Sports Betting

There are so many different kinds of bets that you can place and there seems to be more being introduced all the time. So in this sports betting guide we’ll do our best to supply you with plenty of information to make your gambling experience more easily understood and enjoyable.

The Sports Betting Basics

Every event has what is called a market; this gives all the odds (also known as prices) of each competitor to win the event.  The odds for each competitor inform you just how much you can win by betting on them. The first figure is how much you will win while the second is your stake (how much you bet). So for example, 8-1 means a stake of €1 wins €8 plus your stake back. The larger the odds the less likely the bookmaker believes the selection will win.  The selection with the shortest price is the favourite (also known as the jolly); if more than one shares the shortest price they are co-favourites.

If the second figure is higher than the first figure, for example 1-2, this means you have to stake €2 to win just €1, this is known as being odds on,

Bookmakers on racing courses use a communication technique called tic-tac to. Popular terms used for prices include Ear ‘Ole (6-4), Bottle (2-1), Carpet (3-1) Burlington Bertie (100-30)

So that’s the basics out of the way, next in this sports betting guide we’ll take a look at the wide variety of bets that are available.

The Bets

A single bet involves just one selection, say Lewis Hamilton to win a Grand Prix. If you make this a win bet (also known as ‘on the nose’) then only a Hamilton victory will see you win any money.

If your bet includes more than one selection this is an accumulator and you can win some really large amounts this way. A double involves two selections, both of which have to win in order for the bet to see a return, say Hamilton to win a Grand Prix and Tyson Fury to win his next fight.  If you place a €1 double and the prices are Hamilton 2-1 and Fury 1-2 this is how your bet works out.  If Hamilton wins you have €3 (€1 wins €2 plus your €1 stake back), this amount then goes onto the Fury fight and if he wins your return is €4, 50 (€3 wins €1.50 plus your €3 back).

You can place as many selections in accumulators as you wish. A treble involves three selections, a four-fold obviously four and so on.

The problem with these bets is all your selections have to win for you to get a return. So there are plenty of other bets you can place that involve several selections but not each one has to win for you to get some money back,

You don’t have to bet on a selection to win, you can place an each-way bet which is slightly safer. A €1 Each Way bet costs €2 to place, €1 win and €1 place. If your selection wins then both €1 bets produce returns. If your selection is placed then you lose your win bet but the each-way bet will return some money.  Each way odds are usually a quarter or a fifth. If there are five runners you can bet on the first two places, with eight runners you can be on the first three and if there are at least sixteen runners it’s the first four. In some big events bookmakers keen for custom offer each way on even more places.

Our Sports Betting Guide to Examples of other bets:


Three selections and seven bets – three singles, three doubles and a treble.

Lucky 15

Four selections and 15 bets – four singles, six doubles, four trebles and a four-fold. This can be extended to include five selections for a Lucky 31 and six for a Lucky 63.


Three selections with three doubles and a treble.


Four selections with 11 bets in all – six doubles, four trebles and one four-fold.


Five selections involving 26 bets: 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 four-folds and 1 five-fold). This is sometimes known as a Super Yankee.


Six selections involving 57 bets: 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 four-folds, 6 five-folds and 1 six-fold.


The aim here is to select horses that will be placed in the first six races on the card (first two if five runners, first three if eight and first four if sixteen runners). You can have more than one line so you can select more than one horse in each race. This involves the use of what are called permutations.

Round Robin

Three selections with 10 bets

Straight Forecast

With this bet you have to name the first two finishers in the right order. A dividend for a successful €1 stake is announced after the race.

Reverse Forecast

Similar to a Straight Forecast but you win if the selections finish first and second regardless of order.


In this bet you have to select the first three finishers in the correct order.

Scoop 6

An extremely popular bet associated with the races covered on Channel 4 on Saturdays’. There are six races chosen and there are massive dividends for getting all six winners. This is followed by a bonus race dividend the following week.

Spread Betting

In this bet you have to decide whether to buy (bet higher) or sell (bet lower) on the spread that has been announced for the event you are betting on.  Winnings or losses are calculated in proportion to how right or wrong you are.

Tote Betting System

Bets are settled on dividends rather than on starting prices.

Pari Mutuel

A tote style betting used in France.


A bet where you have to pick the winners of every race on a selected card. If no one achieves this then the jackpot is carried over onto another meeting the next day.

Double Chance

Means you can bet on a team to either win or draw their event.

Draw No Bet

If the event ends in a draw then your bet is null and void and your stake returned.

Free Bet

These are often offered by online bookmakers. They often come with terms and conditions attached. These include bets having to be placed at certain odds. Also your stake is not returned to you in a free bet.

Cash Out

Some bookmakers give you the option to cash out on your bet before the event is finished. This takes place during In-Play (or In-Running) betting where you can place bets while the event is actually taking place with odds changing all the time. This is a tricky task; do you decide to take a smaller profit fearing your selection might not win in the end? Do you cash out when a side is losing guaranteeing some return?

Ante Post Betting

This is when you place a bet on an event that takes place sometime in the future. It could be the next day or a major event taking place months ahead. These bets can offer you much better odds but if your selection doesn’t take place in the event (a non-runner) you lose your bet. Some bookmakers do state that Ante Post bets on non-runners will have your stake returned.

Handicap betting

This has become extremely popular in recent years. Sometimes matches are played between teams of varying class, say a football match between England and San Marino. The odds on an England win would be prohibitive at say 1-50 (€50 on to win €1). A typical handicap bet might be England (-5) at 5-4. This means England start the game 5-0 down so need to win by six clear goals for the bet to come up. Handicap betting is particularly popular in sports such as Rugby Union, Rugby League and American Football.

Sometimes, particularly with in-play betting you can actually place odds where you can end up backing both competitors and still win. This is known as Arbritrage.

So now you know what the odds are for races and the bets you can place.  Next in this sports betting guide we’ll tell you about the race cards that you’ll see for horse racing. It’s important to know how to read these before placing bets.

The Race Card

The race card gives details of all the races at a certain meeting and includes a form guide for all the horses racing that day. This form guide looks at their previous races and where they finished. Other information includes when the horse last raced, its trainer, weight carrying in the race and jockey.

It will include a tissue, this is a prediction of the odds for each race. This may not include all the participants in an event. If there are twenty competitors it may be that only the odds of eight participants are given. If they say it is 12-1 bar that means of the remaining participants that is the shortest odds of the unnamed selections.

If a horse has C next to it then that means it has previously won on the course it’s running on today. D means it has won over the distance it’s racing at today but not on this course.CD means it has won on the course and over the same distance it’s racing over today.

Each race card also includes tips (who the journalist believes will win the event) and there are several terms we need to explain to you in this sports betting guide.

The Tipsters

An often overused term in betting on any sport is banker. This is a selection that is considered to be a guaranteed winner, sadly no such thing exists in sport or we’d all be millionaires. Tipsters (journalists who give you their selections for events) will give their readers a daily Nap, this is the selection they believe is the best of the day. Their second-best selection is known as the Next Best. Also some tipsters select a Bismarck, this is a selection they believe is definitely going to lose (or sink just like the ship Bismarck did).

 So you’ve read a preview of the event you want to bet on, now it’s time to start the countdown to the event itself. Now our sports betting guide explains what you need to be doing in the lead up to the event.

The Build-Up

As the day goes by it’s interesting to follow how the market for each event progresses. If a selection sees its price get larger then it’s said to be a drifter in the market. If the price gets shorter and shorter it’s called a steamer.

Choosing when to take a price for your selection is an important task. You can choose to take a price when placing your bet or wait for the Starting Price. This is the price your selection is when the race starts. Bookmakers strive to create a market that is over-round; this ensures they make a profit whatever the result.

Hedging your bet means you decide to bet on several selections to decrease the risk involved.

How much you stake is entirely down to you. If you start losing money and desperately try to get it back it’s called chasing losses. If you go All In then this means that all of your money is placed on one bet, this is a common term particularly in poker.

If you want to bet on horse-racing there’s so much you need to know, we sincerely hope this sports betting guide will help you.

The Races

In horse racing there are two main kinds of races –flat and jumps. Flat races in the UK have a minimum distance of five furlongs (200m) and horses start racing at the age of two.  Jumps are divided into hurdle races and chases – these take place over larger obstacles called fences.   The Minimum distance for hurdles/chases is two miles. There are also bumpers which see future hurdlers and chasers compete in flat races.

The top races in flat racing are known as Group races. There are three levels – Group 1 (the very best races), Group 2 and Group 3.  There is also Class 1 to Class 6 with the ability of the horses involved decreasing as the class number increases.

All-weather Racing takes place at several venues around the world. In the UK this includes Lingfield, Southwell, Kempton and Wolverhampton. The race-track has an artificial surface so it allows racing when other courses running on grass are abandoned. It’s not perfect though as some meetings have been abandoned due to fog and safety conditions for the general public.

Most flat races have starting stalls to begin a race. A draw is made to determine in which stall each horse starts from. This can have an affect on the race. There are no starting stalls in jumps races.

If a race has a close finish involving several competitors, this is called a blanket finish. A photo may have to be taken to determine the winner. You can actually bet on the result of the photo. If the judge can’t decide the winner it’s a dead heat. After each race a horse has to be weighed in by the Clerk of the Scales. If the horse is carrying less weight than it has been allocated it will be disqualified.

If it’s believed there may have been an incident during the race that affects the result a steward’s enquiry is called. This looks at the race and decides whether to confirm the result or make changes. If a winner is disqualified you can sometimes lose your stake but some bookmakers still pay out on the disqualified horse that was first past the post.

Time for our sports betting guide to take a look at the horses that you’re going to be betting on. There are many terms used in racing and here’s a guide to the most important ones.

The Horses

The female parent of a horse of a horse is called a dam, the male parent its sire. Breeding is extremely important and when top horses retire from racing, they go to stud in the hope they’ll breed another great horse. So check out a horse’s parentage, it may be the son or daughter of a superstar horse.

In a race, if your horse is going All out then this means it is putting its maximum effort into the race. If a horse is said to be backward this means it is either not fit enough or hasn’t developed enough to do itself justice. If a horse isn’t performing adequately there are several ways of trying to improve form. These include fitting blinkers or visors which aid concentration. If a horse runs green, then this is due to its inexperience. It usually means it’s running not quite under control wasting valuable energy. If a horse is On the Bit then that means it needs no riding assistance from the jockey.

So how can you tell which are the best horses in training?  Well each horse receives an official rating given to them by an assessor.

Handicaps see horses of varying ability compete against each other. The handicapper allocates each horse a weight based on ability. An inferior horse will be receiving weight from a better one, the superior horse is said to be giving weight away.

Sometimes a horse wins a race and runs again before a new weight has been allocated, this is called being ahead of the handicapper.

The state of the ground is important in horse racing, this is called the going. Types of going are good, good to firm, good to soft, soft and heavy. Some horses prefer certain going so it’s important to know the state of the ground before placing a bet. Again parentage is very important here.

A horse that hasn’t yet won a race is called a maiden, there are specific races called maidens where none of the entries have won a race.

If a horse is withdrawn from a race before the start, Rule 4 may come into play particularly if it is one of the more fancied runners. This will result in a deduction from winnings if a price has been taken.

Also of great importance are the riders of the horses known as jockeys. It’s important to know who’s riding your selection and there are several terms for jockeys that indicate how experienced they are.

The Jockeys

An Apprentice jockey is one just starting their career and receives a weight allowance from other jockeys. This is useful as it reduces the weight a horse has to carry. Conditional jockeys are apprentice National Hunt racing jockey under the age of 26 who have not won more than seventy-five races under rules or had not won that many races within the last six months.

If the jockey cannot make the weight his horse is scheduled to be carrying, it is said to be overweight. There’s no penalty but it makes life a bit more difficult for the horse concerned

Hopefully this sports betting guide has given you great help in trying to get one over the bookmakers. There really is so much to learn about sports betting but the more you know, the better chance you have of winning.