Betting 101: Key Terms and Definitions

Mon 11 Sep 2023

A Beginner's Guide to Common Betting Terminology

This is the first in a new series of articles aimed at helping those new to betting. This series, “Betting: 101” will provide a range of articles and guides on all aspects of betting, primarily focused on football.

We'll cover the following topics: key calculations used in betting; the different types of odds including fractional, decimal and US; the range of markets available for football; the main offers provided by bookmakers; common strategies and types of bets; stats used in betting; plus logging and tracking your bets.

The articles will be simple and are intended to help beginners, but could also serve as a quick reference for more experienced readers.

Articles will be in English, but we'll do versions in Spanish too at a later date. This first article will provide an overview of common terms you're likely to come across that are fundamental to understand before you start betting.

Back Bet

A back bet is the most common type of bet, where you bet on a specific outcome to occur. For example, if you place a back bet on a football team to win, you're essentially backing them to succeed. These are the most common type of bet you'll find at bookmakers.

Lay Bet

A lay bet is the opposite of a back bet. In this case, you're betting against a particular outcome. You act as the bookmaker, taking bets from other bettors. For instance, if you lay a team to lose, you'll profit if they don't win the match.

Lay bets are available via betting exchanges such as Betfair, Smarkets or Matchbook. In this instance you can decide which side you wish to bet for or against a particular outcome.

Betting Exchange

A betting exchange is an online platform where inh3iduals can bet on the outcome of various events, by either backing (betting for) or laying (betting against) a particular outcome.

Unlike traditional bookmakers who set the odds and take bets from customers, a betting exchange acts as a marketplace where users can bet directly against each other. Users can choose the odds at which they want to place their bets, and if someone else on the platform accepts those odds, a bet is matched. This peer-to-peer system allows for greater flexibility in betting, as users can play the role of both the bettor and the bookmaker.

Betting exchanges are a useful tool to minimise risk, for example by enabling you to exit a bet by laying the opposite position. This is often better value than ‘cashing out’ within a bookmaker site.

Other uses for betting exchanges include trading during an event (or before) aiming to profit from movements in the price of the odds - in some ways this is similar to trading in the stock market. Buy low and sell high!

Finally, exchanges are widely used for those that engage in “matched betting” where the strategy is to benefit from bookmaker free-bet and similar offers.

Accumulator (Acca, Parlay or Multiple)

An accumulator, often referred to as a parlay in the US, involves combining multiple bets into a single wager. To win an accumulator, all inh3idual bets within it must be successful. Accumulators offer higher potential payouts but are riskier due to their dependency on multiple outcomes.

Depending on your location, bookmakers have offers related to Acca’s as they are very profitable for them. For the bettor, depending on the offer, they can also offer good value; typically these are where your stake is returned if a leg loses.

The most common form of Acca, certainly in the UK, is where you bet on the outcome of 5 or 6 football matches.

Acca’s in the form of “bet builders” are increasingly popular with bookmakers (and very profitable!). For these bets, the multiple legs / bets are all based on the same match rather than being spread across different matches. An example might be:
"Inter miami to win; Messi to score a goal; over 2.5 match goals;"
All events must happen for you to win the bet.

The bet tracker enables you to enter accumulator bets easily (and also track lay bets against these, if for instance you wish to cash out and not risk the final leg of your bet losing). This also includes auto marking leg outcomes for you each evening.

Each-Way Bets

An each-way bet is a popular wager primarily used in horse racing and golf, designed to provide some insurance and potentially higher returns for bettors. In an each-way bet, your stake is split into two equal parts: one part is placed as a "win" bet, and the other part is placed as a "place" bet.

The "win" bet is a straightforward bet on your chosen selection to win the race or tournament. The "place" bet is a bet on your selection to finish within a specified number of positions from the winner, typically the top two, three, or even more, depending on the event and the bookmaker's terms.

If your selection wins, both the "win" and "place" bets are successful. If it doesn't win but finishes within the specified places, the "place" bet still pays out at a fraction of the original odds, providing some consolation to the bettor. Each-way bets offer a balance between the potential for a larger payout if the selection wins and a smaller return if it only places.

Many bookmakers have offers for golf and horse racing where they offer “extra places”, for example in the Masters golf tournament bookmakers pay out for the top 8-10 places. This offers very good value, especially in tournaments where the field is limited such as in the Masters.

Although the bet tracker is generally aimed at football, each-way bets can also be tracked.

Hedging Bets

Hedging of bets, often referred to simply as "hedging," is a strategy used by bettors to reduce or mitigate potential losses by placing additional bets on opposite outcomes. This is typically done after an initial bet has already been made.

For football, I may have bet on a team to win and indeed they are winning at half time. It may be that something happens in the match which changes my opinion of the chances of them winning. Perhaps a key defender is injured or the opponent brings on substitutes and starts to play really well.

If I estimate that the chances of a win are less than I inititally thought and am no longer confident in my bet I might lay my chosen team (bet against them winning) at an exchange to either exit the bet completely with a small profit or reduce my risk.

Dutching Bets

Dutching is a betting strategy that involves placing multiple bets on different outcomes of an event in a way that guarantees the bettor a set profit, regardless of which outcome occurs.

In the context of football betting, this can be used in some trading strategies such as “laying the draw” where over the course of the match you seek to eventually cover the win, lose and draw to yield a profit as the odds move.

It is possible to dutch across different bookmakers to take advantage of different odds. This is known as arbitrage. There are very few opportunities to do this however, and if bookmakers spot this happening they will restrict your account.


A stake refers to the amount of money that a bettor is willing to wager on a particular outcome or event. It is the sum of money that the bettor is risking in the hope of winning more if their bet is successful.

In most cases, when you place a bet and it wins, your stake is returned along with your winnings. However, if the bet is unsuccessful, you lose the entire stake amount.

When betting with bookmakers you will only ever lose the value of your stake, but be careful with lay betting as you can lose more than the amount of your stake, depending on what odds are offered. It is important therefore to calculate and know what your liability is for lay bets (this will be shown in the exchange).

The bet tracker will automatically calculate the profit and loss for you for both back and lay bets.


Odds reflect the chance or probability of a bet winning. The odds indicate what you get if your bet wins

Fractional Odds

Fractional odds are widely used in the UK and Ireland. These odds are presented as fractions, typically in the form of something like "5/1" or "2/1." etc.

The first number in the fraction represents the potential profit, while the second number represents the stake or the amount you need to wager. So, for example, if you see fractional odds of "5/1" on a football match, it means that for every $1 you bet, you stand to make a profit of $5 if your bet is successful. Therefore, if you bet $10 on a team at 5/1 you would potentially win $50 (profit) plus your original $10 stake back, for a total return of $60 if the team wins.

Fractional odds can also be expressed as "odds on" (e.g., 1/2) or "odds against". Odds on means you'll win less than your stake, while odds against means you'll win more than your stake if the bet is successful.

Decimal Odds

Decimal betting odds are a straightforward way to express betting odds, commonly used in Europe, Latin America and many other parts of the world. These odds are presented as decimal numbers, such as "2.00" or "3.50".

The decimal number represents the total amount you will receive, including your original stake, if your bet is successful.

For instance, if you see decimal odds of "2.00" on a football match, it means that if you wager $10 and your bet wins, you will receive a total of $20 in return, which includes your original $10 stake. Similarly, if you see odds of "3.50," a $10 bet would result in a total return of $35 (profit plus stake) if your bet is successful.

Decimal odds are user-friendly because they make it easy to calculate potential winnings by simply multiplying your stake by the odds. Unlike fractional odds, the decimal format includes your stake in the calculation, making it a more intuitive option for many bettors.

The site presents odds in the decimal format, however we do have a widget which given the odds in US format also.

US Odds

These are also known as moneyline odds. Positive numbers indicate the potential profit on a $100 bet (e.g., +200 means you can win $200 on a $100 bet), while negative numbers indicate the amount you need to bet to win $100 (e.g., -150 means you need to bet $150 to win $100).

Betting 101 provides a range of statistics to help you analyse football matches / soccer matches. Statistics include standings, recent form, goal times - scoring and conceding, Overs for goals and corners. BTTS, clean sheets, first team to score plus many more. .
Upcoming matches can be filtered using our in-built fixture finder. Filters can be saved for easy re-use in the future.
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