WITH so many specialist terms the world of betting can be a daunting place, even for seasoned gamblers.

So I've compiled a comprehensive list of words, phrases, jargon and betting terms you might come across when betting on various sports.

No list could ever be exhaustive so if there are particular terms that aren't included in the 300+ betting glossary below then please let me know.


  • Accumulator (Acca) – A bet that combines multiple selections into one wager. All selections must win for the bet to be successful.
  • Act (on the ground/on the track etc) – Describes a horse’s suitability for different conditions e.g. going, racecourses etc. If a horse ‘acts on soft ground’ it means that horse has shown previous ability to handle soft ground.
  • Age  – All thoroughbred racehorses in the UK have their birthdays on 1 January.
  • All Out – A horse or contestant trying their best.
  • Allowance – Inexperienced riders (apprentices, conditionals and amateurs) are allowed a weight concession to compensate for their lack of experience against their colleagues. The ‘allowance’ is usually 3lb, 5lb or 7lb, with it decreasing as the young jockey rides more winners.
  • All-Weather – Sports played on all-weather surfaces, usually artificial.
  • Also Ran – Applies to racing where a horse or contestant finishes but doesn't win or place.
  • 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 the increased risk that a selection may fail to actually take part in an event.
  • Alternate lines – Derivatives of standard betting markets. Examples include Alternate Handicaps or Alternate Totals which offer higher or lower spread or totals with odds changing accordingly.
  • 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.
  • Apprentice – A young contestant, generally a young Jockey.
  • Arbitrage (see also Hedging) – 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 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.
  • ATC – Short for any-to-come, a conditional bet.
  • 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.
  • At The Post – Term used when horses or dogs are ready at the start of the race, the race will begin imminently.


  • 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.
  • Backed / Backed-In – A ‘backed’ horse is one on which lots of bets have been placed. A horse that is backed-in means that bettors have outlaid a lot of money on that horse, with the result being a decrease in the odds offered.
  • 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.
  • Bar – Term used when describing bookmakers’ prices. e.g. ‘4-1 bar two’ means that you can obtain at least 4-1 about any horse except for the first two in betting.
  • 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.
  • Best-price percentage (BPP) –   The inherent advantage a bookmaker holds within a given market.
  • Bet Receipt – A copy of your bet slip with a unique tracking number, this can be used if a bet is contested.
  • 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.
  • Betting in Play (BIP) – See live betting
  • Betting in Running (BIR) – See live betting.
  • Betting Without (W/O) – Placing a bet excluding a certain selection(s) usually the favourites e.g. premier league outright without Chelsea.
  • Betting Ring – The main area at a racecourse where the bookmakers operate.
  • Binary Betting (see also Fixed-odds betting, Spread betting) – A combination of spread and fixed-odds betting with only two outcomes 0 or 100, with the bet struck against a bid or offer somewhere between the two, for an agreed unit stake.
  • Bismarck – Betting term used to describe a favourite that bookmakers expect to lose and are therefore happy to lay.
  • Black Type – Term used by the bloodstock industry to denote a horse that has won or been placed in a Pattern/Listed race. Horses ‘going for black type’ are attempting to win or be placed in a Pattern/Listed race to improve their breeding value.
  • Blinkers – Headgear fitted to horses to reduce the peripheral vision field, usually to prevent the animal being distracted.
  • Board Price – A term for the prices listed on the bookmakers board, usually at a horse race or dog race track. The starting price comes from these board prices.
  • Book – Can have two meanings 1 – The total amount of money from all punters wagered on a specific event, selection or contestant. 2 – The size of a market offered by a bookmaker, e.g. a sportsbook would be all of the sports markets offered by a bookie, football book would be all the football bets offered, and so on.
  • 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.
  • Bottle – The tic-tac bookmaking term for 2-1.
  • Bumpers – Also known as national hunt flat races a run under national hunt rules. These tend to be longer than most traditional flat races, 2-2 1/2 miles, horses tend to be older.
  • Burlington Bertie – The tic-tac bookmaking term for 100-30.
  • Buy points (see also Sell points) – Accepting inferior odds in exchange for an increased point spread advantage.
  • Buy Price – The price at which you buy your bet from an index bookmaker in spread betting. Opposite to sell price.


  • C&D – Sometimes just termed CD, this course (C) and distance (D) found on a race card. C means the horse has won at that course and D means the horse has won at that distance. CD means the horse has won at that course over that distance.
  • Canadian line – A combination of Points Spread and Money Line in hockey.
  • Carpet – The tic-tac bookmaking term for 3-1. Double carpet is 33-1.
  • Century – 100, usually used to refer to £100 but may be used to refer to 100 of anything, such as 100 runs in cricket.
  • Chalk (see also Favourite, Jolly) – The option in any given betting market considered most likely to win as measured by the implied probability of the odds.
  • Chase – Chase or Chasing is where you place bets to recover losses, usually on markets you would not usually bet on.
  • Circled game – A game in which the bet limits are capped at modest levels. Usually occurs when markets are first displayed; in added games; Specials; in reaction to bad weather, injuries or suspect betting patterns; halves of games.
  • Claimer (jockey) – An apprentice Flat jockey.
  • Claiming race / Claimer – A race in which each horse’s weight is determined by the price placed on them by connections. The lower the claiming price, the lower the weight. Horses can be ‘claimed’ (bought) by other owners/trainers for the specified price after the race.
  • Classics – One of the 5 classic UK flat horse races. The 1000 and 2000 guineas, Oaks States, Epsom Derby and the St Leger.
  • Cockle – The tic-tac bookmaking term for 10-1.
  • Co-favourite – A situation where one or more selection(s) or competitor(s) have the same odds.
  • Colours – The colour of the silks worn by a Jockey, determined by the owner of the horse.
  • Colt – A male horse under the age of 5, over 5 a horse is termed a stallion.
  • Commission (see also Juice, Margin, Vigorish) – 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 %.
  • Conditional jockey – A Jump jockey, under 26, who receives a weight allowance for inexperience until he has ridden a certain number of winners. A conditional jockey is licensed to a specific trainer. Some races are restricted to conditionals-only.
  • Connections – People associated with a horse, such as the owner and trainer.
  • Correct score – Football bet where the bettor predicts both the winning team and the correct final score of the game.
  • Course Specialist – A horse, contestant or selection that is known to perform well at a particular track.
  • Cover – Referred to as covering the spread, this is the number if points needed to beat the spread.
  • Cut in the ground – A description of the ground condition where the racing surface has been softened by rain.


  • Dam – Mother of horse
  • Dead Heat – An event where two or more selections draw or tie in an event.
  • 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.
  • Declared (runner) – A horse confirmed to start in a race at the final declarations stage.
  • Deductions – When a horse is scratched from a race after the betting market has already opened, deductions are taken out of the win and place bets at a rate in proportion to the odds of the scratched horse.
  • Dime – Slang term for a $1000 sports bet.
  • Distance – This has two main meanings 1 – The distance of a race, in UK horse racing this will be between 5 furlongs and 4 1/2 miles. In F1 this may be length of a lap, etc. 2 – The distance that a contestant or horse wins a race by, e.g. ‘by a distance' would mean a win by many lengths.
  • Dividend – A winning return from pool betting, payouts in the tote are referred to as dividends.
  • Double bet –  Where a bettor plays twice the amount of a usual bet, normally in reaction to a perceived ‘good thing’. Also known as “double pop” or “doubling up”.
  • Double carpet – The tic-tac bookmaking term for 33-1.
  • Double Up – This is the processes of doubling a stake on a subsequent bet when a first bet loses.
  • Draw – Three definitions;
    1.  A tie in an event, e.g. Everton 1-1 Newcastle.
    2.  Fixtures in an event or round, e.g. FA Cup third round draw.
    3.  The starting position, e.g. the order of horses in a stall.
  • Drift – The process of odds moving outwards (increasing) before the start of an event.
  • Drop in class/trip – A horse racing in a lower class of race than he has recently run in/running over a shorter distance.
  • Dual forecast – A bet where the aim is to select both the winner and runner-up in a race in either order.
  • 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.
  • Early Price – Odds offered in advance, in horse racing this will be prices offered before those at the race course.
  • 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.
  • Exposure –  Potential losses to which a sportsbook or bettor is exposed to in a given market or bet.
  • Extra Time – A period added on to the end of a game, match or event when the event is tied and an absolute winner is required. In knockout football a period of 30 minutes is added on to the end of a game if the game is tied after the normal 90 minutes.


  • Favourites – A favourite is the simply the most favoured selection and considered the most likely to win, consequently these have the lowest odds.
  • Field – The number of horses in a race or, in betting, all of the horses in a race except the favourite.
  • Filly – Name given to a female horse under the age of 5. Over the age of 5 females are referred to as mares.
  • First Past the Post (FPP) – The first to pass the finish line, usually used in racing. This does not necessarily have to be the official winner if that selection is disqualified or a penalty applied post race.
  • Fixed Odds – Odds that have a fixed price defined by the bookmaker. In horse racing you can chose to fix your price or take the starting price for example.
  • Flat Races – Horse races on flat terrain. In the UK official flat races are thoroughbred races run over a distance between 5 furlongs (~1km) and 2 1/2 miles (4km).
  • Foal – A young horse that can be up to 1 year old. In the UK all horses are given a birthday as the 1st January, a horse is a foal in the year it is born up to the following new year.
  • Form – A process where previous records and performances are used to give an idea of a competitors chances.
  • 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.
  • Front-runner – A horse whose running style is to attempt to get on or near the lead at the start of the race and stay there as long as possible.
  • Full Cover – A bet type where all possible multiple bets are included. e.g. a patent is a full cover bet with 3 selections comprising 4 bets, 1 treble and 3 possible doubles.
  • Full Cover with Singles – As a full cover bet with all individual singles, e.g. for 3 selection a Trixie is effectively a patent (1 treble, 3 doubles) plus 3 single bets, so 7 bets total.
  • Full Time – The end of a standard length game or match, used commonly in football to define 90 minutes.
  • Furlong – 220 yards (one eighth of a mile). The numbered posts on British racecourses count the furlongs back from the winning post.
  • Futures – Bets common in the US where prices are offered in advance of an event, similar to ante post.


  • Gelding – A male horse that has been castrated.
  • Going – The condition of the ground from hard to really muddy, termed soft.
  • Going Down – Horses making their way to the starting post.
  • Going In – Horses or dogs going into their stalls to start the race.
  • Going to Post – See going down.
  • Go through the card – To have the winner of every race at a race meeting, either as a trainer, jockey, tipster or punter.
  • Grand – Term used to refer to £1000.
  • Grand National – The world's most challenging thoroughbred steeple chase, run at Aintree near Liverpool over 33 fences and a distance of 4 miles 3 1/2 furlongs (7.14km).
  • Grand Salami – Betting on the grand total of goals scored in all the listed games of the day within a specific league e.g. EPL as an Over/Under.
  • Group / Graded races – These races form the upper tier of the racing structure, with Group/Grade 1 the most important, followed by Group/Grade 2 and Group/Grade 3. Group races are run on the Flat; Graded races are run over jumps (the most important Flat races in the United States are also Graded).
  • Group 1 (Flat) / Grade 1 (jumps) – The highest category of race. The Classic Flat races in Britain, as well as other historic races such as the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, are Group 1. The major championship races over jumps, such as the Cheltenham Gold Cup, are Grade 1.
  • Guineas – Term used to refer to the 2 classics flat races run at Newmarket, the 1000 Guineas and 2000 Guineas.


  • Hacked up – Describes a horse winning easily.
  • Half-ball handicap – A Handicap which is 0.5 of a goal or point.
  • Half Time – An interval at the half way point in a game/event/contest of standard length.
  • 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.
  • Handicap mark / Rating – Each horse, once it has run a few times (usually three), is allocated an official handicap rating by the BHA, which is used to determine its weight if it runs in a handicap. If a horse does well, its handicap rating will go up; if it performs poorly, its rating will go down.
  • Handicap Races – A race in which horses carry weights, better horses carry more weight to even out the field.
  • Handle – The total volume of bets on an event taken by a bookmaker.
  • Head – Referring to the head of a horse, “beaten by a head”.
  • Held Up – The process of a horse or dog being restrained behind other animals in the early phases of a race.
  • Hedging – Betting on two opposite outcomes of a bet, usually with different bookmakers, each offering favourable odds to either guarantee winnings or cut losses.
  • Heinz – A full cover bet on 6 selections consisting of 57 bets (15x double, 20xtreble, 15x 4-fold, 6x 5-fold and 1x 6-fold).
  • Home Advantage – When a team or contestant are competing at their home stadium/track or in their home town.
  • Holding Your Own – Neither winning or losing, generally breaking even.
  • Hook – Half a point added to e.g. football or basketball betting lines.
  • House – The bookie, casino, gaming institution e.g. “the house always wins”
  • Hunter Chase – A race for hunting horses.
  • Hurdle – A type of fence in national hunt racing that are at least 3 and ½ feet in height.


  • IBAS – The Independent Betting Adjudication Service. A service that deals with disputes that cannot be resolved between punter and bookie.
  • If bet – Multiple bets which are conditional on a sequence of outcomes.
  • Injury Time – An additional amount of time at the end of a period within a game added on in lieu of time lost for injuries, substitutions and other stoppages.
  • In Play – An event that has already started, also termed in running, this may refer to a form of live betting.
  • Index Betting – See Spread Betting.


  • Jack – slang for £5
  • Jackpot – The top prize for a game or competition, usually enhanced.
  • Joint Favourite – If two or more selections have the lowest odds price.
  • Jolly – The favourite, usually referring to a horse race
  • Juice – Commission taken by a bookmaker or index.


  • Kite – Slang term for a cheque.
  • Kelly Criterion (see also Staking method) – Popular staking method which suggests that stake should be proportional to the perceived edge.


  • Landing on three/seven – Phrase used to describe the most statistically common final-score differential in NFL.
  • 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.
  • Laying the points – Backing the favourite on the Points Spread and therefore accepting the points Handicap.
  • 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.
  • Length – Usually referring to the length of a horse or dog, e.g. “beaten by a length”.
  • Limit – Maximum bet amount allowed.
  • Line – A single bet
  • Listed Race – A class of race just below a Group or Graded quality.
  • Live-betting (see also In-play betting) – Betting on an event that is in progress. Regular betting markets close once the event starts, live-betting odds reflect the progress of the event in real time.
  • Lock (see also Banker) – Selection which is considered especially likely to occur; often the cornerstone of a Multiple bet.
  • Long Odds – High odds value, e.g. 100/1.
  • Long Shot – A selection with high odds that is unlikely to win, also known as an outsider.
  • Lucky 15 / 31 / 63 – A form of full cover betting with singles on 4, 5 or 6 selections with all possible multiple combinations covered.


  • Maiden – In Cricket an over bowled without runs score or in horse racing a horse that is yet to win
  • Mare – Five year old or more female horses.
  • Margin (see also Commission, Juice, Vigorish) – 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.
  • Martingale – A system of betting based on doubling your bet each time until you win.
  • Match – A game of defined length with 2 or more contestants or teams.
  • Match Betting – A bet on the outcome of a match
  • Middle – A situation where you win on both sides of the same bet by exploiting odds/points movements/discrepancies over time.
  • Minimum Trip – The shortest race distance: five furlongs on the Flat, two miles over jumps.
  • Monkey – Slang for £500.
  • Money Line – A bet on the outcome of a match/game. Common on US sports.
  • Morning Line – An advance forecast of probable odds.
  • 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.
  • National Hunt – Racing over fences and hurdles; officially referred to as Jump racing.
  • Neves – Best bet of the day.
  • National Hunt Racing – Sometimes just called jump racing. Steeplechases, hurdles and flat races during the national hunt jump season. Distances over 2 miles and horses of 4 years or older.
  • Non-Runner – Selection that is withdrawn prior to a race or event.
  • Normal Time – The conventional length of an event, e.g. 90 minutes in football.
  • Nose – Smallest official distance a horse can win by.
  • Not Under Orders – Any runner deemed that withdraws prior to the starters signal is deemed to have not come under orders.
  • Novelty bet (see also Special) – A bet on an event which cannot be easily assessed in common handicapping terms, and is offered for its novelty value (e.g. Winner of a reality TV show).
  • Novice Race – In horse racing this refers to a race in which no horse has won a hurdle or chase previously.
  • Number Spread – A spread betting term based on the number of points, runs, etc scored in a match/event.
  • Nursery Race – All horses under two years old.


  • Oaks – Classic flat horse race, one of five held for 3 year old fillies.
  • Objection – Contestant or owner objection to the conduct or result during a race or event, often followed by an investigation / enquiry.
  • 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, employee of a bookmaker who's job is to set the odds.
  • Odds On – Odds lower than evens (2.0 / +100).
  • Off – The point at which a race begins.
  • Off the Board – Term (usually USA) given to a selection of 100/1+.
  • Off the Bit – Term used when a horse needs urging on.
  • Off the Top – The commission taken by a bookmaker, often used in pari-mutuel betting.
  • Off Track – Bets taken away from the track, also known as off course.
  • Official Result – The result on which bets are settled.
  • On the Nose – Back a selection to win only.
  • On the Bit – A horse that performs without encouragement from the jockey.
  • One Paced – A selection that runs or competes at one pace and cannot produce extra.
  • Out Of The Money – A horse that finishes outside of the places.
  • Outright betting (see also Ante-post, Future, Special) – Placing a bet on the winner of an entire competition, instead of a single match (e.g. the World Cup or the EPL).
  • Outsider – Selection judged unlikely to win with high odds to match, generally over 10/1, see Rag.
  • Over – Betting for a score ‘over' a predefined amount. In cricket referring to 6 balls bowed by a bowler.
  • Overbroke – Scenario where a book pays out more than it takes in in stakes.
  • Overlay – Selection that is deemed to have odds higher than its real chances.
  • Over Round – Another term for the profit a bookmaker builds into an odds price.


  • Pace – Speed at which a race or portion of race is run.
  • Paddock – The section of a racecourse where horses are paraded before a race.
  • Parlay – American term for an accumulator with 2 or more selections.
  • Pari-mutuel – Peer to peer bet type where stakes are pooled and winnings relative to the pool size, e.g. Totepool.
  • Patent – A full cover bet of three selections and 4 lines, consisting of 3 doubles and 1 treble.
  • Payout – The return on a winning bet.
  • Permutations – All possible outcomes or bets possible on a given result/event or series of results/events.
  • Photo Finish – Method of determining victory if it is too close to see by eye.
  • Picks – Terms for individual selections.
  • Pitch – Refers to the ground on which sport is played, a bookmakers position at a course or a throw in baseball from a pitcher.
  • 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.
  • Placepot – A type of pari-mutuel bet.
  • Point Spread – The measure of perceived difference in the abilities of participants in a given event as illustrated in the Handicap/Spread market.
  • Pool – The cumulative monetary amount of the number of bets in the pot when pari-mutuel betting.
  • Pony – Term used for £25.
  • Postponed – Contest or event that is cancelled and rescheduled at a different time or date.
  • Power-ranking – System of ratings based on historical data which is used by bettors for predictive purposes.
  • Price – See Odds.
  • Public money – The influence of bets from recreational punters normally on the favourite, and struck close to post time.
  • Punter – UK term for a bettor or someone who places a bet.
  • Push (see also Draw, Tie) – When the contest ends with no winner or loser for betting purposes and stakes are refunded.
  • Pushed out – When a horse is ridden vigorously, but without full effort by the jockey.


  • Quinella – A US term for a forecast bet that predicts the horses that will finish 1st and 2nd.


  • Rag – Slang term used for an outsider.
  • Rails (betting) – The fence separating the Members area on a racecourse from the Tattersalls area. Bookmakers are not allowed in the Members area, but some bookmakers are allowed to set up their pitches on the Tattersalls side of the rails, allowing them to accept bets. Rails bookmakers are the top end of the racecourse betting market, usually dealing with credit customers.
  • Rating – A measure of the ability of a horse on a scale starting at zero and going into three figures. Flat Jump racing use different scales; the highest-rated Flat horse is usually in the 130s and the top-rated jumper in the 180s.
  • Re-run – Race re-taken for technical reasons.
  • Related Bets – A situation where bets are contingent and so cannot be placed as independent events in a multiple bet. For example a team to win a semi-final bet combined with an outright to win the trophy bet.
  • Return – The amount you can expect back from a winning bet.
  • Reverse Forecast – A forecast bet predicting a minimum of 1st and 2nd place where either selection can finish in either place to win.
  • Ringer – A runner or contestant that is seen as significantly better than the rest of the field. Often brought in as a replacement.
  • Round Robin – Conditional bet type consisting of 10 bets: 1 treble, 3 doubles and 3 up and down bets (2 lines each up and down bet).
  • Rounder – A conditional bet with 3 selections: 3 singles and 3 any-to-come bets
  • Roundabout – Same as rounder with double stakes on the any-to-come bets.
  • Roug – Slang for 4/1.
  • Run In – Distance from the final corner/turn to the finish line/post.
  • Runner – Contestant or selection or someone who places bets for someone else.
  • Rule 4 – Industry agreed deduction strategy for bets placed prior to a non-runner or void selection.


  • Scalping – Exploiting price/bonus discrepancies between various bookmakers for profit.
  • Scout – Someone who waits for the best price or someone who works for a bookie to spot other bookies best prices.
  • Score – Slang term for £20. In the US this can be a term that means to win a race.
  • Scratch – US term for the withdrawal of a competitor.
  • Selections – The competitor(s) predicted to win in your bet.
  • Sell (points) (see also Buy points) – Decreasing a point spread advantage in exchange for increased odds.
  • Seller / Selling Race – The winner must be offered for sale at auction.
  • Settler – Bookmaker expert who calculates payouts.
  • Sharp – Professional gambler, e.g. sharp shooter.
  • Shortening the Odds – Bookmakers decision to lower the odds price for an event due to heavy wagers or other factors.
  • Shoulder – Slang for 7/4.
  • Show – US terms for 3rd place and UK term for an odds list.
  • Shut Out – Too late to place a bet, book is closed.
  • Single – The simplest form of a bet, one line that can generally either win or lose.
  • Sire – The horses father.
  • Smart Money – Wager thought most likely to win, often with ‘insider' information.
  • Special Bets – More unusual bets such as the Union Jack. Can also refer to bespoke betting lines e.g. Liverpool's next manager.
  • Split-ball handicap – Where a Handicap bet is split into two separate bets one at each handicap level provided by the bookmaker, whether it is on Asian Handicaps or Totals etc.
  • Spread – Generally used to define the lowest to the highest odds for either an individual selection or an entire field.
  • Spread Betting – Bet type where winnings and losses are not fixed but based on the accuracy of a prediction.
  • Springer – A horse whose price shortens dramatically.
  • Square – A betting novice or amateur.
  • St Leger – One of the 5 classics races for 3 year old fillies and colts during the flat season.
  • Stalls – Compartments designed to hold competitors prior to commencement of the event or race.
  • Stake – The amount of money wagered or bet.
  • Stake Unit – When placing a bet with multiple lines (e.g. Lucky 15) this is the amount of money wagered on each line.
  • Starting Price (SP) – The final odds of a selection at the start of an event when betting is closed.
  • Stayer – A horse that specialises in racing over long distances (two miles and above) on the Flat.
  • Steam / Steamer – When odds move rapidly due to a large volume of bets over a short period of time. Most steamers do not necessarily reflect objective circumstances, but can often reflect herd instinct or inherent biases toward favoured teams or horses.
  • Straight – US term for a win (Straight (1st), place (2nd) and show (3rd)).
  • Straight Forecast – Predicting the contestants, runners or teams to finish in a specific order usually 1st and 2nd.
  • Steeplechase – Form of National Hunt jump racing in which horses jump fences of varying height and consistency. Run over 2 miles to up to 4.5 miles.
  • Steward – Racecourse official.
  • Stewards Enquiry – Investigation held by the steward if the rules of racing are deemed to have been contravened, can be in response to an objection.
  • Stoppage Time – See injury time.
  • Super Heinz – A full cover bet on 7 selections consisting of 120 bets: 1 seven-fold, 7 six-folds, 21 five-folds, 35 four-folds, 35 trebles and 25 doubles.
  • Super Yankee – Also known as a Canadian, a full cover bet consisting of 5 selections and 26 bets. One 5-fold, five 4-folds, ten trebles and ten doubles.
  • Sure Thing – Very little chance of losing.
  • System – Method of betting, e.g. Martingale.


  • Tattersall – main auctioneer of race horses in the UK, named after Richard Tattersall (1723-95).
  • Tattersalls Rule 4 – See Rule 4.
  • Tic Tac – A system of hand signals that used to allow on course bookies to communicate market.
  • Tie (see also Draw, Push)  A bet in which no money is lost nor won because there wasn’t a positive outcome for the purposes of the bet.
  • Tip – A selection chosen by an expert or someone with additional knowledge.
  • Tipster – Someone who either gives or sells tips to punters.
  • Tissue price – Guide price which is only a very tentative guesstimate and likely to quickly change.
  • Totals – Bets placed on over/under markets.
  • Tote – Short form for Horserace Totalisator Board, a UK body that operated pari-mutual pool betting online and at racecourses, now owned by Betfred.
  • Tote Board – information board at race tracks displaying Tote prices.
  • Tote Return – Defined by the amount in the pool divided by the number of winning bets.
  • Tout – Someone who sells either tickets or advice related to sports or betting, generally an illegal practice.
  • Trap – Name of an enclosed starting gate used in greyhound racing.
  • Trap Number – Inside trap is usually number 1 with 6 gates.
  • Treble – A single accumulator bet with three selections.
  • Tricast – Predicating the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers in an event.
  • Trip – The distance of a horse or dog race.
  • Trixie – A full over bet with 4 lines on 3 selections consisting of 3 doubles and a trebles.
  • True odds – The true reflection of the underlying probability of an event to which a bookmaker will add their margin.
  • Turf Accountant – A slang name of a UK Bookmaker, usually referring to those present at the track.


  • Under – Referring to over and under markets, betting on a score to be below a certain number.
  • Underdog – A selection that is expected to lose, e.g. in football this may refer to a lower league club playing a higher league team.
  • Under Official Starters Orders – Or just under starters orders, this is the time when the official starter is happy that all the race is ready to begin, he will raise a flag to indicate this. Any horse failing to start after this point will not have bets refunded.
  • Unfancied – Not expected to win.
  • Union Jack – A special type of bet of eight trebles made on 9 selections, named the union jack due to the pattern matching the British flag.
  • US Odds – See American Odds


  • Value – The process of getting the best odds or returns.
  • Visor – Device fitted to some horses to restrict their vision to a forward direction, designed to prevent other runners distracting the horse.
  • Vig or Vigorish – 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.
  • Walk over – Process of a selection going through the process to win without any competition, often a result of a foul or penalty. Also used as a slang term to denote a heavily one sided event.
  • Weigh In – Used in boxing and racing in particular, the process of weighing a fighter/horse to make sure they are within preassigned weight limits for the contest.
  • Weights – Lead placed in a weight cloth. When these weights are added to the jockey’s weight and other equipment, the total weight should equal the weight allotted to the jockey’s horse in a race.
  • Welch – Non payment of a fair bet, e.g. ‘bookmaker welched on payment'.
  • Well in – When a horse is considered to be favoured by the weights in a race, it is said to be ‘well in’.
  • Win – Finishing in first place
  • Win / Draw / Win – Name sometimes given to a match betting market where there are three possible outcomes.
  • Winning Margin – Distance (physical or points) from the winner to the runner up. Also a bet predicting by how much a team/contestant/horse will win by.
  • Winnings – The profit made from a bet, minus the stake.
  • With a Run – Name given to an ante-post bet where your stake will be refunded if the horse does not end up running.
  • Withdrawn – A selection removed prior to the start of an event, may or may not be replaced by a reserve.


  • X – Short code to denote a draw or tie.


  • Yankee – Full cover bet with four selections and 11 lines, consisting of 6 doubles, 4 trebles and one 4-fold.
  • Yankee Patent – Yankee with 4 singles included, also known as a Lucky 15.
  • Yearling – Name of any horse from 1st January to 31st December the year following their birth.
  • Yielding – Irish term to describe racecourse going that is soft.


  • Zoo – Mixture of very different selections or contestants in one event.

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