What Do Bet Builders Do?

Technology is improving every single year, and it now plays an important role in how we live our lives. In any given hour, we can play a video game, talk to Siri on our mobile devices, ask Alexa a question, speak to a live chatbot on a company website, and even get notifications to our smartwatches. Even for the older generations, the global pandemic has forced them into using FaceTime and other video platforms to keep in touch with family.

In the betting world, we haven’t escaped the growing influence of technology. For example, we can talk to live chat customer support systems whenever we need help (even at 3am!). Elsewhere, the industry is using machine learning and artificial intelligence to spot strange behaviour and protect users from fraudulent and criminal activity. Now, betting companies are advancing again, and it has led to bet builders.

What’s a Bet Builder? What are Related Contingencies?

For many years, customers have been tweeting betting companies to request a bet. Much like writing some selections onto a slip of paper for the bookie to compile, this is where customers ask the bookmaker the odds for certain accumulators. If you want to bet on something not available in the standard markets, you contact the bookmaker directly and ask for odds.

Well, bet builders are the next step forward for customers of this service (with an added bonus). Rather than having to reach out through email, live chat, or social media, we can do this on an automated service. Ultimately, this means building a bet within seconds rather than having to tweet a company and wait for their reply. The middleman is gone, and we can save time while enjoying the flexibility that comes with building our own bets. What’s more, we can also build bets in a way that hasn’t been possible before.

Screenshot from the 888 bet builder

Related Contingencies

For bet builders to work, they rely on the principle of related contingencies. Essentially, this is where parts of a bet affect other parts. If one selection automatically means that another selection wins, you won’t be allowed to add this to a normal accumulator. For example, you can’t place for Cristiano Ronaldo to score the first goal and for Juventus to win. As soon as he scores the first goal, he has put Juventus in a better position, and you would artificially increase the odds without putting in much work. A similar example is for Chelsea to win a match and to win 3-1; again, both of these outcomes impact one another quite heavily.

In truth, there’s a whole list of examples where one part of a bet seriously impacts another. However, bet builders aren’t traditional accumulators and they do allow related contingencies where one part of a bet affects another.

Motivation for Bookmakers

We know what you’re thinking; why would bookmakers allow players to use related contingencies when using a bet builder when they don’t allow it through regular accumulators? Of course, the answer revolves around money. As the player adds more legs to the bet, the margin for the betting website grows. In many cases, they secure a profit even if the player wins.

When offering standard sports markets, the problem that bookmakers face is the need to be competitive. If you’ve seen one of our betting website reviews, you’ll know that odds are an aspect we consider when comparing services. If a website has poor odds, we’re likely to go elsewhere as customers. With bet building, however, we don’t have the option to go elsewhere. This is a niche service and it allows the bookmaker to offer any odds they please. For us players, we either place the bet or we walk away.

As you can see, this is a perfect scenario for a business driven by profits. Bettors have an urge to build their own bets, and bookmakers can allow them to do this while offering prices that suit them (in other words, prices with high margins).

To summarise, bet builders allow players to do something they haven’t been able to do before; build bets with related contingencies included.

Calculating Odds – Is It a Fair System?

With what we said in the previous section, we know that some people will worry about the fairness of bet builders. In case you didn’t know, bookmakers don’t just make up random odds or even offer odds based on the probability of the outcome occurring. Instead, they need to think about the probability while also building a margin into the odds so that they make a profit (regardless of how the event actually goes).

For things like a coin toss, this is easy to calculate. Rather than 1/1 for both heads and tails, they might offer 4/5 for each to account for a profit. As a potential event has more outcomes and unique markets, the calculation of odds grows in difficulty. To deal with the risk of several outcomes, bookmakers often build larger margins into the odds.

For bet building tools, companies rely on advanced software to do all the calculations on their behalf. After building your bet, the software considers the different selections and their prices before then considering other factors. Ultimately, the fairness of odds in a bet builder comes down to your willingness to take risks. Two different bettors could look at odds for a bet builder and have different feelings towards them.

Screenshot from Unibet’s bet builder.

How Do You Use a Bet Builder?

We’ll talk about the pros and cons of using a tool like this as a player, but first, how do you actually use them in the first place? Thankfully, many of the large names that we all know now provide a bet builder of some kind. While some are available across all devices, some are designed for mobile use alone. Therefore, we recommend choosing one that matches the way you like to bet.

At the moment, we’re still in the early stages of bet building and this means that we’re mostly restricted to football. In the future, this might expand to other sports. For now, football is the main offering, and each website seems to offer different markets and leagues. If you’re choosing a new betting website, be sure to check this information before signing up.

Just like an accumulator, you will look through the available markets and choose between the options to build your bet. As discussed, the difference between this and a normal accumulator is the ability to include related contingencies. For example, your bet might include a player to score, a team to win, and a certain number of corners. Once you’re happy, you’ll see an odds price for the selections in the bet slip. Depending on what you want, you can then play around with selections, change your stake, and make other changes.

Eventually, you’ll find the perfect combination and place your stake. If all the selections are correct, your bet will win, and the winnings should enter your account.

With some platforms, you’ll make the first selection and then choose the bet builder option that appears. With the first selection in the bet slip, it will then display a list of other options to add. For example, choose the match result market and it might suggest the following:

  • Half-Time Result
  • Player to Score First
  • Player to Score Last
  • Red Card in Match
  • Number of Corners
  • Number of Goals
  • Player to Score 2 or More Goals

And the list goes on. Depending on the platform, players can normally choose up to six selections from any one event. Unfortunately, you can’t combine markets from different fixtures. However, by the time you get to six selections, the odds should present a nice return on your original stake. Now, you just need to wait for all six to be correct (if only it was this easy!).

Benefits and Drawbacks of Using a Bet Builder

You now know all about bet builders, related contingencies, and calculating odds…but should you use these tools? Well, the only way to find out is to look at the benefits and drawbacks.

Benefits

  • Control – As the first benefit, lots of players love the control that comes with building their own bets. After years of following the same old markets, it’s nice to get one over on the bookmaker (sort of!) and create our own bets. Rather than basing our style around what’s available, we shape the markets to our betting style.
  • Related Bets – Sometimes, we get a feeling of what will happen in a game of football. Previously, we’d have to place each prediction in a separate bet because they affected one another. Now, we can include several selections from the same fixture in a single bet. You might fancy Arsenal to win but with lots of cards in an aggressive game against Liverpool. This fixture always seems to bring goals, so you might decide to include all sorts of goal-based markets.
  • Inflated Odds – For those tired of small winnings, we can almost inflate odds by adding together selections that are normally incompatible.
  • Fun – Lastly, you can’t deny that building your own bets can come with lots of fun. For many players, they use the tool to create some small-stake bets and make a game that little bit more interesting. It’s like your own Yes/No bet for a fixture (but with better odds!).

Drawbacks

  • Lower Return – You might inflate the odds, but the general rule is that returns are lower with bet builders compared to traditional markets. As we saw before, bookmakers build higher margins into the odds to account for the higher risk. When placing money on a bet builder, seriously consider whether the odds are fair before proceeding.
  • Low Stake Limits – In our experience, bet builders also come with low stake limits, and this is a problem for high rollers. If you’re looking to place large amounts on these bets, it just isn’t going to be possible.
  • Limited Sports – At the moment, bet builders are all about football. While some platforms allow you to bet on European leagues and lower leagues, others stick to just the major competitions. In the future, we hope that bet builders spread to all different sports.

As another minor problem, you should know that bet builders don’t help you to reach the wagering requirements of a welcome bonus. Don’t create bets in this way and expect it to contribute to wagering requirements.

Important Considerations with Bet Builders

What else do you need to know about bet builders and the bets they create? Firstly, we want to reiterate the importance of paying attention to odds. When researching online, you’ll see people complaining that it’s just a way for bookmakers to take advantage of players by offering poor odds. While this isn’t quite the case, you should only place money on bets when you feel comfortable.

At the same time, be aware that cashing out isn’t an option with bet builder bets. Once the money is placed, there’s nothing you can do but watch as you get closer or further away from winning the money. Additionally, you won’t be able to fall back on promotions like Acca Insurance where the bookmaker refunds a bet if one selection fails. With bet builders, you won’t get anything back even if you come within one selection of winning.

In the past, we’ve seen bettors choosing a bet builder because it’s trendy at the moment. Some of the time, they would be better off with wincasts and scorecasts. Therefore, we recommend checking these markets for something you like before going into the bet builder. Not only will this help you to find more applicable markets, but it will also allow you to bet on other sports rather than just football.

As always, you shouldn’t see bet builders as a get-rich-quick scheme (no matter what you might read on the internet). Have fun, make football games more exciting, and enjoy creating accumulators that contain related contingencies for the first time!

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About the author

Carl Hughes

Editor

Carl Hughes

Editor

Carl Hughes is a leading expert on sports and casino betting. Carl began his career with a BSc in Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences from the University of Birmingham before working within the industry for some of the bigger names (GVC and Bet365) and has been praised as being "a leading sports betting commentator".