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What is an accumulator bet?

An accumulator is a bet that contains multiple selections, and all of these must win in order to get a return from the bet. They are one of the most popular types of wager out there, mainly because they can offer some of the highest returns and have the added excitement of covering a number of different games or races. Although football and horse racing are two of the most commonly chosen sports for accumulators, you can normally include any combination of sports in your selections. 

How do I place an accumulator?

Simply choose four or more selections and add them to your bet slip - you will then automatically be told what the odds are for your chosen accumulator and how much you can hope to win. This is worked out by multiplying together the odds from each of your selections to give you an overall probability for the accumulator as a whole, for example:

Imagine we have a four-fold accumulator with the following odds:

Arsenal to win - 4.0 

Man City to win - 2.0

Chelsea to win - 1.8

Man Utd to win - 3.0 

If you normally use fractional odds, simply change your preferences on the site you’re using to show you decimals, as are used in the example above. Decimals also provide a much clearer way of demonstrating the odds you’re being offered, so we’d absolutely recommend changing to them instead of fractionals even when placing singles. 

So, to work out the total odds of the accumulator given in the example, we would simply multiply these odds together, so 4.0 x 2.0 x 1.8 x 3.0 = 43.2. Therefore, if you placed a £1 bet on this accumulator and it won, you would get a total return of £43.20. It’s important to remember though, that in order for your accumulator to win, all of your chosen selections must be successful. If just one of them fails, then you lose the whole bet. 

This is the main pitfall of accumulators, and the reason why they provide such high and enticing odds, because it’s very easy for one leg to let you down and end up with nothing. That said, as mentioned previously, if you’re confident in your choices they can absolutely be worthwhile and provide much higher winnings than singles, doubles or trebles. 

There are also a number of different types of accumulators out there which can offer bettors a bit more security and allow for one or more of your legs to lose whilst still providing you with some returns. Some examples of these include a Lucky 15, a Yankee and a Patent - all of which are also explained on our Help Centre. 

Can I do an each-way accumulator? 

Yes, you absolutely can do an each-way accumulator when betting on horse racing or other each-way sports (e.g. golf). If you’re unfamiliar with what an each-way bet is, it is effectively two bets within one, with one bet on a horse to win the race and another bet on it to finish in the “places”. The places part of the bet means that your horse doesn’t have to win, but can finish in the top two, three or four (depending on how many runners there are in the race). 

Clearly, the odds you’re offered in an each-way bet are much worse than a win-only bet as the chances of it finishing in the places are much higher. Generally the each-way odds are ⅕ of the odds for the horse to win the race. So, now that we’ve explained what an each-way bet is, how does this work in an accumulator? 

Well, in exactly the same way as the each-way single described above, you will essentially have two accumulators within the same bet. One contains win-only selections and the other covers the places. The great thing about this is that one or a few of your selections can fail to win, but as long as they finish in the places, you’ll still get some good returns from that part of your accumulator. Of course, the ideal scenario is that all of your runners finish 1st and you win both parts of the accumulator. 

So, that’s an accumulator explained in simple terms, and although this type of bet isn’t traditionally available on an exchange, it is a feature that we’re proud to offer customers at Smarkets.

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