The Math’s Behind Accumulator Bets

Accumulator mathsWith the bulk of punters now choosing to place their bets online we have lost touch with the basic math’s behind our bets – which isn’t a bad thing to some extent given the time constraints we all have – but understanding the odds and how your multiple is calculated will give you a different perspective when filling your coupon.

Don’t worry you don’t need to be a member of MENSA to work out your bet manually! Here is an example of a simple five-fold starting with fractional odds.

  • Sheff Wednesday 6/4
  • Arsenal 1/3
  • Luton Town 8/11
  • Colchester United 5/4
  • Liverpool 8/13

The simplest way, in my opinion, is to convert the odds into decimal format – you can do this by adding the two numbers together and dividing by the second number i.e. 6+4=10/4 = odds of 2.50 or 1+3=4/3 = odds of 1.33. Our revised betting slip now has a familiar look about.

  • Sheffield Wednesday 2.50
  • Arsenal 1.33
  • Luton Town 1.73
  • Colchester United 2.25
  • Liverpool 1.57

Now we simply multiply all of the odds together to get the combined odds of our acca (2.50 x 1.33 x 1.73 x 2.25 x 1.57 = odds of 20.32). Therefore a £10 bet would return £203.20 – simple, who needs the online bookies calculator? You can of course calculate it the old fashion way by multiplying your stake with the odds on the first selection, then roll over the winnings onto the next selection and so on, but it’s far more complicated and it will give you a headache!

Understanding the odds

There are so many variables that go into the prices that are chalked up by the bookies – team form, strength of opposition, team news, motivation etc. The price itself doesn’t tell us too much – we know that an 8/1 shot isn’t very likely to win while a 1/5 shot should in theory be an absolute banker. But we can translate these odds into implied probability of the selected outcome – based on the coupon above the price of 6/4 on Sheffield Wednesday is rated at 40% of winning – if you believe they have a better chance than it then it’s a great value.

I use this simple odds convertor at SBR to translate the prices into %’s. It’s a great tool to use if you want to spot value and what bets to avoid because the price is a stinker.

After a while you will learn what prices stand out and which prices are far too short. A lot of people tend to fill their coupon with the obvious choices and supposed ‘dead cert’ – Celtic to win at home, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Man City etc. But when you examine the odds the risk involved in predicting four games for combined odds of 2.40 is really not worth the risk.

  • Celtic 1.10
  • Bayern Munich 1.17
  • Chelsea 1.50
  • Man City 1.20

This type of accumulator would give you combined odds of 2.32 – which is a terrible price on the outcome of four matches. If you do your research and spot the matches with good value then you will maximise your returns and chances of winning. More often than not, with the right preparation, you will be able to pick a single winner at bigger odds than the combined price of a supposed bank four-fold.

About Jon

I've made What Acca to try and help people starting out with accumulator betting. The possibilities of these types of bets are pretty much endless, with the major attraction coming from the fact that a lot of money can be won for very little outlay. What Acca will hopefully teach you how to make more profitable accumulator bets whilst also eradicating some of the mistakes that I have made over the years.


  1. If the odds on Team A winning Game 1 are 5:1, and on Game 2 are 3:1, what are the odds on Team A winning both Game 1 and Game 2?

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