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Singles vs Combos

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    Singles vs Combos

    Singles Versus Accumulators

    Reducing Bookmaker's Advantage

    It is virtually impossible to reduce bookmaker's overound. However, it seems that some punters go the other way around and unintentionally make bookmaker's life actually easier!
    Deluded by desire to get rich fast, they improve bookmaker's advantage. I strongly believe than simplicity is most effective in sports-betting. Let me show you my point of view on betting on Singles - why I believe they are advantageous to Doubles or Combo bets.

    Myths about Accumulators

    First of all, let us stop and think for a moment why people love accumulators so much. One of the reason might be that they treat sports-betting as a source of entertainment. It is more fun to hit big Combo coupon than to grind small profits with Singles.

    And to make things more complicated even from mathematical point of view Coupon seems to be, at first glance, more profitable. Below is the graph of potential profits (horizontal Y axis) for specific success rates (asix x).

    For example (100 bets, average odds 2.00):

    - Punter with 60% hit rate hits 60% of Singles what gives him +20 units of profit because of average odds of his Single coupon 2.00
    - Punter with 60% hit rate hits 36% of Doubles what gives him +44 units of profit because of average odds of his Double coupon 4.00
    - Punter with 60% hit rate hits 21% of Trebles (because he must hit 60% * 60% * 60% outcome) what gives him +72.8 units of profit because of average odds of his Treble coupon 8.00

    We can make two points here:

    - For positive YIELD - the more picks on one coupon, the bigger profitability (please see again the example of 60% hit rate which is +20% yield that I wrote just above the chart)
    - For negative YIELD (hit rate lower than 50%) - the more picks on one coupon, the smaller profitability.

    One might make a valid point here that it is pointless to consider negative YIELD scenarios as someone who can't beat the odds would not bet at all. Let us move on here to see what is the real reasons this chart is misleading and might contain some errors in logic.

    Being Restricted To One Company Makes a Big Difference

    Firstly, one wishing to bet on Combos is always restricted to place his combo within one bookmaker. What I mean is that if one wants to create a Double coupon that contains "Arsenal versus Manchester" and "Aston Villa versus Sunderland" games, he is forced to use prices of only one bookmaker. Due to this fact, you are very likely to lose a lot of value (read: high odds).

    Imagine you estimate 70% chance of winning for Arsenal and 55% for Aston Villa to beat Sunderland. You search for a bookie which offers the best combined odds for these 2 events. You realize, one of the bookmakers has Arsenal with 1.52 and Nantes with 1.75. It means that:

    - Your Double bet has a chance of 70%*55% = 38.5%
    - Your Double bet would have odds of 1.52 * 1.75 = 2.66
    - Your Expected Value for this Double bet would be +2.4%

    It means that in long term you will earn 102.4 EUR for each 100 EUR you wager here. You will earn 240 EUR after one hundred bets.

    If you were to wager the same games as Singles, in two different companies, you would be able to get the best prices on the market. Bookmaker A has "our" Arsenal with 1.55 price and Bookmaker B has "our" Nantes with 1.82. For this scenario we expect you to:

    - Earn 1.55 * 70% = +8.5% for every 1 EUR spent on Arsenal
    - Earn 1.85 * 55% = +1.75% for every 1 EUR spent on Nantes.

    For comparison purposes, we want to keep invested amounts the same for both scenarions. It has been one hundred 100 EUR bets in first scenario. Therefore, now we bet 100 times 50 EUR on Arsenal and 100 times 50 EUR on Nantes. This gives us following expected profits:

    - Arsenal (70% * 100 * 50 EUR * 1.55) ***8211; (50 * 100 EUR) = 425 EUR
    - Nantes ( 55% * 100 * 50 EUR * 1.82) ***8211; (50 * 100 EUR) = 87.5 EUR
    - Which sums up to 512.5 EUR of profit from this 10.000 EUR hypothetical investment

    We see now the price of being restricting to one bookmaker. 512 EUR earned versus 240 EUR earned for the same value bets.

    If we come back quickly to our chart above we understand first error it contains. We said that for positive YIELDs we should earn more for Accumulators, not for Singles. Still I agree that if you are very good at finding value bets, you will still earn both either way -by placing Singles or Accumulators. The point is that you lose approx. 1/3 of your profit because of the fact you must use one bookmaker's prices for each event in the Coupon.

    Keeping Low Risk Profile Is Never Free

    Next fact that can also nicely show us superiority of singles is simple one - Singles have lower odds. For big coupons whose odds rise to 10.0 you are obliged to wager much less money to keep comparable level of risk of Singles betting.

    Imagine we decide to bet only singles at average odds of 2.00 with 2% of our betting bank. This would keep your risk of bankruptcy to level as low as 1%. By pairing this picks into Doubles you increase odds to 4.00. Your chance of hitting this bigger coupon obviously decreases too. You are much more likely to hit some ugly streaks of 9 or more lost coupons. 2% fixed staking for 4.00 Doubles is no longer very wise. You are forced to lower our stakes to let us say 0.75%. It means that for 5% YIELD, after 1000 bets:

    - You are expected to increase your bankroll by 125% for first scenario
    - You are expected to increase your bankroll by 37.5% for second scenario of 4.00 Doubles.

    Remember, both scenarios are calculated for the same risk levels and YIELDs. We actually just proved in last paragraph that because of restriction to one bookmaker your YIELD will be lower for scenarios with Combos.

    Difference is huge already! And imagine how it would be for 3-fold or 8-fold (!) Coupons.

    Do Not Complicate Your Already Hard Life

    There is one final point I want to discuss. Namely: by betting Accumulators you increase bookmakers profit margin. Example?

    A bookmaker has just set the lines for "Chelsea - Milan" and "Barcelona - Juventus" games. Odds are 1.90 - 3.25 - 3.65 for the first game and 2.20 - 3.15 - 3.00 for the other one. We can make some logarithmic calculations here to discover that it corresponds to following chances of winning (and margins in brackets)

    Chelsea: 49% (93.1%)
    Draw: 27% (87.75%)
    Milan: 24% (87.6%)

    Barcelona: 42% (92.4%)
    Draw: 28% (88.2%)
    Juventus: 30% (90%)

    Numbers in brackets tell us how much bookmaker is expecting us to lose on average for particular outcomes. The smaller the odds, the margin is lower.

    When we pair this two picks into Double coupon we get following matrix, that shows probability of each possible pair of outcomes:

    How to read this table:

    - Right bottom value of 7% means it is probability of two underdogs (Juventus and Milan) both winning this games
    - The other example is middle 8% value which corresponds to two Draws happening in this two games.

    If we multiply bookmakers' probabilities from matrix above with all possible odds from the matrix below:

    ...we receive the final table of bookmakers' profit expectation:

    What this last matrix actually means?

    - Let us remember that with Singles bookmaker expects to pay out on average only 89.8% of the total amount wagered. It means he is going to earn 10.2 EUR for every 100 EUR wagered by the punters.
    - The last matrix shows how this expectation changes for people who decide to pair this two games into Doubles. Average margin in this scenario is 81%. It means he is going to earn 19 EUR on every 100 EUR wagered by the punters.

    Article comes from
    Last edited by zbrochu; 27-07-12, 15:45.


    You know why, Zbrochu
    Thanks, Peter !
    Originally posted by DonJuanKieputo
    Im eating today chocclate like ****


      Superb article, Zbrochu.

      Interesting reading, and a must for all punters, I would say. Even for the more experienced ones, this is reading which is very useful.

      I've linked to this post form the frontpage.

      Brilliant stuff!

      "A furore normannorum libera nos, domine"
      - "Oh, Lord, from the fury of the Norsemen, deliver us"


        I cannot disagree with guys above me. However, interesting is that although a lot of punters agree that better (more profitable for good punters and less unprofitable for poor punters) a lot of punters use combo.

        regards :P


          Just can say superb, exactly said. Hitting the target Thats the case, but it will probably give still enough hungry combos manias for bookies ...


            Thats the case, but it will probably give still enough hungry combos manias for bookies ...
            This is true but in this life not everybody is supposed to get rich :wink: If all of us would use singles with a good money management there'd be no bookies anymore.
            About the article all I can say is that Zbrochu came exactly to the right point no doubt about that.Best regards and GL
            Your Asian Handicap Soccer Betting Guide:


              using singles at the long run is the best way.all the punters accept this .what about combos.i think there are some times when a punter feels he has to do a combo(since he has some good bets in his mind).its the right time i think.dont make combos to make big profit,but make some combos when u feel u have to do it while betting only on singles


                i think lowering the number of events is akey factor.personally when im betting on ateam i would like to analyse all the facts.(since i think i m a soccerexpert i try to choose a game ,focus on it,and finish the bookie).u need more luck if u bet on parlays.sometimes u may have verybadruns even if u re an expert on that sport .and luck is decisive much more than your knowledge in this case


                  When I started to bet I used to do the same thing-parlays usually with more than 10 events and yes sometimes I was very lucky but there also was entire months in which I couldn't win.The thing is that when you win a combo your profit is much bigger becouse you stake a little but you win a lot and that makes you think you are in profit-you forget too fast the loses and think too much about your wins.In fact sonner or later you go down,like I did.And there is no need to claim some kind of talent when we are talking about combos becouse every single event from a combo can't contain value which means we'll lose.Of course some people can be very lucky and win big $ but this is for the moment only,no doubt about.
                  Betting valuable singles is the only way of being in profit from betting.Of course a good money management is aquired either.
                  Personally I have a very bad period right now(Blogabet's ROI 82% so far) but I strongly believe this is just bad luck.For eg. today:Pribram 2 : 2 Sparta the home side were equalized in the last minutes and I had 4.5 for them.And many other cases.I know it's only for the moment but it's pretty hard to pass it as it may affect you mentality and your way of betting,despite it can be a good one.
                  Important is to keep going in the same direction like a bullet and the profit will come.
                  Cheers :wink:
                  Your Asian Handicap Soccer Betting Guide:


                    Thread moderated. Lets not spoil the fine article
                    Señorita me gusta su trasero


                      excelent post zbrochu, thanks

                      but I would add that playing singles demand "big" starting bank., it is simple as that.

                      I play mostly combos 2 - 4 per slip with @2,5 - 5 quota and those are my main bets but if my bank rise for amounts that I will be satisfied with wining
                      2% of my bank than I will play singles.

                      and for Andre whom I respect
                      I remamber when you got 4 or 5 winning slips with combos of 4 teams or something like that, and you were happy like a baby(who wouldnt be) which means that even you played them(combos).
                      but for steady profit there are singles
                      when you feel lucky use combos.


                        Yes Karlo, but that was only a fun combo and simply luck.

                        I also have never said something AGAINST playing combos but fact is that to make money with combos in the long run you need more time to talk about a long run and your risk factor is higher. If you add 2 bets with odd 2,00 there is no diference to placing a bet on an outsider with odd 4. The chances are 25% (not exactly as the bet hopefully was placed on a value odd), so your risk is 75% instead of 50% if you would have placed two single bets.

                        And if you add 10-12 games to get an odd of let´s say 50 your risk is 98%. You need a long life to talk about a long run then which shows you that you are able to make money with that.


                          An excellent article and valuable discussion for all serious gamblers.

                          Last season I made about 450 bets and only around 5% of these were doubles, with just one treble.

                          I agree completely with the point that value is being reduced as bookies very rarely offer best prices for two matches I want to bet on.

                          I did manage to make a profit on my combo bets. I usually bet around the 2.0 mark. I will have a big single on an odds on shot if I really fancy the team's chances. Also if I have the same confidence in two 4/6 shots and think the 4/6 is value I'll double them? Why? Consider this example:

                          2 10 pts bets @ 4/6.

                          Total Stake - 20pts
                          Max return = 33.2
                          Max Profit = 13.2
                          Yield = 66%

                          With one winner you make a loss of 3.4 pts. So you need both to win to make a profit.

                          If you were to place the double instead of the two singles:

                          Stake 20
                          Odds 2.76
                          Returns 55.11
                          Profit 35.11
                          Yield 176%

                          Playing devil's advocate one could say that if you have one winner then you reduce your losses from 20 to just 3.4. However, I'd like to take "The glass is half full" view of life and think if you do get two winners you're effectively reducing potential returns by 21.91 points.

                          This is just my view and you're welcome to discuss / disagree!



                            It true the bookies overound increases with combos, BUT if the punter finds valuebets the value would also increase in a combo!!

                            Nice guide! ...inspired by the book "Fixed odds Sports Betting" I reckon


                              Originally posted by Questra
                              ... BUT if the punter finds valuebets the value would also increase in a combo!!
                              Not really!


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