I’ve had the idea for this article ever since I used a Ladbrokes betting shop in Newcastle city centre to place a football accumulator instead of taking my usual route and doing it online. It was a lad’s day out and it was decided that cash in hand would be much more appealing for later in the evening when the acca inevitably landed.
Being me the first thing I did when I left the shop was pull out my phone and compare the odds I got on the high street vs the odds available online… the outcome of which was pretty incredible.
The bet paid out at just over 25/1 on the printed Ladbrokes slip but Betvictor were paying 43/1 on the exact same bet.
It was at this point I decided to investigate further and this week/weekend I finally got my act together, picked up some football coupons from local betting shops and compared them with prices online. This is what I found:
Betting Shop Odds vs Online Odds
I picked the following games at random to try and get a decent reflection on the situation.
Attached below are scanned copies of the coupons so you can see the data is legit. Fractional odds have been converted to decimal.
Note: Feel free to use any of the above data or coupons for your own analysis. If you do publish any findings please be sure to reference this page as your data source.
There are a few key points I want to make about the data:
Market Structure and Vig
First up its pretty obvious where the high street bookmakers are gaining their edge, it’s on the outsider. The prices available on the side less fancied to win any of the fixtures covered are significantly cut and pretty much every game in my sample proves this. In fact I’d go as far as to say they are ripping punters off here e.g. AZ v Benfica 4.0 < 5.50, Lyon v Juventus 4.33 < 6.0, Bournemouth v QPR 2.60 < 3.40.
The vig charged to the market by high street bookies is out of control when compared to online bookmakers. Run any of the markets in the sample through this 3-way no vig calculator and you’ll see by just how much.
An example from Bournemouth v QPR:
Coral Shop: Home 2.50 (no-vig 2.76), Draw 3.10 (no-vig 3.43), Away 2.60 (no-vig 2.87)
Bet365: Home 2.25 (no-vig 2.30), Draw 3.50 (no-vig 3.58), Away 3.40 (no-vig 3.48)
On the flip side of things it’s also apparent that when it comes to backing the favourite in any match the high street is much more competitive. I’ve got a few theories on this; football punters bet favourites in accumulators frequently and tightening odds here would discourage too much action, people pay more attention to the price of the favourite and therefore they must be seen to be fair, they are willing to gamble with punters who want to place odds on bets but not punters who want longer prices.
I’ve written extensively on where you should place football accumulators to get the best possible return on your money and I can tell you straight up that it’s damn sure NOT on the high street.
You can check any combinations out for yourself using our betting calc tool but here’s a few just to highlight how much more you’ll win if you place your accumulators online:
Acca: Benfica, FC Basel, Man Utd, QPR
William Hill Shop: £10 = £222.20
William Hill Online: £10 = £379.17
Betvictor: £10 = £382.92
Acca: Aston Villa, Newcastle, Millwall, Bournemouth
Coral Shop: £10 = £665
Coral Online £10 = £1,112.63
Betvictor: £10 = £1,014.71
Bet365: £10 = £934.09
The insane thing here is that the same brands are offering massively different prices to their online customers vs their high street customers. The difference between the Coral Shop and Coral Online in the second example is a staggering £447.63 for the EXACT SAME bet… total rip off.
The Bottom Line
Well to be honest I don’t think you need me to sum things up for you. It should be blatantly obvious after reading the analysis that high street bookmakers simply can’t compete with their online counterparts.
The big question is why and the answer to that question is likely market competition. Online bookmakers compete against every other firm who operates an online book.
High street bookmakers compete against one or two other betting shops in town and it’s likely it doesn’t matter how their prices compare. The vast majority of high street punters will use the same local betting shop time and time again because it’s closer, they know the people in there, the staff are friendly, there’s free tea or coffee, it’s their lucky shop etc etc.
Online punters only have to load a different website and boom their business has switched from one bookmaker to another. It’s much easier, there’s more choice and hence there’s more competition.
Click the link and on the homepage you’ll find a constantly updated list of the best 5 or 6 online betting sites. All are offering incentives to sign up and I guarantee you’ll get better odds with all of them than on the high street.
Hit this link to find out how to get the best possible odds when you place your football accumulator bets. I’m pretty sure after look at the odds comparison above you’ll want to switch to an online bookmaker.