We’ve all been there: we’ve had a great idea for a bet on a specific football match, gone to our favourite betting app or website and been left disappointed by a lack of action on the part of the bookies.
We might have a penchant for Liverpool to win a game, Mo Salah to bag a brace and for their to be stacks of corners, or we might fancy Kevin de Bruyne to score from outside the box in a game where there’s loads of yellow cards.
Whatever your angle, it’s always a kick to the nethers when the bookies don’t have a price ‘off the shelf’ for you to back.
Mind you, huge strides have been made on that front by the rise in popularity of so-called bet requests.
These, quite simply, allow you to request specific selections to be rolled into one multiple bet; helping you to take on the bookies when you have found a worthy angle to pursue.
Each bookmaker will have their own name for this process and also their own methods for you to get involved, and this guide will take you through the myriad ways you can request your bets.
We’ll also look at any advantages of doing so, and we answer the burning question: do they represent sound betting value?
What Sort of Bets Can I Request?
The only limit to requesting a bet is your imagination!
If we take the example of football, of which 99.9% of bet requests are for, then think about all of the possibilities:
- Match Result
- Both Teams to Score/Total Goals
- Cards and Corners
- First/Last/Anytime Goalscorer
- To Score a Header
- To Score From Outside of the Box
- To Be Booked/Sent Off
And so on.
You can also request bets relating to outright markets too. So you might ask for ‘Manchester City to win the Premier League, Fulham to be relegated and Leicester to finish inside the top half’, or ‘No English team to reach the Champions League final’.
Like we say, it is up to you and your imagination when requesting a bet.
How Can I Request a Bet?
Across the board, there are two ways in which you can request a bet.
The most popular method is via Twitter, using the appropriate hashtag for each bookie (we’ve listed a few of these in the section below).
The process is as simple as 1, 2, 3:
1) Send a Tweet with your requested selections included, e.g. ‘No English team to reach the Champions League final #YourOdds @WilliamHill’.
2) Wait for them to reply as their traders see if they can price up your request.
3) If they can, you will be sent a link to add the request directly to your betslip, or at least pointed in the right direction to find your bet on their website/app.
If your idea for a request a bet is a bit more formulaic, or you are running out of time before a match starts, then you can always try the Bet Builder options that are available with firms like bet365 and Coral.
These are ready-made bet requests where you select from a number of options, add them to your betslip (usually a maximum of six legs) and your odds are automatically generated.
This is a quicker and easier way to build your own bets without relying on social media responses, although it must be noted that the available options are typically fewer than with open-ended bet requests.
What Does Each Bookie Offer?
As you would expect, the vast majority of bookmakers have climbed aboard the bet request bandwagon.
In truth, most are offering a similar ‘product’, although some firms do stand out over others for a variety of reasons.
At William Hill, there is a strong emphasis on Twitter-led requests via the #YourOdds hashtag. But you can ask for odds on horse racing requests as well as football, and there is a section of their website/app dedicated to #YourOdds picks from other like-minded punters.
With Ladbrokes’ #GetAPrice vehicle, you can ask for prices on a wide variety of football competitions, including the Championship, La Liga and Serie A. You can also combine a comprehensive range of match and player props for the ultimate in bet requestery.
And we really like the fact that with Betfred’s #PickYourPunt feature, you can make requests up to 30 minutes before kick off. That means you can take advantage of accurate team news in your bet requests.
There are lots more options for punters of course, including Coral’s #YourCall, Paddy Power’s ingeniously-titled #AskPaddyPower and 888sport’s #MarketMaker, amongst many others.
The Advantages of Requesting a Bet
There are critics of the requesting a bet phenomenon, and later in this guide we will raise the issue of betting value to determine the worth, or otherwise, of bet requests.
Mind you, it would be remiss of us not to discuss the numerous advantages as well.
Take Back Control
This is, clearly, the main benefit of requesting a bet.
You can request the selections you want, when you want, prior to hitting that place bet button. There are few feelings as satisfying as landing a successful request-a-bet, and as long as you follow some basic pointers (more on those later) then you stand every chance of doing exactly that.
No longer are you at the mercy of the bookies and their often unbackable odds; now you can combine selections as you want to in order to place bets you truly believe in.
Make Your Knowledge Count
Some punters pride themselves on the knowledge they have of a particular sport or competition.
For example, you may follow a lower league football side in England home and away, and as such you have built up your own dossier of knowledge about all of the teams and players involved.
Maybe you are a fan of a slightly niche sport, such as darts or volleyball, and you believe you can make your enhanced level of insight count.
These are just a couple of examples of how you can use your knowledge and request bets catered to that.
Playing the Field
There is absolutely nothing that says you can’t ask more than one bookie when you’re requesting a bet, is there!
Nope, and it’s good practice to put bet requests through to as many different firms as possible.
The chances are that you will get a variety of different odds supplied on your selections, which enables you to back the best and make the most of your bet.
Consider it like shopping around for the best price on a specific TV set, for instance.
Overcoming Related Contingencies
Okay, so things are about to take a complex, technical turn, but stick with us.
In sports betting, may selections cannot be combined together due to related contingency, which is where one of the picks has an impact upon the other.
For example, you wouldn’t be able to place a double of a 3-0 correct score and Over 2.5 Goals, because clearly they are related to one another.
There are certain markets already that counteract related contingencies, such as wincasts, scorecasts and the Match Winner & BTTS markets, but bet requests actually take this to the next level by circumnavigating the bookies’ usual rules.
Remember, you can request pretty much anything with your bets, and while you may not always be supplied with a price if the contingencies are too closely related, you are far more likely to be able to bend these rules with bet requests.
A Question of Value
The main detractors of bet requests will tell you that the prices you are offered rarely reflect the actual probability of your selections occurring concurrently.
There’s an element of truth to that. Remember, every time the bookies set odds they build a certain amount of risk mitigation into the price, so that they aren’t too badly out of pocket should a certain ‘thing’ take place.
Now, consider that over-round, as it’s known, on bets with three or more selections, for example. The bookies’ financial risk increases, and so by virtue does their shortening of the true odds.
As such, we recognise that bet requests are some of the most badly-priced betting options on the market.
That’s the black-and-white, slightly close-minded view of the concept.
But the more positive take is that, often, bet requests are the only way to get a price on something. Here’s an example: In November 2018, Leicester City were beset by tragedy when the club’s popular owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, sadly died in a helicopter crash.
The Foxes played Cardiff less than a week later, and a few things were almost a given: Leicester would win the match, and any of their players that scored would likely remove their shirt after netting to reveal a message of affection for Vichai.
That’s exactly what happened when Demarai Gray obliged for the East Midlands club.
Now, ‘traditional’ punters would not have been able to combine those theories into one bet, giving request-a-bet fanatics a clear edge.
Value is about perception; and also in knowing that a price – no matter how much it has been squeezed – is often better than no price at all.
A Perfect Example of Request a Bet
To coincide with the World Cup in the summer of 2018, BetVictor ran a competition called The Million Pound Bet, where basically punters were tasked with coming up with the best winning request-a-bet.
The winner bagged a million, as the name suggests, but its worth noting that even beyond the mechanics of the contest he or she still would have landed a cool 17,000/1 winning wager!
Here’s their selections, which related to the Portugal vs Uruguay match in the last 16:
- Uruguay to Win 2-1
- Uruguay Over 1.5 Corners
- Uruguay Under 2.5 Corners
- Portugal Over 9.5 Corners
- Portugal Under 10.5 Corners
- Uruguay Under 0.5 Cards
Request a Bet Tips
We can use those selections in the example above to examine the do’s and don’ts of bet requests.
Firstly, we can reflect on the individual’s selections and see that they have clearly done their homework.
They have recognised that Uruguay were the likely winner, but that the South Americans were not a side who won many corners – in stark contrast to Portugal. The punter also researched Uruguay’s fair play record, and perhaps a lenient referee, to come up with the ‘no card’ pick.
The key strategy relating to bet requests is to ensure all selections are complimentary. The punter ahead of the Uruguay vs Portugal match clearly had a concept in mind of how the match would pan out, and bet accordingly.
Was their luck involved? Absolutely, getting the correct score and the exact number of corners for both teams was a minor miracle. But at the same time, the notion of doing your research and requesting selections based on the stats clearly came home to roost for this fortuitous individual.
The final bit of advice, which refers to all aspects of betting, is to have fun. There are just a handful of professional sports gamblers on the planet, which reflects how difficult it is to make a living from your selections.
As such, requesting a bet should be considered a fun exercise to enhance your enjoyment of a particular sporting event. If the wager lands, happy days!