Parlay Bets Explained & How to Win

Confused about parlay betting? Have no fear, with this short guide we tell you all you need to know about parlay bets and how to win them.

Parlay betting has been a staple of sports betting, and thus online betting, for a very long time. It’s also not that hard of a concept to wrap your head around.

Often also called accumulators or multiples, parlay bets combine multiple individual bets into one bet. All of these individual bets are required to win if you want your payout, so the odds are much higher than if they were separate bets. Consequently, the potential reward is also much bigger.

So the mindset you need for parlay bets is this: high risk, high reward.

The only exception occurs when one of these bets, or “legs”, ends up a draw. The leg is then basically thrown out of the equation. For example, if one of your 3-bet parley’s legs is a tie and the other two win, your reward is as if it was a double.

Advantages of Parlay Betting

Simply put, the odds of your bet succeeding go way down as you add more bets to your parlay. However, the rewards get multiplied as well, making parlays probably the best betting offer if you want a big payout for a small investment. This can be great if you have a limited budget.

To put this into perspective, imagine placing 4 bets that all happen to have 1/1 odds, let’s say £10 each. Were you to win all of them, the resulting payout would be £80 – a £40 profit. If this were a parlay bet, the same stake of £40 would net you a profit of around £400. This margin increases exponentially as more bets are added.

Disadvantages of Parlay Betting

Statistically speaking, winning any parlay with more than two bets is already a long shot, even if you go for the favourites. Needless to say, parlays are a riskier form of online betting.

Furthermore, the odds usually offered by online bookmakers are not “true” odds. Most online bookies follow a table when deciding parlay odds. They differ between bookmakers, but generally go something like this:

  • 2 Teams: 2.6:1
  • 3 Teams: 6:1
  • 4 Teams: 10:1
  • 5 Teams: 20:1
  • 6 Teams: 40:1
  • 7 Teams: 80:1
  • 8 Teams: 100:1

And so on. Thus, while the statistical chance of actually winning all 8 bets is something like 255:1, the payout is only 100:1. This is before the individual odds are accounted for, but you get the picture. It should be clear why many punters prefer to stick to single bets.

Parlay Betting Tips

  • Be ambitious, but not too ambitious. Parleys are for brave punters, but remember how important statistics are when it comes to betting. From the perspective of betting theory, parleys are not great unless used wisely
  • Betting bigger stakes on a smaller number of games is usually a sound parley betting strategy.
  • “Protect” your bets with straight bets against you parley. For example, if you’re on the last leg of your parley, betting against it can guarantee that you at least get your stake back.
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