Accumulators, more commonly known as parlays in North America, are single wagers placed on multiple events. Once one event ends, if the bet placed on it won, the total amount, i.e. original wager plus profit on that bet, is then placed on the next outcome at the odds that existed at the time the wager was placed. This series continues until one of the bets loses or all of the events have concluded. In the event of a void outcome, such as an Asian handicap that ends exactly on the spread (e.g. the New York Giants are offered at -3 and win by three points), the bet proceeds as though that event were not part of it and pays out accordingly. If any selection in an accumulator loses, the entire stake is lost.
The math on accumulators is fairly simple and can be done either on a normal calculator or an accumulator calculator. In the case of decimal odds, the equation is STAKE x ODDS1 x ODDS2… x ODDSn = payout. In that case, n = the total number of wagers. Put another way, it’s the stake times the odds offered on each event.
Although the math is actually quite simple, it can get messy and mistakes can easily be made if you try to do it by hand. That’s why it is always better to use an accumulator calculator or a regular one when figuring out the payout on this type of bet. There are few worse feelings than discovering that your winnings on a successful accumulator are less than you thought after all of the outcomes go your way. Similarly, discovering that there’s a difference between your expected payout and the actual one upon viewing your betting slip is extremely frustrating. With an accumulator calculator available, there’s no reason for that ever to happen.
Using a normal calculator may be okay for most accumulators, but for those placing each way wagers, the accumulator calculator is an absolute necessity. Before placing your wager, figure out the potential outcomes by using the calculator and the possible permutations. To do this, enter either your unit stake, i.e. half of your total wager, or the total stake, i.e. the two bets taken together, and ensure that the “each way” box is checked. Enter the odds on each of the events and adjust the “place” options to reflect those offered by the bookmaker on each of the events in question. Then calculate the odds with the status for each event listed as “won”. Then change one of the results to “placed” and recalculate.
Pay careful attention to the changes in the payouts as wagers go from “won” to “placed”. Some punters who place each way accumulators mistakenly expect winning bets to carry over as though that bet had won when in fact only the “placed” portion of the bet remains intact. Upon learning this lesson, some prefer to adjust their bets either to standard accumulators or to single bets on each of the outcomes.
Accumulator calculators can be dangerous for punters, especially when the numbers get very large on wagers that include several events. Their eyes tend to focus on the potential profit rather than the relationship of the potential profit to the odds. Most bookmakers will cap the number of events that can be included in an accumulator, normally at fifteen, for precisely this reason. Large accumulators seldom come through, but a single one with a large enough stake can create serious financial problems for a bookmaker. All the same, bookmakers love accumulators as the odds turn more heavily against the bettor with each additional event.
When using the accumulator calculator, ensure that you do so with sufficient discipline. Most people who use it will fall victim to the temptation to keep adding one more bet “just to see what the payout would be” and end up turning would-be profitable days into losing one by getting greedy. Rather than placing a series of single bets, they will play a parlay thinking “why not” or “what if…” If you’re a recreational punter treating a large accumulator as you would the lottery, i.e. for the chance to daydream about what you’d do if you won but keeping your wager small with the understanding that the odds are overwhelmingly against you, there’s nothing wrong with placing the odd “dreamer” bet. Again, though, if you’re serious about making money, the more accumulators you make, the more likely it is that you will lose money over the long term. Use these bets and the accumulator calculator sparingly.