Cover bets are useful for gamblers who wish to cover all available multiples when betting on more than one horse.
Multiple bets can be placed for each of the selections to win, so backing two horses to win is a ‘double’, three to win is a ‘treble’ and so on. A punter can back as many horses as they wish in what would be an ‘accumulator bet’, though all selections would have to win for the bet to be successful.
The difference with a full cover bet is that it makes allowances for one or more legs of a multiple bet being unsuccessful.
For example a Trixie is a bet consisting of three selections meaning there are four individual bets based on the number of combinations available; three doubles and one treble in this case. Should one of the horses lose but the other two win, the gambler will be paid out on the ‘double’ consisting of those two horses.
Common Types of Full Cover Bet
|Bet||Selections||No of Bets||Number of Legs|
The table above should give you an easy comparison of the different types of full cover bet available, showing the number of selections involved, total number of bets and the number of each type of bet. The cost of these wagers will, of course, grow with the number of bets so a 10p Lucky 15 will cost £1.50 whilst a 10p Goliath would cost £24.70.
For those of you who are table-averse, we also have descriptions of the various bets below.
4 selections, the combination being 11 different bets consisting of 6 doubles, 4 trebles and an accumulator containing all 4 horses.
5 selections containing a combination of 26 bets, this time it’s 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 fourfold accumulators and a fivefold accumulator.
6 selections and so no named because of the ‘57 varieties’ in this bet. They are; 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 fourfolds, 6 fivefolds and of course a sixfold.
7 selections, 120 bets in total made up of 21 doubles, 35 trebles, 35 fourfolds, 21 fivefolds, 7 sixfolds and finally the single sevenfold.
8 selections with 247 bets including 28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70 fourfolds, 56 fivefolds, 28 sixfolds, 8 sevenfolds and the eightfold.
The bigger the full cover bet, the more a punter should be careful about their unit stake. For example in the case of the Goliath, there are 247 different bets in the combination meaning even a 20p unit stake would cost a total of £49.40.
In all cases with the bets above they are multiples, so at least two of the selected horses must win to create a winning double as a minimum. In some cases however, single bets can be included to ensure there is some sort of return even if just one horse manages to win. A patent is a bet that includes three horses over 7 bets; the same bet as in a Trixie but with three singles added to it.
Bookmakers also offer ‘lucky’ bets, so named because extra bonuses are regularly offered on certain selections within the bet should they win. Once again, these bets are similar to the above but with singles as an option:
- Lucky 15 – The same bet as a Yankee, with four singles added.
- Lucky 31 – Equivalent to a Super Yankee with five singles added.
- Lucky 63 – This time the same as a Heinz, with six single bets added.
Another rather complicated full cover bet with singles available is one called an Alphabet. With this wager, the punter picks six horses with the first three and the last three forming two separate Patent bets. Selections 2-5 inclusive then form a separate Yankee and all six form a six fold accumulator bet. The total number of bets is 26, hence the name.
Up-and-Down bets are those consisting of two single bets where, when one selection wins, the stated stake is then placed as an additional bet on the second horse. If both horses were to win, then each original stake is placed on the other horse as a single bet. Each winning bet is then paid out as though it were in effect backed twice.
Bets can be placed as though they were the above mentioned wagers, with up-and-downs added to them, i.e. Round Robin (Trixie), Flag (Yankee) or a Super Flag (Super Yankee).
A lot of these full cover bets are used by punters who wish to keep an interest over a prolonged period of time. Singles, doubles or even accumulators may be known to be unsuccessful immediately should the first horse in said bet lose. Taking on a full cover bet means the possibility of a return remains for some time during the racing day.