When we think of making money out of football accumulators on what basis do we make our selections?
Do we just pull a few teams out of thin air or do we do some homework and research which teams have injuries and suspensions?
Or do we make our selections based on the odds so that we get the maximum return for our stake?
So many questions and so many different ways to approach the subject!
This guide will give you a solid grounding in that staple of football accumulator betting – the fourfold accumulator.
Before you wade into accumulator betting though and begin a life of tortured near misses – let me forewarn you – it is not an easy route to untold riches. Simple maths will tell you that betting on a sequence of four matches with 3 different possible outcomes (win, lose or draw) will give you 64 possible result combinations. 4^3 or 4x4x4.
With that many combinations it is no wonder that it’s so difficult to win – and don’t let people fool you into paying for tipping services - they are simply not worth it because the basic premise is very easy to grasp.
So now that I’ve given you fair warning let’s begin!
First of all we need to figure out what our average stake should be and so it makes sense to determine what we want our return to be first.
Working out a return means thinking about how many wins you can realistically bank in twelve months. If you want to return £1000 for example and your stake is £10 then your true odds of winning are 100/1. If you did an accumulator every Saturday for a year then the probability of you winning one is about 50%. With fifty two weeks of betting available it could take you over two years to pick a winner if you were unlucky.
I think a return of £500 should be our benchmark. If we could win £500 each and every Saturday or every time we placed an accumulator bet then we could be very pleased with ourselves. A smug grin would be suitably planted on our face.
Trying to go for bigger numbers would be nice but trying to find the odds in a fourfold accumulator makes it an unrealistic and unattractive proposition. If you keep betting at a rate of say £10 per accumulator then the losses could become hurtful before you have a winner on your hands.
Going for bigger wins is for a bigger accumulator and a smaller stake which I’ll cover in another instalment.
So £5 to return around £500 is the staking plan for this fourfold accumulator.
To get to the magic £500 we would need four equal bets of around 11/5 each to get there returning £524.29.
Two bets of 2/1 and two of 5/2 would return 551.52 so there is the range of bets that we should be looking to place – 2/1, 21/10, 11/5, 9/4, 23/10, 12/5 and 5/2. If we keep the bets within that range then we know that by the time they are multiplied together for our accumulator we will be in the ball park for what we want to return. Of course it’s meant as a rough guide to the odds you should be looking to place your bets at.
By keeping the bets in this consistent range over time you should start to get a feel for what is value at this range of bet and what is overpriced garbage.
As an example of the type of outcome we are betting on: here is an accumulator that fits the betting pattern and gives us a £472.50 return for a £5 stake:
Games for weekend 20/21st April 2013:
Arsenal v Everton Draw 13/5
Swansea v Southampton – Away win 11/5
West Brom v Newcastle Draw 5/2
QPR v Stoke Home win 5/4
So with the staking plan and the odds sorted now we should turn our attention to the second part of the equation and that is what are we actually going to bet on?
For most people betting on Premiership football is the way to start out because it is the known commodity however it is a fact that as you move lower down the leagues the opportunities for spotting value become more common because the odds maker is less knowledgeable about the situation.
This is called your “edge” and is where the benefit of sticking to a regular staking plan with consistent odds will reap its rewards because you will learn to spot irregularities in the odds being made.
Remember that bookmakers don’t give short odds on a whim. They have experienced “odds makers” whose job it is to come out with the correct line from the get go and adjust the line as the wagers are placed.
It’s a bookmakers job to “make the book” which means balancing the amount of money taken on a match by shortening or lengthening the odds to encourage even distribution of funds.
For example for this weekend’s game between Manchester City and Wigan the odds are:
Man City 2/9
If the money keeps going on Manchester City to win the odds shorten for City and lengthen for Norwich – to encourage punters to back Norwich and keep the flow of money being staked even across all three possible outcomes.
The Bookmaker does not make money on the outcome of the match, they make money by pocketing a percentage of the total stake and the amount they take accounts for the different odds across different bookmakers.
So along with your betting edge, which is being able to spot opportunities in the lower football divisions, you also need to be able to get the best possible odds for your bet.
Because you are multiplying the odds together in an accumulator, small differences in the odds price can make a massive difference to the final return. We could easily see a swing of £100 between the best and lowest priced bookmakers and that means you can reduce your odds – and your risk, by placing your accumulator at the bookmaker that is giving the best odds.
Marathonbet has one of the best and easiest to use interfaces for making an accumulator and combined with its excellent odds for football betting make it a good choice.
Overall Bet365 generally has good odds and is fairly easy to use although the overwhelming number of choices can seem a bit daunting at first. Bet 365 will give you £200 in free bets for joining though so that may soften the learning curve for you. Read the bet365 bookmaker review here.
And lastly we have Coral which has a newly redesigned interface which is better than Marathonbet and very easy to use. They also have a bet £5 get £20 free bet offer so you can have four attempts at making a successful accumulator! The advantage of using Coral for accumulator betting is that they offer a bonus that rises in a sliding scale depending on how many selections you have in the accumulator – up to 30% for nine selections or more.
Those are my four top bookies for placing accumulator bets but you can find more in the Bookmaker Reviews section.
So there you have it - a complete strategy for compiling four fold accumulators and bashing the bookie!