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The Complete Sports Betting Glossary

If you’re looking to learn more about sports betting, you’re bound to come across a strange word or two.

For your convenience we’ve put together a full glossary of sports betting terms. And by “we” I mean this glossary is reproduced by courtesy of

If you’re looking for terms related specifically to horse racing, you might want to try our Complete Horse Racing Glossary.

Accumulator:(Also, Parlay) A multiple bet. A kind of 'let-it-ride' bet. Making simultaneous selections on two or more games with the intent of pressing the winnings of the first win on the bet of the following game selected, and so on. All the selections made must win for you to win the accumulator.

Action:A bet or wager of any kind is deemed Action if valid. Different rules apply in different sports in determining if a bet is action or no action (e.g. baseball bets are action when the game gets beyond 4½ innings).

Ajax:UK slang term for 'Betting Tax'.

All-In:With all-in betting there are no refunds given for scratched or withdrawn competitors or teams in an event where a bet is placed. Should an event be cancelled then the amount bet will be refunded.

All Up:(Also, Accumulator) This involves picking the winners of more than one event. A single wager amount is placed on more than one outcome, whereby the stake and winnings of the first selection will be rolled over into the second selection and so on.

Ante Post:(Also, Futures) Bets placed in advance predicting the outcome of a future event. Ante-post prices are those on major sporting events, usually prior to the day of the event itself. In return for the chance of better odds, punters risk the fact that stakes are not returned if their selection pulls out or is cancelled.

Arbitrage:Where a variation in odds available allows a punter to back both sides and guarantee a win.

Backed:A 'backed' team is one on which lots of bets have been placed.

Banker:Highly expected to win. The strongest in a multiple selection in a parlay or accumulator. In permutation bets the banker is a selection that must win to guarantee any returns.

Bar Price:Refers to the odds of the selections at the last quoted price and bigger. The bar price is the minimum odds for any of those selections not quoted. For example, in a large field, the Serie A outright markets may read Juventus 3/1, AC Milan 7/2, Inter Milan 4/1, Lazio 5/1, 8/1 Bar - meaning every other side is quoted at 8/1 or bigger.

Beard (US):A friend or acquaintance or other contact who is used to placing bets so that the bookmakers will not know the identity of the actual bettor. Many top handicappers and persons occupying sensitive positions use this method of wagering.

Beef:A dispute or claim involving a player and his bookmaker or a casino dealer. A dispute over the outcome of a bet. A problematic situation involving a bet.

Beeswax:UK slang term for betting tax. Also known as 'Bees' or 'Ajax'.

Betting Tax:Tax on a Bookmaker's turnover. In the UK this is a 'Duty' levied on every Pound wagered. Common methods of recouping this by the punter are to deduct tax from returns (winnings) or to pay tax with the stake/wager. In the latter case, no tax is deducted from the punter's winnings.

Bettor (US):Someone who places or has a bet. A 'Punter' in the UK.

Book:A bookmaker's tally of amounts bet on each competitor, and odds necessary to assure him of profit. Running a 'book' is the act of quoting odds and accepting bets on an event and the person doing it is called the 'Bookmaker'.

Bookie:(U.K.) Short for bookmaker. The person or shop who accepts bets.

Bookmaker:Person who is licensed to accept bets on the result of an event based on their provision of odds to the customer. (Sportsbook US).

Bottle:UK slang, odds of 2 to 1.

Bridge-Jumper (US):Bettor who specializes in large show bets on odd-on favourites.Buck (US) - A bet of US$ 100 (also known as a 'dollar bet').

Burlington Bertie:The price of 100-30.

Buy Price:In Spread or Index betting, the higher figure quoted by an Index bookmaker.

Buy the Rack (US):Purchase every possible daily-double or other combination ticket.

Canadian:Also known as a Super Yankee. A Canadian is a combination bet consisting of 26 bets with 5 selections in different events. The combination bet is made up of 10 doubles, 10 trebles, five 4-folds and one 5-fold.

Carpet:UK slang for Odds of 3 to 1 (also known as 'Tres' or 'Gimmel').

Century:GBP£ 100 (also known as a 'Ton').

Chalk:The favored team.

Chalk Player:Bettor on favourites.

Circled Game:A game where the maximum bet is limited. The sportsbook or bookmaker puts a limit on the amount of action they are prepared to take on the game. This is most often due to doubts about key players, in games that feature key injuries, inclement weather, or unsubstantiated rumors regarding a team. Most bookies 'Circle' all Ivy League Games.

Closing Line:The final list of point spreads offered before game time.

Combination Bet: Selecting any number of teams/horses to finish first and second in either order.

Correlated Parlay:Correlation is the degree to which the results of two bets are related. An example of two bets that are correlated is the Giants to lead at the half and the Giants to win the game. A correlated parlay is essentially a bet that is tied into another positively, in that if one bets wins, it increases the odds of the other bet winning. A more blatant example would be parlaying the first half over to the second half over to the game over. If you win the first half over wager and the second half over bet, you're obviously going to win the wager for the game.

Cover:To bet the spread by the required number of points.

Credit Betting:Betting using credit with a bookmaker.

Dead Hit:Finishing equal. Both win.

Deposit Betting:Betting with money deposited in advance with a bookmaker.

Dime bet:A $1000 wager.

Dividend:The agreed payout or return on any bet.

Dog (US):The underdog in any betting proposition.

Dog Player (US):A bettor who mainly wagers on the underdog.

Dollar Bet:A $100 wager.

Double(s):A twin bet on two separate specified events or two parts of the same event. A form of parlay or accumulator.

Double Carpet:UK slang for Odds of 33 to 1, based on 'Carpet'.

Double or Nothing:An even-money bet, a bet that pays off exactly the amount wagered.

Draw:Where competitors in an event finish evenly. Where there is a draw and this is not offered as a betting option, the return will be divided by the number of joint winners. Note that some sports have processes such as extra-time or play-offs to determine an event winner that are included as part of the bet where others are not. This may affect some bets and you should always be sure how an event would be decided in this instance.

Drift:Odds that 'Lengthen', are said to have drifted, or be 'On the Drift'.

Each Way:UK term for betting on a team or individual to win and/or 'Place'. The bet is automatically split into two, 50:50 and the odds for each bet are different. If your selection wins, the Place bet wins automatically. Therefore, you could win either both bets or Place only.

Even Money:A 1:1 odds bet. A $1 stake would return $2 dividend ($1 win plus $1 staked).

Favorite/Favourite:The team or individual the sportsbooks rate most likely to win that contest or event. Typically it has the most money bet on it.

Field:1) All the individual competitors in an event. 2) Odds offered on non listed (outsiders) players or teams collectively called the Field.

Fixed Game:A game in which one or more participants willfully manipulate the final outcome of a game.

Fixed Odds:Your dividend is fixed at the odds when you placed your bet. No matter how much the odds fluctuate the odds at the time you placed your bet are fixed and written on the ticket. Your dividend for winning is paid at the value stated on your ticket, no matter what happens after you have placed your bet.

Flag:A bet consisting of 23 bets (a 'Yankee' plus 6 'Single Stakes About' bets in pairs) on 4 selections in different event.

Flash (US):Change of odds information on tote board.

Flea:An annoying person who wants something for nothing. One who expects to be comped for a small wager.

Fold:When preceded by a number, a fold indicates the number of selections in an accumulator (e.g. 5-Fold = 5 selections).

Forecast:A wager that involves correctly predicting the 1st and 2nd for a particular event. This bet can be straight, reversed or permed. (USA, Perfecta or Exacta).

Full Cover:All the doubles, trebles and accumulators involved in a given number of selections.

Futures:(Also, Ante Post) Bets placed in advance predicting the outcome of a future event.

Goliath:A goliath is a multiple bet consisting of 247 bets involving 8 selections in different events. The multiple bet breakdown is 28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70x4-folds, 56x5-folds, 28x6-folds, 8x7-folds and one 8-fold.

Grand:GBP£ 1,000 (also known as a Big'un).

Grand Salami:A slang word for the over/under total for the combined score of all the hockey contests on the schedule for that day.

Grand Slam:The four major tennis tournaments Wimbledon, Australian Open, French Open, U.S. Open. Also the four major golf tournaments The Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, PGA Championship (Professional Golf Association). Also in baseball, a homerun with the bases loaded, scoring four runs.


Hang Cheng:The Asian equivalent for 'Point Spread'.

Heinz:A Heinz is a multiple bet consisting of 57 bets involving 6 selections in different events. The multiple bet breakdown is 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15x4-folds, 6x5-folds and one 6-fold.

Home Field Advantage:Edge the home team is expected to have as a result of familiarity with the playing area, favorable demographics and effect of travel on the visiting team.

Hoops:Slang word used to indicate the game of basketball.

IBF:International Boxing Federation.

In and Out Teaser (See also "Teaser" below):An "in and out teaser" is when the player picks the favorite, underdog, over and under of the same game. For example: NY +3 1/2, Dallas -3 1/2. An in and out teaser would have a player take both NY and Dallas, and tease both, to increase the odds of winning the wager. So, if you teased both teams by 7 points, you would have: NY +10 1/2, Dallas +3 1/2. So long as the spread is covered, your wager will be a win.

Index Betting:Spread betting.

In The Red:Odds on.

Joint Favorites:When a sportsbook or bookmaker cannot split two teams for favoritism, they may both be joint favorites.

Jolly:Bookmakers slang for 'Favorite/Favourite'.

Juice:The bookmaker's commission, also known as vigorish or vig.

Kite:UK slang for a cheque ('Check' in the US).

Lay a Bet:A bookie accepting a bet.

Layer:Another term for Bookie.

Layoff:A bookmaker's bet with another bookmaker made in order to help equalize the excess action he has accepted from his customers.

LBO:Acronym for 'Licensed Betting Office' in the UK.

Lengthen:The opposite of 'Shorten'. Referred to odds getting longer, that is, more attractive to the bettor.

Lines:Odds offered to the punter.

Linemaker:One who compiles or sets the original or subsequent betting lines.

Lock:(As in 'Banker') US term for an almost certain winner. Easy winner.

Long Odds:Generally greater than 10:1.

Lucky 15:A Lucky 15 consists of 15 bets involving 4 selections in different events, i.e. 4 singles, 6 doubles, 4 trebles, and 1 fourfold. As a consolation if you only have one winner it will be paid at double the odds. If you get all four winners, a 10% bonus will be added to your returns.

Lucky 31:A Lucky 31 consists of 31 bets involving 5 selections in different events, i.e. 5 singles, 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 four-folds plus 1 five-fold. . As a consolation if you only have one winner it will be paid at double the odds. If you get all five winners, a 20% bonus will be added to your returns.

Lucky 63:A Lucky 63 consists of 63 bets involving 6 selections in different events, i.e. 6 singles, 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 four-folds, 6 five-folds and 1 six-fold. As a consolation if you only have one winner it will be paid at double the odds. If you get all six winners, a 25% bonus will be added to your returns.

Margin:The amount a competitor in an event finishes in front of another competitor.

MLB:Major League Baseball.

Money Line:(Also, Action Line or Spread Betting) The amount that must be wagered to win $100, or the amount won for a $100 wager.

Multiples:See 'Accumulator'.

MVP:Most Valuable Player.

Nap:A newspaper corrospondents best bet of the day. Reputed to stand for 'Napoleon'.

NBA:National Basketball Association.

NCAA:National Collegiate Athletic Association.

NFL:National Football League.

NHL:National Hockey League.

Nickel:A $500 wager.

Odds:The sportsbook's or bookmaker's view of the chance of a competitor winning (adjusted to include a profit).

Odds-against:Where the odds are greater than evens (e.g. 5 to 2).

Odds Compiler:Same as 'Oddsmaker' below.

Odds-on:An Odds-on bet has a Minus sign in front and is worked out in reverse. It is the amount you wager to win $100. In the U.K. it is a bet on odds below evens 1:1. In Europe, it is a bet on odds below 2:1.

Oddsmaker:A person who sets the betting odds. (Sportsbooks or Bookies don't set the odds. Most major sportsbooks use odds set by Las Vegas oddsmakers.)

Off the Board (US):A game or event on which the sporstbook will not accept action.

Outsiders:Those contestants that are not expected to win. The opposite to the favorite, usually offered at lengthy odds.

Over/Under:A bet on whether the total points or goals scored by the two teams will be over or under a specified number.

Parlay:(Also, Accumulator) A multiple bet. A kind of 'let-it-ride' bet. Making simultaneous selections on two or more games with the intent of pressing the winnings of the first win on the bet of the following game selected, and so on. All the selections made must win for you to win the parlay.

Patent: A Patent consists of 7 bets involving 3 selections in different events, i.e. a single on each selection, plus 3 doubles and 1 treble.

Permutations:To 'perm' selections. For example, if you have made 3 selections (A, B and C) you can 'perm' all the possible doubles. In this case all the doubles possible are AB, AC, and BC; a total of 3 individual bets, or lines. Similarly, if you have made 4 selections (A, B, C and D) you can also 'perm' all the possible doubles from these four. Now the doubles are AB, AC, AD, BC, BD, CD; a total of 6 individual bets, or lines.

Picks:Betting selections, usually by an expert.

PK or Pick:Evenly matched teams.

Place:Finish in the top three, top four and sometimes also top five in a competition or event. A Place bet will win if the selection you bet on is among those placed. Different sportsbooks have different Place terms and you should check their rules before placing a bet.

Point Spread:(Also, Handicap) The points allocated to the 'underdog' to level the odds with the 'favorite/favourite'.

Price:The odds.

Pucks:A slang word used to indicate the game of hockey.


Push:A game that is tied when the point spread is factored in.

Return:Your total winnings on a bet.

Round Robin:A bet consisting of 10 bets (3 pairs of 'Single Stakes About' bets plus 3 doubles and 1 treble) involving three selections in different events. (US, A series of three or more teams into two-team wagers).

Scalper:One who attempts to profit from the differences in odds from book to book by betting both sides of the same game at different prices.

Shorten:The opposite of 'Lengthen'. Referred to odds getting shorter, that is, less attractive to the bettor.

Shut Out (US):What happens to a bettor who gets on the betting line to late and is still waiting in line when the window closes. Also, in sports betting, when the losing team do not score.

Single:A Straight bet on one selection to win one race or event, also known as a straight-up bet.

Single Stakes About (or SSA):A bet consisting of 2 bets on two selections (1 single on each selection any to come 1 single on the other selection reversed).

Sportsbook:The person, shop or website who accepts bets.

Spread:Point Spread.

Spread Betting:(Also, Action Line or Money Line) The amount that must be wagered to win $100, or the amount won for a $100 wager. A bet is won or lost according to whether you correctly predict the result of an event (also known as 'action line' or 'money line'). Returns or losses are calculated in proportion to how right or wrong the bettor is, and can lead to huge returns or losses.

Stanley Cup:Championship of Hockey.

Steam:When a betting line starts to move quite rapidly, usually caused by many bettors betting on it.

Store (US):A sportsbook or a bookie.

Super Bowl:NFL Championship game.

Super Heinz:A Super Heinz consists of 120 bets involving 7 selections in different events, i.e. 21 doubles, 35 trebles, 35 four-folds, 21 five-folds, 7 six-folds and 1 seven-fold.

Super Yankee:Alternative name for a multiple bet known as Canadian, a Super Yankee is a Yankee type bet with five selections instead of four.

System:A method of betting, usually mathematically based, used by a punter or bettor to try to get an advantage.

Teaser (See also "In and Out Teaser" above):A bet on two or more teams where the bettor can add or subtract points from the spread to make their bets stronger in return for reduced odds. All results must match the selections to win the teaser.

Thick'un:A big bet.

Tie:A push, stand-off or a draw.

Tips:Picks. The selections and predictions of competitors performance for an event from an expert or observer.

Totals:Sports bet on whether the combined number of points or goals scored by the two teams will be over/under a given mark.

Tote:Short for Totalisator. A system introduced to Britain in 1929 to offer pool betting on racecourses.

Trebles:A triple bet on three events. A form of parlay or accumulator.

Trixie:A Trixie consists of 4 bets involving 3 selections in different events, i.e. 3 doubles plus 1 treble.

True Odds:The real odds of something happening as opposed to what the bookies offer.

Two and Three Balls Betting: A golfing bet that involves predicting which player from either a group of two or three will shoot the lowest score over 18 holes.

Underdog:The team that receives a point start in a handicap.

Union Jack:A bet consisting of 8 trebles on 9 selections A to I: ABC, DEF, GHI, ADG, BEH, CFI, AEI, and CEG.

Value:Getting the best odds on a wager.

Vigorish or Vig:The commission paid to the bookmaker.

VS:Versus, against.

WBA:World Boxing Association.

WBC:World Boxing Council.

Welsh/Welch:To fail to pay a gambling bet.

Win Only:Betting on a competitor to win an event. Also known as 'Straight Out' or 'Money Line' betting.

Wise Guy:A knowledgeable handicapper or bettor.

WNBA:Women’s National Basketball Association.

World Series:Championship of Major League Baseball (MLB). The final seven games of the baseball playoffs between the two league champions to determine the world champion.

Yankee:The term used for a bet that consists of four selections, combining them into six doubles, four trebles and one fourfold - i.e. eleven bets.

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