In years gone by, punters would pick out their selections – be it on the football, horse racing, or any other sport – and back them in single bets, before retiring to the armchair and cheering them home.
However, as time has passed, and the presence of online betting and mobile apps has grown, more and more with a penchant for a punt have started grouping those single picks onto one bet slip, popularly known as a multiple or accumulator.
The accumulator, known colloquially as an ‘acca’, offers bettors advantages and some drawbacks, but the excitement they generate and enhanced returns when they land successfully can be considerable. So, what is acca betting, and how does an accumulator work? And perhaps, most pertinently, is it the right way to bet for you?
What is an Accumulator Bet?
To answer the question of ‘what is an accumulator bet’, let’s first consider your options when it comes to wagering. Let’s imagine that you have browsed the Premier League fixture list on a Saturday, and you’ve picked out three teams you want to back: Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea for example.
Now, you know that trio is going to be a hot favourite in their respective matches, and so they will likely be available at heavy odds-on prices. So, if you bet on them as singles, your profit potential will be limited.
Yet with football accumulator bets, we can multiply those three selections together to enhance our return. If they all win as hoped, our profit is increased accordingly. However, a word of caution: it only takes one leg of an accumulator to lose for your whole coupon to go up in smoke.
How Does an Accumulator Work?
This time, we’re going to back a horse called Three-Legged Wonder. It’s available at even money odds, and so if we place a £10 wager on it, we would return £20 if our pick does the business – £10 in profit plus our £10 stake returned.
Yet imagine if we were feeling confident about two other horses on the racecard: Two-Tailed Tommy and One-Eyed Willy (yes, there’s a theme developing). They too are available at even money, and so we can calculate our returns, if they all win, from £10 bets as follows:
- One-Eyed Willy – £10 profit
- Two-Tailed Tommy – £10 profit
- Three-Legged Wonder – £10 profit
Three winning singles deliver £30 in profit.
From a £30 stake (the same as 3 x £10 singles), our return calculation is as follows:
Three bets at evens = accumulated odds of 7/1. So, our profit would be £210, with our £30 stake also returned.
As you can see, the returns from our accumulator are far greater than placing the three single bets. Even a £10 accumulator on these terms, which would represent a £20 saving compared to three £10 wagers, would return £80.
So, there are clear perks of taking the acca odds, although any answer to the question ‘how does an accumulator work’ has to contain the caveat that it only takes one losing leg to scupper the whole thing.
Accumulators and Cover Bets
As you start to add more selections to your accumulator, the maths starts to get a little more complicated to work out – to that end, we recommend you use an acca calculator, which you can easily find via your preferred search engine.
The name of your accumulator changes as you add further selections to your coupon. From a double or a treble, you will graduate to a 4-fold bet, 5-fold bet, 6-fold and so on. As far as your horse racing accumulator is concerned, there are different options to consider. As well as a traditional win only racing accumulator, you can place ‘cover bets’ that will offer some kind of return should one leg of your acca let you down.
For example, a Patent sees you make three selections, and your single coupon will feature seven different bets: 3 x singles, 3 x doubles and one treble. Your payout will be determined by how many of your picks win, but as you can see you will get some kind of return if one or two of your horses/teams/players prevail.
These have some funky names to remember, so here’s a quick guide that will help you separate your Yankee from your Super Heinz.
- Trixie – three selections (3 x doubles, 1 x treble)
- Patent – three selections (3 x singles, 3 x doubles, 1 x treble)
- Yankee – four selections (6 x doubles, 4 x trebles, 1 x 4-fold)
- Lucky 15 – four selections (4 x singles, 6 x doubles, 4 x trebles, 1 x 4-fold)
- Canadian – five selections (10 x doubles, 10 x trebles, 5 x 4-folds, 1 x 5-fold)
- Lucky 31 – five selections (5 x singles, 10 x doubles, 10 x trebles, 5 x 4-folds, 1 x 5-fold)
There are many other bet accumulator names to learn should one feel the need to. But needless to say, you can place these cover bets across a number of sports and up to eight selections – that’s known as a Goliath and requires you to place as many as 247 individual bets.
What is an Each Way Accumulator
As we have learned, cover bets are a useful form of accumulator for those who don’t want the risk of one loss scuppering their entire coupon. With an each way accumulator, that sense of hedging your bets is taken to another level. Prominently used in horse racing betting, your selection can yield a return even if each of your picks finishes in the places.
The place terms are dictated by the number of horses in a race, and as a general rule, there are two places to play for in races of 5-7 horses, three places in races of 8-15 horses and four places for contests featuring 16 or more runners.
The match required to work out your stakes and payout can be complex, so, again we point you in the direction of each way acca calculator.
Are Accumulators Worth It?
So, that’s a comprehensive look at the acca betting meaning, and now you know exactly what to expect when placing your multiples.
It’s a betting strategy that’s not for everyone, given the risk of one losing selection destroying your coupon, but as we’ve learned there are forms of cover bet that take that eventuality out of the equation.
The rewards speak for themselves, and so it really is up to you and your preferred betting style. As ever, gamble responsibly and have some fun with it!