Soccer Betting Strategy: Tips for Placing Accumulators

Soccer Accumulators

Accumulators, or parlays, are extremely popular among soccer bettors. The bookmakers love this fact, as the vast majority of accumulators lose. Their purpose is to combine multiple selections into a single wager, and if just one selection is wrong then the whole wager fails. This obviously makes them very hard to win.

So why are these wagers so popular then? It's for one simple reason – they provide the potential for high returns. The odds for accumulators are calculated by multiplying the odds for each individual selection. So even just a small number of selections means exponentially higher odds. And most bettors include several selections, meaning the potential payouts can be huge.

Bookmakers believe the risk is well worth the potential for large payouts. They are more than compensated with all the losing stakes that they get to keep. In fact, accumulators are one of the highest margin wagers they lay. This is precisely why many betting experts suggest that they are only for "mugs" or "suckers."

The view that accumulators are bad bets that should be avoided at all costs is very common. Although this a view that we fully understand, we actually don't agree with it. Accumulators are definitely not the best option for making regular and consistent profits, but that's not to say that they can't be profitable at all. We firmly believe that they can, if they're approached in the right way.

This article will provide you with everything you need know about soccer accumulators. We start by providing an example of one, to illustrate exactly how they work. This is followed by some basic (but useful) tips that will help you to bet accumulators more effectively. Then we outline six specific accumulator strategies that we recommend trying.

We obviously can't guarantee that you'll instantly start making money after reading this article, but you'll certainly improve your chances of success if you follow all the advice we have to offer. Just remember that these wagers are NOT an easy way to win big. Bettors waste their money on these types of accumulators because they truly believe that they will win a major payout over time. Don't make the same mistake as them.

Accumulators will only be useful if you have realistic expectations. Huge payouts are possible, but they're really not very likely: so they shouldn't be the primary goal. Aiming for lower payouts with some degree of regularity is a more sensible approach.

Example of a Soccer Accumulator Wager

We've already stated how accumulators involve combining more than one selection into a single wager. The number of selections you include is entirely up to you. You can include just two if you want, or as many as 20. You can even include more than 20 if you really want, but some bookmakers and betting sites do limit the number of selections to around this number. In any case, if you start going above 20, then you're reducing your chances of winning to almost zero. You're also likely to exceed the maximum payout at a betting site.

Soccer accumulators are typically based on match result selections. For the sake of this example, we'll say that we're considering betting on the three games taking place in the English Premier League that we've listed below.

Norwich vs Man CityFull Time Result
Norwich
4.50
Draw
3.75
Man City
1.67
Stoke vs SouthamptonFull Time Result
Stoke
2.50
Draw
3.25
Southampton
2.62
Bournemouth vs SwanseaFull Time Result
Bournemouth
2.00
Draw
3.40
Swansea
3.40

Having studied these games and done the necessary research, we've picked what we believe to be the likely result for each game. Our predictions are as follows.

  • Man City to beat Norwich
  • Stoke to beat Southampton
  • Bournemouth and Swansea to draw

Obviously, the best thing to do here would be to place a single wager on each of these results. This way each wager is entirely independent, and we have three separate chances of winning a payout. The following table shows how much we stand to get back for each wager if we were to stake $100 on each game.

SelectionOddsReturnProfit
Man City to win1.67$167$67
Stoke to Win2.50$250$150
Bournemouth/Swansea to draw3.40$340$240

Our total potential profit here is $457, from a total stake of $300. We'd need all three selections to be correct to make this much, but remember that the results aren't dependent on each other. If Man City won and the other selections are wrong, for example, we still get our $167 return for that one winning wager.

Things would work a little differently if we decided to place an accumulator. All three selections would be combined into one single wager, and the odds would be multiplied. The odds would be 14.195 in this example. So if we staked $100, we'd stand to make a profit of $1,319.50. This is clearly significantly higher than the potential profit of $457 from three separate wagers, and we're only risking a third of the amount as stake money.

However, if just one of our selections turned out to be wrong then we get nothing back at all. If Man City and Stoke both win, but Bournemouth beat Swansea, our entire wager is still a loser. This is the big disadvantage of accumulators. Although we have the potential to win more from a smaller stake, there's a much greater chance of losing the lot.

Accumulators can essentially be summarized by the following key points.

  • They involve making multiple selections as part of a single wager.
  • The odds for each selection are multiplied to calculate the potential payout.
  • All selections must be correct for an accumulator to win.

Please note that we've used match result selections in this example. Accumulators aren't limited to these though. They can be based on other types of wager too.

Basic Tips For Soccer Accumulators

If you didn't already, you now know how soccer accumulators work. Now that we have the easy part out of the way, let's focus on how we can make money from these wagers. We've already made it clear that this is hard to do, but following these basic tips will instantly improve your chances.

  • Remember to bet singles too
  • Keep the number of selections low
  • Only bet on familiar leagues & competitions
  • Avoid longshots
  • Compare bookmakers
  • Keep the stakes low

These tips are both simple and self-explanatory. We like to cover things in detail though, so here's some more information on each one.

Remember to bet singles too

We think this is very important when placing accumulators. If you're confident enough to put a selection in an accumulator, then you should clearly be confident enough to back that selection as a single too. This is something that many bettors fail to do though, and we really can't understand the logic.

The primary aim when betting is to find value. If there's no value in a selection, then it shouldn't be included in an accumulator. You can't "create" value just because the odds get multiplied when combining a selection with others. There has to be value in the individual selection to start with. And if the value is there, then you obviously should be backing that selection as a single. Otherwise you're simply passing up value, which you should never do.

Following this tip should help ensure that you only put solid selections into an accumulator. If you can't make a case for backing a selection as a single, then you know for sure that you can't make a case for adding that selection to an accumulator.

Keep the number of selections low

The single biggest mistake people make when betting accumulators is including too many selections. People typically make this mistake for the sole reason purpose of trying to go for a big payout. They want to win a lot of money, and they figure that the best way to do this is to include a wide variety of selections to increase the odds. Although there is SOME underlying logic here, the basic premise is fundamentally flawed.

The more selections in an accumulator, the more likely at least one will let you down.

The odds get exponentially higher as you include more selections in an accumulator. But so does the likelihood of losing. Soccer is a particularly unpredictable sport. Even when only including big favorites, there's always a chance that at least one selection will fail to win. If you're only including three or four selections, that chance isn't necessarily very high. But when you start including more than that, the chance becomes much greater. To the extent that you're probably making a really bad bet.

We do understand how tempting it can be to go for a big payout. It's really not the right approach though. It's much better to go for more modest payouts that have a better chance of winning. This approach is far more likely to bring you success in the long run.

We believe that three or four selections is the optimal number of selections to include in an accumulator. This strikes the right balance between chance of winning and size of potential payout in our opinion. If you really feel like you want to go higher than that, please at least try to follow this rule.

NEVER include selections for the sake of it.

It's one thing if you can make a genuine case for five, six or even more selections to be included in an accumulator. But it's another thing entirely if you start including selections for the sake of it. Adding extra selections purely to increase the potential payout is nothing short of stupid. It's clearly driven by greed, and all it will do is make a hard bet to win even harder.

Only bet on familiar leagues & competitions

Many soccer bettors believe that they have a good chance of winning an accumulator if they simply include the most obvious selections from a variety of different leagues and competitions. The theory is that accumulators featuring only big favorites are very likely to win at least reasonably regularly. This isn't an unreasonable theory. There IS some merit in placing accumulators featuring big favorites, and this is actually one of the recommended strategies that we discuss later.

However, blindly adding in big favorites from league and competitions that you're not familiar with is a recipe for disaster. There's no way that you can properly assess the value of those favorites when you know nothing about them. Basically, the only reason why you'd be backing them is because they're a favorite.

One of the golden rules of betting is to stick to what you know. This is particularly important when placing accumulators. These wagers are hard to get right at the best of times. Trying to make accurate predictions on games that you know little about just makes things even more challenging.

Compare bookmakers

There are two very good reasons to compare what's available at different bookmakers and betting sites before placing any sports wager. These are as follows.

  • 1To get the best odds possible.
  • 2Set piece specialists.
  • 3To take advantage of special offers and promotions.

It's ALWAYS important to get the best odds possible. Better odds mean better potential payouts, and this is obviously a good thing. Better payouts when you win lead to better overall results. So spending extra time comparing the odds before placing your wagers can really payoff in the long run.

The second reason listed above is particularly relevant when placing soccer accumulators. This is because a lot of betting sites regularly have special offers and promotions for these wagers. For example, some sites offer enhanced odds or bonus payouts. Some offer free bets or partial refunds if one or two selections in an accumulator let you down. Although these promotions can appear a little "gimmicky," they can actually be quite valuable over time.

Please note that you'll need accounts at the leading betting sites in order to get the maximum value out of comparing odds and special offers. If you're not sure which sites you should be using, you can take a look at our recommendations.

Avoid longshots

As a general rule, we suggest trying to avoid longshots in soccer accumulators. These are unlikely to win even as individual selections, so combining them with other selections simply doesn't make a whole lot of sense. It just reduces the overall chance of winning, which is never a good thing.

There is, however, an exception to this rule. One of the strategies we discuss shortly does involve putting longshot selections into accumulators. Although this is a risky approach, it's one worth considering in our opinion.

Keep the stakes low

Our final tip in this section is the simplest of the lot. It's also one of the most important. As we've mentioned several times already, the chances of winning an accumulator are quite low. How much money you choose to stake on them should reflect this fact. We strongly advise against risking large sums of money on these wagers, as there's always a high risk of losing. Your stakes for accumulators should therefore be significantly lower than your stakes for other wagers.

Accumulator Strategies to Try

The above tips alone are designed to help you get better results from your soccer accumulators. They'll only take you so far though. You also need to think carefully about the kind of strategies you want to implement. There are plenty to consider, and the ultimate goal should be to devise your own, but there are six fairly straightforward ones that we recommend directly your attention towards.

  • Selecting big favorites
  • Combining existing selections
  • Permutation betting
  • Small longshot accumulators
  • Both teams to score accumulators
  • Over/under accumulators

You may not want to use all of these strategies. You may not even want to use any of them, but we do advise that you at least try to understand how each one works and why we recommend them. Then you make an informed decision about whether to use them or not.

Selecting big favorites

The biggest downside to accumulators is that they're hard to win. This can be lessened somewhat by only including big favorites as selections. There's still a risk that at least one such selection will let you down of course, but at least you're keeping that risk to a minimum. Just remember that you still need to put some thought into each selection.

Don't include teams JUST because they're big favorites.

The fact that a team is heavily favored to win a match isn't a good enough reason alone to include them in an accumulator. You also need to do some research and analysis on that team and determine if there's any real value in backing them. Big favorites are likely to win by definition, but they don't always represent value. You're not going to make money from accumulators just by blindly putting in a few favorites and hoping for the best. It's important to find the right selections to include. The following article contains related advice that will help you do just that.

Combining existing selections

If you bet on soccer regularly, then it's likely that you're already making a few selections each week. Assuming that you're reasonably skilled at making these selections, there's a fair chance that you'll get all of your weekly selections correct from time to time. This is why it's not a bad idea to also combine all of these selections into an accumulator each week. This will give you the chance to win a nice extra payout with any extra work. There doesn't have to be much extra risk either, if you keep the stakes on these accumulators small.

This strategy is not advisable if either or both of the following statements apply though.

  • 1If you're placing a lot of wagers in a week.
  • 2If you have several selections at high odds.

There's a simple adjustment that can be applied to this strategy if you place a lot of wagers each week. You just need to pick your top three selections and only include them. This should provide a reasonable chance of winning and again doesn't require any extra work.

If you tend to have a lot of selections at high odds, then you're better off leaving this particular strategy alone. There's very little merit in placing accumulators with lots of outsiders as selections.

Permutation betting

A permutation betting strategy is great way to include your overall chances of getting a return from multiple selections. What you do here is combine all of your selections for an accumulator into smaller multiples. For example, let's say you've placed a four team accumulator on Manchester United, Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool, assuming each time will win. You could then also place wagers covering the following.

  • Manchester United, Tottenham and Chelsea to win
  • Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool to win
  • Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool to win
  • Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool to win

This approach would mean receiving a payout even if one team failed to win. You could go a step further too, and cover all possible combinations of just two teams. This would mean receiving a payout even if two teams failed to win. Not necessarily enough to make an overall profit, but some return is better than none. Just remember to bear the following point in mind.

This strategy requires additional wagers, which means putting more money at risk.

Keeping your stakes small is even more important than usual with this strategy. However unlikely it might seem, there's always a chance that ALL of your selections will be wrong. This would mean losing quite a few wagers, so you don't want too much money at risk on each of them.

This particular strategy is very easy to implement when betting online. Most online bookmakers allow you to automatically cover all possible combinations of your selections with a single click. All you have to do then is enter your stake for each wager.

Small longshot accumulators

This is a riskier strategy than we usually recommend. It's one that we like though, as we've had reasonable success with it over the years. The idea is simply to combine multiple longshot selections into an accumulator. The number of selections should be very small though. Just two is fine, and three should be the maximum really.

It's obviously hard enough to get a single longshot selection correct, so this isn't a strategy that will lead to a payout very often. The odds of such accumulators are going to be very high though, so even just winning every now and again can be very profitable. For example, let's say we combined the following three selections into an accumulator.

  • Watford to beat West Ham at odds of 4.50
  • Sunderland to beat Stoke at odds of 3.00
  • Everton to beat Liverpool at odds of 3.50

Although each one of these selections is technically a longshot, none of them are too unlikely. It wouldn't be impossible to see each and every one happen. And yet the odds for this particular combination of selections are nearly fifty to one. This means we only need to win such an accumulator once every twenty or so times to see a good overall return.

Both teams to score accumulators

We mentioned earlier that soccer accumulators don't have to be based on match result selections. Although this is the most common approach, they can actually include almost any type of wager. Another strategy that we like is placing accumulators based on the both teams to score wager. These wagers are often a lot easier to get right than match result wagers, so they're ideal to include in multiples. We recommend reading the following article before implementing this strategy though. It explains the both teams to score wager in detail, and also includes some advice for making selections.

It's worth noting that most soccer betting sites allow you to place accumulators combining match result wagers with both team to score wagers. These are worth considering too.

Over/under accumulators

The basic principle of this strategy is exactly the same as outlined above. It involves using selections based on totals goals wagers though, rather than using selections based on the both teams to score wager. Again, these can be relatively easy wagers to get right. So including them in multiples is a sensible approach if you know what you're doing. Just please be sure to read the following article first, as it contains lots of advice for betting on total goals.

Some Final Points

There's no doubt that it's hard to make money from soccer accumulators with any degree of consistency. We fully understand why some people recommend avoiding these wagers completely, and we see the logic in their advice. For anyone that's serious about making money from soccer betting, there's a fundamental problem with accumulators.

Accumulators should NOT be wagers that you use to make regular profits.

For this reason alone, you shouldn't devote too much time to them. There are other wagers that are much more likely to produce returns on a regular basis. However, we would never say that accumulators should be ignored entirely. We firmly believe that it's possible to make long term profits from them. Returns are likely to be volatile, but an overall winning position is definitely possible.

The key is really in keeping things simple, and not chasing after huge payouts. Carefully considered accumulators with a small number of selections are generally the way to go. That's our opinion anyway.

Before we finish, we should make one last point. All of the strategy and advice on this page is targeted primarily towards those who are serious about making money from betting on soccer. But there's nothing at all wrong with also placing accumulators every now and then, just for the fun of it. Occasionally risking small stakes on a big accumulator with a potentially life changing return is absolutely fine as long as you understand there's a very small chance of winning. The risk versus reward is probably worth it, providing you're betting with money you can afford to lose.

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