Betting Glossary

  • Last Updated: March 23 2016, 13:44 GMT

Baffled by some betting jargon, or want to know exactly which bet is which? We've defined some of the industry's terminology for you.

Accumulator: A bet involving more than one selection with the winnings from each pick going onto the next. For example, £10 on a horse at evens returns £20, which would then go onto the next horse. Were that to win at 2/1, you've now £60 going onto the next selection, and so on.

Ante-post: Betting on an event well in advance of it taking place.

Arbitrage: Where a variation in odds available allows a punter to back both sides and guarantee a win (see 'Over-round').

Asian handicaps: Mainly used in football, sides are awarded anywhere between a fraction of a goal start to 3 goals dependent on how good or bad they are. The bookies may also award a side half a point start which effectively eliminates the draw. This form of betting is particularly common in the Far East.

Back-to-lay: Backing a selection with the aim of laying it back in future, thus securing profit regardless of the outcome. For example, placing £10 on a golfer at 5/1, then taking a £20 bet back when he is trading at evens. A process often best applied to those who threaten to win but struggle to actually do so.

Banker: A selection that is fancied very, very strongly indeed and will often be the cornerstone of combination bets.

Best-price percentage: The bottom line is that the odds available are balanced in favour of the bookmaker. A simple example is the toss of a coin where the chances of heads or tails are 50:50. However if the bookmaker were to offer even money on either event there would be no profit margin. Hence odds of 10/11 each of two would probably be offered. The Best Price Percentage figure at the bottom of most of our odds tables calculates the percentage in favour of the bookmaker (ie. 111 per cent means 11 per cent in bookmaker's favour). Sometimes when firms wildly disagree the percentage will drop below 100 per cent and therefore be in the punter's favour.

Board prices: This refers to the currently-available odds displayed on the boards of on-course bookmakers. It is from these that starting prices are calculated.

Co-favourite: A selection that shares its position at the head of the market with at least two others.

Dead-heat: When two or more participants share a place. If this happens, a punter's stake is divided by the amount that share the place. For example, £10 on a selection involved in a dead-heat of two would be settled as £5, therefore if this selection started 2/1 the return would be £15 from £10 invested as opposed to £30 had the selection won outright.

Double: An accumulator involving exactly two selections.

Drift: When the price of a selection moves out (gets bigger), often due to a lack of support. That selection is said to be "on the drift".

Dutching: Backing two or more selections in any one event, splitting stakes between them so as to ensure the same total return regardless of which wins. For example, if you fancy two horses, both at 3/1, £10 on each would return £40 whichever wins, meaning you've effectively staked £20 at evens.

Each-way: A bet that involves a win and a place stake, and is settled according to the place terms of the given event. For example, a £5 each-way bet costs £10 - half on the win, half on the place. If said selection is 4/1 and wins, the win returns are £25. Presuming the place terms are one quarter of the odds, the place returns are £10, resulting in a total return of £35. Were this selection to have placed without winning, the total return would be £10. Place terms vary according to the event, the number of possible winners and the prices of the participants, but generally range from half to a quarter of the win odds and include from two to six places. Watch out for bonus place terms on high-profile events such as the Grand National.

Favourite: The selection that the bookmaker rates as most likely to win the event and therefore heads the betting.

GamCare: The national centre for information, advice and practical help with regard to the social impact of gambling.

Handicap: A method used by bookmakers to make a seemingly one-sided event more attractive to bet on. Commonly used in rugby and American football where Team A may be given, for example, a seven-point head start in the market and Team B a seven-point deficit.

IBAS: The Independent Arbitration Betting Service was launched to deal with betting disputes between punters and bookmakers.

Joint-favourite: A selection that shares its position at the head of the market with one other.

Jolly: Another term for the favourite in a contest.

Lucky 15/31/63: A type of bet where all combinations, from singles upwards, are covered. For example, a Lucky 15 comprises four selections, and contains a single on each, doubles (six), trebles (four) and a four-fold accumulator, which therefore totals 15 bets - hence the title. A Lucky 31 follows the same principle but contains five selections, and a Lucky 63 contains six.

Nap: The best bet of the day from a particular tipster.

No offers: When bookmakers are unwilling to offer a price on a selection N/O is chalked up on their board. This is increasingly rare and usually you will still be able to back the selection at starting price.

Over-round: In theory a betting book should be 100 per cent, so a toss of a coin would be even money heads, even money tails. However, the bookmakers' profit margins mean the figure is usually above 100 per cent. In cases where it is less (one bookmaker betting 11/8 against on Horse A, another going evens on Horse B in a two-horse race) this is referred to as 'over-broke'.

Patent: Similar to a Lucky 15, in that all bets are covered, but containing just three selections. Therefore, there are three singles, three doubles and a treble.

Permutations: The number of combinations in any group of selections. For example, in three selections, there are three doubles (A+B, A+C and B+C), and one treble (A+B+C). These are known as permutations.

Rule 4: If a horse is withdrawn and there is insufficient time to form a new market the remaining horses in the race are subject to a deduction if they win or are placed. These are calculated according to the starting price as follows: 3/10 or longer odds - 75p in the £; 2/5 to 1/3 - 70p; 8/15 to 4/9 - 65p; 8/13 to 4/7 - 60p; 4/5 to 4/6 - 55p; 20/21 to 5/6 - 50p; Evens to 6/5 - 45p; 5/4 to 6/4 - 40p; 13/8 to 7/4 - 35p; 15/8 to 9/4 - 30p; 5/2 to 3/1 - 25p; 10/3 to 4/1 - 20p; 9/2 to 11/2 - 15p; 6/1 to 9/1 - 10p; 10/1 to 14/1 - 5p; 14/1 or bigger - unchanged.

Saver: A secondary bet designed to recoup potential losses on a main selection. This tactic is usually employed when a punter is confident that an event rests between two selections but considers one a more likely winner (see 'Dutching'). For example, if you fancy a horse strongly at 2/1, but consider a 5/1 shot as the only danger, you may have £25 on the 2/1 horse and £5 on the 5/1 shot, meaning if the latter wins you get your entire stake on the event back.

Starting Price: This is often abbreviated to SP. These are the returned prices of the horses which form the basis of the payout to winning punters if they haven't taken a specified price themselves.

Steamer: A selection whose odds are continually shortened in the face of heavy support.

Straight forecast: A type of bet which involves picking the first and second in any given event, such as Horse A to beat Horse B. This can be made into a reverse forecast, which involves Horse A and Horse B filling the first two places regardless of the order. Similarly, one can combine all combinations using as many selections as you wish.

Straight tricast: Identical to a forecast, but with the additional task of picking the third-placed selection. Again, any number of combinations can be wagered.

Tissue: The betting forecast of how an on-course bookmaker thinks the betting on a race will open.

Treble: An accumulator involving exactly three selections. For four or more, these are referred to as 'folds' - four-folds, five-folds, etc.

Trixie: A type of bet comprising three selections. They are put in doubles (three) and a treble, making four bets in all.

Win only: As you might expect, this involves backing a selection to win and you will be paid out only if he does so.

Yankee: A type of bet comprising four selections and identical to a Lucky 15 except for the removal of singles. Therefore there are 11 bets: six doubles, four trebles and a four-fold. This can be extended to a 'Super Yankee' (otherwise known as a 'Canadian') by the addition of a fifth selection, making 26 bets.