‘I was just one team away from winning five hundred quid!’: The trials and tribulations of football accumulators

Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.

Red (Morgan Freeman), The Shawshank Redemption.


Point 1. A football fan’s life is dominated by one thing; hope. At the beginning of the season a fan’s hope stretches to a variety of issues; that they will be promoted, not be relegated, beat their closest rivals, finish higher than they did last season, hope that the club hangs on to their best player and also hope that their team won’t sign Titus Bramble, etc. Hope hangs around a football fan like a bad smell. Regardless of how much you wash, scrub and hose yourself down; you know that come 3 o’clock on a Saturday there is going to be a whiff in the air again.

Point 2. Bookies know all of the above.

Point 3. As Saturday rolls round a betting office will offer a football fan the opportunity to test their hope and see if they can profit from it. It is at this point where the fan has a choice:

  • To not bet at all (The sensible choice and one that should probably be taken every time)
  • To just bet on their team/another team they are knowledgeable on (A mildly risky choice but as they know the strengths and weaknesses of their team they can make an informed decision)
  • To bet on a selection of teams (The sadistic choice which sees football fans not just go through the joy/pain of watching their own team but further compounding it by praying for the right results from other teams!)

So, once a football fan is in the betting shop and faced with this fork in the road which way do they chose?

Well according to the people at William Hill, 60% of all their football bets they take are people betting on accumulators (this includes bets on just 2 games). This means that 3 in every 5 people who walk into a William Hill shop will chose the option which causes them to rely on hope the most!

Point 4. Hope + Bookies = Loss of money.

(This is not to say that bookies are just out to get people’s money because it is a football fan’s decision to go in and place their money. This decision however is usually as a result of the issue covered in Point 1)

What’s my basis for this?

I think the best way to demonstrate how I came up with that precise formula is in graph form. The following shows my success and failure of putting on accumulator:

That’s right, having put on a fair few accumulators I have never won any…or even come that close.

So come Saturday it’s hope that’s responsible for making a fan believe that it’s totally acceptable betting on Portsmouth beating Middlesbrough and 6 other equally plausible but ultimately uncertain games. Fans may even find themselves in the situation where at 4:30 six out of the seven games are looking good! But then Bradford cruelly get a goal back against Shrewsbury in the last minute and the dream is over for another week.

It is the hope that drives you to put on accumulators and it’s the hope that kills you too.

Time for a change

For too long we have stood by and watch hope and fate play a merry dance with football fans lives (and money); it’s time for a change!

Over the coming months we here at OptaJoke (mainly me as I appear to be the only one stupid enough to put my money on the line) will discover the best way of putting on accumulators. We will crack the accumulator code, play hope at its own game and conquer the tyrant once and for all. After all, who is better to figure out a successful way of putting on an accumulator than someone who has never won one in his life…?

How will this experiment take place?

I will take my money into a betting shop and pick which teams to bet on due to the Accumulator Tactic adopted that week. Over the coming months the following Accumulator Tactics will be used:

  • Going With The Gut
  • The Wacky Accy
  • The Friendship Accumulator
  • The Form Guide
  • The Pundits Accumulator
  • The In-Play
  • The Out-of-Hours Accumulator
  • The Lower League Gamble
  • The Stevie Wonder
  • The Master Yoda Accumulator

(If you have any other suggestions send them to optajoke@googlemail.com or tweet us @optajokepodcast)

According to the information kindly provided to us by William Hill the average number of teams that are put into an accumulator are seven. As a result this means that every accumulator I put on I shall place a bet on seven teams.

Whether to bet on a team to win or draw will depend on either the Accumulator Tactic or my own discretion.

I will not be placing much money on my accumulators for two reasons:  firstly I do not have much of it and secondly I am not THAT stupid.

Multiple accumulators will not be placed as that will just prolong the agony I will be facing.

Once the results of the accumulator are in I will publish my results, findings and examine potential improvements that can be made for the next test.

And finally a serious bit…

Part of the reason I am doing this is for the fun of it and part out of interest. But it is important to stress that at no point will I bet anymore than I can afford; in all seriousness I doubt I will put anything over a fiver on each accumulator.

I sincerely suggest that if you follow any of this and want to put on an accumulator, you do it for the fun of it and not as a money making venture. If you want to spend big bucks on football go and buy a season ticket, give your hope that outlet…don’t waste it on betting.



About danbunker

I watch too much sport.
This entry was posted in Betting Tips and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to ‘I was just one team away from winning five hundred quid!’: The trials and tribulations of football accumulators

  1. Joel Roberts says:

    I put a £5 accumulator every saturday and have only ever won once. On this occasion all bar one of my games were called off and so a Dundee win saw me earn a princely £2.50.

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