Accumulator Bets Explained

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What is an Accumulator Bet?

An accumulator, also known as an acca, is a bet that combines multiple selections into a single wager that gains a return only when all parts win.

Accumulator Bet Slip

The advantage of an accumulator is that winnings are much higher at the expense of increased risk. This is because only a single selection needs to 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 available at bookmakers, including Bet365 and William Hill.

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 from 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 even 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.

In Canada and the US, the accumulator is referred to as a parlay bet. The parlay is more straightforward than the accumulator in that you cannot place bets on the folds or have it each way, so all selections must win to generate a return. Our parlay bet calculator can be used to quickly work out returns for this bet type.

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 selectionsBet Name
2Double
3Treble
4Four-Fold Accumulator
5Five-Fold Accumulator
6Six-Fold Accumulator
7Seven-Fold Accumulator
8Eight-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.

Examples

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 ResultSelectionOdds (Decimal)Bet Outcome
Manchester United 1 - 0 FulhamManchester United To Win1.5Successful
QPR 2 - 1 ReadingReading To Lose1.4Successful
Chelsea 1 - 1 NewcastleChelsea To Draw3Successful
Stoke 0 - 0 ArsenalArsenal To Draw5Successful

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

  • Total Returns = £5 * 1.5 * 1.4 * 3 * 5 = £157.5
  • Total Profit = Total Returns - Initial Stake = £152.5

The equivalent calculation using fraction odds would be:

  • Total Returns = £5 * (1/2 + 1) * (2/5 + 1) * (2/1 + 1) * (4/1 + 1) = £157.5

Losing Example

If any selection fails to win, the stake is lost, for instance in the example above if Manchester United had been unable 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:

  1. A standard to-win accumulator bet as outlined in the examples above.
  2. An accumulator bet on each selection 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:

SelectionOdds (Fractions)To PlaceBet Outcome
14/11/5Won
29/11/5Won
33/11/5Placed (came 2nd)
410/11/5Won

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

  1. The to-win part of the bet would lose because selection 3 failed to win, resulting in loss of the £5 stake and £0 returns.
  2. 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

How To Place An Accumulator Bet with Bet365

1. Select the relevant sport you want to bet on. For this example, we have selected Rugby Union.

Acca Sport Menu
Sports menu options - Taken 09/02/2024

2. Then, select the number of fixtures you want to have in your Accumulator. Here, we've gone for a five fold accumulator selecting five different fixtures. Add your stake and place your Acca.

Acca Bet Selection
Default Bet Selection Screen - Taken 09/02/2024

Last Update: 9 February 2024

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Also See

Accumulator returns calculator - Work out winnings for every possible variety of accumulator bet. Supporting fold options, each way bets, dead heats, rule 4 deductions and more. This calculator is the most comprehensive betting tool available online.

What is a double bet? - Only have 2 selections in your accumulator? Then a double is what you have. This page gives a complete football based example of the calculations undertaken to determine how much is returned for a double bet.

What is a treble bet? - A 3 selection accumulator is referred to as a treble. The article goes through a football example showing in detail each step necessary to calculate winnings for this bet.

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