I was thinking of laying a bet on a team in a knockout tournament like say the FA cup. Is it usually better to bet on the team before the tournament say at 25-1 to win every game, or to bet on each individual game and accumulate the winnings onto a bet onto each next game etc? Is there any usual best strategy?

It’s better to accumulate the winnings. What if a star player gets hurt in round 2 and is on the sidelines for the rest of the tournament? You have the chance to adjust your betting accordingly, whereas an all or nothing approach means you’re stuck with a now sub-par team.

Of course, if the odds of winning are greater than you could ever hope to accomplish through individual bets, AND the odds of that team winning it all are reasonable, it might be best to let it all ride on one team throughout.

I suppose that was my question - it is usual that the odds are better on bet or accummulated. Maybe there is no usual answer - but I thought some hard core gamblers migt give me the wisdom of their experience

Couldn’t say without knowing the actual odds of the tournament bet vs.the 1 game/match bet.

In your example at 25/1 you’d need to win 5 games/matches at even money to better the tournament odds (32/1).

Also,as was mentioned,you need to state whether it’s an all or nothing at all proposition for you.

*Parlay * 2 games,and you’ve already made a 3/1 winner (at even money odds),you could bank some of that and play on found money for the rest.Depends on your motivation for the bets.

Provided that the “house take” is the same on a match bet versus a tournament bet, there is no inherent mathematical advantage either way. The house take may not be the same, however. In horse race betting in the United States, the track takes a higher percentage of “gimmick bets” such as Daily Doubles and “Pick Six” pools than it does on straight win bets. Where that’s the case, you’re generally better off with the parlay.

If the take *is* the same, then, as I say, there is no *general, inherent* mathematical advantage. There *may* be an advantage based on how you think a particular tournament is going to unfold. For example, do you think that your team is going to win because somebody else will upset the favorite in an early round? Then you’ll probably make more money on one pre-tournament bet. Or do you think that *your* team will be the one pulling off the upsets? Then the game-by-game probably works better.

And, as **Lure** says, if you are considering something other than all-or-nothing bets, then this skews the analysis, because game-by-game offers options for “partial payoffs” that a single tournament bet doesn’t.

Arrrrgggggh! Scratch my earlier post!!! If you bet four times, the house dips its paws into the pot *four times*!

Simplest possible math–16 teams, four rounds, all teams are evenly matched in every game, house take = 10%. You bet $1.00 on a team and win, you get $16.00 less 10% = $14.40.

Whereas a match bet pays $2.00 less 10% or $1.80. So if you start with $1.00 and win on four matches in a row, you get $1.00 * 1.8 * 1.8 *1.8 * 1.8 = $10.50.

So, obviously, bet on the tournament **unless** the opportunity to adjust your strategy as you go along and/or collect partial payoffs is important to you.

Your math should read $1x 1.9x1.9x1.9x1.9.You don’t take the pc off the payout,but off the bet.In this instance a 4 team/game parlay would come back $13.03,abt 10% less than the tourney bet (in the example).Not a bad cut to take for insurance on the midtourney injury or off form of the team.

What most * future * bettors do is ride their team on straight bets per game to make their (intended) profits,the futures are made with lesser amounts,being harder to hit than a single game.Some will even dutch the last game if they’re live,betting the other side,so that no matter who wins the last contest,they still cash.

And the definitive answer to the OP-there are no hard and fast rules-odds dictate what’s best-,except for the caution I mentioned earlier,don’t try to win the lumberyard with a toothpick as a basic gambling strategy.Always have a backup with the serious money.

For every lottery winner there’s many more lottery losers.

For occasional small stakes gamblers such as myself, a bet at the start of a knockout tournament is mostly for fun and the prospect of bothering to bet on each round is not attractive. There would be little point in betting on the same team in every round anyway - if you’re to bet in every round, you might as well look at all the matches and see what takes your fancy. Having said that, if a team you have backed at the start of a tournament reaches the latter stages, your betting slip obviously acquires a greater value. You can protect that value by “covering” your bet - i.e. betting on the opposition.

For more serious gamblers, a sizeable bet on a selected one-off match-up is by far the best strategy.

My math was based on horse race parimutuel betting in the United States, which is the only type of sports betting I really understand because it’s the only kind that’s legal in my neck of the woods. At the race track, they take the track take (usually about 16%) out of the entire betting pool, not just out of the losing bets. So a 10% take would translate into a $1.80 payout on an evenly matched two-horse race or a $14.40 payout on an evenly matched 16-horse race.

It may well be that British football pools operate differently. In that case adjust the numbers accordingly, but I suspect that the four bites out of the match bets will still add up to more than the one bite out of the tournament bet.

Ok-follow me here.in ANY booked bet be it sports,parimutuel,whatever,the pc is deducted from each bet,win or lose.In the parimutuel system they just deduct the vig from the total pool,winning and losing bets.

In a sport bet a 10% take reflects 90c bet on the dollar you wagered ,ergo,the win is 90% of the wager= payoff=$1.90(your original dollar and the 90c you won).In your example it would reflect a 20% take.

Because of your experience with parimutuel,you’re used to absorbing the * breakage * the amount between 1-9c in the case of the “nickle” line (NY and Can-UK)and amount between 1-19c "dime"breakage,where payoffs are reflected in 20c increments.In a nickle line a 10% vig would result in a $1.90 payoff,or $1.80 on the “dime” line.

Altho with no odds shown on the futures vs.the game odds,it’s impossible to say which would be the smarter bet at what denominations of coin to be a good strategy.

There is no breakage in sports betting-all monies (after the vig has been deducted from the bet) are used to pay the winners,and in the event of too many winners on one side-the banker (bookmaker) has to use his own reserves.Like a minus pool at the track.

Fortunately for the books those cases aren’t as numerous as the times when there’s money left over in the betting pool because of fewer winning punters to collect.

These lead to the usual bigger cars and fancier/pricier lifestyle accoutremonts of the practitioners of the craft.

Exactly. So if two bettors bet $1, the house takes 10% from **each one** and you have $1.80 left to pay to the winner.

Huh? That contradicts your first paragraph.

But look, I don’t want to argue about whether my payout scheme represents a 10% take or a 20% take. Define it how you will. The important thing for this discussion is the **comparison** between the tournament bet and the series of four match bets. In my example, following United States parimutuel rules, I derived a $14.40 payout for the tournament bet versus $10.50 for the series of match bets. What are the figures doing the math your way?

(In all my calculations, I am ignoring any kind of breakage or rounding.)

As I mentioned previously,a 4 team parlay at a 10% vig returns $13.03.In your tourney result you’re assuming the bet is paid off from a total pool.In practice those odds may be higher or lower on a particuar team as the oddsmaker sees fit.

In the straight wager,the payof has nothing to do with the total pool,as was mentioned earlier, but with the odds/vig.A 10% take leaves a 90% (of his wager) payoff for the winner.

In a perfect world the book collects one dollar from each way bettor,for a total of $2,which is returned to the winner at his odds,ie,$1.90,leaving the book with a 5% profit margin.

This last sentence is where most people go wrong concerning a book’s profit margin,which is not the same as a bettors individual odds.

IRL on pointspread bets at 11/10 (abt.9% vig) the book collects $11 from each way,and pays off $21 to the winner,so his margin is abt.4.5% in a balanced book,not the 10% most people believe.

But fear I’m straying from the OP as to what’s best,without sufficient information as to actual odds,except to say there are no hard and fast rules,you always balance the risk vs.the reward,something that’s hard to replicate on a mathematical formula without having experience in the arena.

In futures for instance,altho you could have gotten like 150/1 or more for the Bengals to win the Super Bowl in October,could you seriously call that a good bet because of the odds? Or a better bet than playing them straight,either money line or spreadwise on each game?

Certainly one cannot give a definitive answer without knowing how the book collects his vigorish on the different types of bets. I did some poking around with last month’s NFL playoffs. One book was quoting odds to win the Super Bowl, before the playoffs started, as 5-2 for Oakland and 5-1 for Tampa Bay. So a $100 bet on Oakland would have returned $350 if they had won and $100 on Tampa Bay got you $600.

A different casino quoted odds on the morning of each game as follows:

Oak -220 v. Jets, -440 v. Tennessee, -160 v. Tampa Bay.

T B -270 v. S.F., 180 v. Phila., 140 v. Oakland.

So $100 bet on Oakland **that** way would have returned 100*1.46*1.23*1.625 = $292 (if they had won). And $100 bet on Tampa Bay would have returned 100*1.37*2.8*2.4 = $921. For Oakland you would have been better off with a pre-tournament bet, but with Tampa Bay the game-by-game bets. Why the difference? Probably because Oakland benefited (on paper! not in real life, obviously) from Tampa Bay’s upset of Philadelphia, so you as a bettor would have gotten crummy odds on the Super Bowl.

So in conclusion . . . it all beats the hell out of me.