Accumulators Explained: What is an Acca Bet?

Sports Balls CompositeIn the world of betting, particularly football betting, you will not have to wait long before you hear the word ‘acca’ mentioned. Short for accumulator, it is the term for a multiple bet that combines several different selections into one bet. The number of selections involved means that the payouts from accumulator can regularly be quite lucrative, even with a modest stake.

This is a large reason why it is such a popular bet type as you don’t have to risk much to potentially win a lot. There is a downside of course in that successfully pulling off an ambitious acca is not an easy task. Indeed, many punters will have to experience their fair share of failed bets before they manage to pocket themselves a nice juicy win!

Although this is a very brief overview of what an accumulator bet is, keep on reading for a much more detailed explanation as well as answers to commonly asked acca-related queries.

Terminology

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When gambling, it is possible to place money on multiple different matches/races/contests all within the same bet. The number of events you choose will dictate the betting options available to you. See the table below for the standard terminology.

Number of selections Type of bet
2 Double
3 Treble
4 Four-fold accumulator
5 Five-fold accumulator
6 Six-fold accumulator

We’ve stopped here but you can get what the picture would be like for seven, eight or really any number of selection. Technically, a double bet and a treble bet are both accumulators when you have two and three selections respectively on your bet slip. Typically though, the term ‘acca’ is only used when discussing four or more combined selections. When betting some bookmakers omit the word ‘accumulator’ from the bet type whereas others will only say ‘accumulator’ and not a number. As you can see from the pictures below, the actual wording you will see does vary across sites.

Accumulators on Betslips

In all cases though this is the same standard accumulator bet featuring four selections.

Every Selection Must Win

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As well as having more than four selections, the other key facet of an accumulator bet is that it requires just one single stake. This is why you will usually see ‘x1’ or ‘made of 1 bet’ on the betslip. It means you are putting all your eggs in one basket, betting on every single selection to be successful. Should even just one selection let you down then you will win absolutely nothing and say goodbye to your stake. Simply put, there is absolutely no margin of error in an accumulator bet as one ill-judged pick is enough to sabotage the entire bet.

Acca Example

Say we have a feeling it is going to be a good weekend for the home sides in the Premier League so we have picked five host teams to all collect three points.

Accumulator Example Bet

Even though we have picked three fairly strong favourites and two far from unrealistic wins, this acca bet would provide us with odds of 18.1/1 so a £1 bet would return £19.10. Your selections do not need to be playing at the same time, they can be hours, days or even weeks apart if you have such patience levels. Acca payouts will differ across different sites slightly as each bookmaker has their own odds but generally you will find there is not a massive difference unless you are adding extremely unfancied options into the mix.

Each Way Accumulators

Arrow Splitting in Two Against Yellow BackgroundEach way betting is most common within horse racing although it is possible to place such bets across some other sports. Effectively they work in the same way as a normal accumulator bet but instead one having just one bet, you have two separate accas running side by side. The first, is an accumulator involving all your selections to win their respective races. The other requires all your selections to place (finish in the top few positions). The reason we say few and have not specified a number is that each way terms vary depending on the type of race and how many horses are involved.

As you are effectively running two separate bets, an each way acca will cost you twice your stake. So, if you enter £1 into the stake box, the total bet cost will be £2. To pocket all the potential returns up for grabs, all your selections need to win. If some win and some place, or all of them place, you will still get some money back only a small fraction.

Common Questions on Accumulators

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We’ve covered the basics of what an accumulator is and how to place an acca online but below are a collection of some of the more common questions asked about placing these types of bets.

What Happens if One of the Fixtures On My Acca is Postponed/Cancelled?

Nothing much happens here when a selection is cancelled. This selection will simply be removed from the bet (made void) but the remaining selections will continue to stand. By doing this your five-fold acca will turn into a four-fold acca, or four-fold will turn into a treble, and so on. This will impact on your potential winnings as the potential returns will be based on all remaining selections.

Can I Use a Free Bet on an Acca?

Although it will depend on the terms and conditions outlined by the particular bookmaker, in most cases we have seen free bets are valid for accas. It is not an unwise approach either given that with free bets, you do not get the stake back even if your bet wins. If you use your free bet on a single bet and the event is voided, you would simply lose the free bet (in most cases, though sometimes bookies will be generous and give you another bite of the cherry if you contact their customer services team). At least with an accumulator your bet would still stand, just in a reduced form.

Can My Acca Involve Selections from Different Sports?

Yes, in the vast majority of cases bookies are happy to accept multi-sport accumulators. So if you fancy mixing your picks across horse racing, football and tennis, there is nothing stopping you from taking advantage of your impressive well-rounded knowledge.

Can an Acca Contain Selections from the Same Event?

Most of the time, no. Because betting markets within one event are often related, you cannot form an accumulator bet using markets from the same game as standard. Imagine a situation in which you could combine bets like Manchester United to win, Manchester United to win or draw and Manchester United to win with a +1 handicap. It would allow punters to create huge odds all related to one outcome.

That said, some larger bookmakers do have ‘bet builder/build your bet’ features that allow customers to choose from a select number of markets within a particular game. Thanks to these, it is possible to place an accumulator bet (of sorts) related to just one game. An example might be Rashford to score first, under 7.5 corners, both teams to score and Maguire to be booked.

Can I Cash Out an Acca Bet?

Again, it depends on the bookmaker you are betting with and the markets you have chosen but most of the time yes, it is possible to cash out an acca bet. This applies no matter if all your selections are playing at the same time or if some are not until later in the day/week. As you can probably guess, if all selections are active at the same time then the cash-out price will be much more volatile. In between fixtures, the price should remain largely stable so you have more time to mull over whether a cash out is worth taking.

During the 2021 Cheltenham Festival one punter decided to take the cash out offer of £250,000 ahead of the last leg on his five-race accumulator rather than risking it all for the £511,225 payout.

What is Acca Insurance?

Some bookmakers offer their customers the protection of ‘acca insurance’. Although terms do vary the general premise is that if one leg of your accumulator lets you down, you will receive some form of compensation. This is will usually be a free bet equal in value to your original stake but possibly it could be in the form of real money transferred to your betting account, in some instances. It’s not the biggest consolation when narrowly missing out on a big win but it is certainly better than nothing and a good perk for any regular acca bettor.

How Much Could I Win with an Acca Bet?

This depends entirely on the odds of the selections you have added. To give you an example though, let’s say we wanted to back a series of slight favourites, all of which are trading at odds of 4/5, with a £5 bet.

Selection Odds Total Returns
Four-fold Accumulator 9.5/1 £52.49
Five-fold Accumulator 17.9/1 £94.48
Six-fold Accumulator 36.8/1 £188.96
Seven-fold Accumulator 67/1 £340.12

If your selections were much trading shorter (i.e. the events were deemed more likely by the bookies) than 4/5 then your potential winnings would be less than the figures above, if the odds were greater, the potential winnings would also be higher.