Sport Betting Terms – Your Ultimate Guide to Sports Betting Glossary

betting glossary

The world of betting, with its unique and extensive lexicon, can be confusing at the best of times. However, if you are new to betting, it can be even more confusing. This is why Marathonbet have put together an extensive betting glossary. If you are wondering what terms are used in betting, and their meanings, then look no further.

Sport Betting Terms


A bet that is made up of several wagers, the payout of the bet is dependent on all selections being successful. For example, picking the outcome of every Premier League game played on a single day.


Usually a term found in horse racing. It refers to future bets, those offered in advance, usually before the definitive list of runners is published.


When you wager money on the outcome of an event, with the offer of more money back if that outcome happens. The amount you receive back in return is defined by the odds offered by the bookmaker.


An incentive offered to customers by bookmakers.


An entity that offers odds on the outcomes of different events (like sports, politics, the weather), and accepts bets from customers at these odds. Also sometimes abbreviated to bookie.

Canadian Line

A bet in ice hockey that is a combination of both points spread and money line wagers.

Closing Odds

The last odds offered by a bookmaker before the market closes. Also sometimes known as a closing line.


When more than one entrant is considered the favourite. Most common in horse racing but can be found elsewhere. Sometimes known as joint favourite.


The fee paid for placing a bet. These are sometimes shown separately or factored into the odds. Also sometimes known as the margin, juice, vigorish, or vig.

Decimal Odds

Where the odds provided by the bookmaker are displayed as a decimal (eg 1.23) instead of as a fraction (4/1). Sometimes known as European odds.


When a competition ends with a tied score, meaning there is no winner or loser.


Odds that are “drifting” or “lengthened” are those that have decreased in likelihood, and therefore the bookmaker believes there is a lower chance of them happening.

Each Way

A type of bet common in horse and greyhound racing that combines two wagers. The first is a wager on the winning runner. The second is a “place bet”, meaning a bet that the entrant will finish in a top place (usually 2nd or 3rd). The number of places covered in an each way or place bet will vary from bookmaker to bookmaker and event to event.

Even Money

A bet that returns the same as was staked. These will be displayed in decimal odds as 2.0.


The outcome that the bookmakers believe to be the most probable for each event. For example, the favourite in a horse race would be the one that was seen as most likely to win.

First Half Bet

Betting on the outcome of just the first half of a game. It can also be the second half (or 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th quarter). Sometimes known as a half time bet.

First or Last Goalscorer

A bet on a particular player being the first or last person to score a goal or try in a particular game

Fixed Odds Bet

The type of wager offered by most bookmakers where the odds are set at the time of the bet and do not change.

Fractional Odds

Where odds are expressed as a fraction (e.g. 5/1). This is most common in the UK.


See Outright


The total amount a bookmaker has taken in bets for a particular event.

In-Play Bet

Betting that is done during an event. Most betting markets close when the event starts, meaning the closing odds are set when a game/match/race starts. Bookmakers that accept an in play bet will change the odds to reflect what happens in the game. Sometimes known as live betting.

Joint Favourite

See co-favourite.


The largest bet allowed by a bookmaker.


See commission.

Maximum Bet

Maximum amount of money that can be wagered on the outcome of an event.

Maximum Payout

Rules specifying the top amount of money that you are able to win with a bet.

Minimum Bet

Minimum amount of money that can be wagered on the outcome of an event.

Money Line

A wager placed on the outcome of a game/match. For example, team A to win or team X to lose.


See accumulator.

No Action

A bet that is voided meaning there is no win or loss. This could happen if the game gets cancelled.


A particular selection that did not participate in the event, such as a horse that was withdrawn from a race.

Novelty Bet

A bet that does not fall into the typical traditional categories of bet and may not be easily assessed like other wagers. This could be how long a pop group will stay together, the outcome of a reality TV show, or the winner of an Oscar. Sometimes known as a special bet.


An expression of the perceived likeliness or frequency of an event occurring, advertised by the bookmaker to facilitate wagering.


A person working for a bookmaker that sets odds.


An outright bet is one on the overall winner of a competition as opposed to the winner of a single game or match within it. For example, you can place an outright bet on the winner of the FIFA World Cup. This would be the team that wins in the final and lifts the trophy.


See totals bet.


See accumulator.


The return received on a winning bet.

Points Spread

A way to even the odds between two sides. In a points spread bet, the underdog team can still lose but the bet still payout, provided that they lost by less than a certain number of goals/points.

Post Time

The time that a game/match/race is scheduled to start.

Proposition Bet

See novelty bet.

Second Half Bet

See first half bet.


See novelty bet.


Refers specifically to the sports betting side of the bookmaker, as opposed to Casino or other products offered.


Someone who is new to betting.


The amount of money that a bettor puts down in their wager.

Straight Bet

See moneyline.


traditionally a bettor would receive a physical ticket for their wager, the term is still used in online bets. Sometimes known as a betting slip.


A prediction on the outcome of a game/match/event to help others place a bet.


Someone who provides betting tips.

Totals Bet

A bet on the number of points, goals, tries, or runs made/scored in a game. Sometimes known as an over or under bet.


A person who sells betting tips.


See totals bet.


See commission.


Placing a sum of money on the odds offered by a bookmaker for a particular event.


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