Accumulator Betting: How Do Accas Work in Football?

Football betting on tablet

If sports betting were a fashion, then accumulator betting would definitely be ‘in vogue’ right now. You only need to check out Twitter or Facebook to see how many people are placing accumulator bets and also how many accumulator ‘tipsters’ are operating in the industry at the minute.

One of things that encourages people to place these types of bets is the ability to win big from small stakes. You often see some pretty unbelievable bets being placed, where a stake as low £10 can return hundreds if not thousands of pounds. The likelihood of winning these types of bets is low, but the rewards are so high that it’s often worth the punt in the eyes of many.

If you aren’t already acquainted with the joys of an accumulator bet, known as an ‘acca’ for short, then have a good read of this and by the end you will be ready to place your first acca with confidence.

What is an Accumulator?

Money Growing

To put it simply, an accumulator is a combination of multiple single bets rolled into one. Instead of simply choosing one result you add several results from a handful of different matches, and for that bet to be successful you will need all of those results to come in. Get just one wrong, and the whole bet fails.

A lot of people get confused as to how the odds for each accumulator bet are worked out, and one of the biggest misconceptions is that the bookmaker will set a specific price for your accumulator bet. This is not accurate. In every case, you simply need to multiply the odds of each selection together to form your final price (assuming you are using decimal odds).

Let’s look at a quick example:

We want to bet on 4 different results; Arsenal to win at 2.00, Chelsea to win at 2.50, Tottenham to win at 2.25, and West Ham to win at 3.25. The accumulator would look like this:

  • Arsenal 2.00
  • Chelsea 2.50
  • Tottenham 2.25
  • West Ham 3.25

(2.00 x 2.50 x 2.25 x 3.25) = 36.56

So the odds for this bet would be 36.56, or 35.56/1 if you would rather use fractions.

It looks great doesn’t it, but you need to remember that if just one of your selections loses then your whole bet is scuppered. This is so common that many bookies even have promotions that will return your stake if you are let down by just one team, and it explains why the odds are so high. This doesn’t take cash out into consideration though, which we will discuss later in this article.

Technically an accumulator bet is 4 or more selections, with 2 selections being called a Double and 3 selections called a Treble. The way the price is formulated is exactly the same though.

Bookmakers Margins


One important area that most bettors fail to really think about is the margin that the bookmaker is taking on each bet. You will never get ‘true odds’ on the outcome of your bet, and this is because of the margin put in place by the bookmaker to allow them to make enough to keep their business running. The size of this margin will differ from bookmaker to bookmaker, but you can expect anything from 5% up to 15% for each bet.

Now, if you think that the bookmaker is making a margin on each bet, for an accumulator bet, this margin would be multiplied due to the number of selections in place. As the margin increases, the bookmaker’s chance of winning will also increase. So basically, the bookmakers will make more than usual on these types of bets because so few of them win.

This does have a flip side to it though, because if the margin increases then the likelihood that the bookmaker will offer a better price to entice punters to make accumulator bets increases too. For example, many bookmakers will offer enhance accumulator bets for a selection of games, increasing the price from the odds on offer should you bet on them as singles. This may seem generous from the bookie, and in a way it is, but all it means is that they have reduced their margin on that bet, which increased as soon as the accumulator bet was created in the first place.

Acca Strategy

As with all forms of betting, there are strategies that you can adopt to help you become more successful at accumulator betting. While they are by no means a guarantee of seeing a return, they will certainly stand you in better stead than just blindly selecting a few results at random and hoping for the best.

Limit Your Stake

Acca BetslipWith all forms of betting, as the odds increase, the likelihood that your bet will win will decrease. It’s very satisfying to see the odds continue to rise for short priced favourites in an accumulator bet, but the reality is that with each bet you add you are reducing your chances of that bet coming in.

This is why it’s often best to limit the amount that you wager on accas. Even though you have reduced your stake, the payouts will still be lucrative and represent a huge return on investment. If you are trying to earn a specific amount then an accumulator bet is a great way in which you can achieve this with a reduced wager.

The bet slip will do all of the maths for you so you can keep reducing your stake until you hit your target amount, this way you are not betting a penny more than you need to.

Avoid Unnecessary Extra Selections

This may seem super obvious, but we would advise against including extra bets just for the sake of betting. It’s easy to keep adding teams and seeing your potential payout increase, but all you are really doing is hindering yourself.

Try and stick to games that you are confident of winning after doing your research, and don’t go off plan. Don’t get lured in by the big wins either, they happen very, very rarely, and whilst they will be plastered all over social media when they do land, statistically you are at a major disadvantage.

In short, play it as safe as possible. Even if that left-field result did come in and you didn’t bet on it, assuming all your other results come in you still have a winning bet, and if one of them didn’t then the left-field game is redundant anyway.

Combine Short Priced Favourites

Acca Short Priced Favourites

Accumulator bets are fantastic for getting value from short priced favourites that you wouldn’t otherwise back as a single bet because of the low return. For example, betting on Barcelona to win at odds of 1.50 isn’t going to be all that appealing, but if you add them in with Real Madrid (1.60) and Manchester City (1.45) you are going to get odds of 3.48 for 3 teams that all have a high probability of winning.

These are the types of games that you really should be targeting for your accumulator bets and staying away from the long shots. Remember, you just need one result to let you down here, and backing any selection at over even money is risky territory in these markets – your entire bet is in the balance.

Accumulator Offers

As the popularity of accumulator betting increases, the number of accumulator offers has also shot up. Of course, this is a massive signal the the bookies love accumulator bets or else they wouldn’t be encouraging you to make them, but nevertheless, we have listed some of the more popular offers within the gambling industry.

Acca Insurance

Acca Insurance

Acca insurance is probably one of the best offers that you can find for accumulator bets. The concept of is that the bookmaker will refund your stake up to a certain amount if just one leg of your accumulator bet lets you down.

You will need to make sure that the bookmaker covers the games that you have selected in their terms and conditions though, so do be wary of that. For example, some might limit the leagues that you can bet on (i.e. only Premier League matches), they could ask for a minimum number of selections to be included (usually around 5+) and they may also put a cap on the amount of your stake that will be returned ( usually around £25, but varies from bookmaker to bookmaker).

Acca Bonuses

Another popular inclusion these days are acca bonuses. This is where the bookie will pay out a bonus on your winnings if your accumulator bet is successful. This will probably come with a few rules such as a minimum number of selections to be included, but they are essentially saying that they will reward you for winning.

For example, the bookmaker may offer a 10% bonus on your winnings for accumulator bets with 5 teams in, and that percentage might increase the more selections that you choose. You can get up to 100% bonus with some bookies, but these will often require bets to include 12+ legs to hit this mark.

Cash Out

Cash Out

Cash out betting was almost made for accumulator bets. If you aren’t familiar with the concept, cash out basically allows you to settle your bets before those games have finished based on the situation at the time you cash out. Used correctly, you can potentially get a return on your bet and lock in that net win regardless of the end result. The bet will be settled once you hit cash out.

It works really well with accumulator bets as the nature of these bets means that prices can change within just a few seconds from one game to another. As you will need several selections to come in to win your bet, your anxiety levels will be increasing as each of your fixtures end, especially if you get towards the end and one of your selections is under performing. By cashing out before a potential disaster you can grab yourself some winnings and relax.

A great time to utilise this is when you have an acca that is winning in either all or most of your selections, but with some or all of the games being just one goal from success or failure. Cashing out now will likely bag you a decent net win from your bet as the bookie will be keen to minimise their losses so will offer a decent price to get rid of you. Whilst this will be lower than you would stand to win if you let the bet run, you will still make a nice net win from your bet, and offload any remaining risk of failure.