Football Betting Dictionary

The football betting dictionary is here to help novice and experienced bettors understand the terms and odds associated with sports gambling. If you’re new to betting, please make sure you take a look at this page and familiarise yourself with these terms and odds before you place your first bet.

We hope the terms and odds descriptions prove to be a valuable tool in the coming months and years.

What is spread betting?

Any of various types of wagering on the outcome of an event, where the pay-off is based on the accuracy of the wager, rather than a simple “win or lose” outcome, which is known as fixed-odds or money-line betting. A spread is a range of outcomes, and the bet is whether the outcome will be above or below the spread. Spread betting has been a major growth market in the UK in recent years, with the number of gamblers heading towards one million. Spread betting carries a high level of risk, with potential losses or gains far in excess of the original money wagered. In the UK, spread betting is regulated by the Financial Services Authority rather than the Gambling Commission. (via Wikipedia)

Introduction to betting odds

There are three different betting odds currently being used today. The first is the European format (decimal odds), the second is the UK format (fractional odds), and the third is the American format (moneyline odds).

The European format is favoured in continental Europe, Canada, and Australia. They are the ratio of the full payout to the stake, in a decimal format. Decimal odds of 2.00 are an even bet. UK format (fractional odds) are favoured by British bookmakers. They are the ratio of the amount won to the stake. Fractional odds of 1/1 are an even bet. US format odds are favoured in the United States. They are the amount won on a 100 stake when positive and the stake needed to win 100 when negative. US odds of 100 are an even bet. (via Wikipedia)

Here’s an idea what each looks like:

Decimal Fractional US
1.50 1/2 -200
2.00 1/1 +100
2.50 3/2 +150
3.00 2/1 +200

Conversion Formulas

Decimal -> Fractional = x-1 , then convert to fraction
Decimal -> US = 100*(x-1) if x>=2; -100/(x-1) if x<2
Fractional -> Decimal = divide fraction, then x+1
Fractional -> US = divide fraction, then 100*x if x>=1; -100/x if x<1
US -> Decimal = (x/100)+1 if x>0; (-100/x)+1 if x<0
US -> Fractional = x/100, then convert to fraction if x>0; -100/x, then convert to fraction if x<0

To put all of this into simple terms: If Liverpool are +100 to beat Chelsea at Anfield, that would mean you’d need to place a £10 bet to win £10. The odds are essentially even money on your return. But if Liverpool -200 to beat Sunderland, that would mean you’d need place a £20 bet to win £10. The higher the odds on the favourite, the more money you’d need to stake on them to make a profit. That’s why it’s also more profitable to find an underdog that has good value. (We’ll discuss value later on.)

Betting Systems

Betting systems are derived from bettors who think they’ve found a loophole in the betting system. They might bet Hull City when their odds are at 3/2 or 2/1, or they could bet against Reading when they’re playing away. There really is no set system to go by.

The best way to come up with a system is to bet small for a couple of months and track your bets and trends. If you notice that you’re winning when you bet on Liverpool, take a look at their odds and figure if they’re winning at a particular price. You may just find a system that works for you by using a pen and paper to track every wager you make.


The term is one you never want to see associated with your name! Chasing is when someone (who most likely had been winning up until a recent bad bet) tries to make the money they lost on a previous bet back on the subsequent bet. The bet is usually larger than the original one, and most likely ends up hurting them in the longterm.

Chasing can unfortunately led to losing even more more and on some occasions, can lead you to losing more than you can afford. NEVER let it get to this point.

To combat chasing, make sure you have a money management plan in place.

Money Management

The most important term in the betting dictionary. Without money management, a bettor has a higher chance of losing their money in the first week compared to someone with a management system.

Assume for a second that you put £100 in a new account. When you place bets starting out, you should never make a bet that’s more than 10% of your bankroll (the amount of money in your account). Assuming you place a £10 bet at +100 odds (10% of your bankroll) and win, that would mean you could place a max bet of £11 the next time around. Mind you, that means you can place a MAX wager of that amount. You can always place less.

Now if you lost that first bet you’d then have to pull back on the 10% rule and make a bet of half that (5%) the next time around. The goal would then be to build the account back up to £100 with smaller bets that won’t get you in a bigger hole.

Once you build the account up, you’d then find a number where you’d either cashout half of the winnings or change your bet percentage. Remember that the bankroll percentage can change based on your ability and the funds in your account.

Live Betting

The newest form of betting around. It allows you to place a bet whilst the game is going on. Instead of placing a bet prior to the match, you can instead place in-game where the odds will fluctuate. Everything from Tennis to Football is now available for live betting.

Why is it worth doing live betting or a regular before match bet? Well the odds can change, meaning that you may be able to get great odds on a club if they go down a goal. For instance: Manchester United may be a goal down at the half to Fulham with odds of 2/1 to win the match.

The odds on Manchester United winning the match from the start was, say, 1/2. Now you’ve essentially got the chance to pick Manchester United at a bargain price for them to win the match and come away with a tidy profit. If United come out and score to open the half, that would most likely drop the odds. The flow of the game can change the odds in an instant. Novice bettors should go to a betting site like BWIN to watch how the odds move before placing a bet.

The problem with live betting is that one can lose a lot more money if they place a bet and the game changes a second later. That leaves live bettors open to the chance of losing more money than they bargained for from the start. Instead of placing one bet, you can place as many as you want. That can be a problem if you starting chasing your losses.

How to compare football betting odds

Imagine football betting odds are different brands of beer at the liquor store. You walk in and take a look at all of them and notice that they range in prices from high to low depending on the brand new and quality. Just like brands of beer, betting odds tend to range from higher to lower prices depending on where you go to look for them.

Whilst one book may have the odds at 2/7 for Brazil to win the Confederations Cup, another may have them at 1/4. Right there it would be better to place a bet with the book that’s offering 2/7 odds because it would allow you to bet less to win more money.

Football-data does a great job giving you the lines from a multitude of books. The only problem with finding the best betting lines is that you’ll most likely have to open a couple of accounts. As you grow as a bettor, you’ll notice which books give you the best lines for favourites and underdogs. Those books will become you go-to books in the future. You’ll notice that the best and most experienced bettor around will “line shop” for the best possible price.

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