The football accumulator has become something of a rite of passage for punters – many fledgling bettors have their first experience of betting on the beautiful game by compiling an ‘acca’ from a weekend’s fixture list.
The appeal is obvious: many of us feel like we know the sport inside and out, and want to take full advantage by placing high-odds accumulators that offer maximum reward for minimum investment.
Of course, the downside is obvious too: how many betting hearts have been broken by the last-minute goal bringing down an otherwise winning betslip? With mobile technology improving year on year, it’s becoming quicker and easier to place a football accumulator via our favourite devices.
So, if you’re thinking of taking the plunge this weekend with an acca of your own, here are some top tips that could help you to pocket a tidy sum and avoid the numerous traps that punters can fall into.
If you place an accumulator of, say, six selections, naturally the cumulative odds you are offered by football bookies will differ from site to site. So you might be pleased to receive a price of 30/1 on your six-fold, but have you investigated how much that same betslip could net you at other betting sites?
This is where the odds comparison really comes into play. Once you have selected your accumulator picks, head over to the bookmakers you've decided on and see which will offer you the best price. With significant differences between the various sportsbooks that will ultimately result in less or more money won, you will be glad you did.
As you work your way down the fixture list, it can be easy to get carried away with your match-odds accumulator by adding selections left, right and centre. Sure, this will see your projected profit rise exponentially, but with each added leg comes extra risk; it only takes one selection to bring even the most expertly devised accas to their knees.
So an essential thought to have in mind is to limit your selections to a sensible number. Fast cars, holidays in the sun, designer clothes…those are all nice enough, but greed is ultimately what prevents a losing punter from becoming profitable in the long term.
A simple appreciation of basic statistics will help when it comes to compiling your football accumulator. Studying the formbook and researching team news is one thing, but understanding the underlying data behind sensible acca selections is the next level that many punters would be wise to take.
Here’s a basic notion to get you started: in a single Premier League season, there could be 46% of matches ended in a home win, with 26% resulting in draws and 28% in an away victory. A similar pattern could then extend to the continent’s other key leagues too, including La Liga, Ligue 1, the Bundesliga and Serie A.
So do yourself a favour: don’t blindly add the best teams to your betslip according to their league position.
There are more powerful concepts at play here, and while we can discuss the merits of home-field advantage until the end of time, the point is that if you back the home team you have a statistically-proven edge to aid your accumulator selections.
A £1 eight-leg accumulator that pays at 20/1 is the same as a £5 four-leg acca that returns 4/1, right? Well, not exactly. As mentioned, every time you add an additional selection to your betslip you also increase the chances of that coupon ending up as a gallant loser, rather than the sea of green ticks that we want it to be.
It is human nature to want to risk as little as possible for a huge reward. Unfortunately, the economics of that as far as football accumulator betting is concerned simply don’t add up. Instead, try wagering a higher stake with fewer selections in your acca. The return will be the same, ultimately, but your chances of getting over the finishing line are far greater.
The beauty of football betting to the neutral observer is just how difficult it is to predict. Okay, so many of us will make accurate guesses as to who will win the league title, who will finish inside the top four, who will be relegated and so on.
But the journeys that those teams go on to achieve their goals is strewn with obstacles and dropped points; how often do we see the ‘big boys’ struggle away from home against a tough but limited outfit?
The point is that predicting football outcomes is difficult, and so predicting four or more on the same day is extremely tough. That’s why football accumulator punters can go weeks on end without landing a winner. But when they do, the reward is just that bit sweeter…