What is 25/1 Betting?

Bets taken on sporting events which are settled at the beginning of the second half are referred to as half odds or 25/1 bets. The odds are normally dictated by bookmakers and can be found clearly displayed on the sportsbook website. The betting exchange Betfair provides a simple to use glossary of odds terms which can be accessed via their website (https://www.betfair.com/support/soccer/esupport/terms.jsp).


While bookmakers offer a wide range of sports and betting markets the concept of half odds has been around for over a century. The first recorded instance of half odds was in 1877 when the Scottish Claymores (American Football) played the England Harlequins in an exhibition game which was settled at the end of the first half. The name ‘Claymores’ originates from a combination of ‘clay’, which is the dirt or debris which comprises the playing surface, and ‘more’, which is the Scottish word for ‘finally’. The concept of half odds was imported to the United States in the early 1900s and by the 1960s, bookmakers had introduced an array of betting markets and offers including 25/1 bets.


The first rule of thumb for those who want to place a bet on a sporting event is to familiarise yourself with the terminology. As mentioned earlier, those bets which are laid at the end of the first half are considered to be of half odds or 25/1. This is known as a ‘push’ or ‘lay’ bet in American sports parlance and a ‘dead’ horse bet in British sports betting circles.

The second half of a sporting event is normally considered to be the bonus bit so it is only in this sense that you could say that 25/1 is a ‘bonus’ bet. However, bonus bits and half odds are often used interchangeably in modern sporting betting. In addition to the push or lay bet, bookmakers also offer courtside (or ‘away’) betting which is focused on the end of the game rather than the first half. Some bookmakers specialise in courtside and away betting whereas others offer both types of betting together.


There are three basic types of bet that you could place on a sporting event: a push bet (also known as a ‘lay’ bet or ‘ante’ bet), a courtside bet (or ‘away’ bet), and an over/under bet. The first two types are generally used in football (soccer) to bet on the total number of goals scored in the game. An over/under bet is when you bets the total number of points scored by one team against the total number of points scored by the other. For example, you could lay a 10 unit over/under bet on a televised soccer match between Chelsea and Manchester United assuming that Chelsea scored two goals and Manchester United scored none.

There are a number of other wagering options that you could explore including money lines (where you bet on the outcome of the sporting event) and parlay (or ‘combination’) bets which allow you to make multiple wagers on a single sporting event simultaneously. Those who wish to learn more about the various types of bets available and the difference between them could read a complete glossary of the odds on the terms page of Betfair’s sportsbook website.


Like many other bookmakers, Betfair provides a clear and simple process for paying out winners. You match the amount of your bet with the bookmaker in full at the end of the game (or in the case of a push bet, at the end of the first half). If you are a winner, you will be asked to provide your bank details so that the money can be transferred to your account. Once the transfer is complete, you will be provided with an email confirmation.

Those who place a bet on a sporting even eventually lose in two ways. First, they could win but not receive the money for some reason. In that case, they will not be able to collect on their bet. Second, they could win but owe money to the bookmaker in the form of a ‘rake fee’. The amount of the rake fee depends on the size of the win and the bookmaker’s spread (i.e. the amount by which the odds are in your favour vs the bookmaker’s spread). The bookmaker’s spread is often very high in the early stages of a sporting event and tape downs (or narrows) very rapidly as the odds even out. When this happens, the bookmaker may charge you a large rake fee because they are making such a large profit from the odds in your favour.

What is the Appeal of 25/1 Betting?

People who enjoy placing bets on major sporting events often cite a variety of reasons why they might want to bet on a sporting event. Some of the reasons why you might want to bet on a sport include: