In this article we discuss accumulator bets and whether they are worth your hard earned cash in order to generate long term profit whilst considering factors such as value and variance.
Are Accumulator Bets Worth It?
Accumulator bets (or ‘accas' as they are also colloquially known as) have become increasingly popular with punters over the years, particularly for sports such as football and tennis. But are they actually worth it?
Before we continue, it is important to note that this article is primarily aimed at those who take betting seriously, rather than those who, let's say, bet for ‘interest'.
Why Do People Back Accumulators?
One of, if not the biggest reason that accumulator bets are so popular is that they give punters the chance to dream big. As the odds are multiplied with every additional selection, there is potential for huge returns from a small stake.
Resist The Temptation
In order to bet profitably, you need to have an edge which suggests the probability implied by a price is wrong. With that in mind, there are a number of reasons why you should resist the temptation of accumulators and instead stick to single bets which we will explain below.
You’ve backed a bet because you believe the odds are wrong. The odds offered are value.
Assume you have four value selections which individually are best priced with four different bookmakers. If you put together a four-fold, you’ve already limited yourself to reduced odds as you would have to place the bet with a single bookmaker.
You are also losing out because of the bookies’ overround (profitability). In each individual market, bookmakers have an edge.
Imagine a coin-toss. Both heads and tails have a 50% chance of occurring. Yet in a market with two simple outcomes that a bookmaker can’t split, they’ll offer you a 5/6 or 10/11 split. Here you aren’t obtaining true value.
By combining multiple selections, you’re enhancing the bookie's edge. In the long run they’ll make money – this is why bookies are so keen to offer promotions and offers when it comes to multiple betting.
Sidenote: If all of your selections are best priced with the same bookmaker then this in fact increases your edge if you include them in a multiple bet. It is extremely rare that this may happen however, although in the more ‘obscure' markets it can be done.
How many times have you ‘missed by one'? Too many, right? As close as you were, you lost. You saw no return on your stake. However, had you backed each of your selections as singles, the likelihood is that you'd have made a profit.
Variance is the idea that sometimes you will lose. Various factors affect the outcome of a sporting event from luck, fine margins, individual decisions…even the weather!
Stick To Singles
By spreading your stakes across various single bets, you’re reducing the effect of variance. The more bets you spread your stakes across, the more likely you are to win, assuming you’re finding value which suggests the odds are wrong. So, if you’re doing things correctly, you’re more likely to see a profit over a wider sample of bets.
Furthermore, backing singles is more sustainable. With single bets, it is easier to both find and work out value. It is also simpler to calculate the chance of an individual event happening rather than multiple in tandem. Therefore, in the long-run, you’d be in a better position.
If you are going to use accumulators, then make the most of acca insurance offers where you can at least get your stake bet (as a free bet in most cases) in the inevitable circumstance that one selection does indeed scupper your bet. There are now many bookmakers that offer some form of insurance on accumulator bets.
Accumulators can be great fun and a great source of entertainment. If that's what you're looking for, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
However, for those serious about making money and looking to maximise value and increase long-term profits, then single bets are the best way to do this.
By backing accumulators, you could be taking reduced odds and allowing variance to dictate you profits. There is a reason why accumulators are known as a ‘bookmaker’s dream'.