Odds Vocabulary

By no means is this an exhaustive list of the words that you’ll hear when talking about odds, but it should help you out to have a basic grasp of the lingo when choosing how to place your bets.  Once you know the basics you’ll find betting so much simpler, and you should be able to better your chances of a win!

Fixed Odds Betting

Betting a fixed amount of money against the bookie to predict an outcome. The odds reflect how much you will win from the bookie if you are correct.


When placing a bet, this is the amount of money you wish to gamble.

Laying Odds

When the Bookmaker agrees your bet, he is laying that particular outcome.

Odds Against

This means that your bet will return more than double your stake.

Even Money

An even money bet will return exactly double your stake.

Odds On

This means your stake will be more than the return.

Short Odds

Short odds have a good chance of winning, so won’t receive a large return.

Long Odds

Long odds are very unlikely to win, so a payout will give a good return on your initial bet.


When the odds on a player or competitor lengthen it’s said that they have drifted, or are on the drift. The further apart the odds drift, the less likely it is that the outcome will be a winning one.


When the odds are matched 1 to 1. Even odds are also known as level odds or Scotch odds.


The favourite is the competitor that seems to have the most likely chance of winning. The favourite will also have the lowest, or the shortest odds, as the chances of success are the highest. That’s why betting against the favourite to win can be very risky, but very rewarding!


Futures odds are those offered on the winners of an event well in advance of the event itself. These odds are very popular with American sports bettors and the futures markets are enormous.


Pointspread, handicaps and odds offered to punters are called lines.

Morning Line

A morning line forecast of the probable odds for a race, competitor or betting event. A tipster may guess the morning line, or on the rare occasion a sports book may announce it, but generally, this information is not available via an official channel.

Odds Compiler

An odds compiler is the person who works for a bookmaker and sets the odds for an event. The odds are set after intensive research and can include an element of the odds compilers own intuition or feeling for the outcome of a competition.

Taking the odds

This refers to betting on the underdog. In any match bet the underdog is usually odds against, so the term taking the odds refers to the action the bettor is taking by placing a wager on them.


A teaser is a pointspread bet that allows the bettor to move the line in a way that works in their favour. The drawback to this is that the odds are reduced, but the advantage is that the player may stand a better chance of having the winning bet.


In odds terminology this refers to getting the best odds on any wager. The better the odds, the greater your chances are of success, so value is incredibly important to bettors who want to wager and win. Use this odds vocabulary to give you the edge and get your sports betting off to a great start today!