Betting in football has exploded over the past decade or so, having become part of the matchday ritual for so many. One of the most popular methods of having a flutter on the weekend’s fixtures has been the accumulator, a selection of several matches in which they all must be correct to win money.
There have been some huge success stories, punters putting on a couple of quid and winning big, but across the country, every week fans are picking their games and often, being let down. It’s as common to see a response to a result as being a let down on an accumulator from a random fan as it is for the side who have lost to be criticised by their own supporters. Towards the end of last season League Two champions Lincoln City failed to win a game after securing the title, much to the ire of neutral betting fans everywhere.
Why is the accumulator so popular, though? What is it that brings supporters back time and again to their accounts, picking those matches and hoping for a win, big or small, to brag about to their friends?
One reason that accumulators are so popular are the introductory offers from different companies. Often punters are offered a ‘no deposit’ free bet, such as the £20 free no deposit casino bets. The concept is that with no financial input from you, a bet can be placed and winnings accrued. Some football gamblers will even hop from company to company, taking advantage of such great opening offers.
Also, every football supporter likes to think he knows his team, his division. That’s another reason why an accumulator is so attractive, it’s not simply a game of chance. The gambler believes there’s an element of skill in what he’s doing. Maybe Lincoln City didn’t win those matches, but a discerning fan might have spotted that they were winding down having already won the title. There’s a chance to beat the bookie and every gambler’s aim is to do just that.
There is also the thrill of a Saturday afternoon being made even brighter by having a vested interest in other matches. Even if you don’t bet on your own team, you can have a reason to check the Scottish Third Division, just in case Berwick Rangers are still holding Elgin City to a draw.
Placing an ‘accy’ as they’re fondly known can also be a great way to have a bit of competition with your friends. Settling down in the pub for a pre-match pint, checking each other’s bets has become as much a part of a Saturday afternoon as buying a programme or a pie at half time.
Placing and checking those bets has become easier in the modern age too, fans can get the scores on their phones as they’re watching games, or sat in their living room at home. With a multitude of options available such as cashing out, it’s little wonder an accumulator has become an accepted part of our sporting experience.
The football gambling industry was worth £1.4bn in 2017, proof enough that a quick accumulator on a Saturday afternoon is becoming a widely accepted part of our sporting culture, and will be for many years to come.