This sports betting glossary will help if you have trouble telling the difference between your Asian handicaps and your arbitrage, or you don’t know how to choose between a trixie, a Heinz and a Lucky 31. All the answers to your questions about the lingo of betting are answered here.

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  • Accumulator
    A bet in which two or more selections are made with all needing to register a positive result in order to win. The wager is placed on the first bet before rolling onto the second and third and so forth. Accumulators can offer a far greater return than betting on single events, but they can be quite risky, as all the various legs of the accumulator must come through to achieve a large win. Find out more at the accumulators section.
  • Ante Post
    Traditionally used in horse and greyhound racing, an ante post bet is a wager placed in advance of an event, usually before there has been official confirmation of the runners in a race. You can benefit from significantly better odds, but if your selection does not start your stake will not be refunded.
  • Arbitrage
    Sometimes referred to as a ‘sure bet’, arbitrage bets involve placing a wager on every available outcome while still guaranteeing a profit. These bets will often have to be placed with separate bookmakers, with each company potentially offering different odds on an event. See the arbitrage page for more.
  • Asian Handicap
    A way of evening up the teams, usually in a football bet. The underdogs are given a head start and the possibility of a draw is eliminated. Read about asian handicaps at the dedicated page.


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  • Banker
    A selection that is thought extremely likely to win.
  • Bar
    The lowest price of the remaining horses not mentioned in the betting forecast for a race.
  • Betting Exchange
    A bookmaker that allows customers to create their own bets for other punters to wager against.
  • Beard
    A person tasked with placing a bet for someone else in order to keep the latter’s identity a secret.
  • Bookmaker (Bookie)
    A person or company that accepts sporting wagers.
  • Buy Price
    The top end of the spread offered by a bookie in spread betting.


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  • Canadian
    Also known as a ‘Super Yankee’, a Canadian is a wager that consists of 26 bets on five selections. The wager comprises of ten doubles, ten trebles, five four-folds and a five-fold accumulator. It is very similar in structure to a Lucky 31 without any single bets, a minimum of two selections must provide positive results in order to generate a return. A £1 Canadian would require a bettor to place a stake of £26.
  • Cash Out
    A chance for a bettor to take a reduced payout on a winning bet before the event has finished, rather than wait until the end of the game and risk losing if, for example, the backed football team concedes a late equalising goal. At some bookmakers, you also cash out on a bet that is losing to retrieve some of your stake.
  • Chalk
    The favourite to win a sporting event.
  • Chalk Player
    Someone who bets on the favourite.


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  • Dead Heat
    When two competitors share the same final standing. For example, this could involve two horses finishing a race at exactly the same time or two golfers ending an event on the same number of strokes. Bookmakers will each have their own rules for what happens with bets in this eventuality.
  • Decimal Odds
    The number by which you multiply your stake in order to calculate your winnings from a bet including the original stake. Decimals are the preferred method of displaying odds in Europe. See the odds conversion page for more.
  • Double
    A bet on two different selections, in which both must win for the wager to pay off.
  • Double Chance
    When bookies reduce the possible outcomes of a football match from three to two, by offering bets on the home team to win or draw and the away team to win or draw. The odds are shorter than those for a straight home, away or draw market.
  • Draw No Bet
    A market in which a punter has their stake returned if the event ends in a tie.
  • Drift
    Drifting odds are ones that are getting longer, for example from 3/1 to 4/1, as bookmakers decide the outcome is less likely than previously thought.
  • Dutching
    Dividing your stake in such a way across a number of selections that you will receive the same return no matter which one wins. At the start of the season, if you couldn’t decide between two rugby league teams, priced at 4/1 and 5/1, to win the Grand Final, you could put £5 on the first and £4 on the second, knowing that if either win, you would receive £20. See the dutching page for more information.


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  • Each Way
    Making two bets on an outcome in horse racing, greyhound racing, Formula E and many other sports. You wager on your selection to win and also to place, which can mean finishing in the first two, three or four, depending on the size of the field. The place part of the bet is paid at a fraction of the straight win price.
  • Evens
    When the odds dictate that the bettor’s profit is equal to their stake. This is displayed as 1 in fractional odds, 2.0 in decimal and +100 in American odds. A bet of £10 would see you receive £10, in addition to your original £10 wager.


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  • Favourite
    The selection deemed most likely to win in that market.
  • Fixed odds
    Odds that display exactly how much you will receive in return if you bet on a certain outcome. If you stake £1 at 7/1, you know you will receive £7 profit if your bet wins. This is different from Totepool betting, in which the payout is related to the amount staked by all punters in total and therefore not known when you place your bet.
  • Forecast
    Picking the first two finishers in a race in the right order. A reverse forecast means they can come in in either order, but the bet will cost twice as much to place, as you can win from two different outcomes.
  • Form
    The details of how well a horse has been running or a team playing. ‘Form’ can also be used to refer to the recent performance of athletes or competitors in other sports betting markets.
  • Fractional odds
    A representation of the return you would receive in relation to the stake you place. For example, 7/2 means that you win £7 for every £2 bet.


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  • Goliath
    A collection of 247 bets on eight different selections. The bet requires two picks to win in order to begin to pay out and consists of 28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70 four-fold accumulators, 56 five-folds, 28 six-folds, eight seven-fold accumulators and one eight-fold accumulator.


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  • Handicap
    A market that allows bettors to find better odds on favourites winning by deducting goals or points from their final total. The odds on Manchester City to beat Walsall in the FA Cup would not be attractive, but giving the Premier League team a handicap of two goals means they will have to win the real-life match by three goals for your bet to come off. The odds on this will offer a bigger payout as it is less likely to happen.
  • Hedging
    Betting on the opposite outcome of your initial selection in order to guarantee receiving some money back regardless of the outcome of the event.
  • Heinz
    This includes 57 bets on six selections, including 20 trebles, 15 doubles, 15 four-fold accumulators, six five-fold accumulators and a six-fold accumulator. You must correctly back two selections to receive money back and it is so named because the famous “57 varieties” marketing slogan for the foodmaker Heinz.


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  • In-Play Betting
    As the name suggests, in-play bets are placed during a live event. Placing a bet while an event is taking place can result in better odds, especially if an event seems unlikely. For example, if Arsenal are leading 2-0 against Aston Villa after 45 minutes, placing an in-play bet on Aston Villa to win would deliver much better odds because the event is considered unlikely to occur. This is also known as live betting.


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  • Lay Betting
    Betting on a selection not winning. Lay bets occur in betting exchanges when a customer challenges another punter’s wager.
  • Lucky 15
    As the name suggests, this bet features 15 wagers on four selections. A Lucky 15 wager consists of four singles, six doubles, four trebles and a four-fold accumulator. Bookmakers may sometimes offer bonuses for a variety of aspects of the bet, including an all win bonus, a one loser bonus and a one winner consultation bonus; it is for here that the ‘lucky’ part of the name is derived. A £1 Lucky 15 bet would require a £15 stake to be placed, and at least one selection must be successful for the bettor to receive a return.
  • Lucky 31
    The next step up from a Lucky 15, a Lucky 31 consists of 31 bets across five sections. A wager consists of five singles, ten doubles, ten trebles, five four-folds and a five-fold accumulator. A £1 Lucky 31 bet would require a £31 stake to be placed.
  • Lucky 63
    The next step up from a Lucky 31, a Lucky 63 consists of 63 bets across six sections. A wager consists of six singles, 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 four-folds and six five-folds and a six-fold accumulator. A £1 Lucky 63 bet would require a £63 stake to be placed.


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  • Market
    The different bets taken by bookmakers on sporting events. Examples include the first goalscorer in a football match or the top batsman in a cricket game.
  • Moneyline Odds
    Another name for American odds, where a + before the number indicates the amount you win from staking £100 and a - represents the amount you need to stake to win £100.
  • Multiples
    Any bet that involves more than one selection being made, such as accumulators, Lucky 15s and doubles.


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  • Non-runner
    A selection that was slated to run but which pulled out for some reason. Unless you bet ante post, if you back an eventual non-runner you should receive your stake back and the bet will be declared void.


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  • Odds
    The representation of your return should your selection win.
  • Odds-on
    A price offered by bookmakers where your profit is smaller than your initial stake. Selections that are odds-on are deemed extremely likely to win.
  • Outsider
    A selection that bookmakers do not expect to perform very well.
  • Over/under
    Punters bet on whether a numerical outcome will be above or below a stated figure. These bets are available in a number of sports, from the number of points scored in a rugby match to the total runs made in a cricket test.


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  • Parlay
    American term for an accumulator.
  • Patent
    A patent bet is made up of seven bets on three selections in three separate events, and consists of three singles, three doubles and one treble. You must have at least one selection be successful to achieve a payout. A basic £1 patent bet will cost a total of £7.
  • Permutation Betting
    The act of backing more than one selection with a number of different bets. Also known as perming, Patents and Lucky 15s fall under this category as well.
  • Price Boost
    An offer from a bookmaker which provides enhanced odds on an event in order to attract customers. Like a loss leader, it is a pricing strategy that means they may pay out more than they usually would, but they hope to elicit repeat custom from the offer.
  • Push
    When the stake is returned to a punter, for instance if a game is tied on a ‘draw no bet’ wager. Also occurs when whole number asian handicap bets end in a draw.
  • Punter
    Someone who places a bet.


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  • Sell Price
    The lower end of the spread offered by a bookmaker in spread betting.
  • Single
    A single is a bet on one outcome of a particular event; for example, Liverpool to beat Manchester United. Single bets often do not pay out great amounts of money, but are less of a risk than other forms of betting.
  • Spread Betting
    Where the return or loss is dictated by the movement of a market within parameters set by the bookmaker. Learn more at the spread betting page.
  • Stake
    The amount of money that you place on a bet.
  • Starting Price
    The odds on a horse or greyhound at the beginning of a race. Also known as SP, bettors can sometimes choose to take a fixed advance price or risk opting for the starting price, which could go up or down in the meantime.
  • Sure Bet
    Another term for arbitrage.
  • Super Heinz
    A Super Heinz is a bet that consists of 120 wagers on seven selections. The wager comprises of 21 doubles, 35 trebles, 35 four-folds, 21 five-folds, seven six-folds and a seven fold accumulator. Two selections from this bet must provide positive results in order to generate a return. A £1 Super Heinz bet would require a £120 stake to be placed.
  • Super Yankee
    Another term for a Canadian.


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  • Tic-tac
    The sign language used on racecourses by which bookmakers traditionally communicated prices.
  • Tipster
    A person, often featured in newspapers, television, radio and websites who offers betting tips for events.
  • Totepool Betting
    A method of betting on horses or greyhounds that places all the stakes into a pool and pays out prizes according to a fair split of the pot, rather than in relation to fixed odds. See the totepool betting section for more.
  • Treble
    A single bet on three selections in which all must succeed for it to pay out.
  • Tricast
    A bet that requires you to pick the first, second and third finishers in the right order. A combination tricast allows you to pick them in any order, but costs six times the stake because of the six different possible outcomes.
  • Trixie
    A Trixie can be viewed as a treble to which three doubles have been added. Included in the bet is the reassurance that if one leg of your selection fails, a return can still be guaranteed. This is ideal for bettors hoping for a lower reliable return as opposed to a much riskier return of higher value. A £1 Trixie would require a £4 stake to be placed.


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  • Underdog
    The competitor deemed least likely to win an event.


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  • Value Bet
    When you feel that the odds offered are longer than they should be, considering the good chance of it being a winner.
  • Void
    When a selection does not start or a fixture is postponed, the bet is deemed void and the stake returned to the punter.


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  • Yankee
    A Yankee is a full-cover bet made up of 11 wagers on four selections. The bet consists of six doubles, four trebles and a four-fold accumulator, with a guaranteed return should two or more of the selections provide positive results. A £1 Yankee would require an £11 stake to be placed.