Bet Builders: How Do They Work & How Is It Different to an Acca?

Bet builder Phone

Bet builders are one of the latest features to hit online bookies and they are quickly attracting a lot of attention. These bet types are generally only associated with football, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see them rolled out over a wider range of sports eventually.

The concept is to allow the punter to create their own bespoke bet from scratch. The hook is that all the bets are from the same game. This then leads to a number of scenarios needing to take place during that game for the bet to win. Like all bets, the more variables that you include, the higher the price you will get.

Whilst this feature isn’t something that you can get on all bookmakers just yet, we have seen a dramatic increase recently that is reminiscent of how cash out began, and look how that turned out. This would suggest that that punters are enjoying the feature, and from our time testing across a number of different bookmakers, we can see why it’s been so popular.

How do Bet Builders Work?

Betting Markets

A bet builder will only work within a single game. Once you have selected the match you want to bet on, then you can start adding markets or bets that you want to include. As you include more bets the odds increase, as will your payout if you are successful.

The range of markets that you can bet on will vary from each bookmaker. A typical list might look like this:

  • Player to score
  • Player card
  • Result
  • Double Chance
  • Total Goals
  • Corners
  • Cards
  • Both Teams To score
  • Half Time/Full Time
  • Score
  • Half with most goals
  • Team specials
  • Team goalscores
  • Red card in match
  • Winning margin
  • Goals – Odd/even

Some of these sections include even more markets when you dive in. For example, you can choose the over/under on the total number of cards dished out, or from a certain half, and even for both teams combined or just from one team. You can get really creative here and the bet that you build can be as customised as you like.

You don’t need to include a bet from all of these markets, you can have as few as two markets for each bet builder with most bookies capping the selections to a maximum of 6. This still allows for huge odds though, even if you were picking short priced favourites from each of the 6 markets. You need all results to happen to win the bet though, so be sensible.

Aren’t They Just the Same as an Accumulator?

One of the biggest misconceptions around the bet builder is that it is the same as an accumulator bet. In fact, the two are very different, and you can only create most of the bet combinations included here by using a bet builder.

This is because of what is known in the betting world, as related contingencies. This is where you have one market that can influence the outcome of another within the same game. For example, if you bet on a player to get a red card and a team to win, the red card would give the other team a significant advantage, so that first part of the bet would affect the probability of the second part of the bet. For an accumulator bet, you would not be able to have these markets in the same bet as a result.

In fact, there are very few markets where you can have two or more selections from the same football match in an accumulator bet as so many are linked. The other big difference is the maths behind the odds themselves.

How are the Odds Calculated?

Mathematical Equation

When you place an accumulator bet the odds are simple to work out; you just multiply the odds of each selection the next and you get the price. So, if you had 4 even money bets you would just do 2x2x2x2 = 16.00. This would be your accumulator price.

Bet builders work slightly differently to that. You see, as the markets in a bet builder are all related and one can increase the probability of the next, this has an effect on the price that they will be when they are linked together. Without getting too technical, the bookmaker adjusts the single price to reflect how the market might change if one of the markets you bet on occurs.

Let’s run through a quick example of how the odds may differ from taking the bets as singles via an acca (that you can’t actually put on), compared to the price for a bet builder.

Below we’ve taken an image from 888Sport who are one of a number of bookies that offer this feature. We’ve included Venezuela to win, over 2.5 goals and BTTS in their game against Argentina. The bet Builder is showing that we are getting odds of 15.00 for this.

Bet Builder

If we then look at the single odds for each, we can see that the overall price is going to differ greatly.

Bet Builder Singles

Given that we can’t place this in an accumulator we will need to work it out manually. So, this would be 7 x 2.14 x 2.18 = 32.66. As you can see, the odds are much higher for the single prices over that of the bet builder.

The reason for the drop in price is because the likelihood of one market coming in gets better after another does. We have chosen three markets that are all closely related to each other and as a result, the gap in odds is huge. But, if we were to choose something like Venezuela to win and a player to be yellow carded, then the yellow card isn’t going to have as big an effect on the outcome of that match, so the difference in price will be smaller.

Does this Mean that Bet Builders are Poor Value?

Football on Pile of Banknotes

No, and there’s a couple of reasons for this.

The first is that this is the only way to place a bet like this. There are no workarounds other than placing each bet a single, which kind of defeats the point of a bet builder.

The second is that the bets are worked out by the bookmaker for each individual occurrence. They have to factor in that these markets are very similar and have huge implications for each other. But the bookmakers do have a discrepancy on the price that you can get, which can be adjusted manually, so bear this in mind.

Given that there is an element of manual intervention with these bets, it’s up to the player to decide if the bet is fair or not. It’s sometimes hard to compare prices given that it’s a feature that only a couple of bookies offer, but it’s still possible if you include betting request features, such as the one below.

Are These the Same as “Request-a-Bets”?

Request a Bet Banner All bookies

For those that haven’t heard of them, request-a-bets a are feature that came into the industry a few years ago which allowed punters to Tweet the bookmaker directly for a price on a range of markets, all from the same game. The bookmaker would then go to their trading team and then come back with a price for that punter.

The bet builder is basically an automated version of this. You no longer need to get in touch with the bookmaker and instead you can manually select the markets and bets that you want to include. What’s cool about bet builders is that you can instantly see how adding or removing markets will affect the overall odds for a bet.

However, the request-a-bet feature can include more markets than a bet builder as what you can ask for and then get priced up is limited only by your imagination. You can also include markets from other football matches or even other sports, which you cannot do with a bet builder.

Common Terms and Conditions

Terms and Conditions

As with all football bets, it’s important to have a bit of a heads up as to the rules that may or may not apply to your bet. As ever with these things, they might be different from bookmaker to bookmaker, but below we have listed some of the more common rules:

  • Only available for football matches and can only be used on pre-match bets
  • You are only going to be able to cash out your bets before the match starts. No cash out functionality will be working when the match starts.
  • 6 markets maximum per bet.
  • If one market is voided, then the whole bet will be voided. For example, if you select someone to score the first goal as one of your picks but they don’t start the game and the market is settled before they come on, your entire bet will be voided.
  • Promotions generally can’t be used with bet builders.

When Best to use Bet Builders

Messi Goal Celebration
Кирилл Венедиктов / CC BY-SA 3.0 GFDL

The best time that we think you should be using bet builders is to form bets that don’t contradict each other, and instead, complement each other. The whole reason why the feature exists is that it allows you to use related contingencies in markets, so you may as well take advantage of that.

You could decide to bet on a game where you are confident one team will win, but you think it’s going to be a high scoring match and you think the winning team will also concede. You could include markets such as:

  • Team to win
  • Team to score over 1.5 goals
  • Over 2.5 goals in the match
  • Both teams to score
  • Most goals in second half

All of these markets link in to each other nicely for a game where you are confident that the team will win, but plenty of goals are going to be scored in the process.

The opposite of this would be something like:

  • Team to win
  • Team to score over 1.5 goals
  • Under 2.5 goals in the match
  • BTTS no

This would basically mean that you need the team to win 2-0 and there is no other result possible that will win you your bet. It would make no sense to use a bet builder for these types of betting markets.

We also recommend that you don’t include too many selections in your picks either. They are limited to 6 anyway, but correctly guessing 6 things to happen in a single match is a lot harder than it might sound. It would be easier to select 6 different legs within an accumulator bet than 6 within a bet builder, for the most part anyway.