Combination bets is the name for the types of horse racing bets where 2 or more horses are chosen in different races. They basically break down to doubles, trebles, and accumulators, but sometimes a bet with 4 or 5 horses gets called a fourfold or fivefold.
Read on below for an explanation of what these are and how they work…
As you can guess from the name, a double revolves around two horses running in separate races. They can be placed as Win bets or as Each Way (as long as all of the races have more than 4 horses running in them).
NB: Both horses have to win (or place if each way) for you to get any money back. You will lose the bet if one of the horses does not score.
With a Double bet you choose your two horses, choose your stake, and keep your fingers crossed across the two races. Your winnings get calculated based on the odds, as usual, but this time your reward will be bigger than if you were to bet on the two horses as individual single bets. Here’s an example:
You choose a horse in race 1 at 2/1 and a horse in race 2 at 4/1, and you want to bet £2 on the double. Your first horse wins, so that has returned £6 (your £2 stake plus £4 winnings). That £6 then automatically goes on your second horse (you can’t stop at this point), which won at 4/1. So you have now won £30! Your £6 stake that went on the second race plus £24 (£6 x 4, as the odds were 4/1).
The combination of the two horses’ odds gave you a 14/1 return on your original stake. Because of the way the odds multiply across these combination bets then it often adds up to place the double as an each way bet (unless you are backing odds on favourites at 8/11 or 4/6 etc). This way you will usually be in profit if both horses do not win but place instead, or if one wins and one places.
Read more about Each Way betting
A Treble is a bet across 3 horses in 3 separate races, and works in the same format as the double in that the odds multiply and you need all 3 horses to score to get a return.
Pick your three horses and decide on your stake. It usually adds up to go each way on a treble as even if the horses are all at Evens odds then the combined odds is still 7/1, so as long as they all at least place then you will be in profit. Here’s an example of a Treble bet:
You choose a horse in race 1 at 2/1, a horse in race 2 at 4/1, and a 6/1 horse in race 3. You decide to bet £1 on the treble. Your first horse wins, so that has returned £3 (your £1 stake plus £2 winnings). That £3 then rolls onto your second horse, which wins at 4/1. So you now have £15 from the first 2 wins and that now automatically goes onto your third horse. Amazingly, your third horse wins too and you collect £105 (the £15 stake on 3rd horse and winnings of 6 x £15 = £90). Not bad for a quid.
The combination of the three horses’ odds gave you a 104/1. Again, placing this bet each way gives you some insurance if one or all of your horses place rather than win. Had you bet £1 each way and one of the horse placed rather than won then instead of the bookie keeping your money you would be collecting £5.54, a profit of £3.54. Not the same as £105, but better than losing out completely. As ever with these combination bets, if one or more of your horses fail then you lose the bet.
Fourfold / Fivefold / Accumulator Bets
Once you get past a treble you are into the blurry cloud between a fourfold and an accumulator. The bet after a treble, with 4 horses, is properly known as a Fourfold Accumulator, and a Fivefold Accumulator with 5 horses, and so on. Don’t get too hung up on the full terminology, once you get past a treble they might all be called an accumulator by some folk whether they have 4 or 12 horses in it.
Pick your horses, however many you are going after, and decide on your stake. It will usually always add up to go each way with a fourfold or bigger.
If you do a fourfold with 4 horses all at Evens odds, and they all win with a stake of £1 each way then you will get a tidy £18 return. If your horses all won at 2/1 then it dives up to a return of nearly £85. All winning at 3/1 and it’s over £260 profit. Have a play around with accumulator stakes and odds by using a free online betting calculator and you’ll start to see how a very small stake with a winning accumulator can give you a massive return.
The combined odds of accumulators are so large because there is a very high chance that your bet will not come off. Protect yourself from one horse being pipped at the post and coming 2nd or 3rd by placing your bet each way. The returns can still be decent if a place or two spoils the winning streak.
If you would rather get a return if just one of your horses fail to at least place then you might want to consider one of the many types of Multiple Bets that are available.