For millions of football fans up and down the land, accumulators are part of the Saturday match-day experience and the same goes for those supporters watching on from the comfort of their homes.
The idea is simple: choose for or more teams to win (or draw), stick a couple of quid on the outcome and then follow the action on TV or by mobile.
But what might sound simple enough on paper is anything but in practice. Teams let you down, the stats lie and that gut feeling you had about a certain team ends up being little more than the remnants of last night’s dinner repeating on you.
No, accumulators are a lot of fun but they are tough to predict – or at least that was what loaded thought. Football predictions community KickOff.co.uk analysed 1.5 million betting selections placed via its site over the past two seasons to understand the most successful leagues and markets, as well as the optimum number of selections to place in an accumulator.
The Premier League proved most popular with punters across the 2015/16 and 2016/17 seasons but wasn’t the most successful by some margin. The Dutch Eredivisie League had the highest percentage of winning selections (64%). By comparison, bet selections in the Premier League and Championship won an average of 56% of the time.
The Premier League and Football League accounted for 50% of all bet selections. Top European leagues – Serie A, La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 – attracted 34% of all selections and second tier European Leagues – Scottish Premier League, Dutch Eredivisie, Danish Superligaen, Portuguese Primeira Liga, Turkish Super Lig – 16% of selections.
Despite being the third most popular, second tier European Leagues were most successful, with top European leagues second and English leagues third.
KickOff is a crowdbetting platform that combines algorithmic football predictions, form data and odds comparison with the ability to copy other bettors. The site helps punters put coupons together and compare odds before choosing a bookmaker to bet with.
KickOff CEO Simon Rosen said: “The English Premier League and Football League are some of the best known and most followed divisions in the world. But they are also some of the most competitive and often deliver surprising results that don’t run to form.
“In contrast, some of the smaller European leagues have a clear hierarchy and historically dominant teams.”
During the past two seasons, single bets (one selection) have won 51% of the time, doubles (two selections) 31%, trebles 19%, 4-folds 13% and bets with five selections or more have won 4% of the time.
Bets with two selections were the most profitable, yielding a 13% profit across the two seasons.
Despite that, coupons of more than five-folds were most popular, with 71% of bets placed on the site having five selections or more.
Simon commented: “It’s tempting to keep adding selections to your bet as you see combined odds and potential winnings start to climb.
“Massive accumulators do win in our community, but as soon as you add more than three legs to a coupon your chances of winning decrease significantly.
“The sweet spot seems to be two selections. Bets of this type offer a higher return than single bets and copying every double in our community over the past two seasons would have given a healthy profit.”
When it comes to betting markets the Win/Draw/Win (a home win, draw or away win) market has proved most fruitful for bettors, with 61% of selections winning.
It is closely followed by Under/Over 2.5 Goals (betting on either two or fewer goals to be scored in a game, or two or more) and Team to Score First (betting on whether the home or away team will score first) selections, which both have a 59% win rate.
Win/Draw/Win is also most popular, with 65% of all selections picked from the market. Both Teams to Score (betting on whether or not both teams will score) is second most popular, with 16% of total selections in this market.
Simon said: “While the odds might not be as attractive in the Win/Draw/Win market our bettors get the greatest return because of its greater predictability.
“The Both Teams to Score and Both Teams to Score and Result markets have grown in popularity over recent years, mainly because punters love the fact they are active for the entire 90 minutes. But our research shows they are not as successful.”
KickOff stores and tracks all bets within each individual user’s profile – giving an insight into betting performance and helping inform strategy.
Simon added said: “Bookies will never share this kind of data because they profit from their customers losing. But we’re focused on giving football bettors the inside edge through data and algorithmic predictions, as well as allowing them to copy one another and share in the success.
“The bookmakers might make the markets, but that doesn’t mean they should always win. We want to educate punters on how they can do just that.”
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Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.