Nowadays, the ITV 7 is a free-to-play competition offered by ITV in partnership with Sky Bet, but has its origins in the previous incarnation of ITV Racing, shown as part of ‘World of Sport’ from the early Seventies onwards. Although no longer an accumulator in the traditional sense, the basic concept remains the same; viewers are required to predict the winners of all seven selected races to win a prize of up to £100,000. Of course, picking seven winners, especially on a competitive, televised card, is no mean feat and cumulative odds regularly run to tens, or even hundreds, of thousands to one.
The ITV 7 may be free to enter, but the huge number of entries often leads to multiple winners, who share the jackpot prize. Consequently, many punters supplement their promotional bet with a small-stakes accumulator, of the traditional type – that is, settled at starting price, early price or board price, at the discretion of the punter – so that, if they do strike it lucky, they are guaranteed a mammoth payday, regardless of the number of winning tickets in the ITV 7.
However, even so, punters still need to pay attention to the prices on offer from the bookmaker with whom they place their accumulator bet; betting at multiple odds means that a point, or half a point, here and there can quickly translate into a shortfall of hundreds of thousands of pounds in the final payout. Indeed, on Betfair Hurdle Day, 2019, odds comparison service Oddschecker calculated that the difference between the best and worst odds on offer for each of the winners of the ITV 7 races – although, individually, never more than a single point – translated into a deficit of over £375,000 on a 7-fold accumulator to a £1 stake.