Accumulator bets, often known colloquially as ‘accas’, are bets made using more than a single selection. Often these bets consist of four or more legs, all them being required to win in order for them to pay out.
Essentially, the basic premise is that the stake and profit together from the first winning bet in the accumulator or ‘multiple’ bet rolls over to the next bet and so on, right up to the final selection when the bet is finally settled. That all assumes a winning acca of course, but as soon as one leg of the bet loses, the whole bet is finished and is settled as a loser.
There is more than one way to place a bet using multiple selections, the straight accumulator being one of the best known and most popular around especially where football and horse racing is concerned.
When calling a bet an ‘accumulator’, it usually means there are four or more selections involved. But other multiple bets exist right from two selections and upwards with the smallest of those bets often known by their basic numerical description, i.e., ‘double’.
Betting on a ‘double’ means picking out two successful selections in two different events. Due to its perceived ease, the double is the most popular multiple bet in horse racing.
The double is used most of all in horse racing by punters looking to excavate a better return from two short-priced runners, those often priced at 5/4 and below and often even odds-on.
Naturally, some good knowledge is needed as even with market leaders, putting two of your valuable eggs in one betting basket is risky and so you want both of your selections to be very solid indeed.
A good example of this would be the strong favourites for the first two races at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival. While both horses were odds-on, nothing was making much appeal in the rest of the pack. At 8/11, Appreciate It would only return a £7.27 profit for a £10 bet, while Shishkin would return even less at 4/9 (£4.44).
Given how solid these two horses were however, many backed them in win doubles which greatly increased the value of the bet as a whole. Meeting half-way on the stake, those betting on a £15 win double on those two would have their bet break down like this:
£15 win double:
- £15 on Appreciate it at 8/11 = £25.91 return
- £25.91 on Shishkin at 4/9 = £37.42 return
This led to an overall net win of £22.42, more than betting £10 each on the two horses in a single. Another way to look at it is that 8/11 and 4/9 together are near enough a 6/4 bet, a price many were willing to take on both of these hot favourites winning.
Naturally, a treble works in exactly the same way as a double but with one extra selection for three in total.
In football, this is still rather a small multiple bet but within horse racing, even at short odds, the chances of successfully backing three horses to win always seems rather remote unless your knowledge and your luck are of a high standard!
Again, in a winning treble the total returns from the first selection roll on to the next, then again onto the last leg. Those brave enough to have gone for horses with juicy odds have sometimes scored very big with trebles.
The first three winners on day two of Royal Ascot 2021 were all big prices, but were all relatively well fancied in places. Had you placed only a speculative £5 treble on these three, it would have worked out like this:
£5 win treble:
- £5 on Quick Suzy at 8/1 = £45 return
- £45 on Kemari at 15/2 = £382.50 return
- £382.50 on Indie Angel at 22/1 = £8,797.50 return
Meaning one £5 treble bet would have returned almost £9k for the lucky customer.
4-Folds and More
Once you get to more than three selections, multiple bets are usually known as accumulators. More specifically, some bookmakers may still refer to them by how many selections you’ve chosen, such as the 4-fold.
A 4-fold is an accumulator made up of four selections to win, all in different events. It works exactly the same way as the doubles and trebles explained above.
5-folds, 6-folds and anything up to 20+ selections are allowed as accumulators, most often taken up by football punters looking to squeeze the value out of odds-on home favourites on busy Saturday betting coupons.
You can place accumulators not just on the win, but also on things such as ‘both teams to score’. In horse racing, you can also place an each-way accumulator.
In this case, you place your multiple bet in the same way as you would a normal each-way bet, doubling the stake. So, a £10 each-way double, treble or 4-fold would cost you £20 in total and is settled in the usual way.
When to Use Accumulators
There are several times when using accumulators has some value. These three ways will help you get the most out of them:
- When Single Prices are Restrictive
As mentioned above, sometimes you can be super-confident about two horses but would not want to risk the stakes on backing them separately at short odds. Putting them in a double works best.
- When You’re Happy Betting with Small Stakes
You can afford to take a chance on three or more horses, or those priced a little more generously, when you’re happy to keep stakes to a minimum and just have fun with it.
- When You Mix Up the Sports
There is nothing wrong with a mixed accumulator. You may like a horse, but it’s odds-on. Instead of forcing the bet by choosing another horse or two just to boost the odds, add in your most confident football, rugby or cricket selection to the acca.
While a true accumulator has a minimum of four selections included, many other multiple bets are available using the same, fewer or more selections covering a multitude of potential outcomes.
For example, you can have 4 bets on a single slip from only 3 selections, making the most of what are used as permutations or simply ‘perms’.
These bets allow for losing legs of the bet, but cover all of the possible combinations such as doubles, trebles, 4-folds etc, each having to be paid for, with all perm bets having familiar names to betting shop regulars.
The Trixie Bet for example involves punters picking out three selections, making up four bets in total. The bet can’t include singles, but covers one treble and three doubles. A £5 Trixie is broken down like this:
- £5 double on horses 1 & 2
- £5 double on horses 2 & 3
- £5 double on horses 1 & 3
- £5 treble on horses 1, 2 & 3
This means a £5 Trixie costs £20 in total, with any two of the chosen horses winning then leading to a return. Other perm bets such as Patents and Yankees also exist.