Multiple betting

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erious bettors will often claim that multiples are a waste of time. In essence, these types of bet reduce the probability of winning while increasing the potential profit. Can multiples actually offer betting value? Read on to find out.

“I placed a €1 bet and I won €500,000”
It’s a story that you’ve probably read about time and time again - the minimal risk, maximum reward headline grabber that bookmakers will often post on social media in an effort to make their customer’s think that one day it might be them.
The big money win is the dream when you talk about multiples (also known as accumulators or parlays). Place a small amount of money for the chance to win big. What could be better?
In truth, multiples are rarely seen as an attractive option to the professional bettor and many believe it is just something purely for recreational players who want to sweat through a couple of events and get more and more excited with every single winning game on their bet slip.

When talking about safe multiples I am referring to connecting any single bet you want to place with another single bet that has a very high chance of success, such as Roger Federer winning the first round of any given tournament.
This approach is often used to increase the payout of the actual bet you want to place and therefore allows for a higher return on investment. The risk with this is that people underestimate how likely “likely events” really are.

If you place a bet on someone who is 90% likely to win an event, there is still a chance of 10% that it does not happen. This doesn’t sound like much, but if the initial bet you wanted to place had a 50% chance of winning, suddenly your multiple only has a 45% chance of paying out (this is explained in more detail later in the article).
Another classic case of placing multiples is to bet on all favourites on a given day. Let’s say we want to bet the favourite in every La Liga game for one day, and for the sake of argument, every one of them has a 90% chance of winning. So how high is your chance of winning that multi-bet? It’s small.

Even if every single team is a huge favourite, the chance of all of them winning is much smaller, ±35%.

With a multiple bet you only win if all of your selections win. All of the 10 teams to win with a 90% chance each (decimal odds of 1.11) can be calculated as follows:
1.11[SUP]10 [/SUP]= 2.8394



Odds for this hypothetical 10 fold multiple bet would be 2.8394 which is the same as a 32.5% chance. If we do the same exercise for only 80% favourites, the odds look much worse, ending up around 10.74% chance of winning.

Even though each of the favourites is unlikely to lose their match, the chances of any one of them to lose are not that small anymore.
A previously mentioned the normal perception of a multiple bet is one that involved betting a tiny amount with the chance to receive a gigantic return.

With this type of bet, you basically play only underdogs and hope that all stars align. Or a lot of 50/50 wagers and you hope you hope that somehow they all manage to win. While both of those events are unlikely, the potential payoff is massive.

None of these strategies are going to be used by professional bettors with the aim of making a profit (maybe just for a bit of fun) as placing multiples often requires one to play slightly worse odds when offered by the bookmaker. The volatility of those events are also very high.

Bettors who place multiples also might be limited by having a short bankroll and this will rarely apply to professional bettors. Instead, they will play single lines for higher stakes on all events that they would have multiple bet on otherwise.

There are still professional multi-bettors, and for the remainder of this article, I will purely focus on them.
While it may appear wrong from an expected value point of view to place any multiple bets, there are still bettors who continually do only that and win a considerable amount most of the time. They even perform better than if they had placed the bet individually on better single lines.

The trick is to understand the upsides and downsides of placing a multi-bet.

The negatives:
  • Higher vig on the lines
  • Lower limits than on each individual game
  • You have to wait for all games to finish before collecting any profit

The positives:
  • Higher payout than on each individual game
  • Option to chain bets together at the current prices
  • Edges on betting multiplies
  • Option to get down a lot of money at the current prices using the round-robin option.

While the first five points mentioned above should be self-explanatory, the last two deserve some inspection.

Edges on betting multiplies:

I will use some calculations presented in my previous article to demonstrate how multiple betting can result in a higher ROI than placing the bets individually.
 
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