What is a Parlay Bet?

A parlay bet, also known as an accumulator, is a kind of sports betting where you combine two or more individual picks into one bet. It is a widely popular betting option for punters across the globe as it gives you a chance to win big payouts with the minimum risk involved.

A bettor can combine all sports in a single parlay. However, it is important to note that only a single pick from one event can be placed. You thus can’t back Dallas Cowboys to beat Minnesota Vikings & more than 48 points to be scored in the match. You actually can, but with another type of bets, not in a regular parlay.

Nonetheless, you are free to combine three NFL games, two NBA matches, two NHL outings and one MLB affair for example.

How Parlay Betting Works

Parlay bets give you the opportunity for greater payouts, but also bring much more risk along. You have no room for a mistake there as every single bet in the parlay needs to be a winner for it to be a winning parlay. If you place a seven-fold parlay and successfully predict six picks, you’d still get nothing if the remaining one lets you down. There is an exception in case of a push. If one (or more) of the picks in your parlay is canceled (for whichever reason), the sportsbook will treat the event as it has never been a part of the parlay. It would just be deleted, your payout would be reduced and a seven-leg parlay would be considered as a six-fold accumulator.

You are free to combine a moneyline bet on an NBA game with the point spread pick from the NFL contest without problems. You can have up to 20 different events in a single parlay (depending on the sportsbook, some allow even more), but you’ll have bigger chances of winning with the smaller number of matches involved. Predicting a single winner is difficult by itself, imagine what it is to go with as many as 20.

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Example on a Parlay Bet Wager

Placing various bets into one parlay significantly increases your total odds as you’d bet much more money hitting a four-fold parlay rather than placing four separate single bets individually. Here is our parlay which includes the most popular US sports.

TeamsType of BetPickOdds
Warriors @ JazzPoint SpreadUtah -8.5-110
Bengals @ RaidersTotalsOver 48.5-110
Patriots @ EaglesMoneylineNew England to win-180
Blue Jackets @ CanadiensMoneylineMontreal to win-180

We backed four picks from three different sports. The total odds are +760. A $10 wager would thus earn us $860 in total if all of the bets prove out to be winners. However, if only one (or more) picks let us down, the parlay is losing and we’d not have our $10 stake any more.

We went with Utah Jazz to beat the Warriors by at least nine points difference, more than 48 points to be scored by Oakland Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals combined, New England Patriots to beat Philadelphia Eagles and Montreal Canadiens to beat Columbus Blue Jackets.

We’d have much more chances of winning if the bets are placed in singles, but the amount we would potentially be looking to win is much smaller than $860. In that case, we’d split $10 to make four separate $2.50 picks. Here is what the payout would look like:

  • Jazz -8.5 v Warriors $2.50 * -110 = $4.75
  • Over 48.5 points in Bengals @ Raiders $2.50 * -110 = $4.75
  • Patriots to beat Eagles $2.50 * -180 = $3.85
  • Canadiens to beat Blue Jackets $2.50 * -180 = $3.85

With all four winners, we’d earn $17.20 in total. You can see the massive difference between the parlay and individual payout.

Obviously, you can combine all picks from one sport if you are an expert (or just prefer) for NFL for example.

Placing a Parlay Bet

The principle is identical to regular single bets. You click on the odds for the preferred betting option to add it to the bet slip (usually on the right side of the main page or the app). Let’s say you added five picks. The sportsbook will then give you the option to place them as singles or in a parlay. You are free to choose to back two of them in singles and three in parlays for example or to add all five in the accumulator.

There is usually a little box beside every added pick in the bet-slip. To add it to the parlay, you should just tick the box or choose “Bet in a parlay” below. You will see the total odds and should then just click the “Place a Bet” button to finish the procedure.

Where to place Parlay Bets

When placing parlay bets you always need to measure the risk vs reward. To maximize your reward and thus minimizing your risk you need to look at what sportsbsook that offers the best odds. For parlay betting this has a tremendous impact on how much your payout will be. We recommend William Hill sports book for parlay betting due to their fantastic odds.

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Parlay Betting Payouts

This is the type of betting both punters and sportsbooks love. Punters like it because of having an opportunity to get rich overnight, while the sports betting operators prefer it as such a scenario is highly unlikely to happen as it is very tough to predict several bets successfully at once.

Backing a parlay bet hurts less in terms of your wager, but it is important to mention that it is very hard to stay profitable (not to say impossible) long-term backing parlays, especially those with more than three legs.

Payouts are fixed by the time the bet is placed. The odds for a particular pick you have already placed in the parlay will likely change before the events kick off, but the change won’t affect your payout.