Types of Bets: Single and Accumulator Bet

Accumulator is one of the main types of bets

If you are just wetting your feet with sports betting, the first thing you need to learn is the two main types of bets, namely the single bet and the accumulator bet (also called parlay). These are the two types of bets you will most often place at your preferred bookmaker and it’s imperative to know what they actually mean. Here we will take a look at the single and accumulator bets and give you the basic information you need to be able to start betting at the bookmaker of your choice. Let’s waste no time and delve in the two main types of sports bets available to you at the online bookmakers.

Single Bet

The most common and easiest bet to place, the single bet is exactly what the name implies – a wager on the outcome of a single event. In other words, if you place a single bet on a football game you basically bet on whether a team will lose, win or draw. If the outcome you predicted is true, your bet is a winner, no strings attached (as you would see later with accumulator bets). This is the type of bet both novice and experienced punters place regularly and is the one we encourage beginners to stick to initially.

To make it easier, let’s look at a made-up example of a football match, let’s say Arsenal is playing Chelsea at home and you want to place a single 1×2 bet on the game. The odds for the game are as follows – both Arsenal and Chelsea to win at 3/4 and a draw is at 7/5. To place a single bet you simply choose one of the three possible outcomes, let’s say a draw. If any of the teams win, naturally your bet is a loser and you win nothing. But if the game ends up in a draw, you win the bet and the bookmaker will pay you on the 7/5 odds. If you bet £10, the bookie will give you £24 back, in other words, you would’ve made £14 profit on your bet. And that’s it, single game, single bet, single outcome.

Accumulator Bet

The accumulator bet, “acca” bet, also referred to as a “parlay bet” in some countries, is where things get a bit more complicated, although that’s just as comparison to the single bet. The accumulator bet is a single wager made on two or more events simultaneously. In order for your accumulator bet to be a winner, all of the events must be winners, if just one of them was predicted wrong – your entire bet is a loser. As you can see the risk is much higher but the reward is also greater, because the way the payout of an acca bet is calculated is by multiplying the odds of each event, then multiplying the total by your wager amount.

Sounds complicated, so let’s put it all in perspective with a little example. Here we will use decimal odds, since the math will be much easier this way; your online bookmaker will have the option to switch between the display of the odds format, which you can use to calculate the payout of an accumulator, if fractions are not your friend. So let’s say there are three football games you want to bet on using an accumulator: Arsenal-Chelsea, ManUtd-Tottenham and Liverpool-ManCity. To make it simple and easy, let’s say you want to bet that all three games will end up in a draw and the odds on a draw on all of them are decimal 2.40 (7/5). Let’s look at two different outcomes:

  • Outcome 1 – the first two games draw, but Liverpool beats Manchester City. In this case your entire bet is a loser, even though you predicted two of the three games correctly. That’s the main drawback of the accumulator bet – if even one game is predicted incorrectly – your entire acca bet is a loss.
  • Outcome 2 – all the games are draw. This is the only way your bet could be a winner, i.e. everything you predicted occurs. In that case your acca bet is a winner and it’s time to calculate the money you’ve won. As noted earlier, with the accumulator (parlay) the odds for each even multiply, then you multiply the result by the amount you bet. Doing the math we have 2.40×2.40×2.40=13.824. Let say you bet £10 on this accumulator, we multiply 13.824 by 10, and you get £138.24 or profit of £128.24, after we take out your initial stake.

Now let’s compare the single bet and the accumulator bet in the scenario above. If you were to place a single bet on each of the three games and you were correct, you would’ve won £24 per game (2.40 odds multiplied by the £10 stake) or £72 with £30 risked (£10 for each single bet) and your profits would be £42. But if you were to place the accumulator bet you would’ve netted £128.24 with just £10 bet, a third of the single bets’ stake. Now you can see why the accumulator bets are such a magnet for punters – the size of the profits compared to the amount risked is enormous. But on the flip side, if just one of the games is wrongly predicted, the acca pays out nothing, while with the single bets you’d be £32 up.

Of course, at this point it’s entirely up to you which type of bet you’d rather place and there is nothing wrong in placing both at any time. With the single bet the reward is smaller, but the risk is also smaller than the accumulator bet, which would give you more profit per pound wagered, but the risk multiplies with each event added to the accumulator. Of course, there are many other sub-types of bets you can place at the bookmakers which you’ll find in the bookie’s betting menu, for example the Asian Handicap is becoming more and more popular these days, but in it’s basic the Asian Handicap could still be single or acca bet.