The dos and don’ts of football accumulators

On his sixth day of a very productive week God created all the creatures that live on dry land. He then put some time aside and invented accumulators.

What in the name of all that is holy did we ever do before that gloriously seismic evening? Before the bearded bookie in the sky devised a game-changer that would improve the quality of our lives by at least 5% forever.

We just watched football I suppose, and if our team wasn’t involved we’d vaguely hope that one side won because the other side’s fans are a bit annoying on Twitter. Or half-smile when the ones with the better kit won a pen.

Accumulators changed all that. They made the whole of football painfully and wonderfully relevant to each and every one of us meaning we suddenly had a very real stake in a veritable smorgasbord of matches spread across the weekend and beyond. From Dumbarton to Dortmund it keeps us glued to Soccer Saturday right until the last FT while refreshing the beeb site desperately willing on a club whose manager and name of ground escapes you. Accumulators have also achieved the near impossible in making Europa Cup nights interesting.

Every weekend millions of us – really, I have the stats here and it says millions – skip optimistically into our local bookies or chew our bottom lips off staring at our phone compiling a meticulously considered four-fold. The maniacs go for six. They are not to be trusted with real cutlery.

And why? So we can nonchalantly hand over our slip or press cash-out and be all externally cool while inside screaming ‘IN YOUR FACE BOOKMAKER. I AM A DIETY OF GAMBLING AND I FORETOLD ALL OF THIS’.

One quick question then: Why are most of us so terminally bad at doing them?

Another quick query: Why have East Fife chosen today of all days – when Derby, Napoli and Wrexham are all home and dry – to end their indomitable run of form thus scuppering a brilliantly collated foursome and the chance of a ‘free’ takeaway later?

Why do East Fife hate so much? Screw you East Fife.

Have no fear though because by enlisting the help of Paul Robinson from Betfair we’ve put together a handy dos and don’ts guide to acca betting, an opportunity to beef up your selections and lessen those times when you scrunch up your slip and pretend you don’t want to cry real salt tears.

One of us backs East Fife when they’re on a run of form. The other is an expert from one of the biggest betting firms in Europe who recently tipped three consecutive weeks of multiple winners on the Betfair site.

You might be wise to listen to one more than the other…

My Top Tips

Never take a punt on lunchtime kick-offs

The multiple you’ve meticulously sculpted and tweaked comes immediately undone as the useless sods lose and render the rest void. Before it has barely begun the weekend that promised so much has fallen at the first and you instead follow the progress of the other games all chewed up and hateful, hoping they all come home so you can bore your mates senseless with tales of your oh-so-close big win.

Of course you could always shell out for another acca. But that’s what they want isn’t it. Oh yes we’re onto them. That’s what they want!

Go Scottish

This – and I cannot stress this enough – is merely a theory of mine but it’s one that reaped many a reward last term. Wait for the Scottish leagues to settle down – which is around about now – and always back the top three sides against the bottom half sides.

The difference in quality in Div 1 and 2 between the promotion-chasers and lower teams is enormous yet the bookies can’t offer equivalent odds as no-one would be interested (that’s the theory part). So you’d often find Albion Rovers away at Montrose for example being 4/7 whereas in reality it should be 1/7 as the difference in class is equivalent to Manchester City being away at Barnsley.

Don’t discount your gut

It would take a reckless punter indeed who fills out their bet without first studying the form-guide or, at the very least, the current league tables. Yet there are times when your instincts are screaming over the logic and stats that Huddersfield will get something at Ipswich. You can see the result in your mind’s eye and almost hear Jeff Stelling praising the Yorkshire side for a fantastic and unexpected three points.

Factor that hunch in because there’s no worse feeling than siding with numbers and being proved initially right afterwards.

Paul’s Top Tips

Leave draws well alone

I normally have a strong opinion on one team or another and if I don’t I tend to leave the game alone. I’d advise going against draws unless you’re putting two or three together and I certainly wouldn’t mix homes, aways and draws.

Also, the draw never tends to be a value price.

Less is more

Never go for more than eight and I’d be much more comfortable around the four-to-six mark. If you have eight or more if you win you’re going to win big….but really not that often. You see it every week where short-priced favourites are put in to boost up the accumulator but inevitably one will let you down. I would very much doubt there are many weeks when the top four or five clubs all win.

Familiarity breeds content

People predominantly stick to English matches but then they’ll look around and see AC Milan at even money at home to someone they’ve never heard of and think ‘Oh AC Milan are a big team’. But really Milan have been crap for the past two years, are stuck in mid-table and could be playing one of these teams who are doing really well but staying under the radar.

You need to stick to leagues you’re most familiar with as opposed to looking out for big names in foreign leagues.

Be suspicious of enhanced odds

They’re enhanced for a reason and that reason is the bookmaker wants you to put money on them. So you have to ask why. You’ll also often find that enhanced odds with one bookmaker will be the standard price elsewhere anyway. Don’t get suckered in just because it says enhanced.

Don’t load up on bargains

If you’re going to include bigger prices go for less teams. You might go down the list and think ‘That’s a good price and that’s a good price’ but sometimes outsiders that are at a good price work best as a single. For accumulators you want teams that are good value but are also strongly fancied.