Whether you logon to your betting app, follow the company on social media or just happen to catch an advert that they’ve paid to have on television, the chances are high that you’ll know all about Request-A-Bet or similar features. This is because bookmakers know that they are brilliant money makers for them and that punters tend to enjoy them as they think it gives them a chance to be clever. The first question that you might want to ask is whether or not you should take your bookie of choice up on their offer.
The short answer is no, such is the extent to which bookmakers hike up their margin when it comes to the likes of Request-A-Bet or Build-Your-Own Bet. They do this because they know that the market you’re requesting isn’t one that is covered naturally by other bookmakers, so they don’t need to compete for your business. Of course, the flip side of this is that you’re asking for a market that is likely to be unique to you, so if you’re really convinced that you know what is going to happen then you might think it is good value.
What Are Request-A-Bet & Build-Your-Own Bets?
The first question that at least some people will want to know the answer to is what, exactly, Request-A-Bet and Build-Your-Own bets actually are. They are, in many ways, exactly what they sound like. You can get in touch with a bookmaker and ask them for odds on a scenario that you think is going to happen. Let us imagine, for example, that Liverpool are playing against Manchester United and you think that the Merseyside club are going to score 3+ goals against their arch rivals without reply, whilst also winning five or more corners and receiving two yellow cards.
Depending on the bookmaker that you use, you will be able to either get in touch with them on social media, such as Twitter, or else e-mail them and ask them for odds on all of those things happening. They will then offer you the odds that they want to, giving you the chance to place a bet on those things all coming true. If they do, you’ll win your bet, if they don’t then your bet will be a loser. The whole point about these types of bets is that they usually cover things that you wouldn’t get as a normal accumulator offer from a bookie.
Build-Your-Own bets are similar, with the exception being that the bookmaker presents you with the various markets that you can combine. These are more limited, given that the only thing that you need to worry about with the Request-A-Bet feature is your own imagination and the willingness of the bookie to offer you odds. Though they’re more limited, the options still offer you markets that you wouldn’t be able to get if you just did a normal accumulator, so it is is something that some people may well be willing to consider.
Are The Good Value?
Once you’ve understood what Request-A-Bet and Build-Your-Own bet features are, the next thing that you might wish to consider is whether or not they’re good value. The short answer to this is ‘no’, given the fact that the margin that bookmakers build in to such offers is incredibly high. You are probably talking about a margin in excess of 20%, which means that you’re really getting no value whatsoever for your wager. There are numerous reasons why this is the case, with the most obvious being that the bookie you use knows that they don’t have to compete for your business over that market.
That is to say, if you wanted to place a standard bet, such as Liverpool to beat Manchester United, that is something that you can get from any bookmaker and therefore they all need to compete with each other to win your business. When the bet is more specific, which Request-A-Bet and Build-Your-Own bets are by their very nature, no other bookie will be offering it as standard and therefore there is no need for the one that you’ve contacted to make the odds competitive in order to win your business. As a result, the value in them is extremely poor.
Most bet builders and bet requests are also things known as related contingencies. This means the outcome of one scenario affects another and this is why you can’t place these types of bets in a conventional accumulator. Related contingency bets are simply packaged bets and have existed for a long time in formats like scorecast and wincast betting. In those examples there are just two variables but they are still bad value bets. The more selections you add into a bet builder, though, the worse the value gets as the margins on each outcome gets compounded.
Have you ever wondered why bookies push offers and free bets for bet builders and request a bet lines? It is because they are hugely profitable for them. If customers start choosing to place bet builders more often they know they can make more money.
You Might Want To Take Them Up On It Anyway
Of course, just because something is poor value for money doesn’t mean that you should immediately dismiss it out of hand. The reality is that these sorts of bets are ones that you won’t be offered by bookies in normal circumstances. Instead, they are the product of your own imagination, which you have perhaps come up with because you’ve done research into how many corners each team tends to win or how often they win a throw-in. You might just have had a dream about it, believing that it is therefore destined to happen.
Whatever the reason, you want to place the bet that you’ve either built or requested, which is why you came up with it. The fact that you aren’t getting very good value for money is irrelevant when you consider that it is a bet that you want to place and wouldn’t be able to otherwise. In other words, the value of the bet comes in the form of it being one that you want to place and need to use one of the features offered in order to do so. Without using these offers, you’d be unable to place the bet and therefore the value would be zero.
It all comes down to how accurate you think your prediction is. If you bet on the match result the bet has good ‘value’ in terms of margins but the odds tend to be low. If you place a bet builder then the margins are high but so are the odds. This is actually one reason we struggle to see the poor value as humans struggle to calculate probabilities when considering multiple factors. Man City to beat Chelsea 3-1 with Haaland scoring first, Foden assisting a goal and over 10.5 corners for 50/1 might seem like a decent bet on the face of it. In reality it is a terrible bet and the odds are over 100/1 but we often do not appreciate that.
It’s About Being Specific
Ultimately, whether it is a Request-A-Bet or a Build-Your-Own bet that you’re thinking of placing, the benefit of them is that they allow you to be specific in a way that normal wagers don’t allow for. They often feature related contingencies, which is where something is connected to something else and would therefore have an impact on its likely outcome. If you wanted to place a bet on Harvey Elliott scoring for Liverpool, for example, then that would impact on Liverpool scoring in the game, so you wouldn’t normally be allowed to bet on both outcomes in a normal accumulator.
The entire reason that bookmakers offer these sorts of promotions is to offer you bets on related contingencies, knowing that a lot of punters will be keen to take them up on them because they can’t do so with normal bets. This, in turn, allows the bookies to crank up their margin, as mentioned already. Punters feel as if they’re getting a good deal, but in actual fact they’re really not. This is because the actual likelihood of all of the various things happening is significantly lower than the odds they’re given represent, but the odds will still be long enough to make it seem like a good thing.
Let us refer back to our example of Liverpool v Manchester United from earlier. We said that the following might happen:
- Liverpool to score 3+ goals
- Manchester United to fail to score
- Liverpool to get five or more corners
- Liverpool to receive two yellow cards or more
The chances of each of these things happening individually would be relatively long, especially when compared to the probability of the outcome, yet that won’t be reflected in the odds. Say, for arguments sake, that the combined probability of each outcome happening would amount to around 500/1. The odds that you’ll be offered by the bookmaker are more likely to be in the region of 100/1, so well below what we’d expect to receive if odds from bookies in any way matched reality.
As a punter, though, you look at the odds of Liverpool winning the match alone and they’re 7/5. You think that those odds are pretty poor and offer no value, so you put together your own bet and get what look to be much more appealing odds as a result. 100/1 is a much more appealing bet than 7/5 after all, so you think you’re getting a good deal. In actual fact it is the bookmaker that is getting the best deal if you choose to place the wager, given that they’re confident that they’re just going to take your stake and walk away with profit.
As the bettor, you need to make a choice about whether you’re bothered about getting good value for your wager. You could turn to a different bookmaker and ask them for their odds for the bet that you’ve put together, but the likelihood of them being closer to the true odds is slim. The question you need to ask yourself is whether you think your bet is likely to be a winning one and go from there. If it is, you might not think that it matters whether the bookie you used gave you odds that reflect reality, as you might just think they were generous enough to make it worth while.