The winning accumulator, it’s the holy grail of betting and, to many, represents the ultimate goal. Some have achieved it while the majority can only dream of landing the life-changing sums of money that comes with scoring a stacked acca. Speak to a spread of experienced gamblers and you’ll find plenty who have gone close, the near-miss all too popular. Here’s our guide to ACCAs for beginners.
If you’re a dedicated gambler, serious about beating the bookies, you’ll adopt one of two strategies – aim to earn a slow but steady profit from your punting and end each season or year with more than you started, or bet small and aim big, looking to get the accumulator that’ll boost your bank balance significantly.
There’s not much better to lovers of sports betting than an accumulator bet with more arms than an octopus. It can be placed on any one sport, such as football, horse racing, tennis, boxing, snooker or a mix and as you head into the first leg there’s an excitement that comes from knowing that, with the right set of results and a generous helping of luck, you could win a prize that will change your weekend, month or even your year.
It’s also, surprisingly, one of the easiest bets to place and that’s why there are so many football accumulator tips out there, but what is an accumulator bet, how do you place one online, what are the risks involved and how difficult are they to crack? Is accumulator betting for you? Our team of betting experts adore the acca and are sure you will too, so have taken the time to draw up a beginner’s guide to accumulator betting, aimed at helping to beat the bookies and join that exclusive club of punters who have won big.
Ignore the Jargon
The term accumulator applies to a single bet with four or more selections – anything less is a single, double or treble, of course. There are many different names for it – such as acca, multiple, roll-up, parlay – depending on where you are in the world, but these are little more than slang terms or betting jargon and you’ll find most British and Irish bookmakers refer to this type of bet as an accumulator. Some may refer to it in terms of how many selections are present in one bet, four-fold, six-fold, 10-fold etc.
The important thing is, the bet does the same thing. It’s one bet on a number of selections and they all must-win for your punt to be paid out. If you place a 10-team football accumulator and nine wins, but the other match ends in a draw, it’s hard luck. A case of so close, but so far, and you’ll be just another telling stories of how you almost brought the house down but went home with nothing.
In that respect, accumulator betting can be cruel and its certainly no mean feat to win one but the great thing about them, and why we think they are so popular with backers of all generations, is they offer great value for money. As an accumulator is always one bet, it’s only one stake. So, unlike multiples such as a Lucky 15 that offer 15 ways to win but you must multiply your stake by 15 – a £1 Lucky 15 actually costing you £15 to place – the acca is all or nothing. A £1 acca on four teams or 14 teams, with potential returns of £100 or £100,000 is still going to cost you only £1, although you can stake any amount, of course.
Small Stakes, Big Wins
They’re an inexpensive way to aim for a big win but they also ensure you get the most for your money. A single on horse racing gives you one bet that’s over in the time it takes for the race to finish. A six furlongs dash, for example, will see you win or lose in well under five minutes. The accumulator, however, can go on for hours, days, weeks, or even a season and as long as the results keep dropping in to place, you’ll be gripped.
Let’s take a Saturday football accumulator as a way to explain this point further. Do your research and place a five-team acca from the top-flight of English football. You could cover the 12.30pm lunchtime kick-off, going on to three 3.00pm starts, ending with the 5.30pm evening match.
If all matches play out as expected, you’ll not only have a profit coming your way, you will also benefit from over six hours of entertainment, checking scores, updating results, kept on the edge of your seat as one correct pick follows another.
Any Sport Applies
It doesn’t have to be the Premier League, of course, and it doesn’t have to be footy accumulators. If you’re settling down for an evening of hard-hitting boxing with the main event that has everyone talking, you can help build excitement by betting on a few of the undercard bouts shown live on TV. Make your selections and you could have the accumulator running on to the top of the bill tussle where your bet and the title will be decided over 12 rounds.
Another beautiful aspect of the accumulator bet is it can be on any market from any sport, or a combination, so it doesn’t have to be win, lose, draw. Football fans can create a both teams to score acca, tennis followers can throw together set betting from different matches, boxing could be method of victory – points or knockout – the possibilities are endless, and this is still all done for just the one stake.
As you push your luck, taking correct score over win, lose, draw you’ll see the potential returns grow significantly. The thrill of having your bet hanging in the balance heading towards the end, needing just a goal, card, try, point or frame is something special.
How a Win Accumulator Works
How do bookmakers calculate what an accumulator bet will pay? Well, again, it’s fairly simple stuff and the easiest way to work it out is to break the bet down into singles. Let’s say a four-team football accumulator for £10.
Let’s use my acca below as a basic way to explain…
- Man City to beat Man Utd @ 3/1
- Chelsea to beat Wolves @ 4/1
- Liverpool to beat Leicester @ 3/1
- Tottenham to beat Arsenal at evens
The first bet wins at 3/1 with City claiming the Manchester Derby to return you a handsome £40. A great start. The second bet then wins at 4/1 as Chelsea do the business over Wolves, that returns £200 and things are warming up nicely. The third bet, Liverpool to beat Leicester, wins at 3/1 which means you have £800 going on to Tottenham to get the better of Arsenal at even money. It’s now all or nothing and you are on the cusp of a big prize. If that bet also wins your returns will be £1600, all for a £10 stake. A £1 stake would’ve paid £160, and so on.
You can see from that basic example why the more legs mean more money, although there’s more risk involved. That’s why many accumulator punters run at least six legs for win, lose, draw bets, and less if they are aiming for more difficult markets, such as correct score or even horse racing.
Horse Racing Accumulators
When placing accumulators on horse racing it can be a little more difficult, as there’s the each-way option and increased risk of a non-runner. You do get non-runner bets in all sports accas, of course, such as a postponed football match or tennis player withdrawing through injury before the end of the contest, but it’s far more likely a selection won’t go when it comes to the sport of kings.
This is when things could get a little complicated. Let’s start with a non-runner…
It’s something we’ve seen panic many backers in the past – what happens with a non-runner? Is it a loser, a void bet or is the entire accumulator called off? Keep calm and remember it doesn’t make a massive difference. All that happens in the event of a non-runner is the leg/selection/horse is ignored – taken out of your bet entirely and the outcome of that race now doesn’t matter.
So, if you have a five-horses accumulator and one is a non-runner, you’ll now have a four-horse accumulator. Another comes out, it goes down to three. The only major impact you will see is on your potential returns. If, before the first race, your potential returns were £5000 with five horses, it makes perfect sense that the bottom figure will drop significantly, as you now only need four to win, rather than five.
One price has come out, so there’s one less to accumulate your returns and, from the bookies’ point of view, you have much more of a chance of winning, so the risk of that has to be factored in. One fixture is postponed in a 10-team acca, you now have a nine-team acca.
Each-way accumulators are also extremely popular strategically with horse racing punters, but they are a little different as they are made up of two bets. The standout of our horse racing each-way acca tips is to keep in mind you have one multiple on your selections to win and a separate one on your selections to place at a percentage of the odds – usually a quarter or a fifth. This means you have two chances at bagging a return and it’s completely possible to win twice.
If every horse you pick does as expected and wins their race an each-way accumulator will pay you out twice. You’ll get the big money from the win part of the bet, then you’ll get the smaller pay-out from the each-way part of the bet, both going into the pot. Each-way accumulators also offer a bit of a safety net, but you need all selections to win to land the real money.
If you have a five-horse acca and four win and one is second, your returns will be reduced as you’ll only land the each-way part of the bet, despite going painfully close.
Betting history is littered with success stories of the winning accumulator punter and although most average punters don’t know these people personally, they are familiar with the tales. The reason for that is bookmakers must get the publicity that comes with a big pay-out, so even when they lose, they’re still winning.
If a bookmaker is hit for a £1m football acca you bet they’ll get close to that back in promoting the pay-out by splashing the story all over social media and the news. That will then catch the attention of sports fans who will think – I can do that. They will then go out and place an accumulator, find it’s not as easy as the newspaper article made out, and the bookie collects an increased number of stakes.
Keep it Simple
The most important of our accumulator tips is to remember when it comes to accas this type of bet is simple, but landing a winner is difficult. Not impossible, it’s worth remembering, but by no means easy. The reason it remains such a popular way to bet is it can be done without too much risk to your wallet. A £1 acca with enough selections could yield a very healthy pay-out. More work involved and more luck needed, but it has happened many times in the past and will continue to happen while sports betting is available to the masses.
Our advice is not to be drawn in by the success stories but, if you like the idea of an acca bet, set aside a small portion of your intended stake and set it on the multiple. Perhaps you’re planning a £20 bet on Man Utd winning this weekend. Knock £2 off that and go £18 on Man Utd winning – as a single that won’t make too much of a difference – and have the remaining £2 on an accumulator. You could even split your stake, £1 on a footyaccums and the other £1 on horses, maximising your interest for the day.