Building your own bets is a bet type which bookmakers introduced with the aim of allowing customers to have more choice when placing bets. They appeal to punters as they can compile bets containing a number of individual predictions and bundle them all into one bet, usually with very large odds. Punters can choose from a number of diverse markets such as first team to score, number of corners per half, over/under goals, number of cards and individual player bets.
An example of a custom bet would be: Lukaku to score first, BTTS, Man Utd most first-half corners, Man Utd most cards, Over 3.5 goals.
The high odds given by bookmakers is the main appeal to these sorts of bets but are you getting value?
The answer is, unfortunately, no.
DIY bets are basically accumulators except there are more markets available and all bets are on the same event. Bookmakers love accumulators as their edge is large and take a large slice of pie from what the true odds actually are.
So, should you avoid these bets?
Despite the bookmaker having the edge, they often run promotions around these type of bets to attract customers to place more of them. This is where there is an opportunity to turn the odds in our favour!
Just like a standard free bet offer, there may be no value in punting a bet but if you will receive a free bet for doing so, there may be value in it.
Many bookmakers run offers such as ‘Place a £5 ‘RequestABet’ and receive a £5 free bet’ and so, even if we take a large hit of the qualifying loss laying our bet, we should still be able to make an overall profit by matched betting the free bet.
Bookmakers Offering Custom Bets
Custom bets go under many different identities but all offer the same features – The ability to build a bet. Each bookmaker have branded this type of bets with their own name and below are some you may have come across:
|10Bet – Create Your Bet
|888Sport – MarketMaker
|Bet365– Bet Builder
|Betfair – Odds On That
|Betfred – PickYourPunt
|Betway – Bet Your Way
|Betvictor – PriceItUp
|Boylesports – Bet Builder
|Bwin – Build A Bet
|Coral – Your Call
|Ladbrokes – Get A Price
|Paddy Power – What Odds Paddy
|Sky Bet – Request A Bet
|Sporting Bet – Build A Bet
|William Hill – Your Odds
How to place a bet
There are a few different options for placing a custom bet. All of which should be considered when matched betting an offer for reasons we will explain below.
1. Pick a pre-selected bet
As well as being able to create your own bet, bookmakers provide a list of pre-made custom bets for customers to choose from. This can save time and also give you an idea of the markets on offer and the odds which are generally given for the selections in the bet.
The pre-made bets are sometimes grouped by odds ranges such as ‘Odds-On’ bets, 2/1 – 5/1 bets, 6/1 – 10/1 bets or 15/1+ etc. This makes it easier to find a bet based on risk-level and potential returns.
2. Building your own bet
Many bookmakers allow you to build your own bet. You pick the bets which you would like to add to your custom bet and it will display the total odds on offer. It works just like adding legs to an accumulator bet except there are many more markets to choose from.
3. Requesting odds for a bet via Twitter
Some bookmakers offer a service where you can Tweet them a custom bet you would like to place and they will Tweet you back with the odds. This option isn’t ideal if you are in a rush but does provide another way of potentially placing the bet which you want.
How to make a profit from DIY bets
As mentioned earlier, DIY bets don’t have much value as a standalone bet. However, if a bookmaker is offering you a free bet in return for placing a custom bet, you may be able to make a profit.
The issue with these bets is that there is not always a lay market available. For example, you won’t find a lay market on Betfair Exchange for ‘Liverpool to win + Salah to score a hattrick+ Liverpool to lead after 10mins _ Liverpool first & last throw in’.
However, you do have a couple of options.
1. Find a market which you can lay
There are some combinations of bets which are able to be layed, which means that you can treat these offers as you would with a standard ‘Bet & Get’ offer and calculate your lay stakes using a matched betting calculator. Here are some examples of custom bets which it’s possible to lay.
Match Result & BTTS – This is essentially two bets bundled into one – A match winner and whether or not both teams will score. Therefore, you can add these two bets to your custom bet and lay it on the exchange. Some bookmakers require a minimum of three selections per custom bet. If they do, simply add an ‘Over 2.5 goals’ selection to your custom bet and make sure to mark BTTS as YES. By doing this, you can still lay the ‘Match Result & BTTS’ market as if that happens, there has to be 2.5+ goals in the game!
Scorecasts – Scorecasts are another example of two bets in one – A player to score and a correct score bet. Again, if you are required to add a minimum of three selections to qualify, simply add an ‘Over X Goals’ bet and adjust your correct score accordingly. For example, if you picked Hazard to score first and the match to finish 3-1, you could add ‘Over 3.5 goals’ to your bet and just lay the scorecast. Check that the scorecast market is available on the exchange prior to placing your bet and that there is enough liquidity on the market to cover your bet.
There are also single markets which can be layed and sometimes appear as options on bookmakers such as, a penalty to be awarded or a player to score a hattrick. If you can qualify for a free bet by picking these options then they may be your best choice depending on the odds.
2. Treat the offer as Advantage Play
If you can’t find a bet to lay then you may wish to treat the offer as advantage play. It’s is important to know that you can lose money when opting for this strategy, although as you will receive a free bet even if you lose, the losses are usually minimal and you have the chance to make a profit as well as receive a free bet if your qualifying bet wins.
Advantage play is when you punt a bet which has value and so no matched betting tools are required. You may not win every time but mathematically, if you placed the bet an infinite number of times, you would end up in profit by the law of averages. Advantage play works similar to how the casino has a house edge on all games. There’s nothing stopping a punter from winning a hand of blackjack and walking away with a profit but if that punter kept on playing, eventually they would be down as the casino has the edge. With advantage play offers, it is you, the punter, who has the edge.
When treating an offer as advantage play, there is no need to lay the bet. Simply pick an eligible qualifying bet and hope that it wins. If it does, you’ll be in profit and also receive a free bet and if it doesn’t you’ll be down but should be able to make some of your losses back by matched betting with your free bet.
Here’s an example:
Offer: Place a £10 ‘RequestABet’ with Skybet on Arsenal v Liverpool and get a £10 free bet.
Your bet: You choose ‘Salah to score first + Liverpool win 2-1 + BTTS – YES’ at odds of 10/1
- Your bet wins – You’re £100 in profit and you receive a £10 free bet from which you should be able to extract around £8 cash leaving you £108 up!
- Your bet loses – You lose £10 but receive a £10 free bet from which you should be able to extract around £8 cash leaving you £2 down.
Therefore, the worst case scenario is that you are £2 down from the offer but have a chance of winning £108. You may opt to pick a qualifying bet with low odds to increase the chances of returning a profit.
Which strategy is best?
Whether you choose to lay your bet or treat it as advantage play is up to you. If it is possible to lay your bet then it is advised you do so as you can lock in a profit and eliminate any risk of losing money. However, your decision may be dependant on a few factors such as the qualifying loss you will make when laying your bet or the maximum loss you will make should you not lay the bet. You’ll generally find that the qualifying losses are slightly higher than standard matched bets and so if it is too high, you may opt to take a punt on a bet, especially if you don’t stand to lose much after extracting cash from your free bet. Not laying your bet will also give you the chance to potentially win big with minimal risk.
These type of bet offers are very common at the moment as bookmakers see them as a good way to attract customers and make money from the large margins. However, as matched bettors, we can see that it is possible to make a profit given the value of the free bet and with so many of these offers about frequently, they can add to your monthly profit totals and be a good source of income.
Both the laying and advantage play strategies have value and so there is no reason not to accept these offers. Hopefully, this article has helped you understand the methods that are available to generate a profit from DIY bet offers and give you more confidence in participating in them.