One of the most common debates in betting circles is regarding which is better – single bets or multiple bets.
Many punters swear by their preferred bet type and reject the other out of hand.
This could be because they are used to betting in a certain way by habit or have had a big win using one type so that is what they continue to use.
It might not be the best way to bet however and if you want to make a profit in the long run, it is important to ensure you are maximising value at every opportunity.
So we will take a look at how you can do this, together with the pros and cons of both single bets and multiple bets.
What are Single Bets and Multiple Bets?
Before we get into the looking at the pros and cons of each bet type however, just a quick explanation of what we mean by single and multiple bets.
Quite simply these terms refer to whether we are betting on just one outcome or a number of outcomes together.
For example, in a single bet we are just betting on one thing to happen. That could be:
- Arsenal to beat Chelsea in a Premier League game @ 2.1
We are not reliant on any other matches or outcomes, that is our single bet.
A multiple bet, on the other hand, combines a number of different outcomes into one bet. So for example that could be a treble of:
- Arsenal to beat Chelsea in a Premier League game @ 2.1; and
- Man City to beat Spurs @ 1.4; and
- Liverpool to beat Wolves @ 1.36
You would need all three teams to win in order for your treble bet to collect, at combined odds of 4.0.
They combine multiple outcomes, but in such a way that you don’t need all of them to win in order to collect a return on the bet.
A Trixie bet for example is a treble and three doubles. So you could put the three teams above into a Trixie and if just two of them win, you would still get a return on your bet. If all three win then you collect a winning treble and all three doubles – a nice little earner.
The most common type of multiple bet though is a simple accumulator – where you need all the outcomes to be successful in order to win your bet.
The Pros and Cons of Single Bets
There are various advantages to using single bets. They are the choice of most professional gamblers and there is a good reason for that.
In principle professionals use single bets because it is easier to secure value on a single bet than on a multiple.
On a single bet, you can compare bookies’ odds and exchange prices and select whichever one is offering the best price for your selection. It is fairly simple and with the amount of choice available these days for placing bets, means in most instances you can secure fair value for your bet.
However, with multiple bets you are multiplying the bookies’ edge over you. If their edge is a few percent per bet, then in a 5-fold accumulator it could easily be over 50%, which is not good value from your point of view!
That also presumes the bookie is best odds on all of the selections in your multiple. However, more often that not you will have to take a price that is below the best odds on at least one of the selections making up your multiple bet.
This is because it is unlikely one bookie will be best price on all parts of your multiple. So invariably you will be taking bad odds on one or more outcomes on your multiple, thus handing the bookies an even bigger advantage than they already have over you.
Using single bets removes this disadvantage and gives a more level playing field. In sports like tennis and NFL, the bookies edge is often only 2-3% over the punter for single bets, which isn’t too bad.
Using exchanges gives a similar position, in that whilst the markets have an over-round that is often close to 100%, you have to take commission into account which is normally around 2% these days.
If you are restricted to using the exchanges then single bets will be more suitable in any event, as you cannot place multiples on exchanges anyway. The only exception being an accumulator if you placed it manually (placing each leg separately yourself).
There is also something more straightforward about sticking to single bets, allowing you to just focus on each bet individually without needing to worry about any other outcomes.
On the downside, with single bets you don’t tend to get the same adrenaline rush as when a big acca or multiple bet comes in – unless perhaps it’s a 100/1 shot of course…
Pros and Cons of Multiple Bets
Turning to multiple bets, there are also pros and cons of using them too.
As discussed above, the main downside is that normally you are conceding a large advantage to the bookies – in effect you are multiplying their advantage over you.
If you do find a situation where one bookie is best price (or joint-best price) on all selections in your multiple bet, then it is not quite so bad, but you are still suffering a disadvantage.
Or, as mentioned above, if you can place the accumulator manually then you can find the bookie who is best price for each selection. However, this relies on the events being spread out time-wise and not overlapping each other, which is not always the case.
Probably the primary advantage of multiple bets is the “fun” element. It can be exciting to watch each leg of your multiple come in, as you get closer to landing the big prize.
Being in a position where the early legs in your acca come in also allows you to lay off some of the later legs and lock in some profit.
There was also a period when bookies provided lots of generous offers around accumulators to try and tempt punters in. You could set these up to secure profit whatever happened, using tools from matched betting products. Whilst these offers are less common now, they can be worth grabbing if you do see them.
Some of the more “exotic” bets referred to above such as Trixies and Yankees also give you the chance to make a profit even if one or more legs of your bet lets you down, so it is not quite as “all or nothing” as an accumulator bet and provides some insurance.
On the downside, as mentioned above it is not normally possible to place these sort of bets on the exchanges though – only manual accumulators if circumstances allow.
Conclusion – Single Bets vs Multiple Bets: Which to Go For?
Punters often like to debate whether it is better to place single bets or multiple bets.
From a professional’s point of view, the answer is pretty simple: a single bet is preferred. That is because you are more likely to achieve value in a single bet and therefore to make a profit over time. There are almost no professionals we know of who bet using multiples.
If you are trying to maximise your returns and bet like a professional then, single bets are better.
If you are a casual gambler who just likes to place a bet for fun and isn’t too worried about losing a few quid (or bucks) if it doesn’t come in, then a multiple can be an attractive option.
The possibility of a big win provides excitement and it’s a great thing to brag about to your friends if you do manage to land one. It’s quite a thrill as you watch each leg come in and you get closer to landing the full win.
However, in general that’s all multiple bets should be seen as: some fun for a casual bet. If you are serious about maximising your returns then single bets are the way to go.