Parlay Betting Explained

Parlay Betting

There are plenty of bets available at betting sites today that are quite easy to use. Singles, for example, is the most common one. It’s a bet made on a single selection that can be a match-winner, handicap, or anything else. However, instead of betting on a single match, you can also wager on several ties into one bet.

That’s a parlay definition by example. The popular type of bet is also known as accumulator, multi, or combo wager. As the name suggests, it involves 2 or more linked selections. Your win on parlays depends on all the selections winning together. Lose one match; you lose it all.

In this guide to parlay betting, we’ll tell you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about it.

What Is a Parlay Bet?

A parlay is a special type of bet that involves 2 or more selections. It’s a combo bet that pairs more matches in a single wager that produces bigger payouts. That’s because the difficulty of getting all games right is much higher than what you would get on a single bet.

Under parlay rules, you can use a variety of wagers to build your accumulator (Acca-parlay), except for correlated parlays or 2 or more bets from the same game on a closely related outcome. While it looks and sounds pretty complicated on paper, parlays are easy to build at online betting sites today.

All you need to do is click on the odds. The system will instantly create a parlay for you, calculating the possible outcome at the same time.

How do Parlays Work?

Parlays are riskier than single bets, but they are more exciting. While they give bookies an edge compared to regular wagers, some of the biggest wins in the history of sports betting have been parlays. Parlay payouts can be your bet thousands of times, but only if all the selections are successful. A parlay is typically considered when you add 2 or more choices on a slip, but you can go up to 15 or 20 – whatever the bookie allows.

You can use different bet types on such an accumulator. For example, you can choose 15 match winners or mix up match winners and goal betting on a parlay. The system will instantly calculate the return as soon as you enter your stake. When it comes to the wager, most bettors keep them low. They have to be over the minimum, of course. Punters will try their luck with $15 or $20, with rarely anyone placing bets worth thousands. Once again, it’s a risky bet that doesn’t work well with bigger sums of money.

Regardless of the number of bets on a slip, in a parlay, all have to be successful to get parlay payouts. If one of those selections is a miss, you won’t get your money. That’s the trade-off for the massive possible returns.

Understanding Parlay Odds

The odds in a parlay are added together and multiplied by your stake to calculate the returns. The odds for each game are counted as an individual bet. For example, if you create a 5-team parlay with odds of 2.00, 2.50, 1.75, 1.80, and 2.10 and place a stake of $100, the returns will equal all the odds added together multiplied by the stake.

It’s best to let the bookie’s system calculator do the job for you instead of doing the work on your own. In this case, it’ll calculate the vig, too, so you don’t need to do the hard part on your own.

How to Calculate the Payouts

There’s a very easy formula to calculate parlay payouts. You can add the decimal odds for each bet together, then multiply them by your wager. Of course, you don’t need a calculator or learn how to calculate parlay odds independently. All betting sites in 2022 have integrated calculators that will do the work for you. Just add the selections to your slip by clicking on the odds, enter your stake, and that’s it.

The system will give you a probable return to see if the profit is to your liking. You can easily add or remove matches from the slip and build another parlay bet if it isn’t. With so many options available, including soccer, NBA, UFC, and MLB, among other sports markets, we’re sure you won’t have trouble creating an accumulator.

Correlated Parlay Bets

Learning how to place a parlay bet is easy – do it one time, and you won’t have trouble later. Once you understand that, you can develop various strategies for hedge betting that’ll optimize your chances to win parlays. You will also learn different parlay types, most notably correlated parlay bets.

They aren’t as complicated as they sound. A correlated parlay bet is a wager that ties 2 bets together. If one of those wagers wins, the chances of winning the second bet are higher. Not all sportsbooks accept correlated parlays, as they can be very profitable for bettors with a bit of luck.

The payout for these bets is generally around 2.5:1. Some bookies can take that number over 2.5, so you can see how they aren’t great for them.

Types of Parlays

Parlays come in many shapes and sizes. That’s why bettors love them so much. Almost any bet type can be added to a parlay, including teasers, round-robin bets, point spreads, moneylines, and totals. Most bettors usually go for the longest payout with many games tied together on a slip. There’s nothing wrong with that if you believe you have the skills to pull that kind of a wager and win.

Of course, nothing is guaranteed, but there is a chance to win your parlays with a bit of luck. The profit they generate is much higher than what singles or doubles offer, making parlays one of the favorite bet types for players.

In the section below, you’ll learn how to place a parlay bet with different wager types.


Popular at NFL sportsbooks, teasers are bets that involve point spreads on basketball or football. It’s a multi-team wager that allows bettors to choose a minimum of 2 teams, making it a parlay. It doesn’t allow using anything else than point spreads, so moneylines are a no-go for teasers.

Unlike any other bet, teaser parlays allow punters to move each point number for a total plus or number of points. Since you’ll have additional points on the spreads, teasers are more accessible to win than a traditional parlay. The point spreads can generally be changed from 6-10 points, but each leg must use the same number. The more teams you involve in teaser parlays, the bigger the payout. Of course, the options and payouts depend on one bookie to another.


Round-robin parlays are pretty exciting, although they require a bit of knowledge beforehand. A round-robin bet is essentially a parlay involving several outcomes but grouping them in smaller bets.

You can group several selections in a single parlay with a round-robin bet. For example, you might have 4 matches you like, grouping 2 of them for a total of 6 possibilities. By doing this, you’re bypassing the parlay requirements that all legs need to win for your slip to win.

With the round-robin, at least 2 of those selections need to win to guarantee a profit. A smaller one, of course, but a profit nonetheless.


Over/under bets are a perfect choice for bettors who don’t just know who will win, but they’re also sure about the point difference. Bookies usually set a total line of points scored in the match, allowing you to bet over or under that number. Experts believe that over/under bets are an effective way on how to win parlays.

While there’s nothing guaranteed in the world of sports betting online, over/under parlays are a fun departure from regular moneyline parlays that you must try.

Point Spread

Similar to over/under, you can build a parlay using point spreads only. It’s a bit more challenging to predict several teams covering the spread, but if you’re into spreads and you’re lucky, such a parlay can be profitable indeed.

Some of the best parlay bets for today are heavily advertised using point spreads. That goes double for NBA and NFL bets which are very popular in North America.


The most common market used on parlays is moneyline. For those unaware, it’s the same thing as the 1×2 market but without the draw involved. By choosing a moneyline, you’re picking the favorite or underdog to win. It’s the simplest way to build a parlay and preferred by most bettors.

Downsides of Parlay Betting

The most obvious downside to parlay bets is that it’s a risky investment. There’s no specific formula on how to win parlays – you need to predict all selections correctly for your slip to win. Also, there’s no particular strategy that can increase your winning odds. You can correlate some of the bets, but that doesn’t guarantee the sky-high returns of a regular parlay.

Even if your betting system is great, your chances of winning parlays are still low. There have been lucky wins, of course, but even the most experienced bettors don’t get their parlays right all the time.

Upsides of Parlays

The massive payouts are the reason why parlay bets are so hot. Both beginners and high rollers are attracted to online parlay betting sites as they offer a small fortune if you get lucky. Plus, considering the risk of parlays, everyone gets to brag about their big win if it occurs.

Parlays are more exciting than singles, doubles, or any other type of bet. With a good strategy and by correlating a few of those wagers, you can raise your chances of winning a bit.

Parlay Cards

If you’re ever placed a parlay bet at your favorite online bookmaker, you’ve surely come across a parlay card. What is a parlay card? Bookmakers offer special, pre-published cards that give bettors a chance to bet on a parlay right away. The odds on these parlays are usually lower than the odds for a regular parlay, so avoid clicking on those sponsored posts that promise the win of a lifetime.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How to bet parlay?

    Placing a parlay bet at online bookies in 2022 is easy. As soon as you add a minimum of 2-3 selections, the system will instantly build the parlay (accumulator).

  • How to calculate parlay odds?

    While you can use a calculator to learn how much your parlay might pay, it’s best to let the betting site do it for you. The system will calculate your returns right away as you enter your wager.

  • How to win sports betting parlays?

    No formula will help you win on betting parlays all the time. The best approach would be to pick up online parlay betting tips and strategies. That will increase your chances of winning but won’t guarantee a profit.

  • What does a $100 3 team parlay pay?

    It depends on the odds. Multiply the odds between themselves and your stake to get the possible return.

  • Is a 2-team parlay a good bet?

    If the odds are good, we see no reason to avoid placing a 2-team parlay. However, the best parlays include more selections.

  • What is an example of a parlay bet?

    Here’s an example of a simple 3-team parlay: you put $100 on the Mariners at +150, Bulls at +100, and Nets at +205. If all 3 teams win, your $100 bet will turn a profit of over $1,500, so it’s easy to see why bettors love parlays.

Betting Guru

Tim is our betting guru. Every gaming site needs one, and Tim’s our guy. He has plenty of experience in betting online and is quite successful at it. Tim’s favorite sports are hockey, baseball, and Esports. Tim believes the latter to be the future of betting.

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