What is an Accumulator?
An accumulator is a type of bet. It combines separate wagers into one single, overarching bet, and relies on the ‘all or nothing’ principle. To win an accumulator, you must win every one of the individual wagers combined within the bet – should this happen, the payout for the combined win is greater than the sum of each winning wager. However, the disadvantage of an accumulator is its high margin for error. Lose just one wager, and you lose the entire bet.
Also known as a ‘parlay’ or ‘combo’ bet or, more colloquially, as an ‘acca’, an accumulator bet can be placed on any sport and can exist at varying levels of complexity, from simple ‘double or quits’ wagers over a game of pool to myriad combined selections of horse races (an example of which, in 2011, won a heating engineer £1.45 million from an initial £2 bet).
Accumulator bets are especially common in football, and tend to include four selections – often, these can be four games going on at the same time. The appeal of this kind of bet comes in part from the fact that it combines the odds of each selection to exponentially increase the sum of the potential payout, but many people also adore the mounting thrill of having all four games played at once and the heightened tension this creates.
An example of an accumulator bet in football might look like this. Four games (A, B, C and D) are about to be played. Within each game, the odds are 3-1 that the weaker team will win. You place an accumulator bet of $12 on the combination of all four weaker teams winning. Game A plays, and your team wins. Your initial stake of $12 returns $50, which goes on Game B. Your team wins again, meaning a return of $200. This goes on Game C, it’s another win for you, and this returns $800. Finally, Game D results in your favour, and your overall winnings are $3,200. If you had bet $12 on each game separately, without the accumulator, you would have only won $200.