Betting Terminology Explained - A-Z

Anyone unfamiliar with placing wagers will soon realise there is a language to betting, a good grasp of which is needed when visiting a bookmakers’ website. Likewise if you’re on the bookmakers’ app, in a bookmaker’s shop or placing a bet at a live race or event you need to know the vocabulary in order to proceed in an informed way.

The main terms used in betting can be learned in a matter of a few minutes and they will come on handy for years, as they come up time and time again. So if you want to know your evens from your handicaps then you are in the right place.

The A-Z of betting

Across the Card

This term refers to the act of placing wagers simultaneously at separate meetings.

All in play or not

When you hear the phrase ‘All in play or not’ - abbreviated to ‘All in’ – it refers to markets where the prices are set, whether or not the selection takes part in the race. The odds ‘include’ the possibility of the selection not taking part, so if your pick is a non-runner you lose the bet.

All Out

Phrase used to describe a greyhound, horse or indeed a player/team pushing at the maximum for the result.

All Weather 

All weather racing takes place at racetracks which have an artificial surface, suitable for racing all year round, no matter the weather. Within reason of course. Racing could still be called off in gale force winds. Venues such as Lingfield and Wolverhampton are all weather. 

Also Ran

In Horse Racing all the runners who participated but finish outside the ‘places’ which pay out are described as also rans.

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Ante Post

This is an important term to understand. Ante Post prices are offered well in advance of a race. You can seek Ante Post odds for a horse to win the next Grand National months ahead of time and you might get a better price, but you run the risk of your selection losing form or getting injured and not taking part. Here you are going ‘All in’ on an Ante Post market, so you could lose the bet if your selection does not finally take part in the event.

At the Post

The race is about to begin and all the horses are ‘At the Post’, meaning on the starting line/point.

Back

Place a wager on or bet on a selection to get a predicted result.

Banker

A safe bet. A very strong favourite. Bettors often include a banker in a multiple or combination bet to strengthen their hand.

Betting Exchange

Betfair is an example of a betting exchange. It is a peer-to-peer network where bettors can offer each other wagers, so customers of betting exchanges bet between themselves. 

BIR or BIP

Betting In Running (BIR) or Betting In Play (BIP) refer to Live Betting where participants bet during the course of a race, match or event.

Betting W/O

This means ‘betting without’. You can place a bet on a horse to win a race without the favourite included in the results. So, if the horse you back comes second behind the favourite you’ve won the bet.

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Bookie

Short for bookmaker, the person or company licensed to offer odds and accept bets from bettors.

BTTS

Both teams to score. A bet on both teams in a match to score at least one goal each.

Century

Also sometimes called a ton, a century in betting terms means one hundred pounds sterling (£100 GBP).

Colt

A male horse which is less then five years old. At five it becomes a Stallion.

Dam

A horse’s female parent. The male parent is a sire.

Dead Heat

Where an event is tied. Two (or more) selections finish level.

Decimal Odds

Typically the format used to express odds in Europe. The decimal odds equivalent of the fractional odds price 3/1 is 4.00, for example. The decimal odds ‘include’ the stake and potential profit. A successful £10 bet at 3/1 or 4.00 returns £40. 

Evens

1/1 odds, which would be 2.00 in the decimal format. A £1 stake at evens would return £2.

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Favourite

The selection (horse, greyhound, player or teams) with the shortest odds for the win. The most fancied winner. 

FGS / FPTS

Abbreviations for First Goalscorer and First Player To Score, a typical wager in football.

Field

All the other runners / selections in a market (race / tournament etc) excluding the named favourite(s).

Fillie

A female horse will be called a Mare once it reaches five years of age, before which it is called a Fillie. 

First Past the Post 

The selection which is first to cross the finish line in a race. The winner. 

Form

The performance history of an athlete, player, horse, greyhound or team. The level at which the selection usually performs or has recently performed. Used by bookmakers to set prices and by bettors to assess odds and make selections. 

Fractional Odds

The standard way of writing odds in the UK. Fractional odds allow you to calculate your potential profit not including your stake. A successful bet at 6/1 with a £2 stake earns you £12, plus you get the stake back, so your ‘returns’ are £14 in that case.

Full Time

When you back a team to win a match it is a full-time result bet. Bets in football are settled at the end of 90 minutes plus stoppage time and as standard they do not include results achieved in extra time or on penalties (unless otherwise stated).

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Going

How the state of the ground / surface is described in horse racing. The going is good or hard or soft and so on. Different horses suit different conditions so this is crucial to prices.

Grand

A grand is one thousand pounds sterling (£1,000 GBP).

Handicap Race

Common in horse racing, handicap races see horses carry different weights in order to encourage closer competition. Better horses carry heavier weights. In other sports such as football or darts you can bet on teams or players to get results with handicaps included in the odds. So you can bet on a team to win by more than two goals or a darts player to win by more than two legs, for example.

IBAS

Disputes between customers and bookmakers can be referred to the Independent Betting Adjudication Service (IBAS) to be resolved.

Lines

Odds and handicap values offered by bookmakers to customers.

Longshot

A selection with long odds to win. A unfancied horse, an underdog or an outsider in a race or competition can be called a longshot.

Maiden

A rather elegant term to describe a horse which is yet to taste victory in a race.

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Monkey

Slang for five hundred pounds sterling (£500 GBP).

Nailed On

If a selection is regarded as almost certain to win it will be referred to as ‘nailed on’. Similar terms are a ‘sure thing’ and a 'certainty'.

Non-Runner

A selection which finally does not participate in a race or competition for which it was entered. If your selection is ‘non-runner no bet’ (NRNB) your stake is returned to you. 

Odds

The price available on a selection for a bet from a bookmaker. When you see the term odds against it means that the price is higher than evens (2/1, 5/2 etc) so a successful bet would win you more than the stake you put down. Odds on, meanwhile, are when the odds are shorter than evens (10/11, 1/2, etc), so your bet has a good chance of being successful but you would make a profit smaller than your stake.

On The Nose

Betting on a horse to ‘win only’, as opposed to backing it each way. Each way means you back the horse to win AND to finish in the paid places (usually 2nd to 4th depending on the type of race) and your stake is split on those two bets. So with each way you put less money on the win, unless you double your stake. On the nose all your stake goes on the win.

Picks

Tips given by experts (tipsters) on selections they believe have a good chance of winning or getting results.

Places

When a selection ‘places’ it finishes within the positions that are stated to pay out in the place terms of the race. A small number of runners might mean only the first two finishers place, whereas in a big field down to fifth or sixth might be considered a place finish.

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Pony

Another colloquialism for a sum of money. This time it is 25 pounds sterling (£25 GBP).

Price

The odds a bookmaker offers bettors on a selection.

Punter

A customer or bettor. The person placing the bet with the bookmaker.

Return 

Profit + returned stake in a successful wager.

Score 

Twenty pounds sterling (£20 GBP). 

Selection

The athlete, player, team, individual, greyhound, horse, etc, that the punter has their bet on.

Stake

The amount being put down or placed by the bettor on the bet. Stake units refer to the value of each part of the stake in a multiple bet. 

Starting Price (SP)

The final odds on a selection at the point the race starts.

Tips

Also referred to as picks, these are predictions shared with the public, or indeed paying punters in some instances, by betting experts. These experts are also called tipsters.

Tote bets

Bets based on a pool, or combined fund of bettors’ stakes. Estimated returns or dividends for successful bets are available beforehand, but the actual amounts to be paid out are only finalised after the race when all the money has been put in.

Winnings

The amount earned from a successful bet (profit) on top of the returned stake.

X

Stands for a draw in a 1x2 bet such as those on full time results football matches. 1 = home win, X = draw, 2 = away win.

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