What does OTB Mean in Betting?

by Big Al Staff

What does OTB mean in betting?

Sports betting is a world that could seem difficult to grasp.  From the outside, it might look nothing more than putting some money on a game.  However, the moment you start looking up some statistics or doing a little bit of digging, you'll see how complex the industry is.  You'll come across dozens of terms that might not ring a bell straightaway.  You might wonder if it's internet slang, or if you're dealing with abbreviations.  Usually, you have to think a little bit out of the box to figure out the meaning, or you can simply look it up.

There are terms like ATS, which stands for against the spread, and SU, which means straight-up, that are pretty standard in sports betting.  And then there’s the term OTB, which is more complicated since there are two meanings:  off the board and off-track betting.  This article will dive deep into the definitions of OTB so you’ll fully understand both meanings. 

Deep dive in the meaning of OTB
To accurately find the meaning of OTB, we should make the distinction between two different meanings of the word.  The abbreviation OTB can stand for both off-track betting and off the board.  Before we go any further, let's get some issues out of the way. We're talking sports betting here, so any other internet slang terms are irrelevant.  Those could be:

  • Out of the blue
  • Off the back
  • On the border
  • On the beach
  • Over the bars
  • ​On the boards
  • Over the bridge

And the most far-fetched OTB abbreviation that we found was organisasi tanpa bentuk. From now on, we'll focus on sports betting solely and disregard any other OTB acronyms that do not belong to the world of sports betting.

Off-track betting
One meaning for OTB is 'off-track betting,' which refers to legal gambling on horse racing outside of the race track.  Usually, when you are into horse racing, and you feel like watching a couple of races, you head over to the race tracks and enjoy yourself there.  On the race track, besides the horse racing, a lot goes on.  There are lots of ticket windows where bettors can go to place their wagers.  But, the bigger horse racing became, and as technology developed, there was a demand for betting possibilities outside the race tracks.  That's when off-track betting came into play, and the OTB term was born. 

These days, sportsbooks and bookmakers can accept bets from race tracks all over the world.  Horse racing has become one of the major sports that is watched across the globe from Asia to America.  As a bettor, you can follow the races on your TV, laptop, or desktop and place your wagers on your mobile phone.  It has become much easier to place bets, and thus the betting pools are now much larger!

Where can I start with off-track betting?
If you're interested in horse racing and want to learn more, we have a broad range of topics that cover horse racing in depth.  That's where you start:  the research.  The moment you become more familiar with horse racing in general and learn about the betting options, it's time to head in.  Before the internet, off-track betting only happened at brick-and-mortar bet shops where you could watch the races simultaneously. 

However, as mentioned before, you can now watch races from your mobile phone within the comfort of your own home.  In addition to that, you can partake in off-track betting with the help of online sportsbooks.  That brings you the option to wager on any horse race at any race course all over the world.  When you're exploring your options, never settle for the first sportsbook you see.  Instead, review many sportsbooks, and ask:

  • What is the sportsbook’s policy on paying track odds?  Will it cap your winnings?
  • What are the wagering limits?  Can it handle your fat pockets?
  • What betting options do you have?  Only win-place-show bets, or can you partake in quinellas, daily doubles, Pick 4s and Pick 6s?
  • Are there any bonuses, promotions or rebates on losses offered to customers?

We’ve researched all the best offshore sportsbooks, and have ranked the very best among our Top 10.  Within our Top 10, several stand out with respect to their horse racing benefits.  BetAnySports is our current #1-rated sportsbook.  And BetAnySports' racebook is terrific, as it offers 10% bonus payouts on winnings at major tracks, as well as a 9% rebate on losing tickets.  GTBets’ racebook goes even further, with a very customer-friendly 15% rebate on monthly losses.  Another great option is MyBookie, as its racebook offers up to an 8% rebate on losing tickets, while BetNow’s racebook gives bettors a 10% rebate on net losses each week.  Unfortunately, at BetNow, there are caps on winnings from exotic wagers.  So, it’s now time to create your account and try your luck.  In the end, it's all about gaining experience.  Not every bet you make will be a success, but you have to stay strong and pull through until you figure out the strategy that works for you.

Off the board
The other definition of OTB is off the board.  It refers to a sporting event that is unable to be wagered on, at the determination of the sportsbook.  This generally happens when there is a major injury, or if there is even a rumor about an injury.  The sportsbook will refuse to take any bets on a particular event when they're uncertain about proper odds for that match.  Of course, uncertainty is a big part of the gambling industry, but sportsbooks are in this industry to make money, and limit risk.  Like sports clubs, they know the results are uncertain, but they build a lot of options to minimize their risks and guarantee profits.  Thus, a sportsbook can choose to take a particular sports event off the table when they're uncertain about their position.

The reason for bets being taken off the board can vary:  from a critical player who is injured to uncertainty about weather conditions.  As an example, we could take an NBA match between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors.  There's a lot on the line, and both teams are eager to take home the win.  But, the day before the game, all of a sudden, Steph Curry is rumored to be injured.  When Curry doesn't play or is not in full form, his team might undoubtedly lose.  But with a healthy Curry, it might be a different story.  That creates a situation where a sportsbook has its hands tied as to what to do.  They have three options;

  1. They can choose to not even post an opening number, and keep it off the board entirely through game time.  This scenario takes away any uncertainty for the sportsbook.
  2. The sportsbook can list the game open for bets, but with lower betting limits than usual.  When this happens, the game is called “circled.”  Then, when there's more certainty about Curry's health, they could remove the circle and change the betting limits to allow larger bet sizes.
  3. The sportsbook can also choose to keep the game off the board initially, and not post an opening number until it has more certainty.  That means that it might stay off the board until 30 minutes before game time when starting lineups are announced. 

What happens if I have a bet on a game which is taken off the board?
You may be one of the first to place your wager on a match after the opening numbers were published.  The next day, though, the game could be taken off the board, and no more bets are possible.  However, you already placed your bet at the odds that were available at the moment of your bet.  In that case, nothing happens with your bet, and it is handled in the same way as it would when the game was not taken off the board.  That's why it's always to your advantage to keep a sharp eye on the betting lines to catch any excellent opportunities. 

What other sports betting slang terms should you know?
You now know two possible meanings for OTB.  But the truth is, there are many more slang terms in sports betting that bettors use daily.  The list goes on-and-on, and bettors will even create their own personal abbreviations and lingo.  However, we created a list of other common sports betting terms that are made up of abbreviations: 

  • ATS - against the spread:  When a team manages to cover the point spread, they win against the spread.  Usually, you'll see an ATS record like 8-2.  That means the team covered the spread eight times and failed to cover the spread two times. 
  • PK - Pk'em:  When both teams are rated equal by the oddsmakers, a bettor can 'Pk’em' and choose either team; there is no point spread.  If your team wins straight-up, then your bet cashes. 
  • SU - Straight-up:  A bet that's straight-up is a moneyline wager where you predict the winning team or horse.
  • Off - off the board:  Another form of referring to off the board is with 'Off' instead of OTB.
  • Cover: When a team covers the spread, they win for their bettors, based on the point spread. 
  • ​WHIP:  A term used in baseball that stands for walks + hits divided by innings pitched.  It allows you to see how many baserunners per inning a pitcher allows.
  • Sharp:  When a bettor only bets at the best numbers, they are considered ‘sharp,’ and will be taken very seriously by a sportsbook. 
  • Chalk:  When you bet on the chalk, you're betting on the favorite. 
  • Dime:  This refers to a bet size of $1,000.
  • Nickel:  This refers to a bet size of $500.
  • Dollar:  This refers to a bet size of $100.
  • Square:  A square is someone who is unconcerned about the numbers or odds, and doesn’t realize their value.  
  • Laying the points:  When you're laying the points, you're referring to betting on the favorite in a point spread wager.
  • Push:  When your wager ends up in a tie, your bet pushes. This can happen in various bets but usually occurs with point spreads or over/under wagers.

After reading this article, it's time to take stock and review your betting options.  You are just one click away from placing your bets at any sportsbook that you like.  So don't wait any longer...jump right in, and have fun!

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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