Chalk player Betting Term Meaning


Betting terminology can sometimes seem like another language. ‘Chalk player’ is one of those terms in which the meaning is not obvious from the title. This page will explain what a chalk player so you will know what punters are talking about next time you hear it used.

If you’d like the full story on the term ‘chalk’, including its origins in the horse racing community of the 1800s, please check out our comprehensive Chalk betting term article

The term means the favourite of an event, or more specifically the heavy favourite, such as the Philadelphia 76ers beating the Cleveland Cavaliers at odds of 1.07 in the NBA. (By comparison, the odds on Cleveland beating Philadelphia are at 10.0).

The use of the word ‘chalk’ has led to the betting term ‘chalk player’, which means a punter who trusts the odds set by the bookmaker and always bets on the favourite. This strategy has several flaws we’re afraid to say. 

The example above illustrates this; you would have to bet £1,450 on Philadelphia just to make a £100 profit. The payout would be more if the odds were slightly higher, but seasoned bettors know that the best value odds are usually not always on the favourite. For that reason, it’s good practice to do your homework on the events you want to have a wager on and look for the best odds across as many sportsbooks as you can. 

Factors such as suspensions, promotions, player injuries, players returning from injury, or even bad press coverage can all affect a team, and a savvy punter knows how to use these factors to his or her advantage. 

Many online sportsbooks will have huge statistics sections to help with your research, and most will enable you to view the stats of the two teams head-to-head to get a better picture of how they perform against each other. With resources such as this, there really is no excuse for being a chalk player in the age of online sports betting. 

If you are set on being a chalk player, however, you can increase your profit margin by placing combination bets or accumulators. The bigger the bet, the bigger the return. A combination bet like a Goliath, which is an eight-selection wager with 247 individual bets, would return a £100 profit from a £310 stake if all eight selections were winners at odds of 1.07. 

Much better than the £1450 you would have to stake in the example above. Just one conservative outside bet among those eight selections would seriously boost your profits though; with seven selections at odds of 1.07 and one at odds of 2.07, your profit jumps to over £300 if they are all winners.

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