This guide will explain how to lay off multiple bets (also known as ‘accumulators’ or ‘accas’, the terms are used interchangeably in this article). A multiple is a bet which contains two or more ‘legs’ – each leg is a separate bet, and each leg must win for the multiple to win. If one of the legs loses, the whole multiple loses. Laying off the multiple means that if one or more of your legs loses, you win your multiple lay bet.
There are two options for laying off a multiple, either lay it off in one go on betfair, or lay it off leg by leg.
To start with though, you need to know the back odds of your multiple. Obviously if you’ve already placed the multiple then you’ll know this from the betslip, but if you’re just trying to work out what legs would go best in your multiple to reap the most profit then you might not necessarily know this:
To calculate the odds of an accumulator, multiply the decimal odds (ie fractional odds +1) of each leg within the accumulator by each other. So for example if there are two selections in the accumulator (a ‘double’), one at odds of 2.1 and another at odds of 1.07, you would multiply those together to get odds of 2.1*1.07=2.247 for the double. Carry on reading below to see how to lay off multiple bets.
To lay the multiple, there are two methods:
- Option 1: Lay the full multiple bet off in one go on Betfair – this method is relatively simple, you just need to lay the multiple in one go in much the same way you’d lay any other bet off.
- Option 2: Lay the multiple off ‘manually’ on a leg by leg basis – this method is slightly more complicated but can get you a much better price than the straight up Betfair Multiples method. You lay each leg of the multiple off one as you would normally (so either lay it straight on an exchange or dutch it off with another book or books).
We look at the different options below:
Option 1: Laying the full bet off in one go at Betfair
You can lay accumulators on Betfair either using the Betfair “Multiples” site, or by using an accumulator market on the regular Betfair Exchange site:
Accumulator Markets (on ‘regular’ Betfair Exchange site)
This is the preferred option if you can find an acca market that covers all your selections within the acca because it’s cheap and simple to do.
- The odds on the accumulator markets are better because they’re set by other Betfair users, but there may not always be an accumulator market that covers all the selections you require in your accumulator.
- The accumulator markets are part of the ‘normal’ betfair site (ie not on the multiples site) – as such you can queue a bet as normal, so it’s always worth queuing your lay bet first at a lower price than that on offer, as you might with any other Betfair market.
- You pay your commission rate as normal on the accumulator markets – ie 5% less your current discount rate.
Betfair Multiples Markets (on the Betfair “Multiples” site)
This is the ‘final resort’ method – it does cost more doing it this way but it is the simplest method.
- The odds on the Betfair Multiples markets aren’t quite as good as for the accumulator markets because the bets are placed with Betfair directly (they act as the ‘bookmaker’) and they take a cut/vig/juice/overround for themselves for offering the market.
- On the plus side though, there are a larger number of selections available in the Multiples markets to choose from and add to your accumulator than there are on the basic accumulator markets on the normal Betfair site.
- You do not queue bets on the multiples market, as soon as you place the bet it is accepted since Betfair itself is effectively acting as a bookmaker in accepting your bets, no other Betfair users are involved as with the normal Betfair markets.
- The prices on the Multiples market are based on the prices found on the corresponding markets on the normal Betfair markets for each of the selections in your chosen accumulator.
- You always pay 5% commission on Multiples markets, discount rate is not applied (thanks for pointing that out Tom).
We will now go on to look at the steps involved in laying your multiple/accumulator on Betfair ‘all in one go’ (using either the acca markets or the Betfair Multiples site).
Find the Lay odds for the accumulator
To find the lay odds for the accumulator, start of by deciding which way you want to lay the accumulator – on a specific accumulator market (on the normal betfair site) or on a Multiples market (on the Betfair Multiples site). You may not have a choice in some instances, generally if there’s an accumulator market available it’s better to go for that because you’re trading with other Betfair users so the prices will be more competitive, but other times you may not have a choice and have to use the Multiples market way.
A good tip is to enter ‘Acca’ or ‘Accumulator’ in the search box on the Betfair Exchange site – if there are any exchange based acca markets available they should show up in the search results.
Laying the accumulator on the normal acca markets
This is trivial since the back/lay odds are displayed automatically for each combination in the acca market you choose – you just lay in exactly the same way as you would on any other Betfair market except in this instance you’re laying more than one selection.
Laying the accumulator on the Betfair “Multiples” site
Note – make sure you are using ‘full view’ otherwise you won’t see the option to lay multiple selections.
- Choose each of the selections that are in your accumulator – do this as you would normally on any other normal betfair market. Importantly click on the ‘back’ button (this seems counter-intuitive but all will become clear below).
- Once you have all the selections you want in your acca, toggle/click on the ‘lay’ radio button in the ‘place bets’ tab on the right of the page to indicate you want to lay this accumulator. If you can’t see an option to lay the selection, double check you’re using the ‘full view’ option (you can do this in the Betfair ‘settings’).
- Enter enter a nominal ‘test’ stake of £2 in the lay stake box and then submit the ‘view odds’ button to see the actual lay odds of your custom acca (you won’t submit the bet at this point, it’s just to find out what the lay odds are you have to enter something in the stake box).
- Once you’ve got the lay odds, you can go away and work out what stake you need to use to lay off your multiple as you would with a ‘regular’ back/lay bet. When you’ve got the stake amount, come back and click on ‘back’ in the betslip, modify the lay stake from £2 to whatever you want, and then submit the bet ‘for real’ (make sure you click ‘Confirm’ on the final step of the betslip page!. You should get a confirmation / bet reference once the bet has been placed.
- Accumulator/multiple markets on Betfair close as soon as any one of the selections within the accumulator starts. Accumulator markets do not go ‘in play’, so it’s important to note what time the first event within your accumulator starts so you can place the lay/back bet accumulator on Betfair in good time.
- Remember – if you’re using the Betfair “Multiples” site, the commission is 5% regardless of your normal Betfair commission discount.
Option 2: Laying Multiples / Accumulators ‘Manually’
The alternative to laying multiples on an exchange based market or on Betfair’s “Multiples” site is to lay each leg of the multiple off one by one. We will look at a fairly simple example to understand how we can lay off a multiple ‘manually’.
You have a £100 multiple (back) bet placed with two legs in it (ie a double):
- TeamA to win in their 3pm football match and TeamB to win their 5:15pm football match.
- The odds on TeamA are 1.4.
- The odds on TeamB are 3.7.
- The combined multiple odds are therefore 1.4*3.7=5.18
To lay this double manually you would check on the odds to lay TeamA and then lay off the full stake ‘normally’ – so say the following is the case:
TeamA lay odds: 1.38
Lay stake required = (TeamA back odds) * (Multiple Stake) / (TeamA lay odds)
= 1.4 * 100 / 1.38
= 101.45 = £100 (say, see below for why)
Note here that we’re not taking into consideration any commission and we’re rounding the amount down – the reason for this is that we want to effectively ‘underlay’ the bet because it may turn out later on that when we come to lay off the later leg, TeamB’s price may have drifted and so we won’t have any extra ‘profit margin’ to play with.
By underlaying in earlier legs, we give ourselves a good chance of having extra profit to play with later on – this is especially true where you have a ‘banker’ bet as your first leg (ie short priced favourite), you really want to underlay a little bit so you can lock in profit later. Many times this is a fine thing to do anyway because the reason you’re betting on your multiple is it’s a ‘refund if your multiple loses’ type bet, so worst comes to worst you’re down a few quid on the qualifying multiple but will make it up when you get your refund. Even if it’s not a refund situation it’s still good practice to underlay all but the final leg of multiple, because if later legs have drifted in price then you will to lay at a higher price than you would have when you took the bet, meaning you lose more profit, so if you’ve got a little profit early on to play with this can compensate.
Ok, now we wait and see what the result of this first leg is – there are two possible cases – either the leg wins (in which case we need to go on to lay the final leg), or the bet loses (in which case we’re done, the multiple has lost and we’ve made our profit/loss there and then).
Lets look at the two cases:
If Leg 1 loses:
Leg 1 profit/loss = (multiple bet profit/loss) + (leg1 lay bet profit/loss)
= -100 + 100 = 0
Ok, we’ve broken even and we’re ‘done’ with the multiple, the multiple/double has lost, there’s nothing more to do. Hopefully it’s some kind of offer where we get a refund if the multiple loses, in which case we’d make a juicy £100 (less any wagering we have to do to withdraw). Happy days.
Leg 1 wins:
Leg 1 profit/loss = leg1 lay bet profit/loss
= -38 (but with a profit on the back bet side of 40 to carry over into the next leg)
Ok, here our first leg has ‘won’. In effect this means the double has so far ‘won’ £40 (since leg1 odds were 1.4). The current ‘win total’ of the bet is therefore £140 (at this point in time if we were to get our stake + winnings back it would be £100 + £40 = £140). It is this ‘win total’ that we now need to lay off in the second leg.
(To think of it another way, the first leg lay bet has ‘lost’ £38 (since we laid £100 at 1.38), so we need to ‘compensate’ for that lost £38 in the stake we use for the second leg – ie £100 + £40 – and here you can see the benefit of underlaying the first leg, we’ve gained a tiny bit – £2 – of profit to ‘play around with’ in the second leg – ok not a lot but if we’d underlaid by more…)
Laying the second leg
Now, to lay the second leg, as we said above we need to adjust our lay stake to take into account the current ‘win total’ for the multiple. This means we need to treat the second leg as having a stake of £140, not just £100, and lay that off accordingly.
Remember – TeamA’s match finished at about 5pm, now TeamB’s match is about to start in 15 minutes. TeamB’s lay odds have drifted slightly in those two hours – so now we have the following situation:
TeamB Lay odds: 3.8 (original price in our double was 3.7)
Stake required to lay off leg 2 = (win total) * (original leg 2 price) / (lay price on TeamB in second leg)
= £140 * 3.7 / 3.8 = £136.32 (say £136).
Now we wait and see what the result of the final leg is – again there are two possible cases, either the bet on team B in the second leg wins, or it loses. Lets look at the outcome for both cases below:
Leg 2 loses:
Leg 2 lay bet profit/loss = £140
Multiple profit / loss = -(Multiple stake) + (Leg 1 p&l) + (Leg 2 p&l)
= -£100 (the multiple lost) – £38 (leg 1 lay stake which we lost) + £140 (leg 2 lay stake which we won)
Ok, our multiple has lost. Our total profit / loss is -£100 (the initial double stake), -£38 (the lay liability we lost on leg 1), +£140 (the lay stake we won on leg 2) = -100 – 38 + 140 = £2. Actually we will have to pay commission on the £140 second leg profit which in this case will actually see us make a loss. In reality you should take commission into account but for simplicity we’ve left it out here (generally… underlay underlay, ariba, ariba
Leg 2 wins:
Leg 2 lay bet profit/loss = -380.80
Multiple profit / loss = (Multiple stake) * (Multiple Odds – 1) + (leg 1 lay bet profit/loss) + (leg 2 lay bet profit/loss
= 418 – 38 – 380.80 = -0.80
So, our net profit / loss on this if leg 2 wins is minus 80p(!). All that for that…. still though it would have been a lot worse if we’d not slightly underlayed each leg (if we’d used just £4 extra as the 2nd leg lay stake – ie £140 – we would have been down (418 – 38 – 392) = £12 overall!). Plus hopefully laying this double has earnt you some kind of bonus… you are an APer right… why else would you be betting a multiple?!!
Notes on Laying Multiples Manually
Make sure your legs aren’t overlapping – first and foremost, always think about when each leg of your multiple is due to start and make sure the legs don’t overlap each other. If they do overlap, this makes things extremely difficult (although not impossible) because you really need to know whether a leg has won or lost before you can decide whether or not to lay the next leg in the multiple. Always try and pick legs that don’t overlap.
At the same time though…
… make sure your legs aren’t too far apart– related to the point above ^ – try and pick legs that are as close to each other as possible but without overlapping. Ideally give yourself 15-30 minutes in between each leg at a minimum (maybe make it a lot more if you’re concerned there might be delays in some legs with extra time for example). The main reason for keeping the legs fairly close together is that you want the price on each of the legs to remain as close to the original price (at the time you placed the multiple) as possible so you won’t lose too much value when it comes to laying off the later legs.
(Say for example you have two legs in a multiple which are separated by a week, a lot of things can happen in that week to make the price of the second leg fly out a long way so as to make your multiple a lot less valuable than it was originally.)
Think about whether your legs will be available ‘in play’ – as a precautionary measure it can be useful to be able to lay legs of your multiple off whilst they’re in play, so consider using matches for your legs that will have a lot of betting activity on them (ie premier leagues). If for some reason you do have to do a mad dash to lay a leg off after it’s gone in play, you’ll be covered.
Underlaying can help to cover you if some legs are at longer odds – always try and underlay all your bets where possible (this is true in general, not just for multiples).
If some of the legs are at longer odds, the liability involved in laying becomes a lot larger, and a lot more quickly. Small movements in price are greatly amplified at longer odds by merit of the fact that the ‘tick’ movements are much larger at higher odds (ie at low odds, the tick change when the price moves from 1.01 to 1.02 is just 0.01, whereas the tick movement from 10 to 10.5 is 0.5, 50 times that for the 1.01 tick movement! – this greatly ‘amplifies’ any profit/loss which can be extremely costly if the price moves out and you’re laying).
Take into account any bonus you’re working with/towards – when you’re working out the lay stake to use for each leg, always try and ‘factor in’ any profit that you’ll make from the bonus IF you’re doing this as part of a bonus wagering requirement (ie ‘get a refund on your multiple if 1 leg loses’). So if you’d win your stake back as a refund if the multiple loses, it would be prudent to heavily underlay each leg so you make a much larger profit if the bet goes on to win (whilst at the same time covering you in the event that the odds on later legs drift out, especially at longer odds).
Depending on the bonus (if the multiple is being placed as part of a bonus wagering campaign of some sort), sometimes it’s just simpler to not sweat the numbers too much and do it ‘intuitively’.
As an example, say the “double” scenario above was an offer where you’d get your stake back if your double lost (this is an very good offer!) – you might think to yourself, “right, the first leg is a banker I think (odds are only 1.4), I’ll leave the first leg unlaid completely and if it wins I’ll lay the second leg, but only for the value of the stake”.
In this way you’ll break even if the first leg loses (because you get the stake you lost back as a refund), you’ll make the value of the stake (£100) as a profit if the second leg loses (since your lay bet covered your stake, plus you got a refund of the stake amount back from the bookie)… however if your second leg does go on to win you’ll be up even more because you’ve only laid the value of the original back stake (using the figures/odds from above, -280 (2nd leg lay loss) + 418 (multiple profit) = £138)