spreading your planned stake over more than one outcome on an event. For example if you had a £10 stake and you spread it on two outcomes. you could use £4 on a home win, £6 on a draw. This is based on the same amount of winnings coming back should either of the outcomes happen.

Each-way – A bet that comprises two independent bets, one for the selection winning and one for the selection placing e.g 2nd or 3rd. Place conditions vary in relation to the number of participants. Mostly commonly, but not exclusively, used in horse and greyhound racing.

Edge – Betting advantage either gained by consistently exploiting a bookmaker’s margins or derived from proprietary knowledge.

Evens – A bet with odds of 1/1 (2.0). You will receive the same amount as your stake in winnings.

Exchange Betting – A form of peer-peer betting. The bookmaker matches the amount of bets for a selection (backing) and the amount bet against a selection (laying) at defined offs. The bookie takes a commission but odds for the customer can be much better.

Expected goals (xG) – The number of goals a team (or teams) would expect to score in a match. This is determined by assigning a value to shots on goal, the number of shots, shot location, the in-game situation and the proximity of opposition defenders.

Favourites – A favourite is the simply the most favoured selection and considered the most likely to win, consequently these have the lowest odds.

Fractional Odds – Odds written as a fraction, the most common betting format in the UK. These odds show the profit you stand to win excluding your state, e.g. £10 stake at 3/1 would win you £30 plus your £10 stake back.

Futures – Bets common in the US where prices are offered in advance of an event, similar to ante-post.

Handicap Betting – System of virtually adding or removing points from a predicted outcome to make a one-sided event more attractive to a punter. For example a stronger team starting with a one goal disadvantage.

Handicapper – Someone who uses maths based rating systems to forecast outcomes on sporting events and place bets accordingly.

House – The bookie, casino, gaming institution e.g. “the house always wins”

IBAS – The Independent Betting Adjudication Service. A service that deals with disputes that cannot be resolved between punter and bookie.

Juice – Commission taken by a bookmaker or index.

Kelly Criterion – Popular staking method which suggests that stake should be proportional to the perceived edge.

Lay – Betting against a certain outcome, usually peer-peer exchange betting. Also known as laying a bet or laying odds.

Layer – Person or bookmaker providing the bet, the odds layer.

Lay off – Where a bookmaker reduces liability by covering a bet at another bookmaker; or where an individual bettor reduces risk, limits losses or locks in a profit by backing both sides of a market, or several selections within a market.

Limit – Maximum bet amount allowed.

Lock – Selection which is considered especially likely to occur; often the cornerstone of a Multiple bet.

Long Shot – A selection with high odds that is unlikely to win, also known as an outsider.

Margin – The implied cost of placing a bet set by the bookmaker. Bookmakers inflate the perceived likelihood of an event – as represented in their odds – suggesting it is more likely than underlying probability.

Money Line – A bet on the outcome of a match/game. Common on US sports.

Multiple – Bets involving more than one selection, doubles, trebles, etc.

Nailed On – Bet that is considered a certainty to win.

Nap – A term used by tipsters and journalists to indicate their strongest selection, thought to stand for Napoleon.

Non-Runner – Selection that is withdrawn prior to a race or event.

Odds – Returns offered by a bookmaker relative to stake for a given scenario. Also known as price.

Odds Against – Odds higher than evens (2.0 / +100).

Odds Compiler – Also known as odds setter or odds trader, an employee of a bookmaker who’s job is to set the odds.

Odds On – Odds lower than evens (2.0 / +100).

Parlay – American term for an accumulator with 2 or more selections.

Payout – The return on a winning bet.

Picks – Terms for individual selections.

Place – Positions in addition to the win paid out when place or each way betting.

Place Terms – The number of places allocated and the odds given relative to a win, e.g. 4 places at 1/5th the odds.

Point Spread – The measure of the perceived difference in the abilities of participants in a given event as illustrated in the Handicap/Spread market.

Scalping – Exploiting price/bonus discrepancies between various bookmakers for profit.

Sharp – Professional gambler, e.g. sharpshooter.

Shortening the Odds – Bookmakers decision to lower the odds price for an event due to heavy wagers or other factors.

Single – The simplest form of a bet, one line that can generally either win or lose.

Smart Money – Wager thought most likely to win, often with ‘insider’ information.

Spread Betting – Bet type where winnings and losses are not fixed but based on the accuracy of a prediction.

Stake – The amount of money wagered or bet.

Tipster – Someone who either gives or sells tips to punters.

Tout – Someone who sells either tickets or advice related to sports or betting, generally an illegal practice.

Value – The process of getting the best odds or returns.

Vig – Another name for a bookmakers margin or commission on a given book.

Void Bet – A wager that is cancelled and stake returned either because the event did not run or terms were contravened.

Wager – A form of placing money on odds offered by a bookmaker.

Win / Draw / Win – Name sometimes given to a match betting market where there are three possible outcomes.

Winnings – The profit made from a bet, minus the stake.

X – Shortcode to denote a draw or tie.

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