A single is a bet placed on an individual selection, for example, a horse, dog, football team, cyclist and so on. A multiple is a single bet placed on more than one selection, all of which need to succeed in order for the bet to pay out.
The most basic multiple bet is a double, which is a bet on two selections, both of which must be successful. The return on a double is calculated by multiplying the odds for both bets. For example, the return for a £10 bet on a 2-1 winner and a 7-1 winner pays £240 (£10 on a 2-1 winner returns £30; £30 on a 7-1 winner returns £240). Each-way doubles are available and they consist of a win double and a place double. Each-way doubles provide a return as long as both selections are placed. So, if you have an each-way double on a horse-race and one horse wins and the other is second, the win part of the double is a loser and you are paid on the place double only, as both selections are placed.
The next type of multiple bet is a treble, which, as the name implies, is a bet on three selections all of which need to win for the bet to pay out.
Anything above a treble is known as an accumulator or "acca". To indicate how many selections they contain, accumulators are prefixed with four-fold, five-fold, six-fold and so on. For example, you could bet on all the Premier League fixtures in a particular weekend in a ten-fold accumulator.
There’s no limit to the number of selections that an accumulator can contain, although some bookmakers may limit their maximum payout on an accumulator.
The appeal of an accumulator is the huge potential return for a small stake and the excitement that builds whilst it remains a possibility for the bet to come off. If we take the example of the double shown earlier, and add a couple of extra "legs" to it so that the bet is now:
- 2-1 (£40)
- 7-1 (£240)
- 3-1 (£960)
- 7-2 (£4320)
The potential return from this bet becomes £4320 for an initial outlay of £10. You can get an idea of the potential profit generated by multiples by using one of the various accumulator calculators that are available on the web.
There are other types of multiples available, known as full cover bets, that enable you to back more than one selection, but will still pay out if one or more of the selections let you down. Although some criticise such bets for offering poor value, they do still retain the appeal of a big return for a small outlay and provide some insurance if not all the selections come in. An example of such bet is a Yankee, which includes 6 doubles, 4 trebles and a four-fold accumulator. At least two of the selections must be successful to get a return from a Yankee. Other full cover bets are named Trixie, Patent, Lucky 15, Heinz, Super Heinz and Goliath, which includes a suitably gargantuan number of bets (247 in all).
The obvious downside to multiples is that they are difficult to win and are much harder to pick than individual bets. If, however, you believe you have an edge and you keep records to monitor progress, there’s no reason not to try multiples to see if you can amplify your edge at each stage of the multiple bet. As long as you make your selections based on their chances of winning or placing rather than their odds, and don’t include extra legs in your bet just for the sake of it, multiples are a worthy addition to your betting strategy. Your record keeping will show whether multiples are proving to be worthwhile and should show you the optimum bet type for you (e.g. doubles, trebles, accumulators and so on).
A related contingency occurs when the outcome of one selection can contribute to the outcome in another selection. An example of a related contingency occurred in the 2002 World Cup when Ronaldo won the Golden Boot and his team, Brazil, won the tournament. Winning the Golden Boot contributes to the chances of winning the World Cup final, in that the longer a team is in the competition, the more goalscoring opportunities there are. In such circumstances, these selections may be prevented from being chosen together in a multiple or the bet may be offered as a special, the odds on which will be shorter and therefore return less profit than the equivalent multiple.
If one of the selections in a multiple bet is a non-runner, the bet still stands, it is settled without the non-running selection. For example, if the non-runner was part of a four-fold accumulator, that bet would become a treble.