If you’re new to the betting world, the lingo and gambling terminology can be a little overwhelming. Broaden your betting knowledge with this comprehensive A-Z gambling glossary which explains many common gambling and sports betting terms.


Abandoned – The term for a horse race meeting which has had to be cancelled (usually due to bad weather).

ABC Poker – To play a straightforward and predictable style of poker.

Acca (or Accumulator) – A multiple bet consisting of 4 or more selections. All selections must win for the bet to pay out.

Across The Board – This wager is associated with horse racing and comprises three distinct components: win, place, and show. The bet is divided among each outcome, with payouts contingent on the horse’s finishing position. If the horse wins, all three bets succeed; if it places second, the win and place bets win; and if it finishes third, only the show bet prevails.

Against The Spread – When you bet ‘against the spread’, you are taking the underdogs as well as the virtual points start in a game. To win, you want the “underdog” to either win outright or lose by less than the “Point Spread” offered to you.

All Weather – A surface type for racecourses that’s suitable for all year-round horse racing. Tapeta, fibersand, and polytrack are the three main varieties of all weather racing surfaces in the UK.

Allowance – A reduction in weight a horse must carry in a race, for example when ridden by an apprentice jockey.

American Odds – American (or US) odds represent a method of indicating the odds of an event, akin to fractional and decimal formats, albeit presented differently. Positive or negative numbers are assigned in American odds, with positive figures denoting the potential winnings per $100 wagered, and negative numbers indicating the amount needed to bet in order to secure a $100 profit.

Antepost – UK term for long term betting on future events. This is known as Futures in the US. While you can get big some odds with antepost / futures betting you risk losing your stake if your player or horse does not run.

Arbitrage – Arbitrage betting occurs when all potential outcomes of a game yield assured returns. Ideally, this involves placing two or more bets to guarantee profit across all outcomes; however, it’s also feasible to “Arb” a bet that breaks even or mitigates losses on one or more outcomes.

Asian Handicap – Asian handicap betting, as the name suggests, originated in Asia and is most used employed in football / soccer. A handicap indicates that one team has a virtual advantage over the other. Asian handicaps are popular as they eliminate the possibility of a draw in a match, leaving just two possible results.


Backmarker – The horse or horses occupying the positions at the back of the field.

Banker – A very strongly fancied wager is often described to be a banker bet as it’s deemed to be certain to win.

Bankroll – A bankroll refers to the sum of money available for wagering, which may vary depending on the player’s circumstances and ability to replenish it when needed. It’s advisable to reinvest all winnings into the bankroll to provide a buffer for potential future losses.

Best Odds Guaranteed – Many UK online bookmakers offer the best odds guaranteed concession where if the SP (Starting Price) is higher than the price you took, then they will pay you out at the higher odds. Bookies that offer this promotion include William Hill, bet365, Boylesports and Betfred.

Bet – A bet is a financial wager placed on an outcome, commonly facilitated through a bookmaker.

Betting Pool – A betting pool is a form of gambling where participants contribute a fixed price into a pool and then make a selection on an outcome, with the total pool shared amongst those who pick the winning outcome.

Betting Strategy – A betting strategy refers to a systematic approach aimed at increasing the likelihood of winning bets, varying from one sport to another, yet consistently seeking to optimize profitability for each wager. Common strategies encompass the Kelly Criterion, effective bankroll management, thorough pre-game research, hedge betting, and arbitrage.

Blinkers – A piece of headgear fitted to a horse which reduces their peripheral vision and keeps them focused.

Bookmaker (Bookie) – A bookmaker is an individual or company responsible for establishing the odds for forthcoming sporting events. A sportsbook, also known as a bookmaker, serves the same function. The term “book” historically referred to the odds, hence the moniker.

Brought Down – In jumps racing when your horse falls or trips over another stricken horse. Represented by a B in the horse’s form figures.

Burlington Bertie – In UK rhyming slang, this is an old term for odds of 100/30 (which is sometimes referred to as 10/3) – i.e. one hundred to thirty (which rhymes with Burlington Bertie).

Buying Points – Bettors have the option to purchase points to access alternative betting lines in the market, such as the spread. For instance, if the line stands at +3.5, they can opt to “buy a point” to acquire an alternative line of +4.5. The odds will adjust accordingly to accommodate the change in the line, thereby providing the side with either a greater advantage or disadvantage compared to the initial line.


C&D –  Course and distance winner in horse racing. A horse that has previously won at the same racecourse over the same distance.

Carpet – Betting odds of 3/1 (4.00 in decimal).

Chalk – “The chalk” serves as another term for the favorite in the market. For instance, if the San Francisco 49ers are listed at -150 on the moneyline to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs, priced at +250, the 49ers are considered the favorite and, in this scenario, referred to as the chalk.

Chasing Losses -Refers to the act of increasing one’s bets or gambling activity in an attempt to recover money lost in previous wagers. This behaviour is often fuelled by emotions such as frustration or desperation and can lead to further losses if not managed responsibly.

Colt – A male horse aged 4 years old or younger who has not been gelded (castrated).

Commission – Commission is the fee charged by online betting exchanges which is usually applied to winning bets only. For example, the Betfair Exchange charge around 5% commission. In US betting the term commission also represents the earnings accrued by the sportsbook for every market they provide. Each bet carries a commission, sometimes termed as juice or vigorish. For example, a coin toss might be priced at -110 for both heads and tails, indicating a 52.4% implied probability for each outcome. This results in a total probability of 104.8%, signifying a commission of 4.8% for this particular market.

Connections  – Term used to describe all the people connected to a racehorse such as the owner(s), trainer and stable staff.

Cover The Spread – When the favorite team wins and the final winning margin exceeds the points spread, they are said to “cover the spread.” For instance, if you bet on the Miami Dolphins at -7.5 and the final score is 21– 10, your bet would win as they covered the spread. However, if they won the game 21-17, they would not cover the spread, resulting in a lost bet.


Decimal odds – Decimal odds are among the three most prevalent formats for representing betting prices, alongside fractional odds and American odds. As implied by the name, these odds are expressed as decimals; for instance, -110 in American odds would be displayed as 1.91, +250 as 3.5, and so forth. This format is predominantly utilized in European sportsbooks. You can use a betting convertor tool to help convert odds into different formats.

Derby match – A derby is seen as a game between two teams that are geographically close to one another. For example, Manchester United v Manchester City, Arsenal v Tottenham, Liverpool v Everton or Coventry City v Leicester City. Derby matches are often more intense as they carry local bragging rights.

Dirt – The main racing surface for horse racing in the US.

Double – One bet including two selections where any winnings from the first selections is placed on the second. Both selections must win for the bet to pay out.

Double carpet – Odds of 33/1.

Draw (1) – In sports, a draw refers to the outcome of a game or match where neither team or player emerges as the winner. Instead, the game ends with the scores level or tied. Draws are common in sports such as soccer, rugby, cricket, and hockey, among others. In US sports betting, a draw is typically considered a push (i.e. money back), although exceptions exist, notably in three-way betting markets such as determining the outright winner in a soccer match.

Draw (2) – “The draw” serves as a synonym for a tie, commonly observed in European sports like soccer, rugby, and cricket.

Draw (3) – In horse racing, the term “draw” typically refers to the post position assigned to each horse in the starting gate before the race begins. The draw can play a significant role in a horse’s racing strategy, as it may affect their positioning during the race and their ability to secure a favorable position. Additionally, the draw can impact the distance a horse needs to travel during the race, as well as their proximity to the rail, which can influence their chances of success.

Drift – When odds drift, they increase from the initial odds set by the sportsbooks. For instance, if the odds shift from +200 to +250 to +300 before the start of the game or race, it indicates that the odds have drifted.


Each Way – A bet mainly used in the UK horse racing. It consists of two bets (win and place). If your horse wins you are paid out on both bets. If your horse places you are paid out on the place bet only. The number of places available depends on the race and bookmaker.

Edge – An edge refers to the advantage gained by a bettor through research or knowledge regarding the potential outcome of a bet. For instance, in horse racing, if a bettor knows that a horse has undergone exceptional training leading up to the race, they would possess an edge over the average punter.

Even money – An even money bet yields a profit equal to the amount wagered if successful. Represented as +100 in American odds (1/1 in fractional and 2.00 in decimal), a $100 bet placed at these odds results in a $100 profit for an even money bet. In implied probability, such a bet signifies a 50% chance of winning.

Exotic – An exotic bet encompasses any wager that deviates from traditional moneyline, spread, or total bets. These bets typically extend beyond wagers directly tied to the game’s outcome and may include options such as accumulator / parlay bets, which can involve various betting markets.


Favorite – The favorite (fav) is the frontrunner in the market, boasting the shortest odds and considered the most probable winner. For example, in a horse race featuring three horses priced at +200, +300, and +400, the horse priced at +200 would be identified as the favorite for that race.

Fergie Time – Excessive added time. Ideally allows a team more time to score a late goal to clinch a last-minute winner or equaliser. The phrase comes from Manchester United’s former manager Alex Ferguson’s habit of winning games at the death due to seemingly endless stoppage time.

Field – The collective term for all the horses or competitors in a race.

Flapping track – A slang term for an independent greyhound racing track in UK which features local greyhounds racing at local tracks. In 1948, there were 130+ flapping tracks in the UK. By 1984, the year of the miners strike, there were less than 60. Today there are only 11 left.

Flat racing – Horse racing with no obstacles. They can be run on turf, dirt or all-weather surfaces.

Fold – A poker term for throwing in your hand.

Furlong – Unit of distance used in the measurement of horse races. One furlong equals 220 yards/660 feet/⅛ of a mile.


Gelding – A male horse that has been castrated.

Going – The ground condition of a race track. Going conditions can range from heavy, soft through to good and firm. Many horses run better on their favoured going.

Goliath – A multiple bet consisting of eight selections and 247 different bets. (doubles, trebles, fourfolds etc.)


Hard – A ground condition of the ‘going’ on a turf racecourse. Firm or hard ground suggests that the ground is dry or ‘fast’ and with no give.

Heavy – Describes the state of the ground at a racecourse. Heavy ground presents a stiffer test of endurance as it is soft and muddy with a lot of give underfoot. If the ground gets too heavy the racing meeting may become abandoned (called off).

High Roller – A player who places very big bets or plays at high stakes.

Hit – A request for an additional card in blackjack.

Hole cards – In blackjack these are the facedown cards that a player or dealer is dealt from the pack.

Home field advantage –  The perceived edge the home team is expected to have.

Hurdler – A race horse who takes part in hurdles races.


Injured Jockeys Fund – A UK charitable organisation that provides care and support for injured jockeys past and present.

Injury Time – A period of time added on the end of the soccer match by the referee to account for any injuries or other delays. Sometimes called stoppage time.

Insurance – A side bet in blackjack that the dealer will have a natural blackjack. You can take the insurance bet when the dealer’s up card is an ace.

ITV7 – A popular free to enter horse racing tipping contest run by the ITV Racing channel where you can win big if you can predict the winner of seven races.


Jackpot – A very large cash prize.

Juice – Juice, also known as vigorish or vig, denotes the commission or fee levied by a sportsbook for accepting a wager. This charge, embedded within the odds, signifies the sportsbook’s profit margin on a given bet.

Juvenile – A horse aged two years old.


Kipper – An underdog, a no-hoper


Length – A length is equal to the average length of a horse. This unit of measurement is used to determine the distances between horses either at the end of a race or in running.

Lock – Slang term for a bet that is perceived to be a certainty to win, also known as a cert or banker.


Maiden race – A race for horses who have not yet won a race.

Mare – A female horse who is five-years-old or older.

Money Back Special – Some bookmakers will offer concessions such as money back if your horse falls at the last fence or is beaten by a short distance.


Nap – A tipsters best bet of the day. A banker bet.

Non Runner – A horse who has been declared for a race but is subsequently withdrawn. This is often due to going / ground concerns or a newly discovered injury. If you bet a non runner the selection will be deemed void with stakes returned. With Placepot and Jackpot type bets it is replaced with the favourite.

Nose – The shortest possible winning distance (or distance between any two horses) in a horse race.


Old Firm Derby – The Old Firm refers to the local ‘derby match’ between the top. two Scottish football clubs Celtic and Rangers, both of which are located in Glasgow.

On The Bob / Nod – A very close finish where the winner is decided by which horse has it’s head down at the winning post.

On The Bridle – Describes a horse who is racing smoothly and looks to have plenty to give when asked for maximum effort. Also known as ‘On The Snaff’ which refers to the bit that goes in the horse’s mouth.


Point Spread – A point spread is a wager on a sporting event’s margin of victory. It is the most common sort of wager in NFL (American football) and basketball. If you bet the favorites, in order to win your points spread bet, the perceived stronger team (the favourite) must win by a certain amount of points/runs/goals. Alternatively you can bet ‘against the spread’ and take the underdogs with a certain number of points advantage. This is a popular bet as it is a way of evening out games with strong favorites making it more like a 50/50 bet.


Quarter bet – A quarter bet, alternatively referred to as a quarter-line bet, is a betting option prevalent in sports like basketball or American football. Unlike traditional bets on the overall game outcome, it focuses on predicting the result of a specific quarter or period within the game.

Quinella – In US horse racing, a Quinella bet is a wager where you pick two horses to finish first and second in any order in a single race. In the UK this bet is known as a reverse forecast.


Rag – The rank outsider in a horse race. (particularly UK horse racing)

Refuse – When a horse refuses to take part in a race and plants himself at the start or refuses to jump an obstacle.

Reverse Forecast – A reverse forecast bet is a wager where you choose two selections to finish first and second in either order in a single event. In US racing this bet is called a Quinella.


Scratch – The act of removing a horse from a race before the final declaration stage.

Short Head – A unit of measure to describe a winning distance or distance between two horse. For years a short head was the shortest winning distance until technology allowed races to be won be an even smaller margin, a nose.

Show Bet – A North American horse racing term for betting for bet on a horse to finish in the first three positions of a race.

Silks – The cap and jacket worn by jockeys. The specific design and colour of the silks denote who owns the horse.

Slipped Up – A horse that falls on the flat such as slipping on a bend. Represented by an S in the form figures.

SP – Abbreviation for ‘Starting Price’ which is a horse’s finishing declared odds.

Stallion – A male horse who retires to stud farms and is used for breeding.

Starting Price (SP) – The betting industry’s standard price at which a horse starts a race. The SP is calculated by a body of independent bookmakers.

Steamer – A horse that has been heavily backed.


Thoroughbred – The breed of horse which is used for the vast majority of horse racing around the world.

Tipster – An individual or a service that offers betting advice and predictions on the outcomes of sporting events. These tips or picks are based on the tipster’s research, analysis, and understanding of the sport, the teams or competitors involved, and various factors that could influence the outcome of the event, such as player injuries, weather conditions, and historical performance data.

TissueEarly forecast odds given out by newspapers and media. Tissue prices are an early set of odds showing the likelihood of various outcomes of a sporting event occurring. These odds are usually derived from percentages.

Treble – A bet consisting of three selections which all must win (or place in each way trebles) for the bet to win.


Underdog – A competitor deemed unlikely to win a fight or contest


Value bet – A bet where the assessor’s chances of an event happening is greater than the actual odds available. If someone offered you 5/4 on both sides of a coin toss you bet all day long.


Win Bet – A simple bet on a single selection to win a race or event.



Yankee – In British betting terminology a yankee is a multiple bet consisting of four selections and comprises 11 individual bets –  6 doubles, 4 trebles and 1 4-fold accumulator.

Yearling – A horse who is aged one-year-old. In the UK all racehorses have their ‘birthday’ on January 1st.