The ultimate guide to football betting terms: O – P

Being in the know in football betting is one of the best ways to make the most of your money.  Football betting should never be about luck.  You should be looking to the odds, to the combinations, to the form and to all the associated news and opinion that will lead to a positive result for you.  With this in mind, we continue through our guide to football betting terms.  You may have missed A-C, D-F, G-K or L-N. If you are all up to date; let’s begin at O.


The odds are the returns offered by the sportsbook owner.  It tells you what you can win in proportion to the stake you lay down.  This is also sometimes known as the price.  If you are offered 3 – 1 odds and you lay a £10 bet, then your winnings are £30 + your £10 stake returned.  If the odds are described as ‘odds on’, then the odds are lower than evens – meaning it is a likelier outcome.  If it is described as ‘odds against’, then the odds are higher than evens – or a less chance of occurring than happening.  The person employed to set the odds is called the odds compiler, and they will have probability conquered.

Official Result

This is the result that is used to settle bets. It is more than likely that the result of the football match at the referee’s whistle is the official result – but you can never account for all scenarios.

Outright Betting

Here you place a bet on the outcome of an entire competition, whether it is the winner of the EFL, the FA Cup, the European Cup or the World Cup.  It is the ultimate ‘all or nothing’ bet.  The earlier in the competition you bet on your hunch, the better odds you will get – especially if it is a team not expected to succeed – but you feel you know better.


This is a selection that is thought to have odds higher than its real chances.


Far from being a pirating term, this is an Americanism for an accumulator with two or more selections.  To win the maximum amount, you need all outcomes to work.  It is possible to place single bets within a parley, as well as double bets.  Therefore, if you back three teams on a parley – with the ultimate payout reliant on all three results coming in – it is still possible to make a profit by placing a stake on every single outcome and the doubles.


The Football Pools your dad used to play with a pencil, and a little A5 sheet is pari-mutuel betting.  It is a form of peer to peer betting where the stakes are pooled together, and your winnings are relative to the pool size.  The cumulative monetary amount is the total amount of bets in the pot.


Your winnings!


A permutation is all the possible outcomes or bets that are possible on a given football match.  On a basic level, this means to win, lose or draw.  However, there can also be permutations of the final score or the spread of results, e.g. a two-goal difference between team A and team B.

Point Spread

A point spread is a difference in abilities of the two teams playing the football match.  If Man City are playing Yeovil, then the point spread might be 5 – 0.  This means Man City must score five goals before they are considered on an equal playing field with Yeovil.  It would also mean they would need to score 6 to be considered the winner.  This is a means the bookie can handicap one team, so it is a game still worth betting on.  There is potential value to be found if the points-spread set is particularly high.


There is nothing more frustrating that a push bet.  It feels like you have lost, but you haven’t really.  The bet has just been voided because the bet between you and the bookie has tied.  You will have your stake returned to you.  It is more likely that this push bet will happen in a points-spread bet.  Remember Man City v Yeovil with a handicap spread of 5 – 0.  If this is precisely what the score ends up being, then this is a draw between you and the bookie – as there is no win/lose scenario to payout on.  It is a draw!

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