free bets glossary

Free Bets Glossary: Bust The Betting Jargon

We all know that when it comes to betting there are dozens of terms you’ll come across, and many of which can seem a little confusing.
It’s an industry where there’s jargon for almost everything, that’s why here at we’ve created this handy glossary around some of the most common betting terms…

Fixed Odds Betting

Fixed-odds betting is a type of betting that sees you back odds that are a specific price when you place the bet. This means you know how much you need to stake to win a set amount.

There will be no fluctuations between placing your bet and it is settled.
This also means that you won’t receive the best odds guaranteed, often offered by bookmakers on horse racing.


A stake is a relatively simple concept to understand and is essentially the amount of money you are placing on a selection. So, if you wanted to place a bet on Manchester United to beat Liverpool at 5/1, and you backed them with a £5 bet, then that £5 you bet is your stake.


Selection is a specific market and set of odds you want to play. It’s the outcome that you predict will happen.

So, if you wanted to place a football bet on Manchester United vs Liverpool, the selection would be the outcome within the game you think will happen.
This could be across any market, for example, it could be the selection of Liverpool to win, or it could be Mo Salah to score first, over/under a certain amount of goals or many more outcomes.
Whatever you add to your bet slip to place a bet on, that’s a selection.


Odds are the chance a bookmaker gives on an outcome happening. You then bet on the selection and their odds to win.

There are three common types of odds:

  • Fractional
  • Decimal
  • American

You’ll most commonly find fractional and decimal in the UK and from all of them you can calculate how much you will win with your stake.

For example, with fractional odds, you’ll find odds such as 5/1. With fractional odds, you essentially win the left-hand side of the fraction for the right-hand number staked. In this case, you’d earn £5 for every £1 bet, plus your stake returned.

With decimal odds, you’ll find odds such as 6.00.

In this case, you simply multiply your stake by the decimal odds to calculate your return.

Spread Betting

Spread betting in sports is different from fixed odds betting where you’re placing a bet on a specific outcome and win if you predict correctly. In spread betting you’re betting on a range of outcomes and you win by correctly predicting whether it finishes above or below that range.

Handicap Betting

Handicap betting is an incredibly popular market that’s available across most major sports at UK bookmakers.

It’s easy to understand and works the same way as the To Win market, except handicaps are in place.

So, if you were to bet on a football fixture between Crystal Palace and Liverpool you might find a handicap market like the following:

Crystal Palace (+2): 11/10
Draw (+2): 11/4
Manchester City (-2): 7/4

In this instance, Crystal Palace has been given a two-goal head-start, so if you were to bet on Manchester City to win the game, they would need to win by three clear goals in order for your bet to win.

If you were to bet on Crystal Palace, they would essentially have to not lose by more than a goal.

Handicap betting will offer punters much better odds on the favorite in the To Win markets.


Specials are types of bets offered by bookmakers that are different from the usual markets and often give punters good value.

These are usually delivered during major events such as the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Premier League fixtures and big fight nights.

There are many different types of specials including the likes of corner betting, bookings, and request-a-bets offered by bookmakers.


Acca has shortened terms for an accumulator and is one of the most popular types of bet in the UK, particularly on horse racing and football.

It essentially involves combining four or more selections into one bet. In order to win, all of your selections must-win for the bet to come through.

If just one selection doesn’t come through, your bet loses.

Combination Bets

Combination bets are a series of wagers that punters use to maximize their winnings and boost their chances of winning. There are a variety of different combination bets including:

  • Patent
  • Heinz
  • Trixie
  • Yankee

These consist of several different bets within the combination that include singles, doubles, trebles, and accumulators.


Totals bets are a type of bet in which players bet on the total outcome of something. These often come in over/under the form.

This is usually on markets such as points, goals, bookings, corners, etc.

Live Betting

Live betting is simple to understand and ultimately is just betting on markets while a game is currently underway. This is also commonly known as in-play betting and you’ll find dozens of markets on bookmaker sites such as Paddy Power and Betfair.

Exchange Betting

Exchange betting is growing more and more popular and operates as a marketplace for punters to bet against each other rather than directly through a bookmaker.

Unlike a regular bookmaker you can also place lay bets, which means betting on an outcome not to happen, for example, Liverpool not to win.

Betting exchanges are particularly popular among those using a matched betting strategy.


Incredibly simple to understand, the payout is what you receive should your bet win.