How Much Margin Is In Your Multis?

Do you love to multibet?

Three leg multis during Spring Carnival? Or three and four leg sport multis during the AFL or NBA season?

Pros don’t bet that way. There are only two times that pro punters use multis, but before we tell you about those, we wanted to show you a bookmaker’s margin in multibets.

Once you see that you’ll understand why they incentivise multi betting with their promos.


As you know, when betting with online bookmakers, they set the price for both sides of a sporting event (or the fixed price of a horse racing market). They also determine their betting percentage, which is also their profit margin.

An example can be seen in the round 22 2018 NRL match below. Both South Sydney and Sydney are given the exact same chance to win the game.

(Odds correct at 3:30pm on 3/8/18.

At $1.87 for each side, Ladbrokes have set a bookmaker percentage of 106.95%. If there was no margin at all, Ladbrokes would have both selections at $2.00.


Stick with us, we’re nearly there.

The primary way to consistently win as a punter is to place bets at fixed odds that are less than 100%. For example, if you’re backing horses at a fixed price average of $3.50 but they shorten to a starting price (odds at the time the gates open) average of $3.00 then you’re betting into 86% markets and winning at 16%. That would make you an elite punter.

To break even as a punter, you would be getting average odds of exactly 100%.

To lose as a punter, you would be taking average odds which exceed 100%. That’s not easy to do if you’re betting into 105-107% markets every week and don’t have an edge.

When you multi legs together, you effectively increase the bookmaker margin, taking you exponentially further away from 100%.


Bookmaker profit increases because a multibet, as the name suggests, multiplies each leg.

(Odds correct at 1:30pm on 3/8/18.

In the above ticket we see a multibet of $1.90 x $1.90 x $1.90 = $6.85

Or you can choose to see a multi as 102.6% x 102.6% x 102.6% = 108.1%. We use 102.6% because each line bet has two options, with 2.6% margin each.

Whether that multi wins or not, you’ve placed a bet into an 8.1% profit margin market for the bookmaker. If you do this consistently over the long term, it’s likely you will lose money. A five leg multi at these percentages creates a 114% market with a 14% long term profit margin for the bookmaker.

How do you think that’s going to work out for you?

Avoid bookmaker margins and bet against other punters. Betfair is a low margin exchange like Airbnb and Uber.


The percentage stuff can get a little confusing. All you need to know is that online bookmakers have profit built into both sides of a market. When you multiply them, the bookie profit margin increases.

Most corporate bookmakers encourage multi betting in one form or another. It doesn’t matter if its on the NBA, NFL, NRL or tennis, most of these markets will have a promotional to ecncourage multi betting.  Some examples of punters being incentivised to bet in multiples are set out below.

Why would corporate bookmakers incentive this betting method if it wasn’t lucrative? They’re not a charity. They have a responsibility to their shareholders to maximise profit. What better way to do that than incentivise a profitable product.

Strategies Employed By Professional Punters

We know professional punters who use multis for two distinct purposes.

The first is to make their account look less intelligent. Seriously.

If you’re a sophisticated punter who beats online bookmakers with a strategy, then you may need to have other bets littered through your account history. That way you may be less likely to have your account closed or restricted if it’s reviewed.

For example, if you win on the punt by exclusively backing Spring Carnival promotions, then you may need to have other bets on your account. It will make your strike rate and average bet size numbers come down as well as filling up your account history with a variety of bets including multis.

The second example is sharp horse racing punters who have a similar intention, whilst using the multiplication factor to their advantage.

If a horse racing punter is confident that their three best bets for the day are going to shorten significantly from their current fixed odds, then they can multi them together in different combinations. The bets may look less sophisticated and the punter may get his wagers accepted to win a higher amount than he would normally be able to do.

If the three horses are $2.50 but will start at $2 then you can see the punter’s profit compounding:

Two Leg Multi

Real odds (according to the starting price): $2 x $2 = $4.00

Professional Punter’s Multi: $2.50 x $2.50 = $6.25

Three Leg Multi

Real odds: $2 x $2 x $2 = $8.00

Professional Punter’s multi: $2.50 x $2.50 x $2.50 = $15.63

The professional punter is multiplying his considerable advantage over the market and getting odds that are 50-100% greater than the starting price.

Whilst this is an extreme and rare example you can see what some professional punters are able to do with multiples.

The BIG thing to remember, however, is that they are beating the starting price with each betting option. You’ll find it almost impossible to achieve these returns on sports betting, where the markets are less volatile.


Online bookmakers encourage multi betting because it increases their profit margin. Bookies will even often allow you to get one out of four legs wrong and get a refund. They wouldn’t offer these generous incentives if it wasn’t in their best interest.

As noted above, some professional punters use multis in a strategic manner, seeking to make their account look less intelligent and avoid restrictions.

We recommend betting where you have an edge. That generally means focusing on one niche, betting on one event at a time and betting without bookies margins.

Betfair is a peer to peer platform for punters. It’s time you avoided bookmaker margins.

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