Life is a game of risk and reward. At some point along the line you are going to need to take a risk if you are to achieve your ambitions.
Those aren’t always huge risks – starting a new career path, buying a home with your partner, etc. – but they will alter your life in some way.
Placing an accumulator bet is certainly less important than making life decisions, but the notion of risk and reward is still very much in play here, and a big win could potentially change your life.
In the ‘olden days’ punters used to place a simple bet on an event that they felt they had spotted a good opportunity in and hope that the outcome landed in their favour. That is all well and good, but clearly, there is a glass ceiling to betting on these single outcomes; if you put a tenner on either of the above, there is only so much money you can make based on the odds offered by the bookies.
As punters, we like calculated risks and so that’s why betting on doubles, trebles and accumulators has become increasingly popular in the UK and beyond. By betting in such a fashion, we appreciate that our stake money is at greater risk, but that the enhanced rewards speak for themselves.
What is an Accumulator?
An accumulator, or an acca as it is often known informally, is simply a method of betting on multiple events using a single betslip. Two or three wagers are known as doubles and trebles, respectively, while bets with four legs or more are given the moniker of an accumulator. Sometimes, this will also be known as a ‘fold’, so four-fold, five-fold and so on.
Why are accas known as such? Because the odds of each single outcome occurring are multiplied together, and thus your winnings ‘accumulate’ with each leg. Allow us to explain….
- Single Betting – Chelsea to beat Watford at odds of 7/10 -> £10 bet, return of £17.
- Double Betting – Chelsea to beat Watford at odds of 7/10, and Arsenal to beat West Brom at 8/13. -> £10 bet at accumulative odds of 1.74/1, return of £27.46.
- Treble Betting – Chelsea to beat Watford at odds of 7/10, Arsenal to beat West Brom at 8/13 and Liverpool to beat Swansea at 1/2. -> £10 bet at accumulative odds of 3.11/1, return of £41.19.
- Accumulator Betting – Chelsea to beat Watford at odds of 7/10, Arsenal to beat West Brom at 8/13, Liverpool to beat Swansea at 1/2 and Manchester City to beat West Ham at 8/15. -> £10 bet at accumulative odds of 5.31/1, return of £63.16.
…and so on. Remember, an accumulator is not restricted to just four legs, you can add five, six, or twenty six if the bookie will allow it, but clearly the amount of risk your bet faces increases exponentially with each leg, and that’s because of the golden rule:
Every leg of an accumulator must land for your bet to be successful.
Saying that, there are different types of more forgiving ‘cover bet’ accumulators such as the Lucky 15, which we will describe in more detail in a separate guide, but for the purposes of this guide and traditional multiple betting, remember the golden rule.
In the example given, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City must all win their games for the acca to be successful.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Accumulator Betting
Flick through any given week’s football fixtures or horse racing cards and you will no doubt see a couple of jollies that you really fancy to do the business.
The low-risk punters will bet on all of these as singles so as to minimise the fear factor, but then they have to fork out numerous different stakes too.
Wouldn’t it be better to just make one single outlay and then trouser greater returns should your bet come in? That is the attitude of the more devil may cry amongst the betting community, and it is those guys who make the headlines with their life-changing wins.
Naturally, there is an obvious disadvantage to acca betting and that’s the complete absence of any margin for error. Every pick you make has to land in order for your accumulator to be successful. The more selections you add, the more the risk of losing increases.
There are ways to combat this as we will discuss later in this article, such as betting on lower risk markets (Draw No Bet, Double Chance, Asian Handicaps), but the reality is if one line lets you down on your acca betslip then you can screw it up and throw it in the bin without a second thought.
How Much Money Can I Win with Accumulator Betting?
The truthful answer is quite a lot if you play your cards right.
Fancy following in Fred Craggs’ footsteps? The wily old Yorkshireman placed his own 50p accumulator….and went on to win £1 million! He picked out a lengthy list of selections, whacked them down in a 2,000,000/1 acca and the rest, as they say is history.
Horse racing has been a rich hunting ground for acca punters down the years, and another who benefitted from it was Darren Yeats. Incredibly, he had backed the 25,000/1 feat of magnificence from Frankie Dettori, who rode seven winners in a day at Ascot back in 1996. Yeats put his acca on and landed a bounty of more than £500,000!
Football is also ripe for the picking as far as accumulator betting is concerned, as Mick Gibbs found out.
Not content with landing £157,000 from a £2.50 nine-fold in 1999, Gibbs continued on his quest for the perfect acca and nailed the jackpot two years later: a stonking 15-fold at accumulative odds of 1,600,000/1! Imagine the joy coursing through his veins as Valencia missed a key penalty against Bayern Munich for his last leg to be a winner.
These are a couple of examples that are literally one in a million, but clearly, there is truth in the saying that fortune favours the brave.
Which Sports/Markets are available in Accumulator Betting?
We’ve mentioned football and horse racing quite a lot so far in this article, but the truth is that pretty much any sport you can think of can be wagered upon in such a way.
Tennis is another ever-popular option; typically there are plenty of matches each day – certainly in the opening rounds of tournaments – and so punters can often see their accas through within a couple of hours.
With horse racing there are only two choices: back the horse to win outright or each way. With other sports, however, there are a whole bunch of markets to explore, and most of these can be backed in an accumulative fashion. Some examples from football include:
- Match Winner
- Both Teams to Score
- Over/Under 2.5 Goals
- Team Goals
- Correct Score
- Double Chance
- Draw No Bet
How to Place an Accumulator Bet
Placing an accumulator is easy, whether you choose to bet in a bookies shop or online. If you want to stick on your acca on the high street, simply write down your selections on your betslip and indicate that you want to place a multiple on your coupon.
If you want to put together an acca on your phone or tablet, the process is just as simple:
First of all, you will need to add your selections to the betslip. To do so, just click on the relevant odds:
These will then be added to your betslip, like this:
Next is a crucial part – you need to make sure you are placing a straight accumulator, rather than a series of single bets or a cover bet multiple such as a Lucky 15 or Yankee.
The main error new punters make, as identified in the example above, is that they will enter their stake amount in the boxes next to the selection. This is incorrect, as the betslip will assume you want to place singles.
In the example above (and most online bookies will look something similar to this), you will need to click on ‘Multiples’.
To complete the job, you will have to decide how much you want to stake and place your bet.
Simply enter the amount in the box next to ‘4-Folds’ (or however many selections are on your coupon), double check the amount (important!) and then click Place Bet:
Now all you need to do is tick off the selections as they come in – if they come in.
Accumulator Betting Strategies
There are a number of different techniques available when placing an acca – from the risk-averse to the caution be damned – and the key is to ensure that you stick to the format that suits your budget. As we found out earlier in this article, even accumulators of 30 pence can win mega money if your selections are good.
The key point to any bet, whether it’s a single wager or part of an accumulator, is an appreciation of value. We can calculate implied and theoretical probabilities, but that’s another discussion for a different day; for the purposes of this article, it is the inherent value in a price that we are looking for.
Even though you are placing a multiple bet, don’t be tempted into beefing up your betslip with selections that you haven’t properly researched or that are long priced. Remember, the notion of ‘value’ is that the bet stands a greater chance of coming in than the odds imply; the actual numbers involved are irrelevant, but they can be distracting.
There are three broad types of accumulator strategy that can be deployed: the sensible, the long shot, and the low risk.
The sensible is as the name suggests; a steady four or five-fold in which all of the selections are picked on perceived value. There’s no nod to the price itself – i.e. no hunting for long odds or short-priced certainties – and so it’s an acca that offers a decent chance of landing if the picks are well researched.
The long shot strategy is self-evident; this involves picking a bunch of teams/players/horses at long prices so that your accumulative odds are huge. Alternatively, we can say that a large number of sensible selections – say six or more – is a long shot strategy because the chance of success diminishes with each extra pick.
The short odds certainties approach is something of a misnomer; there is no such thing as a certainty in betting. The idea is that you would pick hot favourites – so the best teams playing at home if wagering on the football – and that should theoretically enhance your chances of winning.
But think about it, even with eight selections your odds might creep up to 5/1. Now, have you ever seen a dead cert priced at 5/1? We haven’t, and bookmakers aren’t daft (that’s why they are the ones with all the money). Your acca might look bulletproof on paper, but the odds speak for themselves.
Accumulator Betting: Which Bookies are Best?
Now that’s the one million dollar question. Every single punter has their own set of preferences when it comes to finding the best bookie, and unfortunately, it would be inaccurate to say that one bookmaker dominates over all others.
So in that sense it’s an idea to open up a number of different accounts. Not only will you be able to take advantage of the fantastic sign-up offers – perfect for accumulator betting – you’ll also have a variety of odds to work with, ensuring your acca returns the very best bang for your buck.
If you need any further assistance, check out the reviews of the ten best betting sites right here.