An accumulator bet, often shortened to ‘acca’, usually features four or more selections, all of which must win in order for the bet to be successful.
Other kinds of multiples, such as a double (featuring two selections) or a treble, (three selections) are also common bets, but this guide will focus on more ambitious accumulators.
The major attraction of an acca is its potential to turn a small stake into a big win. This is because of the structure of the bet in which winnings from each successful selection (plus the original stake) roll on to the next selection.
That snowball effect can significantly boost the overall odds, even if you’re stringing together five or six football teams or tennis players who are all hot favourites to win their individual matches.
The price you pay for those tempting odds is that an accumulator is an all-or-nothing wager. It only takes one of your selections to let you down – one late equaliser, one horse beaten by a head – to derail the entire bet.
How to Make an Accumulator Bet
How do you go about placing an accumulator bet? The first thing to remember is that your selections do not have to be from the same sport, the same market, or take place on the same day.
Having a Saturday-afternoon acca on the football or horse racing remains a popular punt, but you can also have long-term (or ante-post) accumulator bets, featuring football teams to win a league or cup, golfers to triumph at upcoming tournaments or horses to win big races later in the season.
Whatever your approach, it is easy to find out the potential winnings from your acca – just add each individual selection to the bet slip and it will calculate the overall odds for you.
If, for example, you pick four selections at odds of 7/5, 2/5, 9/4 and 2/1, the bet slip will show a fourfold (another term for a four-part accumulator) paying around 31/1. This means a £10 stake returns (roughly) £320 – the original stake along with £310 profit.
Doing the Maths
How exactly is that calculated? Pretend we’re back in maths class and let’s show our workings:
£10 goes on Selection A at 7/5. It wins, paying £14.
That £14 plus the original £10 (£24) rolls on to Selection B at 2/5. It returns £9.60 winnings. £9.60 + £24 = £33.60.
£33.60 on Selection C at 9/4 pays £75.60 winnings.
Add the £33.60 and you have £109.20 going on to the last leg, Selection D at 2/1.
If that wins the bet pays £218.40, plus the £109.20, so the total return is £327.60.
Consider carefully how much you are comfortable staking on various accumulator bets. A sixfold featuring football teams who are each around 1/5 to win their match would clearly merit a higher stake than a fourfold on horses at 8/1, 6/1, 12/1 and 16/1.
One of the most famous tales of accumulator glory came when jockey Frankie Dettori won all seven races on the card at Ascot in 1996.
At least one punter backed the sevenfold at SP (starting price) odds of 25,095/1, although the fact that Dettori’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ is still talked about all these years on, is a reminder of the rarity of those type of bets!
However, with shrewd selections and a judicious staking plan, accumulator betting can be a great way for punters to chalk up decent wins from modest stakes.