Accumulators – also known as multiples, or just shortened to acca – are bets that include more than one selection of events that are not directly related (meaning betting on Wayne Rooney to score first and England to win 1-0 is not an accumulator but one single bet, as the two elements are “related contingencies”). Accumulators and multiples require all of the selections to be successful for the overall bet to win. But if they are there is the potential for very big returns given the winnings (including your stake) from the first leg rolls over to act as the stake for the second leg of the bet which – if that wins – is used as the stake for the third leg of the bet and so on.

There is technically no limit to the number of selections you can include in an accumulator, though because the chances of winning become increasingly small as the number of selections increase many people opt to stick to doubles, treble, four-folds or five-folds. Of course, with multiples that include a large number of selections, while the chance of success is small, the odds can be massive – which is part of the appeal of this type of betting.

So for instance if you placed a four-fold accumulator bet (which are known as parlays in the United States) and each of your selections were priced at odds of 2/1 and you staked £10, it would work thus: assuming all selections won, the first leg of your accumulator would return a profit of £20 and would be combined with your original stake of £10 to have £30 on the second leg; that would return a total of £90 (including the stake) which goes on leg three of the bet which will return a total of £270 (including the £90 stake) which is put on the final leg giving a massive overall return of £810 and a profit of £800 from the original £10 stake. So the appeal is obvious.

Types of Multiple Bets

While the most simple form of multiple bets are the straight accumulators, for instance doubles, trebles, four-folds, five-folds and so on, there are various other types of multiples that punters can opt for. For instance, if you want to ensure your bet doesn’t collapse if one of your selections fails, you could opt for a “full cover with singles bet” which covers all possible winning outcomes from a number of selections. So, for instance, a full cover bet of four selections would include the four-fold accumulator, four trebles, six doubles and four single bets – a total of 15 bets. This particular full cover bet is known as a Lucky 15 and was purportedly invented by Betfred in 1984.

Other full cover bets have their own names as follows: Patent for the seven bets from three selections; Lucky 31 for the 31 bets from five legs; Lucky 63 for the (surprise, surprise) 63 bets from six legs.

For all these multiples your unit stake will be multiplied by the number of bets placed to give your total outlay, hence a £10 Lucky 31 would cost the princely sum of £310 (but if all your selections came in you’d be in for a small fortune!). As such many people opt for small unit stakes, often of 10p or 20p, but whatever your stake you will generally need at least two of the selections to come in to even break even given the number of bets you are covering.

Other full cover bets exist that do away with the singles, for instance the Trixie, which is just the Patent but excluding the singles, hence three doubles and a treble from the three selections. Other multiples of this format include the Yankee (like a Trixie but 11 bets from four selections), the Canadian (or Super Yankee) which is 26 bets from five legs, the Heinz (six legs, 57 bets… hence the name), the Super Heinz (120 bets, seven selections) and – the daddy – Goliath, 247 bets from eight selections.