When it comes to betting there are so many options that it is easy for a newbie to get confused. Most punters start on basic win singles on sports they know and love, opting for major markets such as who will win a horse race or a football match. A win single, as the name implies, is one bet and is a straightforward selection where you pick a team, horse, player or anything else to win, or make a single prediction such as a game to have over 2.5 goals or a particular player to score or, going a little more niche, a dancer to score 40 points on Strictly Come Dancing. The point is, it can be a bet on just about anything but is one single prediction.
Moving away from a simple bet such as this you have myriad options. You can look away from core markets, with big events often having hundreds of different options. You might try betting in-play, or ante-post. Alternatively, you could check out relatively new bet types such as “Bet Builders” or “Request-a-Bets” (different bookies use different names), where lots of very specific predictions are made about a single event.
However, perhaps the simplest way to broaden your betting horizons and spice things up is to give a double a try. In one, fairly simple sense, a double is the obvious next step after a single and here we will explain how such a bet works, as well as everything else you should know before getting involved and giving this wager a whirl.
What Is A Double Bet?
A double is the simplest form of accumulator bet (or acca) that there is. It takes two unrelated selections and for you to win the wager, both picks must win. That really is all there is to it and the two selections can be similar or entirely different. So, for example, you might have a double on Southampton to beat Aston Villa and Man City to beat Man United.
On the other hand, you might have a double on Tyson Fury to be Sports Personality of the Year and Rory McIlroy to win the US Masters, or you might have a bet on Chicken Dinner to win a horse race taking place today and on PSG to win the Champions League in May.
A double simply combines two predictions but they can be from any sport and any market and you may be able to combine ante-post, pre-match or in-play bets too. The only things to remember are that you are making two predictions, both must win and – crucially – the selections must not be related to each other.
If you bet on a horse to win the 3.10 and a separate horse to win the 3.40, this can form a double. Likewise, a bet on Man United to beat Man City 2-0 and Mo Salah to score first in Liverpool versus Chelsea. However, if you back Man United to win 2-0 and Marcus Rashford to score first, this wager is not a double but is a single with two propositions. The two “legs” are called related contingencies in bookie-speak. This means that the probabilities of the events happening are related and such events cannot be combined into a double (or larger multiple or acca).
Let us assume that United to win 2-0 is priced at 10/1 and Rashford to notch the opener is available at 7/1. As we will explain shortly, combing these selections in an acca would deliver huge odds of 87/1. However, once Rashford scores the first goal, that automatically makes the probability of the match ending 2-0 far higher. As such, the bet, which is known as a scorecast bet and is a very simple Bet Builder, is not priced at the 87/1 the double would be, but at a lower price, perhaps around 60/1.
An even clearer example might concern trying to back Real Madrid to beat Barcelona 2-0 and Real Madrid to win (the same game) as a double. If 2-0 is 15/2 and the win in 90 minutes is 8/13, the double would yield almost 13/1. But, of course, this cannot be combined as a double because if Real win 2-0, by definition they have also won: the odds for them to win are essentially “included” in the price for 2-0.
Whatever the sport and market, any situation where two selections are related to one another will not be combinable as a double. The odds for such an outcome cannot be determined using the standard acca calculation based on the single prices for each pick. Normally an online betting site will automatically make this clear and you just won’t physically be able to make such a bet. Bookies also reserve the right to settle any bets that are accepted in error using the correct, lower odds.
Working Out The Odds And Returns For A Double
Assuming you have picked two unrelated selections almost all online bookies will automatically show you the combined odds for the double on the bet slip. As said, doubles are very basic accas and the name derives from the fact that the winnings accumulate. So if you back Mr Ed at 2/1 in the 1.30 and Horses Can’t Talk in the 2.10 at evens as a £10 double, your winnings are calculated like so. If Mr Ed wins you would normally receive £20 profit and your £10 stake. Instead, however, that £30 rolls over onto the second part of the double.
Thus, you effectively have £30 on Horses Can’t Talk at odds of evens. If it wins, you land £30 of profit and your £30 stake back. That means £50 profit overall, equivalent to a £10 single at 5/1. If it loses, be that in a photo finish or thanks to a fall at the first, you receive nothing at all back and are £10 down.
For those familiar with decimal odds, working out returns from a double or any accumulator is very simple. You just multiply the odds together. In our racing example, that means the calculation is 3.0 (for Mr Ed) multiplied by 2.0 (for Horses Can’t Talk), giving total decimal odds of 6.0, the same as 5/1.
As said, virtually all online betting sites will do this calculation automatically as soon as you add two (or more) selections to your bet slip. Nonetheless, it is good to understand how the odds for a double are calculated and how this type of bet works more generally. For those who are less comfortable with taking on the maths, the table below gives you an idea of what sorts of returns you might enjoy from doubles of various odds.
|Leg 1 Odds||Leg 2 Odds||Double Odds||Win From £1 Double|
Note that odds marked with * are approximate
As we can see, even with just two legs, the returns from an accumulator, a double, can really add up when you throw in one and definitely two legs at a decent price. Put two long-shots together into a double and if your luck is in, or you have a crystal ball, or you’re just a plain baller, then the returns can be staggering!
Amazing £94k Double
You can’t always believe everything you see on social media, especially when it comes to betting, but at the end of October 2021, reports were doing the rounds of one lucky/amazing/crazy punter scooping over £90,000 on a double!
They used a Bet Builder to create a double based on bookings. The first leg was priced at 33/1 and included Pablo Fornals and John McGinn to be carded in the Villa versus West Ham game. A bold move for sure. The second leg was a similar bet on the Norwich versus Leeds game (though this match was actually the earlier kick-off) and included Kenny McLean and Jack Harrison to be booked. That builder was a whopping 110/1.
For reasons known only to themselves, the West Ham fan backed this crazy double with a £25 stake. The acca worked out at a whopping 3,773/1 and the payout, if this is all more than just a hoax, was an incredible £94,350!
I’ve won £98,000 today, whilst watching my team win 4-1. Absolute madness of a day. Certainly has not sunk in yet pic.twitter.com/2gBDZlQ17Q
— Jordan Sayward-jones (@jsaywardjones) October 31, 2021
Each Way Doubles
Returning to the start of this piece we talked about win singles but another option you have when it comes to many bets, be it in relation to a single, double or most other bets, is to back your selection each way, rather than to win. Whilst, in theory, you could make an each way double on almost any sport, it is undoubtedly with racing that such a bet is most associated.
An each way bet is a split bet with half of your total stake going on the pick to win and half going on it to place. Obviously the nature of each way betting rules out the vast majority of football bets as you cannot have a place on markets like the match odds, both teams to score, correct score or half-time/full-time betting. With such bets, you either simply win or lose, though outright markets, such as a team to win the FA Cup or a player to be the top scorer in a division, are options for an each way punt.
Each way betting is a huge part of gambling on golf but due to the lengthy odds and relatively small number of tournaments, few punters would ever place an each way double on the sport. In horse racing, however, such bets are very popular and loved by many fairly shrewd racing experts.
The two parts of the bet, win and place, are separate and that is the key thing to remember when understanding an each way double. If both horses win, both your each way/place double and your win double are successful. If either leg, or both, fail to make the places, then both halves of the stake are lost to the bookie. So if one wins but the other loses, there is no benefit gained from the winning horse. If both horses make the places, or one does and the other wins, then you lose with the win part of the bet but win on the place.
Let us imagine an each way double on Horse A at Ascot and Horse B at York. Both are priced at odds of 4/1 and both pay a quarter of the odds for a top-three finish. If you place a £10 each way double (costing £10 in total), your returns, depending on the two outcomes, would be as follows:
|Outcome of Races||Outcome of Bets||Calculation||Return From £20 Total Stake|
|Both horses win||Both bets win||Win bet is 4/1 x 4/1 , place bet is evens x evens||£290|
|Either horse loses||Both bets lose||n/a||£0|
|One horse places or wins, the other places||Win bet loses, place bet wins||Win bet loses, place bet is £10 at evens x evens||£40|
An each way double is a good bet to use when you want the chance of a big win with a little extra insurance thrown in. Our example above used relatively short odds but if we increase those to 8/1 and 10/1, perfectly common prices for a horse to win and certainly place at, the returns can be very handsome. The figures above would jump to £1,095 if both horses won, with a still very tidy £105 (and £85 profit) if both at least placed.