Types of multiple bets
Multiple bets fit into one of three categories:
- doubles, in which a single stake is placed on two selections
- trebles, in which a single stake is placed on three selections
- accumulators, in which a single stake is placed on four or more selections.
Multiple bets shouldn’t be confused with full cover bets, which are combinations of multiple bets, involving more than one stake.
How multiples betting works
In a multiple bet, the entire stake is wagered on the first event and selection. If the first bet wins, the stake and any winnings are bet on a selection in a subsequent event. This continues until a bet loses or every bet in the multiple has won. Reinvesting the stake and winnings in each stage of a multiple bet significantly increases the overall odds on the individual bets. However, the risk increases proportionally – all winnings can be lost at any stage of the multiple if a single selection loses.
Specific guidelines apply to any multiple bet:
- the bets can’t be placed on a single sports match or race – each bet must be placed on a separate event
- provided multiple bets aren’t placed on the same event, each bet can be made on any market, for any event and in any sport; you can even add novelty bets to a multiple bet
- if any selection in the multiple loses, the stake and all winnings are forfeited.
For example, you might want to bet on the outcome of four football matches, but have just £1 left in your bankroll. At a bookmaker, you make the following selections as part of an accumulator bet, with a stake of £1:
- Newcastle United to beat Arsenal 4/1
- Stoke City to beat West Ham at 2/1
- Manchester United to beat Liverpool at 3/2
- Sunderland to beat Tottenham Hotspur at 5/1.
The bets are placed in chronological order, which means the first bet is placed on the first fixture, with each subsequent bet placed on the next fixture in the series. Suppose all four of the bets win. This means the following:
- the £1 bet on Newcastle United pays out £5
- the £5 is wagered on Stoke City and the winning bet pays out £15
- the £15 is wagered on Manchester United and the winning bet pays out £37.5
- the £37.5 is wagered on Sunderland and the winning bet pays out £225.
Your $1 bet therefore pays out winnings of £224, at effective odds of 224/1 for the entire accumulator. If any one of the bets in the series had lost, up to and including the final bet on Sunderland to beat Tottenham, your stake and all accumulated winnings would have been lost instantly.
Using multiple bets as part of a betting strategy
Regular sports betting, which involves using single stakes to bet on single selections, doesn’t encourage or reward the use of smaller bets. In fact, unless you’re betting on an extremely unlikely outcome and turn out to be very lucky, there isn’t really any point in placing low stakes bets. This in turn can limit how many events or markets you bet on.
Your bets need to be big enough to generate a reasonable profit if you win, and must be placed at odds low enough to give you a reasonable chance of winning. As a result, you’re probably going to run out of bankroll long before you run out of markets that you want to bet on.
This is where multiples betting comes into its own. With a very small stake, you can bet on a huge selection of markets. And even better, you can generate some really massive payouts if your predictive powers strike gold and all your bets produce wins. For example, instead of placing one or two bets on a weekend’s football action, you can bet on every match of the weekend, without having to spend a cent more.
However, remember that you’ll lose your stake and any winnings if any one of your selections loses before the multiple bet is concluded.
Making the most of multiples
Multiples betting can form an important part of responsible gambling and smart bankroll management. It minimizes risk to your overall bankroll, while boosting the potential rewards if your overall bet is successful. In addition, some bookmakers offer refunds on specified accumulator bets if one stage of the multiple loses. For instance, bookmakers such as Bet365, William Hill and Paddy Power frequently offer accumulator refunds and event free bet refunds on losing accumulators.