Betting Terminology

Betting Terminology

We’ve all seen magicians who can turn a rabbit into a white dove but show me a man who can turn a pony into a monkey and then I’ll be impressed. Here is Genie’s run down on the terminology of betting amounts.
Score – 20 quid
Pony – 25 quid
Ton – 100 quid
Monkey – 500 quid.
Grand – 1000 quid
(If you really want to impress your mates with your knowledge of betting terminology you can tell them that the term monkey was adopted and brought back by Soldiers based in India during the British occupation. The Indian 500 rupee note had a picture of a monkey on it so became known as “a monkey”.)

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Ante Post
Refers to bets placed before the day of a race (or event). It is a betting term mostly used in horse racing circles.

Up until approximate 24 hours before an important horse race the bookmaker will have their ante-post prices available. These prices have been set and manually kept up-to-date by the bookmaking trading team. The day of the event the bookmakers will switch the pricing over to feeds coming from one of the 2 major players, SIS and the PA.

When a difference in the odds available (from all bookmakers) allows a punter to back both sides and guarantee a win. Someone whose partakes in arbitrage is referred to as an ‘arber’ or ‘scalper’.

A selection highly expected to win by the punter.

The amount of money that is available for gambling purposes

GENIE SAYS: Always differentiate your bankroll from other available funds.

Someone who places a bet on behalf of someone else.

Best Price Guaranteed
This is a recent development in racing circles. The betting term refers to a special offer that is of great benefit to the punters.

The offer encourages a punter to take an early or board price and if the horse (or greyhound) that you selected is returned at a better SP (starting price) then you will receive the better price. Either way the punter can only benefit.

For example: It’s the morning time and I want to bet on Hi Ho Silver in the 3:15 at Ascot. The early price available to me is 20/1 so bet €10 at this price. At race time Hi Ho Silver goes off at 25/1 and would you believe it; he wins the race. Because the SP price is greater than the EP (early price) I will get paid at the SP. This means that I get €260 returned rather than the €210 I was expecting.

If the SP had been 16/1 I would have been paid at the EP of 20/1 so the best price is guaranteed.

GENIE SAYS: If you are betting on horses or greyhounds always do it with a book maker that offers Best Price Guaranteed.


Betting Ring
The area at the race track given over to bookmakers to display their odds.

The bookmaker keeps a list of all competitors in the field and their price. The is collectively known as a book.

Refers to odds of 2/1 in betting slang.

Burlington Bertie
Refers to odds of 100/30 (or 10/3) in betting slang.

A reference to spread betting whereby you gamble that an index based on the possible outcomes of an event will finish below the lower limit of the spread.

Odds of 3/1 in betting slang.

Circled Game
Where a bookmaker restricts the betting allowed on the event by amount and sometimes by player. A bookmaker will restrict their liability in events where they suspect that someone may know something that they don’t.

Dead Cert
A participant or team is considered to be guaranteed of victory. Also referred to as a Lock.

Dead Heat
Where 2 or more participants finish level.

Double Carpet
Odds of 33/1 in betting slang.

The starting positions of a horse in the race. The number drawn represents the stall number from which the horse must start the race. It is only used in flat racing.

On racetracks with a bend or bends or where a strip of ground on one side of the track has better going, the horses drawn nearest the bending rail or in line with the favoured strip have an advantage. This is particularly true in handicaps and where a front-runner is among those with a favoured draw.


When the odds of an outcome are getting longer (higher) it is said to be on the drift.

When a punter identifies and eliminates non-contenders and bets on the other selections in the exact proportions necessary to make a profit no matter which selection wins.

Early Prices
The night before a race the bookmaker will have odds available and these are known as early prices. Most bookmakers will keep their early prices right up until the off time of the race, although 20 minutes before the race goes off all bookmaker prices tend to fall into line as they all subscribe to the same price feeds that kick-in at that time.

See best price guaranteed

To have an advantage. For example: Being more knowledgeable than the bookmaker on a specific topic. Punters are always looking for an edge.

A straight bet. What you stake is the exact amount that you can win in profit. Yourself or the bookie will lose the exact amount of the stake… let’s hope it’s not you.

Fixed odds betting
Betting against a bookmaker as opposed betting on an exchange or doing spread betting. The amount that you bet is fixed and that is all that you can possibly lose.

A rating of the recent performances of a horse, team or selection.

Slang for €/£1000.

Refers to the underfoot conditions at the race track.

The selection in a market with the lowest odds, i.e. the selection that is deemed most likely to win.

The participants in a market. For example in a golf event all of the golfers who are participating are collectively referred to as The Field.

Handicap (horse racing)
A race in which the horses are penalised by adding to the weight they must carry or given allowances based on their past performance in an attempt to equalise their chances of winning. A horse that has been winning recently will have to carry additional weight in future races.

Handicap (sports)
It is the penalty in points (or goals or frames etc) that are added in order to give the underdog a better chance. Effectively it is a head start. For example if there is a football match; Arsenal vs Sunderland the bookmaker will allow the punters to bet on Arsenal (-1.5 goals) meaning that Arsenal must win by 2 ore more goals in order to beta the handicap. If Arsenal won by 1 goal or drew or lost then Sunderland would be deemed to be the winner of this market.

It is an extremely popular bet in markets that are particularly one-sided, such as New Zealand vs Italy in rugby union.

The amount of money taken by the bookmaker. Handle is an American term for turnover.

The amount of money taken by the bookmaker.

Half Point Line
In order to only have 2 possible outcomes on a over/under market the bookmaker will often employ a half point line. For example: Basketball game total points market having 2 options – Over 198.5 or Under 198.5. If there are 198 or less points then the under 198.5 selection wins. If there are 199 or more points scored then the over 198.5 selection wins. There can in no circumstances be a ‘draw’ or ‘push’ result.

Hang Cheng
A form of football betting that is popular in Asia. Returns on a team winning are determined by half-goal handicaps.

A bookmaker may choose to hedge their potential losses by betting on certain outcomes themselves; for example if a punter has a 10 leg accumulator and the first 9 legs have been a success the bookmaker, facing a potential large payout, may choose to offset part of the risk by betting on the 10th leg outcome with another bookmaker or betting exchange.

Punters using a betting exchange will be familiar with Hedging or Laying whereby they can take a guaranteed profit by offering some of their original bet to another punter at reduced odds.

The favourite.

The commission taken by the bookmaker. It is a seldom used term outside of America.

Another name for bookmakers (those who lay a bet).

When the odds get bigger they are said to lengthen.

Another term for the odds offered by the bookie.

Live Betting or Betting In-Running
Betting on the outcome of an event that has already started.

Please see section on betting in-running

A selection that is expected to win easily.

A selection with little chance of winning.

In betting circle refers to a horse that has yet to win a race. When the horse wins its first race that is referred to as their maiden victory.

Money Line
A US term for straight match betting (without handicaps).

The best bet. Often a tipster will have several recommendations of what to bet on in a given period but they will use the term nap to refer to the one that they think is the best bet of all.

A horse running in its first race.

A handicap race for 2 year olds only.

The prices offered to the punter on the participants in a race or event.

Odds Against
When a selection has odds of higher than evens then it is said to be odds against i.e. it is thought to have a less than 50% chance of winning.

Odds On
When a selection has odds of less than evens then it is said to be odds on i.e. it is thought to have a greater than 50% chance of winning.

A participant that is given little chance of winning. Another term for underdog.

When the odds are higher than they ought to be i.e. higher than the chance of the selection winning.

GENIES SAYS: Always bet on an overlay… and don’t forget to tell us if you see one.

The extent to which the odds expressed as percentage probabilities, for all the participants in a field, add up to more than 100 per cent. The excess over 100 per cent – the overround – provides the bookmaker with his expected earnings.

See section on advanced betting

The bookmaker’s stand at a racecourse

A daily tote pool bet. The punter must name a horse to placed in each of the first six races on a nominated card.

Points Spread
Another term for handicap.

Proposition Bet
A bet on a non-sport event. It may be on a non-sport aspect related to a sporting event. For example: betting on how many times Didier Drogba will feign injury in a match.

If a bet is placed on a full point line handicap and one cannot bet on the draw then, in the event of a handicap tie, the original stakes are refunded. A push tends to apply to betting on American sports.

A reference to spread betting whereby you gamble that an index based on the possible outcomes of an event will finish below the lower limit of the spread.

A smart bettor.

American term for handicap.

The amount of money that a punter bets on an outcome is referred to as the stake.

Starting Price
The odds of the horse (or dog) at the time the race goes off.

An influx of a lot of money on 1 side (or selection) causing the betting lines to move quickly.

A participant (usually horse) which originally had high odds but on which there have been a number of bets causing the odds to fall dramatically.

To punters and bookmakers alike a steamer may be an indication that somebody knows something you don’t about this participant.

A bet that cannot lose.

US term for a bet based on the point spread where the punter can adjust the line in his favour in return of reduced odds.

Sign language used by bookmakers at a course to communicate to each other and  the punters (those who understand them anyway).

These are people who consider themselves experts on selecting value bets in their chosen category. They offer advice on how to make a profit.

GENIE SAYS: One of the most important lessons in becoming a winning gambler is learning which tipsters to listen to and which to ignore.

US term for over/under bets

The Horserace Totalisator Board (Tote) enters all bets into separate pools and deducts operating costs and profit sharing what remains of each pool among those who picked the winners or winning combinations. Bets on Tote pools can be placed on course or by telephone to Tote directly.  Some bookmakers are licensed to take Tote bets.

Refers to a situation where the odds offered on a participant are greater than the true odds of them winning.

GENIE SAYS: In each case value is very much up for interpretation. One person’s idea of value does not necessarily match that of another. It is up to you to decide what is good value; or learn to listen the right tipsters who regularly advise on genuine value betting opportunities.


American term for the bookies commission.

A bet that is cancelled and the stake refunded.

Another term meaning ‘bet’

In racing it refers to the weight carried by each horse in a race. It includes the jockey and all equipment except the bridle and the jockey’s helmet.

If we have missed out on any additional betting terminology please let us know and we’ll be happy to update our guide.

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