Sports betting does not have a universal language. Different countries use different terms for ways to bet and types of bets.


ANTE POST: A bet that is placed far in advance of an event happening. This usually means more than a week before the events happens. If the team/individual does not take part in the contest, you lose your money anyway. The equivalent of the futures market for stocks.

ASIAN HANDICAP: Also known as the HANG CHENG. This is the Asian equivalent of the SPREAD and is used to balance two sides and remove the DRAW from the game. This is mainly used in soccer betting.

BACKED: When a BOOKIE takes lots of bets on a team or an individual, it is said that they have been BACKED. The odds will usually SHORTEN because of the money bet on the team.

BANKER: A bettor’s strong selection. A “banker” is an almost guaranteed winner, almost often part of an ACCUMULATOR bet. Also known as a LOCK.

BOOKIE: The bookmaker. The person who takes your bets.

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DOUBLES: A bet on two events, both of which must happen for you to make a profit; it is a type of ACCUMULATOR.

DRAW: The U.K. and Australian name for a TIE.

DRIFT: When the odds on a team or individual LENGTHEN, they are said to have DRIFTED or be “on the DRIFT.”

EACH WAY: UK term for betting on a team or individual to win and place. Bookies often do not offer PLACE only betting but will offer an EACH WAY bet so that half the bet goes on a win and half goes on the place terms.

FAVOURITE: The team or individual the bookies rate most likely to win the contest they are betting on. The FAVOURITE has the shortest/lowest odds.

FIELD: Some bookies will put all the outsiders in a contest together as “the FIELD,” which means that all the non-named players or teams are included in a bet on the FIELD.



JOINT FAVOURITES: When bookies cannot separate two teams for favouritism, they will be joint favourites (e.g. South Africa and Australia are joint-favourites at 4.50 (7/2) for the Cricket World Cup).

JOLLY: Bookmakers slang for the FAVOURITE.

LAY: When bookies accept bets it is often said that they LAY a bet. A bookie will often be known as a LAYOR.

LENGTHEN: When a bookie finds that no-one is betting a team, he will LENGTHEN the odds in an attempt to make the team more attractive to bettors.

LOCK: US term for an almost guaranteed winner. See BANKER.


ODDS COMPILER: The person working for a BOOKIE who sets the ODDS.

ODDS-ON: A bet where you have to stake more than the amount you expect to profit by.

OUTSIDERS: The unfancied contestants in any event. Those teams or individuals who would cause a major shock if they won.


PERCENTAGES: BOOKIES set their odds according to the mathematical probabilities of events happening.

PICKS: Betting selections, usually of an expert.

PLACE BETTING: Bookies will offer shorter odds on a team or individual placing in a competition.

PUNTER: The Australian and British term for a BETTOR.

SINGLES: The simplest type of bet. Also known as STRAIGHT-UP betting. This is a bet on a particular event happening – for example, Pat Rafter to beat Marcel Rios in a tennis match.

SPREAD BETTING: Not to be confused with SPREADS. Also known in the U.S. as the ACTION LINE or MONEY LINE. In spread betting you win or lose according to how right or wrong your prediction of the result of an event will be. It is extremely volatile and can lead to large wins and losses. See the articles on spread betting in the learn to win arenas for more details.

TREBLES: A bet on three events happening, all of which must happen for you to win; it is a type of ACCUMULATOR.