Single bets are an oft-neglected part of many bettors routines as they chase big wins in accumulators or parlays.
However, single bets can actually be the most effective tool to use and generally represent the best value.
Most professional bettors focus on single bets and many bet exclusively in singles. We’ll have a look at why this is and some strategies for betting in singles below.
What is a Single Bet?
A single bet is a wager placed on the outcome of one event. This could be a horse to win a race, a team to win a football match or a golfer to win a tournament.
A single is not combined with any other event or reliant on any other outcome. It is the most simple bet there is.
Examples could be:
- $10 on Liverpool to beat Manchester Utd in the Premier League @ 2.10; or
- $10 on Uncle Joe to win the Kentucky Derby @ 5.00; or
- $10 on Naomi Osaka to win the US Open @ 7.00
These are all individual events and each one is an example of a single bet.
Each-way bets are also classed as single bets, even though technically they are two bets – one on the horse to win and one on the horse to place. The reason each-way bets are classed as singles is that they are still placed as one bet as a whole and as one bet on a betslip.
Single Bet vs Multiple Bet
It is often debated in betting circles as to which is better – a single bet or multiple bet strategy.
The principal advantage of a multiple bet is that it returns can be much higher. Putting together a parlay or accumulator means you are multiplying odds together and therefore can get huge odds. Gambling is full of stories of people who have landed massive winners through multiple bets and it certainly is enticing when you hear about such successes.
On the other hand however there is a disadvantage to multiple bets. The problem is that you are generally multiplying the bookies’ edge over you. If you presume the bookies have a 5-15% edge on each bet, then multiplying those together means the bookies are getting a huge edge over the punter. That is why bookies love to promote accumulators with special offers and free bets.
The problem is even more acute once you consider that it is rare to find one bookie who is best price on all your selections – normally you will have to take odds that are slightly below the best odds for one or more of the legs of your accumulator. So in effect you are being forced to take bad odds for at least some of your bets.
The only way around this would be to manually place your accumulator – essentially taking the stake and winnings from each bet and rolling it onto the next leg. In this case you can ensure you are getting the best odds for each leg – and can even use the exchanges to maximise your position.
However, that presumes of course that the events do not cross over time-wise and each one finishes with enough time before the next one starts for you to put the next leg of your accumulator on.
In summary, multiple bets sound glamorous and exciting with the prospect of returning a big win, but in reality they are normally poor value and just increase the bookies’ advantage over you.
Single bets on the other hand avoid all of this. You are just focused on one bet and can seek the best odds for it via an odds comparison site and the exchanges.
Most successful tipsters and professional gamblers we have come across use just single bets and we believe that is the most sensible option to take. Maybe have the odd accumulator/parlay occasionally just for fun if you really want to but the focus should just be on single bets if you want to maximise your returns.
Single Bet is the Professional Choice
As we say, single betting is the choice of the vast majority of top tipsters and professional bettors we have come across and reviewed here on the site.
Whether that’s in:
They all just use single bets.
That is down to the dynamic we have described whereby it is much harder to obtain value on multiple bets that on singles.
So if that’s what the pros do, probably best to follow them!
How to Utilise A Single Bet
As mentioned, it is crucial if you are using a single bet strategy to ensure that you give yourself the best chance of succeeding.
To make a long-term profit from betting, you need to ensure that you overcome the bookies’ margin (sometimes referred to as the “overround”) which is often 5%-15%, or the exchanges’ commission, which is typically 2-5%.
To do that is actually quite hard and does require a large degree of skill and hard work. However, unless you use an odds comparison site like Oddschecker to find the best odds for your single bet, you will really struggle to make a profit in the long run.
At the same time, it is a good idea to compare the bookies’ best odds with those of the exchanges like Betfiar and Smarkets.
Often the exchanges will offer better odds, particularly if you are going in-play. You do need to factor in the exchange’s commission though when comparing their odds with the bookies’.