Bet Types & Betting Terms

From beginner to expert, the following pages list even more bet types and terms that you will come across and will have you knowing your tri-casts from your trebles, and your drifts from your dividends in no time.

From beginner to expert, the following pages list even more bet types and terms that you will come across and will have you knowing your tri-casts from your trebles, and your drifts from your dividends in no time.

Arbitrage is a theoretically risk-free way of profiting by the different odds bookmakers offer on the same event. In simple terms, in the final of the FA Cup, if one bookmaker thinks Manchester United will win and prices Manchester City at 21/20, whilst another bookmaker thinks that City will lift the cup and prices United at 21/20, by backing both you can guarantee a profit no matter what.

This is a type of bet that developed in Asia but is popular in North America too and is used to eliminate the draw, giving just two options to bet on. The handicaps are positive or negative and in their basic form come in increments of half goals, so a team offered at -0.5 needs to win whilst the opposition at +0.5 can draw or win. There are also split Asian handicaps, written as either +0.5, +1 or (meaning the same thing) +0.75. Here the stake is split between a bet on +0.5 and another on +1, such that a 1-0 defeat means you lose half your stake and have a push (stake refunded) on the other half.

A banker is a sure thing, a dead cert: a bet that is deemed highly likely to come in.

A betting exchange allows regular punters to lay bets (bet against a selection) as well as back them and is sometimes known as peer-to-peer betting because a lot of the wagers pit one bettor against another with no bookie involvement. The exchange takes a small commission but because there is no profit margin factored into the odds they are often much higher than at a conventional bookie.

Betting tax is a government levy on gambling. If applied, rates, rules and details vary from country to country.

A bookmaker is the company or individual that offers odds on a given event, accepting bets from punters (bettors, mugs, the public, whatever you want to call them) and collecting the stakes and – hopefully – paying out the winnings.

A Canadian, or Super Yankee, is a type of bet popular in horse racing but applicable to any sport that entails five selections (for example five horses to win separate races) and covers every possible combination of accumulator: 10 doubles, 10 trebles, five four-folds and one five-fold acca for a total of 26 bets. As such a €1 stake per line will cost €26 in total, with at least two selections needed to win for any return.

A combination Tricast is a bet common in horse and dog racing whereby you are selecting the top three finishers in a race but in any order. Effectively it is six bets covering all possible top three combinations from your selections and as such a €10 combination Tricast would cost €60 in total.

A dead heat is when two or more teams, players, horses, dogs or anything else are, for betting purposes, tied. Examples include in golf, if several players finish joint second on the same score, or in horse racing if two horses cannot be separated, even by a photo. Rules vary but usually if dead heat rules are applied your bet is split, so if your horse is a dead heat winner half the bet is classed as a win and half as a loss. In the unlikely event that three horses finish in a dead heat just 1/3 of the bet would win.

A dividend is the payout on Tote or Pool bets, where rather than fixed odds, winnings are calculated by the number of people who backed the victor and the overall stake. The dividend may also refer to the payout from a forecast or tricast, a dividend of €11.23 meaning that your bet returns that amount for every €1 staked.

Drift is the term used to describe odds that are rising. So if a horse moves from 2/1 to 5/2, then 7/2, then 4/1, perhaps due to changing ground, new information or anything else, it is said to be on the drift” or drifting out”.

This is when you back more than one outcome in the same event.

Evens is the common term used to describe odds of 1/1, or 2.00 in decimal odds, meaning that for every €1 you stake you will get €2 (including your stake) back.

Exposure is the amount you stand to lose, so with a standard bet it is your stake or the total of all your stakes on various selections in a given market. Exposure is more commonly used with regard betting exchanges when laying a selection, and again describes the amount you stand to lose. However, if you lay a €10 stake at 28/1 your exposure is not €10 but €280! In spread betting the exposure is again what you stand to lose if things go wrong and can also be far more than your stake and, in some cases, be unlimited.

The favourite is the competitor with the shortest odds in any given event and therefore the one the bookies deem most likely to win.

Free bets are promotions run by bookmakers to attract custom and publicity, just like a loss leader in a supermarket. There are various different types of free bets but all, theoretically, give you a serious advantage over the bookmaker. From stake returned and stake not returned free bets, free bet refunds and no lose free bets, we love them all!

A full cover bet is a bet on multiple selections where every combination of bets is included irrespective of the number of selections: so all doubles, trebles, four-folds and so on, as well as one accumulator incorporating all selections. A full cover including singles” adds all possible singles onto this.

To hedge a bet is effectively to take an insurance policy on it losing by backing all other outcomes. Depending on the circumstances you may be locking in a guaranteed profit on the original bet or cutting your maximum loss and this can be done either by backing opposing selections or laying your original bet at a betting exchange.

A Nap is similar to a banker in that it is a top betting tip, a selection deemed the best bet of the day and most likely to win.

Odds above evens are odds against. So anything where your profit is higher than your stake is odds against, denoting the bookmakers give it less than a 50% chance of winning.

Odds on, conversely, are odds shorter than even money, so any fractional odds where the number on the left is smaller than on the right, for example 1/2. This may be expressed as either one to two” or two to one on”.

An outsider is a selection that is generally unfancied and is available at long odds.

Parimutuel betting is popular in France and some other countries and involves a betting pool, rather than fixed odds. When you place your bets you only have a rough idea of the odds, the final payout being determined by the number of people who backed the winner, the overall amount staked on the event and the operator’s (bookmaker’s) cut. This is sometimes called pool betting and the Tote offers this in the UK.

In North America, the term Parlay is used instead of accumulator.

Permutations are the various options created by selecting a number of different outcomes and selections. On four selections you have various options, including the four singles, the one four-fold, the trebles or the doubles, so, you may decide for example to perm all six doubles. Another way perms are used is demonstrated by a tricast, where you are selecting the top three finishers in a race or event. By selecting four or more horses or dogs you can create various permutations of your top three and thus give yourself a greater chance of winning. Of course, each different combination is a separate bet and the more options you give yourself, the more the bet will cost overall.

Place refers to a finish that will pay out as an each way pick or a separate place bet. In F1 this is usually second, as it is with tennis, football tournaments and many other sports, whilst in racing it is anything from the top two to the top eight, the latter only applicable to betting offers in conjunction with races such as the Grand National.

Rule 4 is the system used by the bookmakers to reduce the odds when there have been withdrawals from a horse or dog race after the final declarations have been made. If you place a bet, for example, on a 2/1 joint-favourite and subsequently the other favourite withdraws, your selection now has a far greater chance of winning and as such the Rule 4 deduction, a percentage based on the odds of the competitor that has withdrawn, compensates for this. Rule 4 doesn’t apply to bets placed either ante-post or at the starting price (SP).

When referring to horse racing, the starting price is the odds of a horse at the time a race begins.

Spread betting is a type of wager that rewards the accuracy of your predictions, rather than just whether your bet wins or loses. In fixed odds betting you pick a team to win a football match and you know the odds and you either win or lose. A comparable football spread bet would be Arsenal to beat Spurs by more than 0.8 goals. In this instance the bookie may have made Arsenal the favourite by offering a spread that they would win by 0.6-0.8 goals. You either buy (go higher than the upper value) or sell (go lower than the lower value) and if Arsenal win by a single goal you win 0.2 times your stake, whilst if they lose by a goal you lose 1.6 times your stake. The bookie’s profit margin is the spread whilst profits and losses can be huge: for example if Spurs win 5-0 you would lose 5.6 times your stake.

Totepool betting is now offered by a number of bookmakers, although the system remains operated by Totesport (bought by Betfred in 2011). It is the horse racing version of the national lottery and football pools combined and allows people to win huge sums of money – the biggest ever payout was more than €3.5m in 2009. There are a variety of options but the biggest and most popular are the totescoop6 on Saturday’s and the totejackpot, both of which require you to pick the winner of six selected races. The scoop6 has a minimum stake of just €2 and an average win fund in 2013 of around €100k. If nobody wins, the prize rolls over and large rollovers can result in jackpots far in excess of what the odds merit, meaning the scoop6 can offer real value and attracts huge interest.

The underdog is like an outsider: an entrant not fancied by bookmakers or punters to win. They are likely to be at long odds and may be given a positive handicap in certain markets. Chiefly applies to boxing but applicable to any sport or event.

The vigorish, also sometime called the vig, the juice or the take, is effectively the bookmakers profit margin. Sometimes used interchangeably with overround”, the terms do actually have slightly different meanings but effectively it is the way the bookmaker offers odds slightly below the true odds of an event happening.

Betting odds

Common online bets