How to Make Money Using Accumulators and Avoid the Biggest Rookie Mistakes

Accumulator betting is one of the most popular and most advertised forms of gambling. The bookies love to advertise it because it makes them a ton of money. Squares, your common everyday bettors, love it too as its high rewards from low stakes. However, in most cases that is an illusion and accumulators more often than not are very unprofitable, unless done properly. So let’s take a look at why accumulators are so profitable for bookmakers, how you can avoid making mistakes and how best to use multiples in the future.

Accumulator probability

As an example, I’ve used the odds for the first week of the Premier League 2021/2022 season. Odds as of the 14th July on Bet365, the world’s largest bookmaker in terms of traffic and turnover.

Let’s just say your average punter who follows the EPL decides to do an eight fold accumulator as seen above. Your chances of winning are significantly below the odds you are being offered, as seen in the probability section of the diagram.

All bookmakers have a ‘hold’ on their markets. This is essentially their cut to ensure they win regardless of the outcome. The ‘true odds’ on the right hand side are the price the bet would be provided Bet365 didn’t take a cut.

The ‘hold’ bookies take is amplified with accumulators. This is essentially why accumulators do not work. If for example, Bet365 takes a 5% cut on a specific game, when you multiply it with another game for ‘better odds’, what you are also doing is multiplying the 5% cut Bet365 takes.

So essentially, the cut bookies make on accumulators is huge. It is near impossible to make an accumulator that is even close to its ‘real value’.

So does that mean accumulators and multiples are useless?

Absolutely not, in fact quite the opposite. If you know the bets you are taking are of a positive edge then multiplying them actually increases your edge on the bookie. The best way to visualize this is if the ‘true odds’ on the right-hand side were all lower than the given odds, the probability would also be way lower.

For a bet to have a positive edge on a site such as Bet365 it’s essentially down to either a pricing error or your own calculations to what the ‘true value' is. So as you can imagine 99% of punters do not have an edge unless they have significant knowledge of the sport they are betting on, more so than all the data the bookmakers have access to. The alternative to this is of course using Trademate Sports to find bets with an edge, the software will alert you to markets where the true odds are lower than given odds.

Another bonus is due to accumulators generally making bookmakers a hefty profit, they can somewhat contribute to making accounts last longer. Bookies consider accumulators as ‘mug bets’ and make the account look ‘dumb’. Meaning they are less likely to restrict you, thinking you are a casual bettor.

Tips for accumulator betting:

  1. Use a software like Trademate to find positive edge bets with the same bookmaker and combine them.
  2. If using your own bets, make sure to calculate the ‘true odds’ of each selection and ensure each selection has a positive edge. One negative EV selection will directly affect your chances of long-term profits.
  3. Don’t be afraid to manually rollover instead of a regular multiple bet. By this I mean, if one leg of your bet is better odds on a different bookie then take it on that and manually put the winnings on the next bet. The only way to beat the bookies is to consistently take the highest edge you can on them.
  4. Do not add ‘fillers’ into your accumulators. It is not logical to add Manchester City as a ‘banker’ in your accumulator just to get bigger odds. Every time you do this you are simply making the odds offered to you further from the true odds. (Unless of course Man City is a positive edge bet).
  5. Try and limit the number of legs needed to win. Yes it’s satisfying winning a 10 fold acca, however, that’s less the case when you’ve lost hundreds of them just trying to win one and have a negative P/L. Build profits slowly rather than entering the lottery.
  6. Stay away from multiples unless you are sure that you have an edge on the market. A proven system that has an excess of a 1,000 bet sample size.
  7. Also, remember that by combining two or more value bets together you are also increasing your variance. Yes, you are getting a bigger edge which is optimal, but you need to remember that now your bet has less chance of winning in the short-term, so expect more variance in the short term. However, this does mean in the long term you can land more big odds winners.
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