Chalk Betting Term Meaning

Betting the Chalk is a term you may have come across down at your local bookmakers, but what is ‘Chalk’ referring to? It’s one of those terms that makes little sense and is not easily relatable to anything specific, so let’s find out its meaning.

The Chalk refers to a heavy favourite of a sporting event. This could be a horse, a certain player or even a team. It must be strongly fancied compared to the rest of the field to be considered the Chalk. If the betting is tight and there is little difference between the favourite and second favourite, this term is rarely applied.

No one quite knows where the term ‘Chalk’ originated, but there’s a good chance that it has something to do with horse racing in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In those days, betting companies would be set up both on and off the racetrack betting stands, with large blackboards displaying the names of the horses and the odds written in chalk.

As the bets came in and tips were passed around, the odds would change rapidly, especially those of the favourite. With the odds constantly being rubbed out and rewritten, it was the favourite that would have the most chalk dust around it, and henceforth became known as ‘the Chalk’. For this reason, it is still a popular term among the horse racing community, but its usage has spilled over into other sports as well.

For example, Manchester City vs Fulham in the English Premier League. The odds on the match result (1X2) market are Manchester City to win @1.10 and Fulham to win @ 16.0. With Man City being such a heavy favourite to win, you can call them the Chalk.

If you’re placing a wager on a heavy favourite, you are said to be ‘betting the chalk’. Despite the fact that the heavy favourite will almost always win, this isn’t a very popular option. In the example above, Man City vs Fulham, you’d have to bet £1,000 to make a £100 profit.

It is possible to bet the chalk and make a respectable amount of profit by placing accumulator or combination bets. There is still a risk because even the Chalk will lose from time to time, so due diligence and plenty of pre-betting research are necessary to find the best chalk bets in the market.