One of the things that give gambling its mystique is the lingo that surrounds it.
As with any hobby, sport, or activity, betting possesses its own unique set of jargon, slang, and colloquial terms that bettors may use during conversation.
Seasoned bettors use such terms to make bets, swap stories with friends, and to talk to sportsbook staff.
Oh, and did we mention that it’s so cool to be able to speak in what is practically coded language to other bettors?
However, for marketers, sports betting lingo can be equal parts daunting and bewildering. This is further compounded by the fact that different betting terms in the US and UK exist for the exact same thought it wants to express.
Hence, in this video, we’ve compiled some popular betting terms to get you started before diving deep into a more detailed list.
It’s the same reason why Americans call football “soccer,” and Brits call soccer “football” (more on this in our article on Soccer vs. Football).
But it’s easier than it looks, and it is, after all, useful knowledge. It will also be beneficial if you are a sportsbook marketing manager – because you don’t want to lose yourself in translation when you come across such terms.
Like punters, knowing betting terms allows you to clearly communicate your message across the Atlantic, in a language that your target audiences understand. And they do expect you to understand.
Otherwise, no matter how snazzy your advertising and your marketing assets might be, they will always go over your target audience’s head and miss out on a chance to attract a new customer.
That’s why we’ve created a compilation of sports betting terms and glossary.
It contains the most commonly used US and UK English betting terms – so that your messaging is consistent all the way through, no matter which side of the Atlantic you seek to market to.
What is lingo, anyway?
Simply put, lingo, or slang, is a set of informal words and phrases that belong to a specific body of knowledge, for instance, sports betting. Slang, on the other hand, is more often used in the vernacular.
As you may have already guessed, sports betting slang is a set of words that are used in the sports betting world. Some of these US and UK English sports betting terms might be familiar to you even if you are a novice, just because they have gone out of the betting shop and into everyday use.
Glossary of US and UK English Betting Terms
Here’s a glossary of the most commonly-used US betting terms for beginners. UK betting terms are noted in parentheses when applicable.
Let’s get started!
Games that show up on betting boards after the main games are listed. Commonly occurs in college football. Added games can be a continuation of a postponed match. Generally added due to popular demand.
Also-Ran (UK: Unplaced)
A contestant that finishes outside the first through fourth places.
Odds or prices that are lower or higher than the main line. Commonly encountered in point spread and totals betting on football and basketball.
They are popular in the US and are also known as “US odds” or “monelyline odds.”
When accompanied with a minus (-) sign, it is referred to the odds for favorites, which is the amount you need to bet to win €100.
A positive (+) sign refers to the odds for underdogs, which is the amount that would be won for every €100 bet.
In both cases, if you win the bet, you’ll get the initial wager back, in addition to the amount won.
Here is an example to clarify the terms a bit more:
Knicks: +500 (underdogs)
Lakers: – 700 (favorites)
If you want to bet on the Knicks (underdogs), it means that you will potentially get €500 for every €100 bet. If they win, you will get a total of €600, which is your €100 initial bet plus €500 win.
In the case of the Lakers, who is listed as the favorite (with a higher chance of winning the game), you need to place a €700 bet in order to win €100, giving you a total of €800 if Lakers win the game.
A shortened term for an “arbitrator” or a “bettor,” who ensures a profit by wagering on different outcomes with different sportsbooks to guarantee over 100% in combined odds. Forbidden at UK bookmakers.
Refers to when a score helps bettors to cover a point spread without affecting the match winner.
For instance, if the Lakers were up 88-74 as a -9 favorite, Celtics bettors would win a backdoor cover if they can manage to go on a run and make the final score 93-86 in favor of the Lakers.
This happens when a punter is on the verge of winning a parlay with just one outstanding bet left but somehow ends up becoming a losing ticket.
Bad beats often occur when points or goals are scored late in matches to ruin a bet on a game total, point spread, or money line.
Money that is budgeted or deposited into an online account for betting purposes. A player’s bankroll increases with each winning bet and decreases with every losing bet.
Bookmaker (also Book, Bookie)
A bookmaker or sportsbook that determines daily betting odds and accepts bets.
Another US English term for “favorite.”
Los Angeles is the chalk side if the Lakers are a -11 favorite against the New York Knicks.
Bookmakers often offer a list of possible scoring outcomes on a match.
For instance, this can be a final score of as low as 0-0 or as high as 6-0, including the field or the rest of the scores in between. The most likely result is the favorite.
Correlated Parlay (UK: Related Contingencies)
A multiple bet wherein selections have some degree of relationship to each other.
Even money (UK: Evens)
Odds that return the exact amount of the original stake wagered.
For instance, a €50 bet on fractional odds of 1/1, American odds of +100, or Decimal odds of 2.00 would return the exact amount of the original bet. A €100 bet on Fractional (1/1) American (+100) or Decimal (2.0) odds would return a €100 profit.
Exacta (UK: Straight Forecast)
A betting term commonly used in horse racing to predict the exact order of first and second-place finishers.
Exacta Box (UK: Reverse Forecast)
A betting term commonly used in horse racing to predict the first and second-place finishers regardless of order.
Exotic Wager (UK: Novelty Bet)
A bet on a non-sporting event such as the Grammys or the United States Presidential election.
A side whose odds are priced with a negative (-) value.
For instance, Manchester City (1.12) would be the moneyline favorite over Watford (13.50) in an English Premier League matchup.
When a wager is placed and accepted by a bookmaker, the line it was betted on will become fixed odds.
For instance, if a bet was placed on the Los Angeles Dodgers at -3.5 odds and the line moves down to -3 before the game, then the punters who bet on the Dodgers at -3.5 retain the previously accepted odds. Also a term for moneyline odds.
Fractional odds are common in the UK. Fractional odds of 1/5 corresponds to a -500 favorite in American odds, and 1.20 in decimal odds. They each return a €20 profit on a €100 bet that wins.
Half Time Bet (UK: Second Half Bet)
A wager placed only on the second-half result of a particular game.
French Odds (UK: Decimal Odds)
A manner of displaying odds by way of a decimal format, e.g., 3/1 = 4.00
Futures (UK: Ante Post Betting)
A bet that’s placed way in advance.
Handle (UK: Total Stake)
The total amount of money wagered at a particular sportsbook.
In the Money (UK: Placed)
Pertains to competitors in a race that has finished at a designated position.
In-Play Betting (UK: Live Betting)
Betting on markets while the game is currently being played.
Line (UK: Prices or Odds)
Pertains to the odds or the point spread on a sporting event.
A straight-up bet without any point spread, where bettors wager on a predicted outcome.
Favorites are listed with negative (-175) odds, while underdogs are posted with positive (+250) odds.
Off-track (UK: Off Course)
Betting activities conducted on horse racing events off of the race track.
Parlay (UK: Accumulators, Accas)
Also known as an “accumulator” or a “multiple.” A bet that puts together up to several propositions on one single bet slip. All sides must win (or push) to cash multiple winning bets. A selection that ends as “push” is voided from a parlay ticket.
Types of parlays:
- Double: Single parlay ticket with two chosen sides/outcomes.
- Treble: Single parlay ticket with three chosen sides.
- Trixie: Three sides are chosen to create three doubles and one treble.
- Patent: Three sides are chosen to create three singles, three doubles, and one treble bet.
- Yankee: Four sides are chosen to create one four-side parlay, six doubles, as well as four trebles.
- Lucky 15: Four sides are chosen corresponding to four single bets, one four-side parlay, six doubles, and four trebles.
- Lucky 31: Five sides are chosen, corresponding to one five-side parlay, five four-leg parlays, as well as five single bets, ten doubles, and ten trebles.
Pic Six (UK: Tote Jackpot)
Pertains to a betting challenge to predict the winners of 6 straight races.
Press (UK: Upping the Ante)
The act of betting a larger stake than you normally would.
Push (UK: Void Bet)
A result that is determined when there is no winner for betting purposes and the stake is returned.
Run Down (UK: Schedule Programme)
Pertains to the entirety of betting options on a particular sporting event, league, time, date, etc.
Scratch Sheet (UK: Racing Post)
A publication disseminated at race tracks that lists down details of the day’s events.
Straight Bet (UK: Single)
A wager placed on only one single outcome.
Tiercé (UK: Tricast)
Commonly encountered in French horse racing; a wager to predict which horses will finish at the first, second, and third places .
Win Place Show (UK: Each Way Betting)
A bet that allows a bet on a runner for a first-place, second-place, or third-place finish.
The world of betting has a lot of facets to it. It takes so many different terms across a wide range of sports – and this is not going to change soon. Lingo changes over time as it becomes increasingly sophisticated, which makes betting terminology not easy to wrap your head around.
Our list of commonly-used sports betting terms and glossary includes terms that describe the most common betting practices punters use on both sides of the Atlantic.
We hope you’ll find this list helps you gain a greater understanding and a framework from whence to understand complicated betting shop jargon, and interact with your target audience in their language.
At the very least, we hope it serves as a reference whenever you encounter different betting terms in the US and UK sportsbooks, websites, or forums.
We will update this glossary as time goes by to keep it as contextually relevant as possible so you won’t find yourself being lost in translation when you expand your business to other markets.
How did you like Sebastian Scheplitz’s blog post “A Beginner’s Guide to US and UK Sports Betting Terms for Sportsbook Marketers”? Let us know in the comments if you have anything to add, have another content idea for iGaming blog posts, or just want to say “hello.” 🙂