What is an Accumulator Bet?
An accumulator bet is a bet that combines four or more punts into one, providing a return only when all of them are successful.
The great advantage of an accumulator is that it generates much higher winnings than a single bet, but the downside is that it carries a higher risk, as it only takes one failed selection for the whole bet to lose.
The precise terms and conditions associated with accumulator bets may vary from bookmaker to bookmaker, but there are general rules that usually apply. For instance, in the case of horse-racing, a non-runner doesn’t invalidate the bet, it is simply removed from the accumulator, while dead-heat winners are paid out at reduced odds.
You can usually place accumulators on most sports, although bookmakers’ rules may vary when it comes to combining selections from multiple sports.
Accumulators are often named after the number of bets involved, so a four-bet accumulator is called a fourfold, while an eight bet accumulator is known as an eightfold. In theory, there is no upper limit to the number of bets that you can combine into an accumulator, making it possible to win extremely large sums from small stakes.
Working out your potential winnings for an accumulator is relatively simple in theory, but it can be handy to use one of the many free online accumulator calculators, which allow you to simply input the odds of each selection along with the stake to show your potential win.
The basic principle of calculating an accumulator is to multiply your stake by the odds of each selection in turn. For example, let’s say you placed £5 on a fourfold accumulator on the following football matches at the stated decimal odds:
- Manchester City to beat West Bromwich Albion at 1.5
- Chelsea to beat Hull City at 1.4
- Stoke City to draw with Swansea at 3.0
- Arsenal to draw with Southampton at 5.0
If all of the bets were successful, this would be the calculation to determine your winnings:
£5 * 1.5 * 1.4 * 3 * 5 = £145
Of course, if any of the selections loses, then the stake is lost. One way of reducing the risk of this happening is to consider an Each Way Accumulator. This is most common in horse racing betting, and is, effectively, two accumulators. One stake is placed on a standard accumulator, in which all of the selections are backed to win, and an identical stake is placed on a second accumulator, in which all selections are backed to be placed.
Another way to offset the risk is to place more than one accumulator. For example, your original bet may be a six-fold accumulator, but you could opt to place a fourfold or a fivefold accumulator covering some of the same selections so that if one fails to win, the whole bet is not lost.
Despite the risk involved, accumulator bets enable bettors to win substantial sums from small stakes, so they remain a popular betting vehicle.
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