Request-a-Bet: The Pros & Cons of a Modern Betting Phenomenon
If you are an avid social media user and follow any of the major bookmakers’ accounts, you wouldn’t have been able to flick through your timeline during the World Cup without seeing them….
‘England to win, Harry Maguire to score a header, over 8.5 corners, under 3.5 cards’
‘France to win, half-time draw, 2-0 correct score, Olivier Giroud to be booked’
….and so on.
But what are these curious combinations of selections? Welcome to the world of bet requests.
Mobile technology has opened up a wealth of opportunities for bookmakers, and the instant communication and community aspect of social media – particularly Twitter – lends itself to bookies conversing directly with their punters.
This notion has been leveraged in the creation of bet request services, which in the most basic layman’s terms are where you can combine a series of different bets into one single wager.
Those examples listed above showcase the breadth and scale of bet requests, and the key to the whole process is time: you can make a request and have it priced up by a trader within minutes.
And, secretly, that’s what the bookies want: their customers to be placing bets quickly, with the minimum of fuss and with no obstacles in their way.
To offer an idea of how rapidly the bet request phenomenon has taken off, most bookmakers and online betting sites now employ dedicated traders to trawl through their social media feeds to pick up bet requests, before compiling the odds in as quick a timeframe as possible.
Our need for instant gratification these days knows no bounds….
How Do I Request a Bet?
If you have a smartphone it is well worth downloading your favourite bookies’ app. Bet placement is quicker and easier – meaning you won’t miss any value odds before they are taken, and you can also get stuck into some bet requests of your own.
Normally you have to opt in to the brand’s bet request service, or use the specific page of the app. Then, you simply add selections to your betslip in the normal way, before clicking ‘request price’ (or similar). If the traders at the other end can price it, you will be notified when your chosen wager is live.
If you don’t have the app, or you’ve a more left-field bet request, then Twitter is arguably the best port of call.
Simply type a tweet containing your selections, and be sure to send it to the relevant @ handle and with the necessary hashtag included. For example, if you want to use the bet request feature from William Hill, you would tweet:
‘@williamhill Man City to win the Premier League, Fulham to stay up, Harry Kane top goalscorer #YourOdds’
They will then reply with either a link to place the bet directly, or by asking you to send them your username via Direct Message, at which point they can facilitate the wager for you.
Remember, not all bet requests can be accepted due to something called ‘related contingency’, which we’ll cover in more detail shortly.
By no means an exhaustive list, here is a sample of some of the Twitter hashtags that various firms use to streamline their bet requests (be sure to visit our bookmaker reviews to also use these firms’ free bet offers:
Betfred – #PickYourPunt
BetVictor – #PriceItUp
William Hill – #YourOdds
Ladbrokes – #GetAPrice
Coral – #YourCall
SkyBet – #RequestABet
You can search those hashtags for bet requests that other punters have put together as well.
Some brands, like bet365, do things differently. They offer a ‘Bet Builder’ platform, which allows you to combine selections and see your accumulative odds without having to wait for somebody to price it up independently. Add selections, take them away….it’s a doddle to use.
In many ways this is a more efficient system, although it should be noted that there is only a limited number of options available via these bet builders.
Bet Request Market Coverage
By and large, you can request bets for football, American football and basketball, although some firms offer tennis and cricket as well.
As far as football is concerned, all of the usual markets can be combined; from match result, handicaps and correct score to goalscorers, cards and corners. There are some unique player-focused markets too, which US punters would call ‘props’: Joe Bloggs to score a header, to score from outside the box, to score a penalty, and so on.
In the NFL, we can request bets that feature match winner, point handicaps, over/under touchdowns, over/under interceptions and those player props: rushing yards, passing yards, receiving yards, and so forth.
As for the NBA, you can choose from match winner, handicap lines, total points and those all-important props like assists, rebounds, steals and blocks.
Requesting A Bet: Is It Worth It?
If you like the sound of requesting a bet and believe it can enhance your enjoyment of your favourite sports, then go for it.
This is an excellent way to control your bets and ensure that the money you are staking is going on selections that you are firmly behind.
We do have to pose the question, however, as to the value of the odds presented.
Remember, all bookmakers want to make profit, and they do so by laying bets and producing a ‘green’ book; meaning that they rarely lose out no matter what the outcome of a sporting event.
With multi-leg bet requests, it suddenly becomes very difficult for them to balance their books; and that can lead to some rather stingy odds being offered.
But then, it’s all relative. Low value odds are better than no odds at all where you feel you have an edge on the market.
The Problem of Related Contingency
Now we have the unenviable task of trying to explain what related contingency is.
Basically, if two bets can possibly influence the outcome of each other in some way then this is known as related contingency, and the bookies won’t take them.
So, you can’t have Manchester City to win the Premier League and Cardiff to be relegated on the same coupon because they are contingent of one another; by saying that Man City will lift the trophy, you are also saying that they won’t be relegated – that would cause a minor odds change on Cardiff to be relegated, as the market would be smaller.
It’s complex, and unfortunately quite tricky to explain!
In short, you may find that a bookie won’t take a punt in the traditional way, and this is why bet request services are so good.
The bookmakers are much more open to selections that would ordinarily break this golden rule, so you could back a couple of teams to finish in the Premier League top half, or a handful of named attackers to score 20+ goals in the season etc.
This is where the request-a-bet phenomenon really comes into its own.