What is an Accumulator Bet?

An accumulator is a bet that combines four or more selections into a single wager that gains a return only when all parts win.

The advantage of an accumulator is that winnings are much higher at the expense of increased risk, only a single selection need lose for the entire bet to lose.

In the case of a non-runner, returns are calculated as though the accumulator hadn’t contained the selection i.e. a six-fold would become a five-fold. Dead heats for a winning position are settled at reduced odds using standard rules. Bonuses of a fixed percentage and enhanced accumulator odds are regularly made available at bookmakers including bet365 and skybet.

Accumulators are available for all sports, however bookmakers vary in their rules on combining selections from more than one to create a single bet. Selections from the same event cannot be combined into a single accumulator, this is to prevent anyone trying to place several bets on the same runner, more formally the selections must be mutually independent.

Due to the all or nothing nature of the accumulator some punters like to hedge their risk by placing bets on the folds of their wager so that it is still possible to gain a return event when not all selections win e.g. a person placing a 6-fold accumulator might also place a stake on the 6 smaller 5-fold accumulators so that should one selection fail to win, not everything is lost.
Types of Accumulator

An accumulator is a bet of 4 or more selections, those with fewer than 4 behave the same but have different names as detailed below:
Number of selections Bet Name
2 Double
3 Treble
4 Four-Fold Accumulator
5 Five-Fold Accumulator
6 Six-Fold Accumulator
7 Seven-Fold Accumulator
8 Eight-Fold Accumulator

An upper limit to the number of selections doesn’t exist, making it possible to pick bets that could win big as this man found when he won £1.45m from a £2 horse racing bet.

The steps taken to calculate returns are outlined below using examples from horse racing and football. You won’t need to work out returns by hand each time, once you are comfortable with how things work you can enter odds into the accumulator calculator to speed things up.
Winning Example

Consider the following 4-fold football accumulator.
Match Result Selection Odds (Decimal) Bet Outcome
Manchester United 1 – 0 Fulham Manchester United To Win 1.5 Successful
QPR 2 – 1 Reading Reading To Loose 1.4 Successful
Chelsea 1 – 1 Newcastle Chelsea To Draw 3 Successful
Stoke 0 – 0 Arsenal Arsenal To Draw 5 Successful

Assuming a bet of £5 the calculation using decimal odds is as follows:

Total Returns = £5 * 1.5 * 1.4 * 3 * 5 = £145
Total Profit = Total Returns – Initial Stake = £150

The equivalent calculation using fraction odds would be:

Total Returns = £5 * (1/2 + 1) * (2/5 + 1) * (2/1 + 1) * (4/1 + 1) = £145

Loosing Example

If any selection fails to win, the stake is lost. For instance in the example above if Manchester United had failed to beat Fulham, the “Manchester United To Win” selection would have lost and hence so would the accumulator, resulting in an overall loss of £5.
Each Way Example

An each way accumulator bet consists of two parts:

A standard to-win accumulator bet as outlined in the examples above.
An accumulator bet on each of the selections to-place, with the “Selections” and “Odds” updated accordingly. Note that a to-place option may not be available for all sports and events.

A unit stake is placed on each of the 2 parts with the returns pooled to reach the total returns for the wager.

Consider the following horse race accumulator:
Selection Odds (Fractions) To Place Bet Outcome
1 4/1 1/5 Won
2 9/1 1/5 Won
3 3/1 1/5 Placed (came 2nd)
4 10/1 1/5 Won

Assuming a unit stake of £5 the returns would break down as follows:

The to-win part of the bet would loose because selection 3 failed to win, resulting in loss of the £5 stake and £0 returns.
The to-place part would be calculated as shown:
Part 2 Returns = £5 * ( ( 4 * 1/5 ) + 1 ) * ( ( 9 * 1/5 ) + 1 ) * ( ( 3 * 1/5 ) + 1 ) * ( ( 10 * 1/5 ) + 1 ) = £120.96
Part 2 Profit = Total Returns – Unit Stake = £115.96

The total returns for the bet is the result of adding together the returns from the 2 parts.

Total Returns = £120.96 + £0 = £120.96
Total Profit = Total Returns minus the 2 £5 stakes = £110.96

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