UK Betting Terminology and Slang

If you’re new to the world of sports betting, it could seem like a confusing area when those ‘in the know’ start to use jargon. What is a ‘jolly’ and why should you look to include it in a Lucky 15 bet?

In time, these and other terms will be second nature as you play through the sportsbooks on a regular basis but for now, here is a handy guide to some of the more common phrases used by UK bookmakers and punters alike.


When the term ‘acca’ is used it’s merely short for the word ‘accumulator’. This is a multiple bet, usually of four selections or more and it requires all of those picks to win if the bettor is to collect a profit. Also referred to as a ‘multiple’ other, smaller bets are occasionally, and probably incorrectly, referred to as an ‘Acca’. These are the bets in question:


Quite simply, a double is two bets, both of which need to win of the bettor is to land a return.


You’ve guessed it: Three bets are included in a treble, all of which need to win in order to give a return on your stake. We list these separately as they are usually very distinct from an ‘Acca’ bet.

Ante Post

Ante Post betting markets are issued some way in advance of a big event such as the Grand National and they allow punters to bet very early. The advantage can lie in the possibility of obtaining high odds that will shorten as the event in question draws closer.


An arb, or arbitrage bet is a stake that is made on two or more outcomes and in theory it is effectively locked in, guaranteeing a profit. For example, if you are looking at a tennis match and the result betting which has only two possible outcomes, two different bookies may price the players in such a way that if you stake set amounts on both of them, you will win a profit no matter what happens.

Asian Handicap

This is a form of betting which is very popular in Asia. It involves giving a football team a notional start in terms of goals and if the other side wins the match and overtakes that ‘pretend’ head start, their odds will increase.


In many sports you will see the word Banker used. This is in reference to a bet that may seem like a near certainty even if it doesn’t always work out that way!

Betting in Running

Also referred to as in play betting or live betting, this is the practise of betting on a sporting event once it has started.


Specific to horse racing, blinkers are a piece of equipment affixed to a horse’s head which helps it to concentrate and shut out distractions.


Now we come onto the first of our terms that relate to the amount of a stake in question. In this instance, a century is also a ton or, in the outside world it’s most commonly £100.00 GBP or possibly 100 Euros.


In horse racing there are five classic races for three year olds across the season. These are the 1000 Guineas, the 2000 Guineas, the Derby, the Oaks and the St Leger.

Dead Heat

As the name suggests, a dead heat refers to a tie. It’s most commonly used in horse racing where two or more horses cannot be separated at the line but it can also crop up in other sports. For instance, if you use the top batsman market in cricket betting and two players make the same top score, it’s considered a dead heat and the bookmaker’s standard rules in this respect will apply.

Decimal Odds

Odds on a bookmaker’s page are often shown in three different ways. Decimal odds may be shown as 2.00, 4.33, 5.0 etc. It’s quite easy to use decimal odds as you just multiply your stake by the number shown in order to work out a return.

For example, if an outcome is priced at 4.33 and you stake £10.00, you will receive a profit of £43.30, noting that under the decimal odds system, your original stake is not included in any returns.


Although this term comes quickly after ‘Dead Heat’ a draw actually refers, in this instance, to the stall number allocated to a horse at the start of a race.

Each Way

An Each Way bet is very common across all sports and would typically be staked when the bettor isn’t completely sure that their choice will complete an outright win. In a single bet, there are two parts to the bet – a win and a place. So, if the horse, football team, tennis player etc win the event then you are paid twice but if they come second, third or possibly fourth, the place part of the bet is the only section that will pay out.

Each Way multiples can also be staked.


Also referred to as Even Money, this is a price used in fractional odds. Effectively the odds involved here are 1 to 1 so, under the fractional odds system, a bet at Even Money of £10.00 would return a further £10.00 plus your original stake. Total amount returned is therefore £20.00.


In any sporting event you have a favourite (or possibly two or more joint favourites). These refer to the horse, football team, tennis player etc etc who has the shortest odds in the market and is therefore expected to win.

You may also see this referred to as the ‘jolly’ by more experienced bettors.


In horse racing and greyhound racing, a straight forecast bet predicts the first and second placed runners in the correct order. Alternatively, punters can stake a reverse forecast where they can finish in any order to land a return.

Fractional Odds

We’ve dealt with decimal odds and now we come on to the fractional version. In the UK, this is the most common way to price events so you may see these odds listed as 4/5, 11/1, 7/2 and so on.

Let’s say that you’ve staked £10.00 on a horse at 3/1 and it wins. The profit you receive is therefore 3 x £10.00 and you also get the original £10.00 stake returned so you will see £40.00 come back to you as a result of this winning bet.


Quite simply a gelding is a male horse that has been castrated


In horse racing the going refers to the condition of the ground on which the horse is running. Depending on weather conditions the going could be soft, hard, good or somewhere between those parameters.


This is a combination of multiple bets and as you’ve probably guessed from the name, it’s quite a big one. A Goliath comprises 247 bets in total using eight selections and it is separated into 28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70 x 4-folds, 56 x 5-folds, 28 x 6-folds, 8 x 7-folds and an 8-fold.


On to another monetary term here and this means a thousand – usually in GBP – but more recently it has also been used for Euros.


Heinz is another combination bet using six selections. This is made up of 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 x 4-folds, 6 x 5-folds and a 6-fold.

In Running

Also referred to as betting in running as described above. An in running bet is placed once the event in question has started.


As we know, a jackpot can apply to any number of betting options and is commonly seen at casinos. In horse racing however it is quite specific and refers to the total prize money made available by the Tote on the first six races on a UK racecourse. To win it outright or to win a share, you must correctly land all six winners.

Joint Favourites

When two or more options for any sporting event are listed at the same price and they have the shortest odds within the field, they are referred to as the joint favourites.


Usually this is referred to as an outsider: A horse, a team or an individual with a very high price in the market who is not therefore expected to win their event.

Lucky 15s, 31s and 63s

If you are using a combination – otherwise known as a formula, these are the most common options. Unlike straight line accas which are explained above, not all selections need to win before you get a return. Obviously you can get a big profit if all of the bets land but it only takes a single to come in for the bettor to get some money back.

In each instance, the name tells you how many bets are involved so for a Lucky 15 there are 15 bets, and then 31 and 63. They can be split as follows:

Lucky 15

  • 4 Singles
  • 6 Doubles
  • 4 Trebles
  • 1 Fourfold

Lucky 31

  • 5 Singles
  • 10 Doubles
  • 10 Trebles
  • 5 Fourfolds
  • 1 Fivefold

Lucky 63

  • 6 Singles
  • 15 Doubles
  • 20 Trebles
  • 15 Fourfolds
  • 6 Fivefolds
  • 1 Sixfold


Mostly used in horse racing, a maiden is a horse that has yet to win an event although like a number of terms, this can occasionally cross into other sports.


Another monetary term this one – a monkey is £500.

Nailed On

This is a similar term to banker although it suggests that there is a greater degree of certainty here. When a horse, team or individual is widely expected to win their event, they are said to be ‘nailed on’.


Once again, this is similar to both nailed on and banker. A nap, however, generally comes from series of selections given by a tipster and among those, a nap is considered to be their strongest bet from that list.

Non Runner

This is another term that has carried over from horse racing into a wider sporting parlance. A non runner would typically be a horse that was originally declared but subsequently failed to run in a race. These days, you can use it in other sports so, when Dustin Jonson withdrew from the 2017 US Masters Golf Championship with injury, some reports referred to him as a ‘non runner’.

Not Under Orders

This is specifically for horse racing and refers to a horse that withdraws from a race before the starter’s signal. It’s an important distinction as it could have a bearing on potentially refunded bets.


At a very basic level, odds mean the same things as price – the price that the bookmaker places on a potential outcome in a sporting event.

On the Nose

This is a common term meaning to win. So, if you expect a team, horse or an individual to win in your selected market, you are backing them ‘on the nose’ as opposed to Each Way.


An outside bet: This is a more common term than longshot in the modern day.


A patent bet is a combination of three selections with seven total bets. Here you have 3 singles, 3 doubles and 1 treble.


Also referred to as selections or tips, these are merely the selections that you ‘pick’ prior to staking on an event.


If a bet has ‘placed’ this means that it hasn’t actually won but has finished within a certain number of places of the leader. This usually equates to a second, third or fourth placed finish but can extend further for bigger events.

Place Pot

Similar to the jackpot, the place pot is issued by the Tote for the first six races on a UK course and punters get a win if they get those first six place bets correct.


Another monetary term relating to £25.00


A term for a person who places a bet. Originating from the UK, this has spread across the world and is a common phrase in Australia. Former Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting was nicknamed ‘Punter’ as he liked a bet.


A return is the amount that you receive back after a winning bet. This isn’t necessarily all profit as we have seen with fractional odds where your stake is also returned when the bet is settled.


In horse racing, the run-in is the distance from the home turn in flat racing, or the last fence for National Hunt, to the winning post.


This is another common monetary term and in this instance it represents a sum of £20.00.


A scorecast is a popular form of football bet where you stake on the goal scorer and their team to win by a certain score. So, a bet on Harry Kane to score first and Spurs to win 2-1 is a relevant scorecast.


Quite simply, a selection is your chosen bet in any sport.

Smart Money

The term smart money relates to betting on a likely winner. It does suggest a certain element of inside information but this isn’t necessarily the case.

Spread Betting

Spread betting is a very volatile form of staking which calculates wins or losses, dependent on the final margins. For example, you could bet on Lewis Hamilton to score more than 100 points in a Driver’s Championship and the more points he scores, the higher your profit would be.

At the same time, if he were to score very low, there could be big losses involved so spread betting should be approached with caution.

Starting Price

Again this is predominantly a horse racing term but it can be carried across in a loose sense to other sports. The starting price or SP is traditionally the final price with which a horse starts a race. It is calculated by taking the average price offered by all bookmakers standing on the course.


A system could refer to a formula bet such as a Lucky 15 or Lucky 31. More commonly, it relates to a method that a bettor would use that they feel is guaranteed to make a profit. Naturally there are no such things as definite guarantees but systems can be worth studying.

Tattersalls Rule 4

This term will often come up in horse racing and it refers to the point when a horse is withdrawn before coming under starters orders but its withdrawal doesn’t give enough time for the betting market to be adjusted. In this case, backers of the horse in question are entitled to their stakes back, subject to charges as specified by the relevant bookie.


The Tote is the UK body that sets up and regulates pool betting on all British racecourses. Tote prices are based on the amount of money that has been paid into that relevant pool ahead of the race in question.


Somebody who gives tips – these days a tout will be more commonly known as a Tipster.

Trap Number

The box number allocated to a greyhound at the start of a race.


With a tricast, you are betting on three selections to finish first, second and third in that specific order.


Another term for Tricast although a Trifecta is far more commonly used in America


A Trixie is a formula with four bets. Three selections are made but there are no singles here – just three doubles and a treble.


A trip is simply the distance of a horse race.

Under Starters Orders

In horse racing, when the starter is happy that all horses in the field are ready to run, a flag is raised, at which point they are ‘under starters orders’.

Void Bet

This is a stake which is considered to be invalid. In these circumstances a stake will be returned in full but you should check your chosen bookmaker to see what constitutes a Void Bet.

Weighed in

Like many of the terms used, this is specific to horse racing and, when jockeys’ weights have been checked after a race has been completed, they should be approximately the figure allocated to their respective mounts. The Clerk of the Scales gives the Weighed In signal and the result of the race is confirmed.

Win Draw Win

This relates to the usual outcomes in certain sports, most notably football. Therefore you can have a win for either side or a draw. In the digital era, some bookmakers now refer to this more commonly as 1 X 2.


A competitor who has withdrawn from an event before it commences.


A Yankee completes our round up of formula bets. This is a combination with four selections and 11 bets – six doubles, four trebles and a four-fold accumulator.

Hopefully with this list of terms we have helped to demystify the process of betting on your favourite sports. While there are a lot of phrases and jargon associated with betting, most of them are logical and even the more obscure gambling slang will become second nature in a short space of time so get online with greater confidence with this guide by your side.