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Guide to accumulator betting

Published on June 23, 2022
Updated on February 5, 2024
Written by Janne

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Guide to accumulator betting

Accumulator betting

There are plenty of different types of bet available ranging from wagers on single events to what is known as accumulator betting. It is the latter we will be delving into today and with good reason. It is the second most popular betting practice on the market, and its popularity is higher than it has ever been before. We aim to tell you all about accumulator betting and explain why it is so popular among punters. Accas can seem confusing to newcomers, but this guide will show you they can be one of the easiest multiples to understand. Here is everything you need to know about accumulator betting with our accumulator guide.

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What is an accumulator bet?

An accumulator is one bet made up of multiple selections (also called legs), all of which need to come in for the bet to win. The potential return is much higher because the return (and returned stake) from the first leg becomes the stake for the second leg, then the return (and returned stake) from the second leg becomes the stake for the third leg and so on.

As accumulator bets, also known as accas, are placed on several events they come together to form a bet of higher value or better odds. They are simple and straightforward to place, and you can link any bets you like so long as they are not related by which we mean an outcome affecting another in your bet. An example of this would be the first goalscorer and correct score in the same match. In this case, the event would be classed as related contingencies and are not allowed. Multiple selections from the same game would not be classed as an accumulator, but rather a same game multiple, which is a different type of bet as the odds are not calculated in the same way.

There are numerous international matches and Premier League games every month, so there are plenty of opportunities to place an accumulator. Accumulator bets can be placed on the majority of sports, including football, horse racing and tennis, but bookmakers may, at times, stop you from combining multiple sports into an accumulator. At the time of writing, football is the sport on which most accumulator bets are placed.

You can be fairly selective in your picks, adding as many events as you like to your betting slip. For example, you can pick Manchester United to win, Blackpool to draw and Scunthorpe to lose as part of your accumulator, and these odds will be added to your account.

You will have heard football accumulator bets referred to by a number of different names, such as accumulators, accas, multiples and combo bets,  but the most popular seems to be ‘acca’. 

Why is accumulator betting so popular?

The accumulator continues to be one of the most popular multiple bets because it offers much greater potential returns. It is also exciting as all the selections have to win, otherwise you leave empty handed. Bettors try and guess the outcome of several matches in a test of sports betting skill and luck, with online betting sites often offering great promotions.

Accumulator bets are fun and they give  fans a broader interest in the events taking place on any given weekend, often leaving the punter trying to keep abreast of everything that is happening across several different matches. Accumulator betting is a way for fans to test their knowledge and ability to predict the sports they love while often having a bit of a laugh with their friends at the same time.

What markets can be included in an accumulator bet?

Most people go with match results in their accumulator bets such as team X to beat team Y, but you can actually include almost any market you like and in a variety of combinations. An example of this can be seen below:

Acca legsBet
Bet 1Over 2.5 goals Newcastle United vs Manchester United
Bet 2Bolton Wanderers to beat Harrogate Town
Bet 3Arsenal to win both halves
Bet 4Real Madrid to beat Granada
Bet 5Under 1.5 Goals Birmingham City vs Rotherham United
This table offers an example, but the choices are practically limitless so long as none of the picks falls under a related contingency.

Types of accumulator bet

As said above, the combinations of accumulator bets are becoming far more varied and offer several different options to the punter. The basic principle always remains the same when placing an acca, and that is several small events combining for one larger bet.

Strictly speaking, an accumulator is a bet that consists of four or more selections. Bets that contain two or three selections are known as a double or treble respectively. There can be up to 20 selections in an accumulator with most online betting sites.

The types of multiples and accumulator bets  generally allow for the specific number of selections made. Each often has a different name, all of which are fairly straight forward.

Number of SelectionsType of accumulator (acca)
4Four-fold accumulator
5Five-fold accumulator
6Six-fold accumulator
7Seven-fold accumulator
8Eight-fold accumulator

There is no upper limit to picking an accumulator bet, and the outcomes can bring returns far greater than the initial bet that was placed. For example, there is a  famous case in the UK where a punter placed a six-fold horse racing acca on the card at Exeter. He placed an initial stake of just £2 and ended up winning £1.45 million.

Example of an accumulator bet

Below is a good example of an accumulator bet using the results of four football matches to make a four-fold accumulator. In a football accumulator you could bet on results or other events within the game, however we have simply gone for four teams to win.

In this football acca, the four selections were all on the match result, with West Ham United (2/1), Wolverhampton Wanderers (3/1), Burnley (5/1) and Liverpool (1/2) all backed to win. 

To calculate you need to convert the odds to decimals if they are not already in that format. West Ham to win at 2/1, Wolves at 3/1, Burnley at 5/1 and Liverpool at 1/2 then the total odds would be (2 x 3 x 5 x 1.5) 45/1. This is because in effect the first leg winnings (of 2) would placed alongside the original stake, and that amount placed in the next leg of 3, and should that win then the total amount of those two wins is on the next game, etc, etc. This can happen even if all games are being played at the same time. So a £1 stake would bring you a return of £45.

Most bookmakers will have your potential returns at the bottom of your betting slip in order to allow you to see how much you could make from any potential accumulator bet, but there are some great apps with accumulator calculators that allow you to work this out for yourself. Obviously the example is a football acca, however, you could go with another sport or several different sports.

Risks of Accumulator betting

The main attraction for accumulator bets is that they are a fun way to follow sports, but there are some risks that you should be aware of. Although the returns can be great, especially compared to the initial stake, it is hard to get all of your selections to land, and if even one of those selections should fail, then you will lose the bet.

The other thing to bear in mind is that the bookmakers make more money out of accumulators because they compound their margins. What we mean by this is that if they were to have a 3% margin on a single bet when you add another selection, it would be doubled (3+3 = 6%) and this carries on the more bets you add.

If you had a ten-fold selection, the bookmaker stands to make 30% profit margin which isn’t necessarily a worry but is something you should know about. As ever, some bookies are better than others for their prices!

Advantages of accumulator bets

As mentioned before, the main attraction to accumulator bets is not only the additional fun they offer punters but also the returns from an acca are far greater than they would be for single bets, which adds to their popularity.

Because the bookmaker margins are higher with accumulator bets, so are the bonuses and extras that are often available

These bonuses can often see you get a bigger return or a reduction in the bookmaker margin for that particular acca. This is something well worth doing as it can see you make much better returns on your stake.

You can also take out acca insurance which offers the advantage that if one of your selections does not land, you will still see your stake returned, which saves you more money in the long-term. Not all sports accumulator bets offer this option, and some offer the return of stake as a free bet which will need to be used with the same bookmaker, often within a certain time limit (always check when this is to prevent the free bet expiring).

The insurance is not for everyone but can be used in accumulator bets where there is one selection in particular that you might be less sure about or if a star player is out injured you might think it will have a big impact on the result for that team.

How to place an accumulator bet

Placing an accumulator bet is a straightforward process with most online betting sites and can be done within minutes. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to place an accumulator bet.

  1. Go to your chosen sport, for example, football
  2. Choose the type of bet you want to make; for example team to win
  3. Make your selection you want for your accumulator
  4. Add your selections to your betting slip
  5. Look for the accumulator section at your bookie
  6. Enter the amount you want to stake
  7. Double-check your selections and click to place your bets

Accumulator betting tips: get the most from your accas

It is important to note that there is no sure-fire way to win any bet. This is why it is a game of chance, but there are certain strategies that can be employed to help make winning more probable. Below are a few pointers and tips that will help you be more successful when placing accumulator bets.

Bet on sports that you know and understand

Very rarely when doing an acca will you win without having a good knowledge of the sport you are wagering on. This might sound obvious, but a lot of people do not always know the ins and outs of the sport where they are placing their bets.

The most popular accumulator bets are football and many people have a sound knowledge of the game but not necessarily follow the in-depth information that will help them when placing an acca. You should know how many goals teams tend to score, what their home and away form is like and also who is injured etc. This will help you make the right selections.

Take advantage of variety

There are many outcomes that can be included in accas, so make the most of that. Some games can be harder to predict winners than others, but you might have more luck in knowing that both teams are likely to score or neither side are prolific. Make the most of your knowledge in this field so you can spread the risk a bit more.

Use the stats

This is the 21st-century folks, and as such there are a whole host of websites that offer in-depth stats about football teams across a wide selection of leagues.

These stats are vital in getting you to make the right selections. They can show home and away form, head-to-head data, goal-scoring records, when teams are likely to score goals and also which players are finding the net on a regular basis.

All this information is there to help you, so make sure you use it. You will find that armed with additional knowledge, and you will make far more accurate selections.

Acca Insurance

The bookmakers realise that landing an acca is easier said than done. Therefore, many of the top online betting sites have provided some form of insurance on your accumulator bets.

What is Acca Insurance?

Acca Insurance is, in a sense, a lifeline. It provides bettors with a way to get their accumulator stake back as cash or a free bet if one of your selections does not win. This is a popular offer at football betting sites, but it is available on other sports too. The best accumulator betting sites will offer this consolation so if one selection lets you down you will get a chance to get another acca for free or, in some cases, get some cash back.

Best Acca Insurance Betting Sites

At Boylesports, punters are able to boost their accumulator by up to 100% or insure their bet. This is available for the majority of sports. Bettors must include five selections at odds of 1/5 or bigger. The maximum bet refund is set at £20 per free bet accumulator.

William Hill’s Acca Freedom promotion is one of the best acca insurance offers. Customers are able to choose either a boost or insurance on their accumulator bet. Five-fold accas or higher are eligible and it is applicable to all sports except horse and greyhound racing. Each selection must be priced at 1/5 or longer. Maximum free bet available is £20.

Betfred allows customers to place a pre-match accumulator bet on games from selected leagues, with your stake back as cash if one leg lets you down. The maximum refund is £10, and each selection must be priced at 1/2 or greater. Several markets are available, including Full-Time Result and Both Teams to Score.

As ever, check Terms and Conditions.

Best Accumulator Betting Sites in the UK

From extensive research the best betting sites in the UK for accumulator bets are as follows:

An excellent online bookmaker across the board, bet365 are one of the best betting sites for accumulators, especially in football and tennis. As well as offering competitive odds and great range and depth to their market, the bookie have an Accumulator Bonus which applies to multiple bets with two or more selections, the size of the bonus depending on the number of legs. You can get up to a 70% price boost.

Betway has a rewards club through which you can earn a £10 free bet each week that can be used on accas. To take advantage of this, join Betway, opt in to the promotion, and then when you wager £25 or more on sports multiples or bet builders with 3 or more selections, you qualify for two £5 free bets. Their range of markets, stats and info makes it a great place for accumulator betting.

BoyleSports superb acca insurance and the flexibility to bet on multiples and combos across a range of sports make them one of the best betting sites in the UK for accumulator betting.

Accumulator betting: A great way to add interest to any round of sports fixtures

Accumulator betting can be great fun and can enhance your enjoyment of following sport. If an acca comes in it can be very rewarding and satisfying. As with all sports betting, acca betting should be viewed as entertainment as there are no guarantees of success. As ever remember to gamble responsibly at all times.

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Janne är en tävlingsmänniska med passion för sport och betting i alla dess former. Med över 15 år i bettingbranschen är hans mål att hjälpa spelare att betta ansvarsfullt och med rätt kunskap. Hos delar han speltips, analyser och recensioner av bettingsidor. När det kommer till betting har Janne alltid något värdefullt att säga. Editorial Promise