If you’re trying to make it pay at steady football gambling, then is there any place for the acca in your “portfolio”?
It’s an interesting question. From the statistician’s viewpoint, there should be no difference in theory. If team X has an equal chance of beating team Y, and there’s nothing to choose between them, then backing any of the three possible outcomes at anything better than 2/1 is a logical wager as long as your analysis is correct. So rolling a number of such bets up shouldn’t fundamentally alter that overall value. Obviously, you’ll lose on far more occasions than you win, but when you do win, you’ll win larger amounts pro-rata.
Perhaps it’s easier to simplify things and to take the draw out of the equation. So thinking about a cup final, for example, there will be one winner at the end of the day. And major trophy finals are good examples of football value betting.
To some extent, the form book is less relevant given the status of the occasion and the added pressure it brings. In other words, more games don’t go to form than in more normalised league competitions.
The most recent example in League Cup betting is a good one even though it didn’t actually work out, because football betting value is the name of the game here.
In the event, the pre-match favourites won reasonably comfortably. But just a few weeks before on New Year’s Day, Spurs had thumped Chelsea 5-3 at White Hart Lane and were as big as 7/2 to lift the trophy with some bookmakers before play started.
This was a clear value bet that went awry – which brings us neatly to the acca question. Searching for value inevitably necessitates the acceptance of a number of losses. The point is, with our example, that Spurs would be likely to win the same tie on more than one in four and a half occasions, pro-rata, and so represented good value.
Had you made the equivalent bet with three other games, you would expect to come out ahead. The acca, meanwhile, would have given you a zero return and would do so on around 16 occasions, on average, before you got a win. But when you did win, it would more than outweigh the stake.
It’s all a question of patience and making the right value-based selections. For punters who wish to see a steadier return than a win out of the blue will give them, then the accas with fewer selections, or perming any three from four and all four (five bets in total) is the way to go.
Another alternative, of course, is to run your own value-based acca. So with our example, if Spurs had won, you would have netted a profit of £3.50 for each £1 staked. Of the remaining £4.50, you may decide to bet, say, two-thirds on the next similar event where you think the underdog has a better than the odds chance of winning. And as we’ve already discussed, big finals are a good hunting ground here. So the FA Cup final on 30th May, the Champions League final, and the Europa Cup final are all possibles.
But the best example of them all according to what’s happened in history for this particular type of value bet is the play-off match at Wembley for the Premier League place.
This, it is said, is the most valuable game in football – such is the cash “prize” that victory brings with it. And that pressure tends to throw up some anomalous results over the years.