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Betting Terms Explained

Betting has its own slang and terminology which can be a bit confusing if you're new to it. Use this glossary of betting terms to find definitions for any words you're not sure about. If you are new to bonus betting, it's important to learn the basic terms to avoid mistakes in placing bets and laying bets.


  • Accumulator: Accumulator bets include multiple selections on different events or markets. If you win your first bet, your winnings become your stake for the second, and so on. Many sites offer good promotion bonuses for accumulator and multiples bets.
  • Ante Post: Ante Post bets are placed on future events. In horse racing, this is normally a day or more ahead of the race. They often present favourable odds. However, if the horse doesn't run, you've lost your bet.
  • Arbs or Arbitrage: Arbitrage involves either betting on all outcomes or backing and laying a selection at different odds to lock in a profit.
  • Asian Handicap: A bet with two parts where the underdog is given a betting advantage. Commonly used in football betting, NOT recommended for newbies.


  • Back: To bet on a selection to win
  • Beard: A proxy bettor, used to conceal the identity of the true bettor, normally because they have been banned or limited at bookmakers.
  • Bookmaker: A company or person who is licenced to take bets on events. With exchanges, no licence is necessary!


  • Carpet: Slang for odds of 3/1 or 4.00.
  • Chasing losses: Betting irrationally to try to recover losses. Similar to going "full tilt" in poker.
  • Cockle: Slang for odds of 10/1 or 11.00.
  • Commission: Betting exchanges such as Betfair, WBX and Betdaq charge a commission if you win a back or lay bet - normally 5% of your total profit from the event.
  • Correct score: A market often offered for football matches where the exact score must be predicted.


  • Double: A bet on two selections, normally in separate events. Both are required to win to achieve a return.
  • Double Carpet: Slang for odds of 33/1 or 34.00.
  • Draw: In horse racing, the stall the horse will run from. In football, tennis and most other sports, this means the order the teams are selected to play in a tournament or league, or more obviously, the result of a match in which neither team or player wins.
  • Drift: When odds on a selection are getting larger.
  • Dutching: Bets are placed with different bookmakers, backing all the potential outcomes of an event to lock in a profit.


  • Each Way: Each way bets allow you to double your stake and place two bets in effect - one on the selection winning outright, and one on it placing (usually coming first, second or third). If your selection wins, you get paid out on both parts of the bet. If it comes second or third, just the place part of the bet is paid out. Place odds are normally 1/4 or 1/5 of win odds. Always check the place bet rules with the bookmaker or exchange.
  • Edge: Either the punter or the bookmaker's statistical advantage on a bet.
  • Exact Score: A bet that requires to correctly predict the exact score (normally at 90 minutes for football bets).
  • Evens: Commonly used slang for odds of 1/1 or 2.00. Winners get a return of double their money (they profit by the amount of their stake).
  • Exposure: The amount that you (or the bookmaker) stand to lose on a lay bet, also known as liability.


  • Favourite: The selection that is predicted to win. The shortest price based on the bookmakers' odds.
  • Furlong: The standard unit of measurement in horse racing. Eight furlongs equal one mile.


  • GamCare: The place to go for advice and help with problem gambling in the UK.
  • Going: In horse racing, the condition of the ground at the racecourse - varies between heavy and firm.
  • Gubbed or Gubbing: What happens when a bookmaker decides to close an account or severely limit it due to betting patterns that show a punter is consistently taking advantage of the best value odds.


  • Handicap: In horse racing, handicap races involve adding weights to saddles to even up the competitors. In greyhound racing, this is achieved by allowing head starts.
  • Handicapper: Someone who studies form, going and other factors to arrive at betting selections for a race or other event.
  • Handful: Bookmaker lingo for odds of 5/1 or 6.00.
  • Hedging: Laying off a selection you have already backed, or betting on more than one outcome to reduce your risk and liability.


  • Lay: Bookies are effectively placing lay bets when they accept your bet. It's now possible to place lay bets against other punters on betting exchanges. A lay bet involves accepting a stake on a selection - your liability or exposure is the amount you lose if the selection wins.
  • Laying off: Where a punter covers his back bet by placing a lay bet on an exchange. Laying off allows you to lock in profits when the odds are favourable. This reduces liability and risk but typically results in small profits. An essential part of matched betting. Use our betting calculator to work out lay stakes and profits or losses.
  • Line / Moneyline: The odds (or point spread) for any one outcome.
  • Long odds: Selections which are unlikely to win receive long odds such as 100/1.


  • Maiden: A horse which has not yet won a race.
  • Market: The range of bets available on any one race or match or other event.
  • Moneyback Specials: Many bookmakers offer refunds if certain outcomes happen, such as if there is a goal in the 90th minute, or if a specific player scores the first or last goal. Check the latest moneyback specials in our refund offers section.
  • Monkey: Slang for £500.
  • Mug Punter: The average customer of a bookie who bets and hopes rather than following a strategy.
  • Multiple: Accumulators are sometimes also called multiples - all selections must win to achieve a return. Multiples often have specific rules, always check with the bookmaker or exchange you are using.


  • Nap: In horse racing, a tipster's favourite selection.
  • Non-runner: A horse or dog that was intended to run but has been withdrawn. This may mean Rule 4 is applied to bets.


  • Odds: Odds tell you the amount of money you will receive betting or laying one outcome of an event. There are various formats: Use our odds converter to easily switch between them and read more about types of odds.
  • Odds On: When a selection is priced at odds lower than evens, such as 4/5 or 1.80. Normally the favourite.
  • On the nose: Betting on a horse or greyhound to win outright.
  • Outsider: A selection with a slim chance of winning, normally given long odds. Betting exchanges typically offer much better odds on outsiders than bookies.
  • Over-round: The margin within a bookie's odds across all selections that guarantees them a profit.


  • Punter: A customer who places bets with a bookie or exchange.
  • Payout: The total return you get back from the bookie or exchange, including your profit and original stake.
  • Pony: Slang for £25.
  • Price: The odds on any selection.


  • Rule 4: In horse racing, when a non-runner is announced after your bet, Rule 4 may apply. You will receive a refund of a percentage of your stake, depending on how this has affected the odds.
  • Return: The total amount you get back from a bookie, including your stake.


  • Scoop 6: The Tote provides this special bet on the outcomes of six televised races on Saturdays in the UK, with impressive payouts.
  • Single: The most common form of bet and the easiest to understand! Only one outcome is backed, such as your team or horse winning.
  • Specials: Many bookmakers and exchanges now offer specials markets allowing punters to back and lay on events such as the Nobel Prizes, X Factor winners, results of elections etc. Handy if you can spot the signs, especially as big odds are normally available early on.
  • Spread Betting: A complicated method of betting involving trading points against a 'spread' - similar to stock market trading. NOT for beginners.
  • Starting Price (SP): The average odds a selection receives at the start of an event.
  • Steamer: A selection that has been backed heavily, which normally means odds are shortening.


  • Tic-Tac: The sign language that bookies use to communicate on race courses. What John McCruick is doing when he appears to lose the plot and flap his arms wildly.
  • Tote: A betting system, common in UK horse racing and greyhound racing, that gives dividend payouts instead of fixed odds.
  • Treble: A bet on three selections in separate events. All are required to win to achieve a return.
  • Trifecta: A tote bet that involves naming the first three horses in a race in the correct order.


  • Underdog: The horse, dog, team, player or other selection that is expected to lose, based on the market odds.


  • Wager: to place a bet, a lay bet or otherwise gamble on an outcome.


  • Yankee: a complicated bet involving 11 different selections; rarely offered in the UK.

Let us know if there are any terms you aren't sure about that aren't covered here.


Beginner's Guide - New to Bonus Betting?

If you have never placed a bet online before, it's wise to take your time and make sure you know exactly what you're doing.

There is strong competition among online bookmakers, and almost all of them offer good incentives to register and place your first bet with them. The most common offer is a free matched bet - when you register, deposit and make your first bet, you receive an extra free bet of the same amount.

We have more than 30 free bet offers available for UK punters, totalling over £1,000.

  • Most bookmakers cover a wide range of sports - check the bookmaker's site before signing up to make sure they cover the event you want to bet on.
  • There are generally good odds available for Horse Racing and Football, which are the most popular betting markets.
  • Stick to sports you know and understand the rules for!
  • Beginners should stick to offers we have listed under 'simple terms' - this means that the offer is straightforward and easy to qualify for.
  • It is possible to make mistakes if you're not careful, so don't rush your betting.
  • Check out the betting guides, and feel free to ask for advice in the forum.


About Bonus Betting

Bonus Betting exists to help you find the best free betting offers and get the best value for your bets. We give you full information about each offer for comparison. You can also check the best odds for upcoming races and matches.

We have more than 30 free bet offers available for UK punters, totalling over £1,000.

We provide tools such as the quick and simple odds converter and the back and lay calculator for exchange betting, betting guides, and advice for members in the forum.

Members get full access to the forum, exclusive bonus offers, and first look at our tips and previews. Membership is free and just requires your name and email address. Register now.

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About Bonus Betting

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