In sports betting, picking the chalk or betting the chalk means betting on the favorites. Nevertheless, please note that the favorites tend to pay the least and the term “chalk bettor” often refers to inexperienced bettors or people who are desperately seeking any kind of money return.
The reason why experienced bettors tend to shun the chalk bettors, especially in horse race betting, is the fact that the second and third place horses pay considerably more to come in second or third than the winning horse pays to win. Consequently, any experienced bettor or someone who has no qualms about taking chances stands to receive a significantly larger payout.
“If you bet the chalk during the 2008 March Madness, you certainly were a lucky man since all the #1 seeds made it to the Final Four.”
The term dates back to a time when the trackside odds were written on a chalkboard. The favorite was bet on so often that everything had to be erased over and over again as the odds changed. Consequently, each time plenty of chalk had to be used and, after a while, the name of the favorite horse was very hard to read as chalk was smeared all over its line on the board.