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Combination Betting Explained

Published on: 19/08/2011

One of the ways in which experienced handicappers make wagering more exciting, and potentially more profitable, is by making multiple bets on a series of selections. This so-called “combination betting” helps reduce risk while maximising potential gain. What’s more, unlike an accumulator (parlay) or single bet, the stake is not entirely lost if a single selection fails.

To understand how combination betting works, consider a typical Thoroughbred flat race meeting. There will probably be at least six separate races scheduled throughout the day. With £12 to wager, a bettor has many betting options. A straight bet of the entire £12 could be placed on a single horse to Win in the very first race. Regardless of the odds offered, if the selection fails to come in first, all would be lost, which makes for a very short day of wagering.

As an alternative, the bettor might choose to wager £4 each on selected horses to Win in the first three races. That’s a total stake of £12, which could be described as a combination bet made up of “three singles.” As long as at least one of the choices is successful at odds of 3/1 or higher, a profit will be returned. By the same token, picking two winners at average odds of 2/3 or higher would also yield a profit. And of course if all three turn up winners, a happy day at the track is assured.

As can be seen in this simple example, combination betting reduced the risk. Having one or two losers does not necessarily cause all of the day’s stakes to be lost. It is possible to further reduce the risk by wagering £2 each on horses in all six races. If a single winner pays out at odds of 6/1 or higher, the day will be a profitable one.

Bettors must be aware that there is a disadvantage of parceling out bets in this way. The possibility of winning big is greatly reduced as the bets are diluted. Only a small profit will be returned unless two or more picks are correct.

That explains why the accumulators offered by bookmakers are so popular. They allow two or more selections to be linked into a single wager at higher odds than would be offered if the bets were made separately. Also, the minimum wager required for an accumulator is less than what’s needed for placing individual bets. On the downside, if a single selection loses, the entire stake is forfeit.

When two selections are wagered on together as an accumulator, the bet is known as a “double.” Three selections bet on as a unit are referred to as a “treble.” To describe accumulators of four, five or six selections, the terms “four-fold,” “five-fold” and “six-fold” are used, respectively. It can be a wise strategy to make combination bets that include such accumulators as well as single-outcome wagers.

Indeed, this is where combination betting shows its true advantage. When singles, doubles, trebles and other accumulators are bet upon as group, they provide more ways to win. One of the most popular combination bets is called a “Trixie.” It is made up of four bets on three selections (A, B, C) in different events and includes three doubles (AB, AC, BC) and a treble (ABC). As long as at least two of the selections succeed, the Trixie yields a return.

Similarly, a “Yankee” consists of four selections in different events, which are fully covered by placing eleven wagers. Those include one accumulator on all four selections (ABCD) plus six doubles (AB, AC, AD, BC, BD, CD) and four trebles (ABC, ABD, ACD, BCD). Again, if two or more of the selections win, a return is guaranteed.

Other, more complex combination bets can be made, too. For example, the “Super Yankee,” which is also known as a “Canadian,” consists of 26 wagers on five selections in different events. It is made up of ten doubles, ten trebles, five four-fold accumulators and one five-fold accumulator. To receive a return, at least two of the picks must succeed.

The “Heinz” is a combination bet that covers six selections with 57 separate bets—15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 four-folds, 6 five-folds and one six-fold accumulator. There is also a “Super Heinz,” which consists of 120 bets covering seven picks in different events. It combines 21 doubles, 35 trebles, 35 four-fold accumulators, 21 five-folds, seven six-folds and one seven-fold. In both cases, a minimum of two selections must win in order for a return to be paid out.

Made up of 247 wagers is a combination bet known as the “Goliath.” It covers eight selections in different events by combining 28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70 four-fold accumulators, 56 five-folds, 28 six-folds, eight seven-folds and one eight-fold accumulator. At least two of the selections have to be successful for a return.

Some combination bets, such as those named above, include all of the possible combinations of doubles, trebles and accumulators for a certain number of selections. They are collectively known as “full cover bets.” When such full cover bets also include all possible singles, they are referred to as “full cover bets with singles.”

Published on: 19/08/2011 © Bet Bind