Accumulators & Multiples
Accumulators and multiples are bets that involve making more than one selection on a single wager. For example, betting on the winners of five separate soccer matches in a combined wager is an accumulator. Wagers of this type are popular and can offer very big potential returns. They aren't easy to win, however, as you need to get all of your selections right. If just a single one loses, the whole wager loses.
You can place wagers of this type on most sports, and you can even include different sports on the same wager. You can pick the winner of a horse race, a soccer match, and a tennis match all in one bet if you want.
The terms accumulator and multiples are frequently used interchangeably, even by bookmakers and at sports betting sites, but they don't technically mean exactly the same thing. A multiple wager is any wager that has more than one selection, while an accumulator is a wager that has more than three selections.
There are other specific terms as well; a double is a wager with two selections and a treble has three selections. An accumulator with four selections is known as a fourfold, one with five selections is known as a fivefold, and so on. There's no official limit to the number of selections you can place in an accumulator, but including more than 10-15 is rare.
That's all there really is to know about accumulators and multiples other than how the odds are calculated. You don't need to know this, as your bookmaker or sports betting site will do the necessary calculations when you place your bet. We briefly cover it below, and also explain the pros and cons of these wagers.
Calculating Odds for Multiples and Accumulators
Calculating the odds for bets with multiple selections is really quite simple. The easiest way is to use decimal odds; so if you're using odds in a different format, you may wish to convert them into a decimal first. You can use our odds converter tool.
All you have to do is multiply the odds of each selection to give you the total for your wager. So if, for example, you place a double (two selections), and each selection was at odds of 1.40, you would simply multiply 1.40 by 1.40. This gives you 1.96. Therefore, a £20 wager would return a total of £39.20, including the stake.
Here's a sample online betting slip that shows such a scenario. You can see the site has automatically calculated the potential payout.
If you add a third selection to the above bet, at 1.95, the calculation would be 1.40 by 1.40 by 1.95. This gives 3.822, so a £20 stake should return a total of £76.44. This is shown in the following online betting slip, where again you can see the site has automatically calculated the potential payout.
Pros and Cons of Multiples & Accumulators
Wagers of this type basically have one major benefit and one major downside. The benefit is that you can win a lot of money from them with relatively small stakes. The odds multiply when you add more selections. Thus, with several selections, the odds can be very attractive even if you pick mostly short priced favorites.
The downside is that accumulators aren't easy to win. It's not only that the odds get higher with more selections, but the chances of at least one selection losing get higher as well. It can be difficult enough to consistently win single selection wagers; consistently winning multiples is significantly harder. This is why many betting experts advise against placing accumulators and multiples.
We don't believe, however, that they are necessarily a bad idea. If you keep the number of selections relatively low,certainly below 10, it's possible to make a long-term profit. You are very unlikely to win regularly, but the higher odds mean you only need to win one every now and then to be ahead. We wouldn't advise risking huge amounts of money, but there's nothing wrong with including them in your overall betting strategy.
Author: Brad Johnson
Updated: March 2015
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