Horse Racing betting glossary

  • Accumulator - A cumulative bet where the bettor designates a selection in several races or events and bets on the first one; if he wins, the winnings become his bet on the next; and so on (also see fold bets).

    Across the Board - Where (particularly US horse racing) win, place and show pools are offered, this is a bet of equal stakes on each outcome.

    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 cockney slang term for Betting Tax.

    Also Ran - Any selection not finishing 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th in a race or event.

    Ante-Post - 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.

    Any To Come (ATC) - Term used to describe when the whole or part of returns from one wager are automatically reinvested  on a subsequent bet.

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

    Banker - A punter's strong selection or "sure thing". An almost guaranteed winner, as in a Lock. Also, in permutation bets the banker is a selection that must win to guarantee any returns.

    Bar - Those runners in a race not quoted with a price during early betting shows. The bar price is the minimum odds for any of those selections not quoted.

    Betting Tax - Tax on a bookmaker's turnover.

    Blind Bet - A bet made by a racetrack bookmaker to draw other bookmakers' attention away from his sizeable betting on another horse- and thus to avoid a shortening of the odds on the other horse.

    Book - A bookmaker's tally of amounts bet on each competitor, and odds necessary to assure him of profit.

    Bookmaker - A person or company who accepts bets from the public, usually on racing or sports events (also known as a "bookie").

    Bottle - UK slang, Odds of 2 to 1.

    Burlington Bertie - Odds of 100 to 30 (also known as "scruffy and dirty").
    C of E - Slang for UK Customs and Excise.

    Canadian - A multiple bet consisting of 26 bets (10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 4-folds and 1 5-fold) with 5 selections in different events (also known as a "Super Yankee").

    Carpet - UK slang for Odds of 3 to 1

    Century  - £100 GBP aka” a ton”

    Co-Favourites - Where three or more competitors share the status as favourite (have lowest odds).

    Cover - In sports betting, beating the spread by a required number of points. To "cover the spread".

    Dead Heat - Where two or more competitors finish tied. For non-pari-mutuel betting purposes in a dead heat, full odds are paid to half the stake (one third if a triple dead heat, etc.).

    Double - A bet consisting of two selections, both of which must win for the wager to be successful.

    Double Stakes About (or DSA) -                Like Single Stakes About, but where returns from the 1st winning selection are invested at double the original stake on the 2nd selection. (Note: you can also have Triple SA, Quadruple SA etc.).

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

    Doubling-up - The basis of some widely used systems. After a loss the player doubles the size of his previous bet hoping to win back the money lost and make a profit. Also known as a Martingale system.

    Drift -When the odds on a competitor "lengthen", they are said to have "drifted" or be "on the drift".

    Dual Forecast - A tote bet operating in races of 3 or more declared runners in which the punter has to pick the first two to finish in either order.

    Each-Way - A bet which consists of two wagers. The first is for the selection to win and the second is for the selection to place, at a proportional price dependant on the place terms.

    Evens - Odds of 1 to 1 (also known as "scotch" or "levels").

    Favourite (fav) - The competitor considered most likely to win and therefore has the shortest or lowest odds (also known as the "jolly" or "sponk").

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

    Figure - To have a winning chance or the handicapper's rating number that identifies the winning chance (also "fig.").

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

    Forecast - A wager that involves correctly predicting the 1st and 2nd for a particular event. This bet can be reversed or permed (also see dual and straight forecasts).

    Form - Past performances used to give an indication of the competitor's chances.

    Form Player -  A bettor who makes selections from past-performance records.

    French Odds - Expression of odds as 100 to 6, 100 to 8, etc. The name goes back to the days when the French had a "metric" money system while UK still used 1 pound of 240 old pence.

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

    Goliath - A multiple consisting of 247 bets (28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70 4-folds, 56 5-folds, 28 6-folds, 8 7-folds and 1 8-fold) involving 8 selections in different events.

    Grand - £1,000 GBP  aka “bag of sand”

    Handicap­ - A method used by bookmakers to make a one-sided event become a more attractive betting proposition. Teams are awarded a number of points start depending on their calibre (also known as the "pointspread" or "line").

    Hang Cheng - A form of soccer betting popular in Asia where returns on a team winning or drawing are determined by part-goal handicaps.

    Hedging - A bet made by a cautious bookie on a horse on which he has accepted large bets - in order to cut his losses if the horse wins (also known as a "lay-off bet").

    Heinz - A multiple bet consisting of 57 bets (15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 4-folds, 6 5-folds and 1 6-fold) involving 6 horses in different races.

    In the Money - Describes the horses in a race that finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd (and sometimes 4th) or the horses on which money will be paid to bettors, depending on the place terms.

    Joint Favourites  - When bookmakers cannot separate two horses or teams for favouritism, they are made joint favourites.

    Jolly  - The favourite.
    Layer  - A bookmaker or one who "lays" odds.
    Long Odds  - Odds (e.g. 50 to 1) offered against a competitor unlikely to win.
    Lines - Handicaps, pointspreads and odds offered to the punter.

    Longshot - The outsider or unfancied runner, usually against which "long odds" have been offered.

    Lucky 15,31,63 - Multiple bets on all possible combinations of 4, 5 or 6 selections. A Lucky 15 (same as a Yap) is 4 selections, so 4 singles, 6 doubles, 4 trebles and 1 accumulator  = 15 bets.

    Martingale  - Betting system based on doubling-up.

    Monkey - £500 GBP.

    Morning Line - Forecast of probable odds and the name of the Channel 4 racing TV programme.

    Mutuel Pool - Total amount bet to win, place or show in a race. Also total amount bet on daily double, exacta, quinella, etc.

    Nap - The selection that racing correspondents and tipsters nominate as their strongest selection of the day or meeting

    Odds - Odds are the 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 - The person working for the bookmaker who sets the odds following research and his own feelings.

    Odds-on - Where the odds are shorter than evens (e.g. "4 to 7"). If the selection wins, the amount won is less than the amount staked (don't forget, you get your stake back as well!).

    Off the Top - The practice of deducting a fixed "take" percentage from the pari-mutuel pool before paying holders of winning tickets.

    Off-Track - Betting conducted away from the track.

    Overbroke - Where the book results in a loss for the bookmaker.

    Overlay                - Horse whose odds are high by comparison with its good winning chances.

    Overround - Profit margin in the bookmaker's favour.

    Pari-Mutuel - A means of gambling on races in which all bets are pooled and winners are paid according to size of pool and the number of other winners.

    Patent -A multiple bet consisting of 7 bets involving 3 selections in different events. A single on each selection, plus 3 doubles and 1 treble.

    Permutations - It is possible to "perm" bets or selections (e.g. on 4 selections all the possible doubles could be "permed" making 6 bets).

    Picks - The selections chosen by an expert to bet on (also known as "tips").

    Pitch - The position where a bookmaker conducts his business on a racecourse.

    Place Terms - In non pari-mutuel betting, the returns for place bets are calculated as a proportion of the win odds. This varies between events and sports. Bookmakers clearly advertise the place terms in operation when the bet is struck.

    Pointspread - The start that the favourite gives the underdog. Also known as the "line" or "handicap".

    Pony - £25 GBP.

    Pool - Total amount bet for win, place or show, or in a daily double.

    Punter - UK term for someone who has a bet!

    Ringer - A horse (or greyhound) entered in a race under another's name - usually a good runner replacing a poorer one.

    Roundabout - A bet consisting of 3 bets involving three selections in different events (i.e. 1 single any to come and double stake double on remaining two selections, 3 times).

    Rounder - A bet consisting of 3 bets involving three selections in different events (i.e. 1 single any to come a single stake double on remaining two selections, 3 times).

    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.

    Score - £20 GBP.

    Settler - A bookmaker's expert who calculates payouts.

    Shortening the Odds - A bookmaker's reduction of the odds offered in the face of heavy betting.

    Single - A "straight" bet on one selection to win one race or event.
    Smart Money - Insiders' bets or the insiders themselves.
    Spread Betting - 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.

    Starting Price - In non-pari-mutuel betting, unless a punter requests otherwise, all wagers are settled at starting price (SP). The SP is arrived at by taking the average available in the betting ring on the racecourse, shortly before the "off".

    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.

    Straight Forecast - A tote bet operating in races of 3 or more declared runners in which the punter has to pick the first and second to finish in the correct order.

    Sure Thing - Any bet that has very little chance of losing.

    System - A method of betting, usually mathematically based, used by a punter to get an advantage .

    Tic-Tac  - The code of hand signals by which UK on course bookmakers' employees relay information on current odds and betting around the course

    Tips - The selections chosen by an expert to bet on

    Tipster - A person who gives or sells to bettors his estimate of likely winners of a race, game or event (also known as a "tout").

    Totals - Sports bet on whether the total score will be over/under a given mark.
    Tote - 'The Horserace Totalisator Board' otherwise known as "The Tote". A body in the UK set up to operate pool-betting on all racecourses.

    Tote Returns - Returns from a tote pool (also known as a "dividend"). Calculated by taking the total stake in each pool (after the take out) and dividing it by the number of winning tickets. A dividend is declared to a fixed stake, for various win, place and forecast pools.

    Tote Board - A racecourse information board that displays approximate odds, betting totals, payout prices and other information necessary to the punter.

    Tout - To give or sell betting advice or one who does so (also known as a "tipster").

    Treble - A bet consisting of 3 selections, all of which must win for the wager to be successful.
    Tricast - A bet which involves correctly predicting the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in an event.
    Trixie - A multiple bet consisting of 4 bets (3 doubles and 1 treble) with 3 selections in different events.

  • Turf Accountant - A bookmaker.
    Underdog - The team that receives a point start in a handicap.

    Value - Getting the best odds on a wager.

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

    Win - The term used to describe a 1st place finish.

    Winning Margin - A bet to predict the winning margin of one team over another.

    With the Field - Having one horse linked with all the other horses in an event. It can apply to forecasts or in doubles.

    Yankee - A multiple bet consisting of 11 bets (6 doubles, 4 trebles and 1 4-fold) on 4 selections in different events.

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