Betting Terms

It can be confusing to hear those ‘in the know’ talk about betting terms they use frequently.  So, here’s a handy glossary of sports betting terms for you to peruse.

Accumulator: A bet or even a series of bets, placed on more than one outcome. To be successful, every one of those bets must be won. Also known as an Acca.

Acca: See Accumulator.

Against the Spread: A type of bet in which you attempt to work out the team that will cover the spread.

Ante Post: A bet which is placed a long time in advance of the actual event on which is being bet. This could be as far ahead as years before (for long term thinkers!). Traditionally a horse racing type of bet and now more widespread. These bets can be very profitable as the odds can draw in nearer the event.

Arbitrage: Where a punter can place a bet on a win and a loss and still make a profit. This is made possible when placing bets with different betting companies who offer differing odds on the same event.

Arb: See Arbitrage

Asian Handicap: A form of football betting.  Normally, in this sport picking the winner on a match means you lose if there is a tie, even if you back both teams to win.  In this type of bet, a draw means that a winner is still determined by way of a special ‘handicap’. For a full description, we recommend this Wikipedia page:

Banker: A highly fancied bet, seemingly destined to succeed.

Beard: A person who places a bet on behalf of another person.

Betting Exchange: A web site that lets users create and offer their own odds, in contrast to traditional bookmakers.  An example is Betfair.

Canadian or Super Yankee: A type of bet which consists of 26 bets (ten trebles, ten doubles, 5 fourfolds and a straight accumulator) covering 5 selections in different events. We’re not making this up.  Seriously.

Chalk: The favourite.

Double: One bet on two selections in different events, both needing to be correct to win.

Double Accumulator:  Three bets of two selections in different events.

Drift: Where odds move out due to a lack of interest or support, most commonly associated with on course betting.

Dutch: Betting on more than a single outcome on the same event.

Each Way: Two bets, one of which is on who will win and another for who will finish in a place (e.g. in the top 4 finishing positions.).

Exposure: The amount of money that can possibly be lost on a specific bet or series of bets.  Best to limit this.

Favourite: The most likely winner of an event, based on bookmakers’ consensus.

Fold: The number of accumulator outcomes.  e.g. Threefold, if betting on three outcomes.

Forecast: Predicting the first finishing two horses in a race, in that order only.

Goliath: A type of accumulator that has two hundred and forty seven bets involving eight selections on different events.  Tired just thinking about it.

Handicap: This type of betting involves giving one selection a virtual deficit (the ‘handicap’) to overcome at the start of an event.

Hedging: The practice of placing a bet on both results on the same event (win and loss) in order to reduce the risk of losses.

Heinz: Fifty seven bets from six selections. Consists of fifteen doubles, twenty trebles, fifteen four folds, six five folds and a six fold.  If you win a Heinz, you’ll be having a good day…and night.

Lay: Available when you use a betting exchange, like Betfair.  You make, or lay, the odds for others.

Lock: The US equivalent of a Banker – a bet that appears destined to succeed.

Lucky 15: Fifteen bets of four selections: Four singles, six doubles, four trebles and a four-fold.  That adds up, does it not?

Lucky 31: Thirty one bets of five selections: Five singles, ten doubles, ten trebles, five four-folds and a five-fold.

Nap: The best bet of the day, as selected by a tipster.

No action: A bet where no money is won or lost due to the event not even taking place.

Odds: The return promised by a bookmaker, either quoted as a fraction or a decimal e.g. 10/1 in fraction form is the same as 11 in decimal form.

Odds-On: Where a favourite becomes so heavily backed, the odds are less than evens, or 2 in decimal.

Outsider: The complete opposite of the favourite, one not expected to win at all.

Parlay: US term, meaning the same as Accumulator (see above).

Patent: This is a type of bet that is made up of seven bets of three selections.  These are three single bets, a double bet and a treble bet.

Point spread: A prediction of the difference between to teams’ scores.  You

Price: The betting odds on offer.

Punter: Someone who takes a punt by placing a bet.

Round Robin:  Three selections in three different races: Three doubles, a treble and six singles.  Also the bloke from the chippie.

Sharp: Someone who gambles professionally.

Single: Where a bet is placed on one event. Simple.

Special: An out-of-the-ordinary type of bet provided by a bookmaker usually designed to catch people’s attention due to the nature of the bet or the odds.

Super Heinz: Really, really good sauce.  Also, an accumulator consisting of one hundred and twenty bets involving seven selections in different events: twenty one doubles, thirty five trebles, thirty five four-folds, twenty one five-folds, seven six-folds and the seven-fold accumulator.  Phew.

Tote: A horse racing bookmaker offering parimutuel betting.

Treble: A type of accumulator placed over three different events.

Tricast: A type of bet mainly used in horse racing or greyhound racing, where first, second and third places are predicted and in the correct order.

Trifecta: Same as tricast, a term often used in Australian and US betting.

Trixie: Four bets over three events, consisting of three doubles and a treble.

Under: A wager on something (e.g. a score, number of yellow cards etc) being under a certain number of occurrences.  Often seen in football betting markets.

Underdog: The opposite of the favourite.  Someone or something not expected to do well. Usually attract the best odds to win.

Void Bet: Where for whatever reason (e.g. match does not take place), the bet becomes void and your stake is returned.

Yankee: A bet on four selections and consisting of no less than eleven separate bets. That is, six doubles, four trebles and a four-fold accumulator.  At least two selections must win to get a return.


These betting terms should help give you a better understanding of betting expressions used by regular punters.  If you know of betting terms that should be included in the list, feel free to suggest more.