Circled Game Betting Term Meaning

‘Circled game’ is a commonly used betting term which, to the layman, appears to make very little sense. It’s a phrase all experienced sports bettors are familiar with and one which we believe is very useful so you can act accordingly upon the information when placing your own wagers.

In its simplest terms, a circled game is a match in which the betting action is severely limited. This could be mean that the maximum amount a bettor can wager on this particular event is limited, or the bookmaker will not allow the circled game to be used as part of a multiple or system bet.

As a punter, you would have had at some point that negative feeling of “should I really bet on this game?” when some unforeseen circumstance happens prior to the action getting underway. Bookmakers are no different; their odds are set based on what they know about the match, but if uncertainty arises then that can cause problems for their lines and margins. The solution? Circle the game and restrict the betting.

The term originated back when bookmakers displayed their odds on large chalkboards for their punters to see. In order to let people know that the betting was limited on a certain match, they would circle the game in question.

Why Do Circled Games Occur?

There are hundreds of reasons why a bookmaker would want to circle a game, and most have their own formulas that they follow when it comes to limiting the action. One of the reasons that we see most often is due to a player injury. 

This can obviously occur at any time, especially in training, and if it happens to be a key player then that can have a huge impact on the team, and in turn the outcome of the game. Will he play? Will he not play? The knock-on effect of this thinking is, of course, a change in betting patterns. 

This can leave the bookmaker open to some big losses if it has set its odds based on that key player to be on the field and operating at 100%. In order to protect themselves, bookmakers will circle the game and restrict the action. 

Should I Bet On Circled Games?

In practice, if you’re going to place a wager, it’s usually best to stay away from circled games. Some bookmakers will circle games at the slightest hint of uncertainty, even if it’s just a rumour, and uncertainty is never something that you want to be dealing with when placing a wager. Veteran bettors know that to give themselves the best chance of making a profit, all the variables have to be known.