Football Accumulator Betting, can it be profitable long term?
My earliest introduction to sports betting was watching my dad, betting slip in hand anxiously waiting for Saturday’s football results to come in.
Every now and again he would hit a decent sized winner but I remember most weeks were losers.
“If only Chelsea would have won, I would have made over 100 quid”
“Can’t believe Liverpool didn’t win, one short of 250 big ones”
“F****** Arsenal couldn’t even beat my Sunday league team, could have won close to a grand if it wasn’t for them.”
The above is the reality for the majority of punters that bet regularly on accumulators, losing what looks to be a small fortune even when using using bet calculators like Ace Odds.
However there are ways to make your football accumulator betting profitable and we will cover that in this article.
Why Bookmaker’s Love Punters That Bet On Accumulators
There is a reason that bookmakers love this type of bet and that is because normally there is no value at all for the punter.
Whilst the bookmaker retains a huge edge.
Below is a video from Caan Berry which explains why accumulator bets in general are very poor.
To summarize the video.
Bookmakers love accumulator bets because it compounds the margin that they have on each bet.
What is a margin?
The bookmakers margin is the reason that they make a profit.
Oddsportal highlight a bookmaker’s margin in the area payout.
You can see that most bookmaker’s take somewhere between a 5% to 1% margin on most big European football matches.
If we look at Pinnacle’s margin for example at 97.7%.
This means that if you were to back every outcome that Pinnacle are offering on the Lens vs Lille game you would lose 2.3% of your total stake.
So if we spread out £100 across all 3 outcomes
We would lose £2.30
In a perfectly fair market all outcomes would add up to 100% meaning that if you backed every outcome you would break even on all selections.
Any market that adds up to over 100% becomes an arbitrage bet, which means it is possible to back every outcome and secure a profit.
As Caan points out in the video. When an accumulator is placed with a bookmaker the margin that they have compounds with each bet.
You can see that by taking the fair prices of these events from the betting exchanges you get odds of 259.5.
Looking at the odds given by the sports book for the same accumulator you can see the odds are 190.5.
This is a pretty big discrepancy and highlights why bookmakers love punters that bet on accumulators.
In general they are very bad value for the punter.
Football Accumulator Betting – How To Win Long Term
The way to make money from sports betting is pretty simple.
It is all about getting value from the odds that you are taking.
This means that we need to take odds that indicate a higher percentage of an event occurring then the actual chance of that event occurring.
Let’s look at a very simple example.
England are playing the Faroe Islands and a bookmaker opens England at 2.0 (Giving England a 50% of winning the game.)
99% of football fans would instinctively know that England’s chance of beating the Faroe Islands are better then 50% and those odds offer a huge amount of value.
England’s chances of winning that game would probably be closer to 90%.
This bet would obviously be huge value, as the odds offered don’t accurately represent the true probability of England winning the game.
Now unfortunately bookmakers very rarely make huge mistakes like this.
However they do make smaller mistakes and sometimes they will also offer promotions which make an accumulator a profitable bet.
Putting Multiple Value Selections Together
Let’s start with the easiest way to make profitable football accumulator bets.
Taking advantage of bookmaker boosts.
The majority of the major European bookmakers offer boosted accumulators on almost a daily basis.
Above is this weekend’s boosted accumulator from Skybet.
It has Bournemouth, Brentford and Tottenham all to win at odds of 8.0.
Let’s have a look at how to determine a fair market price for this accumulator
One of the best way to determine this to look at the price currently shown on one of the betting exchanges. Betting exchanges are a good indicator of what the market feels is the fair price of a selection at that time.
Adding these prices together gives a good indication of what the fair price of the accumulator should be.
The fair price is often between the back best price 2.06 and lay price 2.08.
For simplicity I take the lay price of each selection and input them into a accumulator calculator from the site aceodds.
You can see adding the 3 lay prices together gives out fair odds for the accumulator as 6.5.
Whilst Skybet are offering odds of 8.0.
This suggests that the accumulator offered is very good value and that by betting these type of boosts long term you will make money.
This is really the best way for the majority of people to make their football accumulator betting profitable.
Determining Value And Betting Them As An Accumulator
Just as a bookmaker’s edge compounds with each poor value selection.
Exactly the same happens to the sports bettor that is able to find profitable edges and combine them with other each other.
That profitable edge is compounded.
From my own experience there are some area’s that are easier to find value in then others.
For example lower league football, corners markets, cards markets, player markets etc.
Are much easier to find good value bets in compared to the major 1x2 markets that often have millions of pounds bet on them.
In the above accumulator a mixture of using a bookmaker’s promotions and finding value in the market created a profitable accumulator bet.
The bookmaker was offering the Chelsea vs Real Madrid game at a boosted 100% margin, so one selection was taken that was showing as the lay price on the betting exchanges.
Two tips were taken from a lower league English football tipster that had a profitable long term record.
Juventus and Slavia were both lay prices on the exchange.
Then on top of this the bookmaker in question offers a 15% boost on accumulators of 5 selections that are odds above 1.5
Combining the first strategy of using a bookmakers promotions and then also by also finding value in one of the less efficient football markets (lower league English football.)
Enabled a football accumulator bet that had a lot of value.
Odds were of 25 were offered for this selection when in reality the odds should have been closer to 20.
Football Accumulator Betting – Conclusion
In this article we have looked at why in general accumulator bets are not a good way to make money long term from the sports betting markets.
However we have also shown that in the right circumstances. Football accumulator betting can be a great way of extracting some value from a bookmaker.
Like all profitable betting strategies, successful football accumulator is about taking a calculated risk and only betting when the edge is in your favour.
Over The Last 4 Years I Have Made Over £100,000 Profit From The Sports Betting Markets.
Ryan is a former mixed martial arts and kickboxing competitor. After finishing university he played online poker and taught English for a living in Thailand for a few years.
Upon returning to England his focus has been on making a living from sports trading, betting and arbitrage. Over the course of 5 years he has managed to make a six figure profit using the strategies discussed on this site.
Ryan runs the sports betting and trading website www.smartsportstrader.com