The term accumulator comes from accumulation. Each time a selection is added, all odds in the bet slip are multiplied to produce the odds for your bet.
Some of the most common names that you will come across are explained below.
- Double - A double is when two separate selections are part of the same bet
- Treble - A treble works in the same way except three selections are featured
- Four-Fold - Four separate selections come together to form one bet
- Five-Fold - Five separate selections come together to form on bet
Further examples from six-fold to twenty-fold are self-explanatory. The term fold refers to a leg of your bet, whilst the pre-cursing number refers to how many selections are in that bet. Most bookmakers will permit a maximum of 20 selections per accumulator.
Pros and Cons of Accumulator bets
- Pro - By putting selections together, you're increasing the odds which means some very big payouts can be achieved by the accumulating individually modest odds.
- Pro - You're taking less of an immediate financial risk each time you place an accumulator, as betting on anything from four to 20 selections can mean just one £10 bet rather than multiple £10 stakes being at risk.
- Con - As the odds grow, the probability of a win decreases. Each selection you add drastically reduces the implied probability of placing a winning accumulator.
- Con - You may think you're finding better odds and less risk by grouping together smaller odds selections to make a desirable price, but even then you're not getting any value and you're handing more of a margin to the bookmakers.
Here's an example so you can see for yourself exactly how an accumulator comes about from start to finish. This example displays a straightforward four-fold. Remember, the number refers to the bets you must win to land your accumulator, whilst the term fold just highlights that there are multiple separate legs involved.
Selections: Player A 2.10, Player B 2.00, Player C 1.57 and Player D at 1.66
Upon deciding your stake (£10 will be used for this example) you'll want to enter that in the four-folds box and click the yellow place bet button. But here's what will happen if you accidentally select one of the other options.
The singles option means you will place four bets on the outcome of each game. The result of one does not affect the other and if any single team wins, that bet will be successful at the odds stated (Example: Team A, 2.10. £10 would return £11 + your £10 stake).
Selecting the doubles option would mean your account will place a bet on the six possible doubles that can be made from a selection of four bets, which in this case would be Team A/Team B, Team A/Team C, Team A/Team D, Team B/Team D, Team D/Team C and Team C/Team B. You will have placed £60 worth of bets.
Selecting the trebles option would mean your account will place a bet on the four possible treble combinations that can come from four selections, which are Team A/Team B/Team C, Team D/Team C/Team B, Team D/Team B/Team C and Team B/Team A/Team D. You will have placed £40 worth of bets.
The Yankee option which is featured at the bottom means placing all of the above apart from the single bets, making eleven bets altogether, costing you £110. If you were to choose a Lucky 15, then your account will include the four single bets, as well as six double examples highlighted, the four treble examples and your four-fold. That's 15 bets that will set you back £150.
Be sure to tick the correct box whether that be double, treble, four-fold, five-fold or six-fold and so on. It's not uncommon for punters that are new to accumulators to make this mistake. A sure-fire way to make sure you're entering the stake in the right box is to locate the box where your odds are quoted.
Our combined odds for are accumulator are always there to see as our bookmakers kindly display them for us, but they're also simple enough to work out your own. If ever you're working by hand then the simple equation (using the above example) to work out your accumulators' odds is as follows:
Selections: Player A 2.10, Player B 2.00, Player C 1.57 and Player D at 1.66
The odds of each individual bet are always multiplied together to give you your end odds. It doesn't matter what the order of your equation is as long as everything is multiplied together like so: 2.10 x 2.00 x 1.57 x 1.66 = 11.00
The other thing worth knowing when placing an accumulator with your bookmaker is how many selections they permit. If you're planning on placing a mega accumulator in the hope of striking it lucky, then most bookmakers do limit you to adding 20 selections to your accumulator.
Singles vs An Accumulator
One bet on Player A at 2.10 = £10 x 2.10 = £21.00. Winning will return £21.00 which means £11.00 profit and a 110% return on your investment.
One bet on Player B at 2.00 = £10 x 2.00 = £20.00. Winning will return £20.00 which means £10 profit and a 100% return on your investment.
One bet on Player C at 1.57 = £10 x 1.57 = £15.70. Winning will return £15.70 which means £5.70 profit and a 57% return on your investment.
One bet on Player D at 1.66 = £10 x 1.66 = £16.60. Winning will return £16.60 which means £6.60 profit and a 66% return on your investment.
Your total outlay (amount of money staked) will be £40, which is £10 stakes x 4. Although this is just an example and odds will of course vary, you'd need to win the two bets at 2.10 and 2.00 to profit, or three bets if one of those were to lose to make a profit. You may be betting more in stakes, but you have the wiggle room to lose up to two bets and still potentially make a profit overall.
An accumulator provides a more straight forward scenario with Player A, B, C and D all being part of the same bet. All four teams need to win for you to land your accumulator. (Exception: A void bet doesn't lose your accumulator bet. If three were winners and the fourth declared void, you'd be paid out at revised odds).
2.10 x 2.00 x 1.57 x 1.66 = 11.00 £10 x 11.00 = £110.00
Winning will return £110 which means £100 profit and a 1100% return on your investment. The financial risk is less given your one-off, the reward is greater, but the chances of winning are reduced and you're handing more of a margin to the bookmaker.
It's important to remember bookmakers already have a 7% profit margin built into their betting markets which is designed to favour the bookies, so you can't take their odds for granted. Odds are also only implied probability which makes it easy for us to convert. If you search "converting decimal odds to percentage" on Google there's a range of tables and calculators that pop right up and do the work for you.
As singles, you need only worry about the individual performance of each side. It's been established that you could afford to lose one bet out of every three and still make very good profits which is quite settling and seems to be a big pro offered by betting on singles. By converting the odds from our example to a percentage shows that the implied probability of these teams winning is as follows:
Player A at 2.10 = 47.60% Player B at 2.00 = 50.00% Player C at 1.57 = 63.70% Player D at 1.66 = 60.20%
Smaller odds reflect higher probability of a win. By betting on these four singles, you have a 47.60%, 50.00%, 63.70% and 60.20% chance of winning each selection respectively. Overall, that puts the odds fairly in your favour of winning more than you lose. Once we combine these selections your new odds, as displayed in the above example, are 11.00.
Accumulator at 11.00 = 9.10%
Whilst the implied probability cannot always be taken literally, it suggests that you could win as few as nine times per 100 accumulators, which is almost one in 10. Compare that to betting on singles, where you potentially stand a good chance of winning at least two picks six times out of 10 if the odds are to be believed.
Accumulators can be used on any sport and market, and there can be a crossover between different sports. Accumulators are arguably an option that is favoured mostly by casual punters. Whether you enjoy a Saturday afternoon 10-fold placed at your local high street bookie, or you just the thrill of chasing those bigger wins.
Professional gamblers understand the mathematical implications of an accumulator and the added advantage they are giving to a bookmaker even if you happen upon a winning bet.
Arguably, big accumulators could promote a losing mentality with the potential gaps between wins. The added margin that bookmakers have over you with each selection you add to an accumulator is a big drawback whilst value is sacrificed and the amount of accumulators you could lose before your next win potentially counteracts the argument that you're risking smaller stakes by placing accumulators rather than singles.
That said, it is possible to land a big return, but the professionals will leave this to the casual punters.
Accumulators can provide a bit of fun and a buzz if you do win, but from there you might want to chase even bigger wins which reduce your chances of winning further.
If you want to make money and become a successful bettor then you can make a good case for avoiding accumulators.
If you're feeling comfortable with terminology, it might be the right time to learn about the different bet types and how to use them to your advantage.