You make six selections which go into 26 bets, consist of two patents (14 bets), which if you're unsure what a patent is you can take a quick glance at this article, one yankee (11 bets) which you can read about here and a six-fold accumulator which is the 26th and final bet.
Once you've got your head ahead what the Yankee and Patent legs of the Alphabet involves, you should know that it is a little more complicated. Even the position in which you order your selections in the bet slip matters, as not every bet will make it into the Yankee and bets ordered number one and number six in your betslip are omitted.
Pros and Cons of The Alphabet bet type
If you're new to system bets then you're jumping in at the deep end here. It's easy to see why system bets can be confusing, because you have bets within bets and that itself may be a challenging to comprehend when you're still getting to grips by bet types such as doubles, trebles and accumulator.
Pro - You can be tactical about this form of betting, being more selective and ranking your chances with each bet. You can then place them accordingly, ensuring your best sports bets are featured in the Yankee.
Pro - If you do manage to correctly identify your best bets, then bets one and six in your betslip may go on to lose, but you will still make money from sports betting.
Con - It's easy to cost yourself potential profits and more damaging losses if you aren't well educated on this form of sports betting.
Con - Like all system bets, you're giving up value and handing the bookmaker a bigger margin, and if all bets were successful then it wouldn't return the same profit from betting on an accumulator might.
Here's where the alphabet is going to really make you think. Unlike a normal system bet which is several bets such as singles, doubles, trebles and accumulators under the umbrella of one bet with multiple stakes, the alphabet contains a Yankee bet. That means we have a system bet within a system bet.
Being new to the world of sports betting is a confusing time. There are so many terms, bet types, betting markets and betting strategies that if you can't separate the important from the not so important, it's going to become overwhelming. Below is a step by step explanation of the Alphabet that may make understanding it easier.
What is an Alphabet bet?
The name comes from the fact there are 26 different bets involved in an alphabet, just like there are 26 letters in the English alphabet.
All you need to do is identify six selections that you wish to bet on and the bet slip will sort these six selections in two patent bets and one yankee bet. Just click the six desired selections and once in your betslip, you just need to enter your stake in the box next to the Alphabet tab
What is a patent bet?
A patent is a type of system bet that contains three singles, three doubles and one treble bet.
What is a yankee bet?
You can read more about yankee bets but it is a type of system bet that contains three doubles, three trebles and one four-fold accumulator.
Staking on an Alphabet bet
Your stake, meaning the amount you bet, is not a one off cost here. Because there are 26 different bets you need to bet on each of them. Your betslip will take care of this for you when you enter your stake into the stake box next to the Alphabet option, but just remember you are betting on each of them so the stake you enter will be multiplied. If you enter £1, you're betting £26 overall. If you enter £2, you're betting £52 overall.
What's the minimum I need to happen to win?
That depends on the betting odds. If you're using skimpy odds like 1.10 to 1.50 you are gaining nothing from using a system bet like this one. For football, Tennis or similarly priced betting markets, you don't want to dip below odds of 9/10 (1.90). Every little helps, so you should also be shopping around for best odds. You can afford to win just 50%, three of your six selections, and still make a very small profit from sports betting here. Nothing to shout about, but you certainly won't lose anything.
The Alphabet is better applied to sports like Horse Racing where best odds are bigger. An alphabet containing three winners at odds of 2/1 (3.00), 4/1 (5.00) and 5/1 (6.00) would return an overall profit £171.00 from a stake of £1 per bet. That's a pretty substantial return considering half of your selections lost, so you can see the vast difference a good group of betting odds can make.
How much can I win on an alphabet?
Going back to the first example of picking six Football or Tennis selections at 1/1 (2.00), your Alphabet could return the following:
One win out of six = £2.00 return, -£24.00 Two wins out of six = £8.00 return, -£18.00 Three wins out of six = £30.00 return, +£4.00 Four wins out of six = £48.00 return, +£22.00 Five wins out of six = £106.00 return, +£80.00
Is an alphabet a good way to bet?
If you were to place an accumulator you'd be doing so at combined odds of 63/1 (64) so a £1 stake would return using our first example £64. With an Alphabet you're staking £26 overall, so a £26 stake on that accumulator would return £1,664. That's a good profit, but how would the return vary if you won every selection having placed them into an alphabet? Well, after staking £26 on an Alphabet, your return would be £177 if every single selection was won, so that's quite a drop off. But then when you consider the much lesser risk of losing your whole stake and the increased chances of always having some form of return, the Alphabet fights back.
What else do I need to know about Alphabet bets?
An Alphabet is one of several system bets where bookmakers apply a bonus to your winnings. In the Alphabet's case, it is only applied if EVERY selection wins. If every selection wins then your bookmaker will increase that by a set percentage. Quite often the all win bonus is around 10%, but it isn't always applied by a cash increase. The 10% will often be paid out in free bet amounts for you to use risk free.
Here we have two system bets within a system bet and a six-fold thrown in for good measure. That just harms the margins and returns even more than your average system bet, which perhaps makes its use a bad betting strategy. It's probably more effort than it's worth for a professional bettor, but gimmick alone may attract more casual bettors. Horse Racing bets are probably the best to apply this to but given the involvement of the yankee bet, reasonable betting odds from literally any sport or betting markets would be suitable.
There are some positives about the way in which this bet is put together, giving you the opportunity to tactically select which of your sports bets are the strongest and therefore should go into your yankee. A winning Yankee is not that mean a feat given it's only four selections, but the stake ends up being more than it would be for a one off accumulator and if you're that confident in your selections, you could argue you might as well take on a four-fold which will certainly provide bigger returns.
Like many system bets, there's a lot of research going into this many sports bets if done properly so unless you're a casual bettor and happy to just pick and choose and throw some together chasing those big wins, it's not really worth it.
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.