Two interlinking circles representing a related contingencyThe phrase “related contingencies” is not one too many people will be familiar with. However, if you have been betting for a long time you will at least understand the concept, even if you were not aware of the technical phrase.

In this article, we will explain what this apparently complex term means and why it matters in the world of betting. We will give some examples of related contingencies and explain why certain bets cannot be combined, as well as some classic examples of when punters got caught out due to related contingencies. Last of all, we will look at how certain bets, and increasingly tools offered by bookmakers, allow punters to place wagers that would normally fall foul of this concept.

What Are Related Contingencies?

The concept of related contingencies is irrelevant if you are placing a single bet. By a single bet, we mean one with just one selection – for example, a horse to win a race, a player to score first, or a game to have over 2.5 goals. However, if you are placing an accumulator (or acca), be that a double, a treble or a 12-fold monster, it is vital that you understand what a related contingency is.

In very simple terms, these are selections, or bets, that cannot be combined into an acca. The reason for this is that they are related and the outcome of one pick affects the outcome of another. We can say that the extent to which two (or more picks) are related can vary but irrespective of that – if they are classed as related contingencies – you cannot add them together in a traditional acca.

Some selections are 100% connected, which is to say that if one of the picks wins then, by definition, the other must also win. These are probably the simplest to understand and so we will start by considering such an example.

Example of Related Contingency Where Selections Are Entirely Dependent

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu (Chris Czermak /

We will give both a theoretical example of this type of wager and also a real-world one. Let us consider a bet on a game of football where a punter tries to place a double on Man United to win at 4/6 and draw/Man United in the HT/FT market at 7/2. A £10 double on this would return £75 and a naïve bettor might consider this to be a fine bet.

They would be naïve not in assuming that those odds were a bad bet, but rather in thinking this was a valid bet to place. If the bet on draw/United wins then the only possible result in the standard match odds market is also a United win. The HT/FT odds already incorporate United’s chances of winning at full time so why would the bookie increase the price they quoted for that, 7/2, to the 13/2 that the acca effectively generates?

Of course, they wouldn’t, because these two bets are related contingencies. Looking at it another way, if you back United to win in 90 minutes at 4/6 that is one bet. If you want to increase those odds you choose to make a prediction about not just the whole game, but also the first half, that forecast being that at half time the scores will be level. This more specific prediction increases the odds from 4/6, to 7/2 for draw/United. It would be unreasonable and unfair to expect to effectively get the match odds again (multiplying them with the HT/FT price to boot).

Real Life Example: Emma Radacanu Bet

We saw a live, real-world example of this issue with a punter who wanted to back Emma Radacanu. In 2021, Carl Wright placed what he thought was a valid double on the young Brit at that year’s US Open. At the quarter-final stage, he made a bet of £50 that Radacanu would beat 11th seed Belinda Bencic and also win the tournament.

He placed this bet in a shop, with the separately quoted odds of 6/5 for Radacanu to win her match and 15/2 for her to lift the trophy. He believed he was due £935 when she did indeed go all the way but the bet was invalid. It was impossible for her to win the trophy without also beating Bencic so essentially the 15/2 for the young star to win the Slam already factored in the 6/5 for her to win her match.

By combining these related contingencies the punter unfairly increased the odds on Radacanu winning the US Open to around 18/1 when the 15/2 price was correct. This wager was made in a shop and should not have been accepted and we will never know whether the punter placed the bet intentionally hoping to catch staff out, or simply did not understand the rules.

The bookie initially paid out a reduced amount of £264, splitting the stake into two singles. However, in the end, they relented and paid out. Whilst it was their error in accepting the bet, they did not need to do this, so we feel the punter either got very lucky, or was rewarded for what you might see either as a cunning ploy, or outright cheating.

How Do I Know If Selections Are Related?

If you are reading this and worrying that you might accidentally try and place a bet that isn’t allowed, fear not. If you place your bets online then you do not need to concern yourself with accidentally including related contingencies in the same bet. The technology the bookies have just won’t allow it. If you try to make a bet with two or more related wagers you will normally receive an error message along the lines of “Multiples restrictions apply”, or “One or more of these selections cannot be combined”.

In theory, a bet could somehow slip through online due to human error in the programming or the misfiling of a bet. However, we have never heard of this happening. In a shop things might be trickier and whilst the cashier should spot related contingencies, if they are busy, or not on top of the game they might not. If you have any doubt at all, you could always ask as you place the bet.

Often it is quite clear when selections are related and though it is not foolproof, the simplest thing to remember is that markets on the same game, match or race cannot be combined as doubles. So, backing both teams to score and over 2.5 goals in the same game of football cannot be a double. If both teams score, the chances of over 2.5 are automatically a lot higher. Likewise, in golf, you could not place a treble on a player to be leading after 18 holes, 36 holes, and then to win the tournament.

It is sometimes very easy to understand if selections are related whilst at other times it is unclear. As well as bets on the same match (or tournament, race or whatever) almost certainly being related, you should think about how the likelihood of one leg winning affects the likelihood of the others doing so. Let’s now look at some examples of related contingencies that might be less obvious.

Less Obvious Related Contingencies

White Christmas concept

A good example of a related contingency that is not as clear-cut as the ones detailed above, where one leg winning means the other leg must also have won, can be seen in the real-world example of a punter who made a bet on it being a white Christmas. This is not a bet too many people might place but illustrates how the probabilities for different selections can be linked.

Way back in 2010 a punter made a number of large accas on there being snow at Christmas, this is, on there being a White Christmas. He was expecting to win £7m when the white stuff arrived but received just £31! Again, we will not know if this was a cheeky ploy hoping to unfairly scoop a huge payout or an honest mistake, but the shop incorrectly accepted the bet as an acca when it contained related contingencies.

One of the accas made was for snow on Christmas Day in, among other places, Leeds, Wakefield, Bradford, Harrogate, Halifax and Huddersfield. Most of the options on his slip were priced at 2/1 or 5/2 but with the locations all so close together, if there was snow at one, there was a very high chance there would also be snow at the others.

Using an extreme example makes this point more clearly. Let us imagine it is 6/1 to be a white Christmas at 10 Downing Street and separately 6/1 to be a white Christmas at 11 Downing Street. The odds of it being a white Christmas at 10 and 11 are, in practice, still 6/1 and, in theory, perhaps 6.00001/1. If you place this bet as an acca the effective odds are 48/1, so it should seem fairly obvious that such a double would be invalid.

Grey Areas & Only Weakly Connected Possibilities

There is a whole sliding scale when it comes to related contingencies and right at the bottom we have a couple of examples, one of which is classed as related, and one which isn’t. If you decided that Man City were going to have an excellent season and would win multiple trophies, you might decide to place an accumulator on them winning the league, the FA Cup and the Champions League.

However, these are classed as related contingencies and so you could not back this as a treble. Instead of getting, perhaps 4/6 for the league, 3/1 for the FA Cup and 5/2 for the CL, as an acca with effective odds of 21/1, you would have to place this as a single. Bookies often offer various specials on sides, such as City to win the various combinations of trophies.

At the start of the 2022/23 campaign, Pep Guardiola’s men were only around 16/1 for the treble. We can think of this as being down to the fact that if City were to win the league, it would mean they had enjoyed a good season and as such were slightly more likely to win the other two competitions. That 16/1 price is not a huge difference from the odds if an acca was allowed but this reflects that the selections are not as closely related as in some of our other examples.

Racing: Linked But Not Related

Horse racing jockey
roger blake /

In horse racing, we can see an example of something that might appear to be related but in fact isn’t. If a top jockey is riding four horses for the same trainer on a card, you might want to back this as a four-fold accumulator. Considering what we have just said about inter-related probabilities and a bet on a Man City treble, you might think such a punt would fall foul of the related contingencies issue.

If horse one wins, it is a sign that the jockey is riding well and the yard is in good shape. In addition, the jockey will also gain extra confidence. This could be seen to make success in the later races more likely and there is certainly a chance that the odds on those selections will drop following the initial victory.

However, such a bet would be allowed and whilst the odds on the last horse could be much lower once the first three have won, the high-priced acca would still stand. We assume this is because the horses are seen as the most important aspect of the bet. Indeed, it is the horses that you are betting on, so whilst they may share a trainer and jockey, they are separate horses in separate races.

Scorecasts: The First Bet Builders

Another example of a related contingency that shows us how bookies get around the issue comes from football betting. Fans have long wanted to (and have had the option to) bet on a named player to score first and what the full time score would be. For example, you might want to back Erling Haaland to score first (which seems sensible!) and Man City to win 3-0.

In a big game against Liverpool Haaland might be 3/1 to score first and City might be priced at 14/1 to win 3-0. If this was possible as an acca you would see a return worth 59/1. However, anyone familiar with betting on football will know that such a bet is not a double, but a single in a specific market called a scorecast that covers both elements of your prediction.

The Haaland/3-0 scorecast is, sadly, not priced at 59/1, but at the much lower odds of 38/1. This is because should Haaland score first, 3-0 automatically becomes a far more likely score, not least because all scores starting City nil are now impossible. Bookies use their own algorithms to create scorecast odds factoring this in.

By creating a single bet for a specific outcome containing two separate (but at least somewhat related) predictions, bookies facilitate punters betting on multiple “selections” within the same game. As such, the scorecast can perhaps be viewed as the first-ever bet builder.

Bet Builders

Bet Builder example
Bet Builder example

There was a long gap of many years where scorecasts and a few similar bets were the only same-game multiples bets available to punters. However, over the past 10 years or so, thanks in part to improved computing power, that has changed. Also a factor was a desire among bookies to offer a wider range of bets and, with a cynical bookmaker’s hat on, the wish to offer markets where they could maintain a large margin too.

And so bet builders were born. These tools go by different names at different sites but bet builder seems the widely used, generic and logical name. For now, these are mainly available for betting on football, though no doubt in time they will expand to other sports too.

Bet builders allow punters to create almost any wager they want on a single game, combining numerous markets into a same-game accumulator… or bet builder. Some online bookmakers allow you to add up to 12 different selections and so you can generate highly specific, very detailed predictions for a game with correspondingly rewarding odds.

Possible Options

Below you can see just some of the options you might choose to combine:

  • Player Shots (On Target) – Back a specific player to have one or more shots, or at bigger odds, shots on target. Increase the odds by backing them to have two or more, three or more and so on.
  • Player Goals – As above but with goals, with options also for them to be first or last goalscorer.
  • Player Assists – As above but for assists.
  • Fouls – As above but for fouls.
  • Cards – Back a named player to be booked or, for higher odds, to be sent off.
  • Corners – Various markets are available relating to corners, including over or under various totals, which team will win the most corners and bets relating to each half.
  • Cards – As well as player-specific cards bets, you can also bet on cards in the same way as corners above, with regards to totals in the game, per team and so on.
  • Match Result & Standard Markets – Which side will win the game can also be included in a bet builder, as can an array of “normal” football markets, including: correct score, both teams to score, winning margin, handicaps and more.

Bet Builder Example

Note that this is just a small selection of options and that these vary from site to site. Many of the above markets can be broken down by half and team as well, creating almost countless options for your bet builder. To give you an idea of what a bet builder might look like, and what sort of odds you can get see the example below. This was taken for an FA Cup clash between Man City and Arsenal in 2023.

  1. Erling Haaland to score first
  2. Haaland one or more shots on target in each half
  3. Kevin De Bruyne to score
  4. Bernardo Silva anytime assist
  5. Bukayo Saka anytime assist
  6. Match result 2-2
  7. Phil Foden one or more shots on target
  8. Under 8.5 corners
  9. Total Odds – 652/1

Note that even with a bet builder some selections are related contingencies. The tool may still let you add these selections but it will not alter the odds. So, if you select 2-2 draw for your first “leg”, adding draw, BTTS and over 3.5 goals will not have any impact as these are all included already by the initial pick.

What bet builders will prevent you from doing, though, is adding contradictory selections. Once you have added 2-2, you cannot add under 2.5 goals, for example. Bet builders are simple enough to use and work intuitively, with the website or app clearly notifying you when selections can’t be combined. So, why not give them a try?


Related contingencies describe selections that cannot be combined into a standard accumulator bet. This is because their probabilities are interlinked in such a way that using them to form a double or larger acca would create unfairly inflated odds. Should you try and make such a bet online it will almost certainly be impossible. In a shop, if you are in doubt, make sure the member of staff checks.

Generally speaking, related contingencies mean you cannot combine multiple selections on the same game, match, race or tournament. However, the best online betting sites now offer bet builder tools (for football certainly) that mean you can generate such same-game multiples. The odds for these are created behind the scenes by the bookmaker’s technology, rather than using the separate prices for each pick and the traditional accumulator method. As an alternative (in other sports), you may be able to request odds for a very specific wager by contacting the bookie.