The ultimate guide to football betting terms: R–S

You are almost at the point where you could be considered the expert of football betting.  We have reached the back end of the alphabet.  If we were up to using a metaphor – we could say we are in the final third ready to make our killer pass.  If this is a step too far – its enough to say you are nearly there!


Rag is a slang term, usually in horseracing but can be applied to football.  It refers to the outsider.  To be called the rag is probably not the best and likely tells the savvy bettor that there is no value to be had here.

Related Bets

This is a situation where two or more bets are linked.  You cannot win one without winning the other, so the bet combination is usually not permitted.  Winning the semifinal and winning the trophy overall are connected.  Therefore, this is a combination where the bets can be perceived as independent events in a multiple bet.


Your winnings!

Round Robin

This is a type of bet.  It is a conditional bet.  It consists of ten separate bets: one treble, three doubles, and three up and down bets.  An up and down bet is dependent on there being enough winnings from the first part of a bet to fund the second.  Each part of the bet, therefore, is conditional on the previous bet.


Scalping is a reasonably unpleasant name for the way the bookmakers attempt to make a profit.  It is usual for a business to want to make money, and here they are exploiting the price or bonus discrepancies between sportsbooks.


A scout is necessary for the scalping! This is a person who works for sportsbooks who is tasked with spotting the best prices offered by other bookies.


The selection is who you have said will win in your bet.

Sell Points

This is part of spread betting. When you sell points, you are offering to decrease the point spread as a means of increasing the odds.  If you are confident, you can narrow the spread and therefore win more if you are right.


This is the professional tasked with calculating your payout – who decides your winnings!

Shortening the odds

The sportsbook relies on more people getting it wrong than getting it right.  Therefore, if many people decide to back one team, then they will lower the odds price, as the balance between those being right over wrong could mean a loss if they don’t.  If you are worried that the sportsbook will do this, then you can choose the option to maintain the “best price”.

Shut out

Bad luck! You have missed out.  A shut out is when it is too late to place a bet, as the book is now closed.  In football, with in-play betting, this is rare.  However, if you place a bet on an outcome, then the book may close as the whistle blows for the start of the game.


Quite simply, this is one bet.  It is the simplest way of laying a bet.  You are likely to be betting on a win-lose-draw in football.

Smart money

Every tipster in the world will have used the term “smart money” at one time or other.  This is the bet that insiders would make.  It might not be a favourite who will enjoy a guaranteed win.  The smart money will go on the team that the bookies haven’t rated, but most people in the know feel they have a chance.  Smart money is another name for value.

Special bets

Special bets are those that are a little out of the ordinary.  If you have an idea that something is going to happen, and you want odds on this, it is possible to contact the sportsbook and ask for a special bet.  Think you know who will replace Lampard if things get dodgy at Chelsea – then you can ask for odds and make the special bet.

Spread betting

If you don’t want to bet on winning and losing – you can try spread betting, which allows you to win based on the accuracy of your prediction.  This is betting for the skilled and knowledgeable – and there are lots of opportunities to win big.

Read more about spread betting.


A system is a method of betting that is thought to offer a profit eventually.  All systems try to beat the odds – understanding that some bets will lose, and some will win – and if they get the maths right, they should earn money from the total bank of bets made.

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