13 Essential Terms in Sports Betting

Sports betting guide to the top betting sites

Sports betting is expanding all over the world and if you are new to sports betting, you might be confused by all the different terms in sports betting. There are specific terms for the different types of sports you can bet on and understanding these terms is crucial if you want to become a successful bettor. This article will explain the essential terms you need to understand regardless of whether you are new to betting or have been betting for some time.


You might hear accumulators referred to as “accas”, “parlays”, or “multibets”. Accumulators are types of bets where you place bets on different outcomes, with all these bets combined into one bet. Each of the individual bets must win for the accumulator to be a winner. If one of these bets does not win, then the whole accumulator is scrapped.

Accumulators are popular because the odds for individual events, bets, or outcomes are multiplied to end up with the overall odds for that one accumulator.


Arbitrage, or arbitrage betting, is a betting strategy that involves placing bets on all outcomes of a given game. For example, the three possible outcomes for a football game are a home win, a draw, or an away team (away) win. An arbitrage bettor will place bets on all three outcomes on different sportsbooks with the highest odds for each of the outcomes. By carefully calculating the amount placed on each bet, a bettor can guarantee profits regardless of the games’ outcome.

American Odds

There are three main ways of displaying betting odds: fractions, decimals, and American odds. American or moneyline odds are shown as a + or a – number depending on the predicted outcome. American odds can be converted to the other types of odds but regardless of the system used, a bettor wins the same amount no matter the type of odds used when placing a bet.


One of the most important pieces of advice you will hear when you start betting is that you should not bet more than you can afford to lose. Your bankroll is this amount. This is the maximum amount you have to place on your bets. Different people can have different bankrolls depending on their specific circumstances.

Bankroll management involves knowing which amounts to place on which sports as well as which amounts to withdraw once you win, so you still have a bankroll to bet with the next time you would like to place a bet.

Betting Unit

A betting unit is an amount you would place on a typical bet. Because different bettors have different bankrolls, they will also have different bet units. For example, if you have a £10,000 bankroll, one unit might be £50. You can then place fractional, full, or even multiple units depending on how much you would like to bet on a game.


To help attract new customers, betting websites will often offer bonuses upon signing up. These bonuses can be cash bonuses, free bets or enhanced odds-on certain games. In many ways, the bonuses offered by sportsbooks will usually resemble those offered by online casinos, especially the signup and free bet bonuses.

To find out the bonuses offered by a sportsbook, you can always check their social media pages or their website. In comparison, you can find casino bonuses very easily by looking at comparison sites like Onlinecasinos.co.uk. On Onlinecasinos.co.uk, you will find comparisons of the best UK casinos sites plus information on their bonuses. Online Casinos also publishes detailed casino reviews so you can find the right one easily.

Opening and Closing Lines

The opening line is where the best odds and spread stand when betting on the game starts. The closing line is the last odds or spread before the game started and bettors cannot bet on the game anymore.

Double Chance

You will often hear this term in European sports, especially football. A double chance bet allows a bettor to place a bet on two possible outcomes. Using the outcomes in a football game, a bettor can place a home or draw, or away or draw double chance bet. This way, the bet wins if any of the two possible outcomes is true.

Early Cash Out

A cash out is a way to settle a bet before the event is finished. When you opt for early cash out, you settle a bet for a smaller amount than you otherwise would have if you allowed the event to finish.

Early cash outs are also a great strategy when you have an accumulator bet on the books with one of the bets not performing as expected. Instead of losing the whole bet, you can choose to settle for a smaller amount by opting for early cash out.


An exacta is a bet where you bet on horses that will finish first or second. Exacta bets are very rarely offered for other types of events, but you might see them during the short and long-distance Olympic races.

First and Second Half

These are bets that are placed on the outcome of either half of a game. These types of bets are quite common in basketball and football. In soccer, some sportsbooks call them half time, first half, and second half results.

Asian Handicap

An Asian handicap is a type of betting that originated in Asia. In this type of betting, the favourite team to win is “handicapped“ and then made the favourite to win. You will often find a team handicapped by 1-2 goals, although it is more common to find teams handicapped by half, one, and one and a half goals.

Odds-on Favourite

An odds-on favourite bet is one placed on a team or person who is the favourite for a specific event. Because of the high possibility of a win, these bets usually have very low odds, which means you might have to wager a lot more to end up with a sizable profit.

To understand sports betting, you need to understand the terms used herein. The terms explained above are ones you are most likely to encounter when you start placing bets on various sports.

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Having worked in the marketing department at two online sports betting sites, John brings his love of sports to serve BigOnSports as chief writer. He will be researching and writing about the sports betting community to improve your experience as a sports bettor.