This post gives you an overview of parlay betting, a form of betting that allows gamblers to place several wagers on one and the same ticket. Such a bet is also referred to as an accumulator. If any of the selections ends with a push, the total profit is lowered to what it would have been if the selection was not part of that ticket. If any one of the selections loses, you lose your full stake. This type of betting is very common among bettors. If used properly, it can generate lots of profits. If not, it can cause you to bust.
Unfortunately, a lot of people are not aware how the system truly works and end up making a wrong choice. We can help you avoid that by answering the following questions: what is parlay, how does it work, and is it worth it? At the end of the post, we will also give you a few pieces of advice related to this particular strategy. Take a look.
Understanding the Concept behind Parlays
To explain what parlay betting is, let us take you away from sports betting for a while. Imagine you go to a casino and start playing blackjack. You begin by betting £100. The bet wins, and you obtain a total of £200. You place another bet and win. You now have £400. You keep on betting and winning, doubling your profits every time, from £800 to £1,600 and so on until you reach £6,400. You have been successful six successive times, turning your initial £100 into a huge profit. It sounds great, doesn’t it?
Now, let us assume you go back to the casino tomorrow and they offer a new type of blackjack. The rules dictate that you have to win six successive hands for your wager to win after which you will be paid 60-1 (61.00 in decimal odds format). If any of the hands is lost before you reach that number, you lose your entire stake. You would not be tempted to play this game, would you? Just yesterday the bets you won six successive times provided a payout of 63-1 (64.00). Why would you risk it?
It may come as a surprise, but quite a lot of people would take advantage of the offer. This is what punters do when it comes to parlay betting.
Truth be told, flipping a coin six successive times has fair odds of 63-1 (64.00). As well as that, total bets and point spreads are 50/50 propositions. In comparison, parlay betting is offered at the following odds at some common bookmakers: 35-1 (36.00); 40-1 (41.00); and 45-1 (46.00).
As the numbers show, the odds seem too ridiculous for a gambler to ever be tempted to place a sports betting parlay. Yet, there are many bettors who naively take that road. And if you want to know the truth, this type of bets targets people of this kind.
Payouts at Parlay Betting
Here, we would like to show you that the payout for a parlay wager that consists of six selections is not the same as the payout offered for fair odds on getting six blackjack hands right, which is 63-1. In fact, it is much different from that, and we are going to prove that in a while.
Let’s take a look at the parlay fixed odd payouts displayed at a randomly-picked online gambling portal. It should be noted that these numbers are common among other bookmakers on the web. They are not exclusive to this particular operator.
|Odds||Number of Teams|
Looking at the table, you realise that the odds for parlays at most bookmakers are very unfair. So, who would anyone want to place such a wager once they find out the truth? To be honest, parlay betting is a final destination for many naive bettors who are not willing to go to all the trouble to figure out whether the wagers they want to place have any value, or are just unaware of what they are doing.
Also, you should keep in mind that sportsbooks charge a vig. Hence, the odds will change, and that will lead to a change in the payouts as well. Here is an example.
Parlay betting is usually offered at fixed odds of -110, which is 1.91 decimal odds. Let’s see what happens if you wagered six successive times at the odds we suggested.
- Place a £100 bet at odds of 1.91; win £90.91; total balance: £190.91.
- Place a £190.91 bet at odds of 1.91; win £173.56; total balance: £364.47.
- Place a £364.47 bet at odds of 1.91; win £331.34; total balance: £695.80
- Place a £695.80 bet at odds of 1.91; win £632.55; total balance: £1,328.36.
- Place a £1,328.36 bet at odds of 1.91; win £1,207.61; total balance: £2,535.97.
- Place a £2,535.97 bet at odds of 1.91; win £2,305.45; total balance: £4,841.41.
So, if you place a parlay of six selections staking £100 and you get £4,841.41 in return, this means that you get something close to odds of 47.4-1. Now, let us tell you something. There is a way to overcome this. You just need to find gambling venues where parlay betting is not offered at fixed odds. You can come across these options at the best betting sites. So, you need to keep looking. You can also check our list of the best options. We offer rankings based on a number of factors we took into consideration beforehand.
Bookmakers with the best payouts for parlay betting
|n/a||n/a||n/a||9.6 /10||Bet365 ReviewJoin Now|
|50%||£200||£1||9.3 /10||10Bet ReviewJoin Now|
|100%||£30||£0.1||9.1 /10||888Sport ReviewJoin Now|
|n/a||n/a||n/a||9.0 /10||Betfair ReviewJoin Now|
* T&C’s apply. Click on Join Now for details.
How to Force True Parlay Odds
We just said that you need to find some decent online portals that do not have fixed parlay gambling odds, but we should also tell you that there is a way to force sportsbooks to pay true odds. All you have to do is add one more selection with different odds. To illustrate this better, here is an example.
Imagine you want to place a wager with six selections at a bookmaker. Let’s say they are all offered at odds of 1.91, which means that you get a 40-1 payout. However, you change your mind at the last minute, and you decide to make five selections instead of six, all at the proposed odds of 1.91, and then you make another one at odds of 1.83. The payout you get will be based on the real odds.
Here is how to make the calculations. You need to multiply the odds of the six selections. So, you have five selections at odds of 1.91 and one selection at odds of 1.83.
1.91 x 1.91 x 1.91 x 1.91 x 1.91 x 1.83 = 46.52
This means that the payout will be 46.52-1 (47.52). This is more than odds of 40-1 (41.00), which we get if we use a fixed odds betting parlay.
So, if you just make one selection at different odds, you can force the sportsbook to pay based on true odds.
A Strategy You can Use
Considering what we just said, you may be surprised to find out that there are a few situations in which you can use parlay gambling to your advantage. The bettors who are more experienced and knowledgeable use this system every now and then. We will show you three situations in which the strategy is recommended to use.
#1 Bypassing betting limits
Yes, you can use parlay gambling to circumvent the betting limits that sites have. If you are a low roller, that probably isn’t a problem at all. However, high rollers feel like they are limited. If you are experiencing the same problem, you can try placing more parlays. For instance, NFL games often have £1,000 max bet. You can place a parlay of three selections that would offer odds of 5.96-1 (6.96). The difference between placing a three-team parlay and making separate bets is that when betting separately, you are not allowed to risk more than £1.100, whereas if you choose to go with a parlay, you can risk about £2,185.33 on every wager.
Yet, you should keep in mind that your chances of losing are bigger than your chances of winning because all the selections you make on a parlay have to win for it to be successful. However, if you are willing to bet huge amounts of money, you are probably already aware of that anyway.
#2 Bonuses and promotions
Parlay gambling is great to use for betting bonuses and promotions, especially if they come in the form of free play credits. Why is this so? If you wager £100 cash at odds of 1.91, you will get a return of approximately £90.91, and you will get your stake returned. This makes a total of £190.91. However, if you stake a free credit of £100, you will only win £90.91, i.e. you do not get your stake back. So, in this situation, it is much better to place a parlay rather than a point spread bet. You will get a bigger payout out of your credit.
Please note that free play bonuses are gone forever once you use them. It does not matter whether you win or lose. The credit will disappear after use. So, our advice is to use it wisely. We think that the option we suggested is a good way to go.
#3 Correlated betting parlay
Imagine there is a football match and the bookmaker offers a point spread of +21.5/-21.5 over and under. A wise thing to do in this situation is to place a parlay bet on the under and the underdog, or the over and the favourite. It is better than a straight bet.
We hope you are no longer wondering what a parlay bet is. We gave you plenty of examples and scenarios to help you understand the strategy. We hope we were successful.
If you are a gambling enthusiast, you will probably be interested in the rest of the betting types.
Types of Betting
- Arbitrage Betting Explained
- How Hedging Bets Work
- Kelly Criterion Betting Strategy
- Moneyline Betting in Sports
- All about Point Spread Betting
- Meaning of Over Under Betting
- Understanding Outright Bets
- What Prop Bets are About
- Explaining a Bet Accumulator
- Making Betting Permutations
- What is Exchange Betting