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Fixed Odds Betting Wagers

There are all sorts of fixed odds wagers available, although not all of them are suitable or indeed available for every betting market. The simplest of all bets is the single. With a single bet on a sports event, only one outcome is backed, and the bet can generally either win or lose, although in Asian handicap, there are other possibilities. With a simple win/lose single, a selection must be successful to achieve a return. A typical single match bet might be Liverpool to beat Manchester United at 2/1. If Liverpool win, a £10 stake would realise a profit of £20; if they draw or lose, the stake is lost. Singles odds are today generally available for almost any sporting contest one can think of, from home wins, draws and away wins in football match bets, to ante post wagers on the next Olympic downhill skiing champion.

Multiple bets involve more than one selection. A double, for example, is one bet involving two selections in different events, both of which must be successful for the bet to win. The odds for a double are calculated by multiplying together the separate odds for the two single bets. This is obviously easier to do using decimal notation. A treble bet involves three selections whilst a 5-fold requires all 5 selections to win for a return. Again the odds for the multiple are calculated in the same way. Sometimes the only limit to the number of selections included within a multiple bet is the bookmaker's maximum allowable payout on one bet.

A winning 5-fold would be quite unlikely unless the chances for all 5 selections which make up the bet winning are very high. If only one fails, the bet goes down. A betting perm (or permutation), however, can improve on the chances of some sort of profitable return, without having to rely on all your selections winning. At the same time, this increases the number of available bets.

Consider the following 3 selections:

  • Bolton to beat Charlton @ 2
  • Leeds to beat Liverpool @ 2.5
  • Southampton to beat Tottenham @ 2.25

First off, each selection can be taken as a single match bet. Secondly, there is one treble available at odds of 11.25, calculated by multiplying together the odds for each of the 3 singles (2 x 2.5 x 2.25). However, there are also 3 doubles available too, by "perming" any 2 games from the 3 selections. Such a series of bets is commonly known as a "Patent", or a "Trixie" if the singles are left out leaving only 4 bets. Strictly speaking, the 3 double bets that form part of the Patent are "combinations" of doubles taken from 3 available selections, because the order in which each is selected is not important to us, as it is for a true permutation. Whether Bolton or Liverpool is selected first on the betting slip will not affect the outcome of the bet.

The greater the number of selections to choose from, the greater the number of combinations available. Combinations are not, of course, restricted to doubles. If we wish to choose from 4 matches, there are 6 combinations of doubles and 4 combinations of trebles available, in addition to 1 fourfold and 4 singles. Taking the doubles, trebles and the fourfold together as a series of 11 bets is commonly know as a "Yankee", whilst including the singles as well in a 15-bet series is a "Flag".

There is really no limit to the number of combinations of bets we can choose, apart from the bookmaker's rules and regulations. A "Canadian" is a series of 26 bets involving 5 selections in different events, consisting of 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 fourfolds plus 1 fivefold. For those who want to link up six selections in 1 six-timer, 6 five-timers, 15 four-timers, 20 trebles and 15 doubles - adding up to 57 bets - they can choose a "Heinz", after the number of Heinz food varieties. A "Goliath" is usually considered to be the ultimate in multiple bets (although there is no reason why it need be), with seven selections linked up in 1 seven-timer, 7 six-timers, 21 five-timers, 35 four-timers, 35 trebles and 21 doubles making 120 bets in total. For any combination-type bet, a minimum of 2 selections will need to win for the punter to gain a profitable return, although frequently with the larger combination bets, more winners will be required.