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Parlay Bet Guide

When looking at sports betting, you may have come across the term ‘parlay bet’ and wondered what it means. In this piece, we will look at what a parlay bet is, how the payout for a parlay bet is calculated and the different types of parlays you can make.

What is Parlay Betting?

A parlay bet is similar to an accumulator, acca, combo bet or multi depending on where in the world you are. It is a bet made up of two or more selections at smaller odds. Basically, you’re linking bets together to become one single bet offering much higher odds if successful.

The much higher reward, compared to placing each individual bet separately, is due to the high risk of all the selections being successful. It is important to note that if any of the bets in your parlay lose, the whole bet is lost. However, if any of your bets are voided, the parlay bet continues but reverts to a lower number of selections, which sees the odds reduce accordingly.

A bookmaker or sportsbook will offer you bigger payouts for adding more choices to your parlay bet and if all your selections win, you can win big. However, the more bets you link together, the more likely at least one of your selections won’t win and your bet will be lost.

Parlay bets are difficult, but they are also very popular because you can place a small stake and be rewarded substantially if all of your bets come through!

How are Parlay Odds and Payouts Calculated?

The attraction of a parlay bet is that it pays out at much higher odds than a single bet. Calculating the odds of a winning parlay bet is tricky, but your bookmaker or sportsbook will use their own calculating software to do this for you.

When you place a parlay bet with the bookmaker or sportsbook, they will set up a multi-level wager, which sees each winning bet becoming a bigger wager on bets win the next leg. Looking at a simple 3-team parlay on the moneyline, you’re simply betting on teams to win.

• LA Rams (-380) at Detroit Lions
• Buffalo Bills (-320) vs. New York Giants
• Pittsburgh Steelers (-250) at Miami Dolphins

Say you place a \$100 bet to parlay these three teams. If the LA Rams beat Detroit, you will have \$126.32 in theoretical money which will roll over to the next bet. The \$126.32 now becomes your wager on the Buffalo Bills to win. If the Bills are successful at the Giants, you will have earned \$39.48, so \$165.80 now goes onto your final leg.

Here, we’re hoping that the Pittsburgh Steelers can prevail in Miami and if they do, another \$66.12 is added to your final winnings for a total of \$232.12. Subtract your original \$100 stake and you will have made a very pleasing \$132.12.

Larger parlays, those with legs of 7 or more, are less likely to win but they generate larger payouts if successful. Multiple selections can be combined into a single parlay bet, including a moneyline bet, spread bets, game totals and under/over bets.

Parlay Bet Types

There are different types of parlay bets to get involved with. Here, we look at some of the most popular and explain their differences.

3- Leg Parlay

A 3-leg parlay is made up of three picks and can be done as multiple selections covering markets such as moneyline bets, spread bets, and wagers winning game totals and under/over bets, etc.

4- Leg Parlay

A 4-leg parlay is exactly the same as a full four team parlay or 3-leg parlay. Note, as you’ve added one more selection, you have both increased the risk of the bet losing and improved the payout if it’s successful. Again, four picks can be done as multiple selections covering the moneyline, spread bets, game totals and under/over bets, etc.

Round Robin

A round robin bet is when you place multiple parlay bets at once. For example, you might choose to select 3 to 8 teams on the moneyline in a round robin bet. You can then decide how many of these teams you would like to link together. Say you select eight teams and you want to round robin them with one other team, you will now have 28 different parlay bets. Or, if you choose to make three-team round robin parlays together, you will now have 56 different parlay bets. As the number of teams you link increases, so will your stake money but also your potential payout.

Correlated Parlays

Correlated parlays give you the opportunity to see one winning bet increase the chances of another bet. An example of this would be to have two team parlay an over points bet in the first half with a games total over points bet. If the first half total points bet is successful, the overall total bet has now become a favourite to win. This type of betting can also be called a same-game parlay.

Teaser Bets vs Parlays

A teaser bet is very similar to a parlay bet, where you have multiple selections to make up your bet. The big difference is that there are no moneylines allowed on a teaser to make a parlay bet.

With a teaser you can move each point spread or total number of points up or down. This gives you a better chance of winning, but reduces the payout compared to a traditional parlay. A teaser bet also allows a change in the point spread or total anywhere between 6 to 10 points, however, it is important to note that each leg of the teaser has to use the same bet and number of points.

As with a traditional parlay bet, the more selections you have in your teaser bet, the better the odds roughly double payout will be but the riskier the bet is of being successful.

Is parlay a good bet?

Parlay bets are a very exciting way to bet due to the big payouts you could receive for a small initial stake. However, they are not easy to win due to the number of selections you need to guess correctly. Keep the stakes low and hope it is your lucky day.

How do you bet a parlay?

A parlay bet in sports betting is when you make multiple bets, at least two or more, and link them together to become one single bet. However, if any of the bets in the parlay lose, your entire parlay bet is lost. On the flip side, if all your individual wagers together win you can receive a huge payout depending on the stake that was placed.

How do you win a parlay bet?

In a parlay bet you’re linking two or more bets together and to win, all bets must be successful!

What happens if a bet is void in a parlay?

If you have placed a parlay bet and one of them is voided, the parlay bet will continue but will revert to a lower number of selections. This will see your odds and potential parlay payout reduce accordingly.

Is it better to straight bet or parlay?

There are many opinions on this subject. Parlay or teaser bets are great fun but come with much more risk of losing than straight betting due to needing multiple selections to win, rather than just one. Parlays are an exciting, low stake way to bet but perhaps shouldn’t be used every day.

What happens if a single bet loses in parlay?

If even one bet of your parlay loses, the entire parlay bet loses as well. This makes parlay bets quite challenging to win, especially if they consist of many separate wagers. The benefit is that the bettor may receive a larger payout if the parlay payouts of all of the individual bets succeed.

How do I calculate the potential payout for a parlay bet?

Suppose you want to bet on a three-team parlay in the NBA, and each team has American odds of -110. Here's how you would calculate the payout:

• Convert the American odds to decimal odds: -110 in decimal odds is 1.91.
• Multiply all the decimal odds together: 1.91 x 1.91 x 1.91 = 6.97.
• Multiply the result by your bet amount: If you bet \$100, your potential payout would be \$697.
• Subtract your original stake to get the parlay odds: \$697 - \$100 = \$597

Can I include point spreads in a parlay bet?

A common parlay bet is to cover multiple games and bet the moneyline or point spread in each. If all your picks win, you win the parlay

Are there any specific strategies for reducing risk in parlay bets?

Bet less on parlays than you do on straight bets. For example, betting \$10 on a parlay pays you the total parlay rather than the entire \$30 stake.

Consider betting round robins, which break down large parlays combining bets into smaller bets and provide a margin of error.

Is it better to place small or large parlays?

When it comes to placing parlays, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to whether it's better to place small or large parlays.

However, some bettors build small parlays when they're very confident in two or three bets, hoping for a higher payout than is offered with a series of straight bets.

On the other hand, some bettors prefer to make multiple wagers and place larger parlays, hoping to hit a big payout with small bet parlays.

Can you parlay Prop Bets?

Yes, you can parlay prop bets as long as they are not fully correlated to single game bet. Most sportsbooks allow you to parlay prop bets from two or more different games, just as you can parlay money line and/or point spread bets on two or more different games.