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Whether you’re a serious football bettor or a casual punter that simply follows a few tipsters on Facebook, you’ve almost certainly encountered running accumulators (often called challenge bets) at some stage.

They certainly sound attractive, but can they ever be used to generate steady profits? Let’s take a closer look.

What are Running Accumulators?

A running acca, or challenge bet, is a fairly easy concept to understand. You start with a set stake and place it all on one bet. If it wins, you roll everything (original stake plus bet one winnings) onto bet two. The process is continued until you are ready to cash out.

In theory, this is no different to placing an accumulator on the Saturday football accumulator. However, you get to spread the bets out over a longer period, which gives you a better chance to research each selection. Meanwhile, by sticking to one bet at a time, it’s often easier to incorporate in-play wagers into the equation.

Generally, there are two ways of using running accumulators. You can either pick selections with attractive odds in hopes of reaching your target in fewer bets or choose a higher volume of low-risk odds-on favourites.

The choice between the two can impact the route greatly. To make things easier, let’s compare the returns for selections of Evens (2.0) versus 2/5 (1.4) with a starting stake of £20.

Bets Taken @ EvensBets Taken @ 2/5
Bet 1£20 pays £40£20 pays £28
Bet 2£40 pays £80£28 pays £39.20
Bet 3£80 pays £160£39.20 pays £54.88
Bet 4£160 pays £320£54.88 pays £76.83
Bet 5£320 pays £640£76.83 pays £107.56
Bet 6£640 pays £1,280£107.56 pays £150.58
Bet 7£1,280 pays £2,560£150.58 pays £210.81
Bet 8£2,560 pays £5,120£210.81 pays £295.13
Bet 9£5,120 pays £10,240£295.12 pays £413.18
Bet 10£10,240 pays £20,480£413.18 pays £578.45

With the Evens bets, it doesn’t take many winning selections to see some serious profits. Then again, theoretically, the individual 2/5 picks should be a far less risk of losing. The method utilised is usually down to the punter’s personal preferences.

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

The basic principles of the system are quite clear to understand, but what about the reality of implementing it?

The Good

Running accumulators offer a lot of attractive prospects while they additionally boast several elements that can be seen as an advantage over standard accas as well as single bets. Here are some of the positives to consider:

  1. Even if you lose all the money on bet 9, 10, or 11, your bankroll has only decreased by the amount of the initial stake.
  2. Each selection gains your full attention, reducing the odds of picking poor choices due to inadequate research. This can be a major problem for the standard weekend coupons.
  3. It’s possible to take out a little money after X amount of bets. On the Evens selections, for example, you could take out your stake after bet two and still place a bet worth 3x the initial stake on bet three.
  4. A good run of selections will bring far bigger profits than level staking on single bets.
  5. It only takes a small percentage of running accumulators to reach your target to secure long-term profits. For example, on the Evens money bets, cashing out after five bets just once in every 15 challenges will yield fantastic ROIs.
  6. Cashing out can allow you to cut losses or take a profit on bets you feel might lose.

The Bad

While the appealing elements are undoubtedly huge, the running accumulators method can be quite a dangerous one too. Here are just some of the reasons why you may wish to avoid it:

  1. The chances of gaining the strike rates needed to generate profits is often very slim.
  2. Gaining the mindset of “only take bets at odds of X” can mean that you’ll miss value on other selections.
  3. It requires patience to make money from this route as trying to cram too many bets into a short period will almost always lead to one error. Most people lack that discipline.
  4. The pressure when reaching the higher echelons of challenge bets can be too much for some punters.
  5. It’s very easy to lose one running accumulator and move immediately onto the next. As such, you could lose several stakes in a single day, even if you don’t lose every bet.
  6. High stakes punters may find that they hit the maximum bet limits far sooner than they’d ideally like, throwing the whole strategy into danger.

The Ugly

The worst thing about the running accumulators is quite simply the fact that you could potentially have 15 winners out of 17 bets and still walk away with a loss equivalent to two stakes. Even if you were betting on fairly heavy odds-on favourites, you’d have been far better on more traditional staking plans.

If you’d been on Even stakes, you’ve essentially lost out on what would’ve been a profit equivalent to 13x the original stake.

The AceBet’s Verdict

Running accumulators sound very attractive, and it’s very easy to be won over by the social media adverts and notifications from tipsters claiming to have hit a fifth winning challenge of the week. But even if they have, many fail to offer full transparency by declaring the many losing bets that lost on selection one.

The harsh reality is that the odds of hitting several winners in a row are stacked against you, even when you pick individual selections that offer value.

For example, your Evens money selections may have a 60% chance of winning thanks to your superior value identification skills. Still, linking them in a row of winners is far less likely:

One winning bet = 60% chance

Two winning bets = 36% chance

Three winning bets = 21.6% chance

Four winning bets = 12.96% chance

Five winning bets = 7.77% chance

Six winning bets = 4.66 chance

Even when individual bets give you an edge, actively perming them for long-term success can be very difficult indeed. And that’s before taking red cards and other unexpected outcomes into account.

If you have the patience, the bankroll, and the ability to pick value, running accumulators can produce positive ROIs on a long-term basis. However, it would always be advised to either lower the expectations of individual running accas or take some money out after each few winning selections.

In truth, though, this system is probably best used as a bit of fun on a weekend when trying to win big just like you would with the traditional accumulator. Generally speaking, getting into the habit of placing several running accumulators on a daily basis will only end in tears.

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