Parlay Betting Guide

what is a parlay bet feature
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What Is A Parlay Bet?

A parlay is a high-risk, high-reward type of bet. Instead of risking money on a single outcome, parlay bets require you to wager that multiple outcomes will occur. If all of your selections in a given parlay are successful, you’d win a solid amount (depending on the odds). If even one selection (or leg) loses, the entire bet is a bust and you lose your stake.

Parlays are a fun way to get in on the betting action, but you should make them with caution. Do your research, make smart picks, and hope for the best when placing parlay wagers.

Parlays are sometimes called accumulators, combo bets, or multi-wagers. However, the end result is the same. They all mean linking two or more individual wagers into one higher risk bet.

How Does A Parlay Bet Pay Out?

Parlay bets always have higher payouts than the individual bets they contain. This is because you’re wagering that multiple outcomes will all occur, making the wager far less likely to hit.

Think of flipping a coin. If you were to bet on a single coin toss, the odds are always 50/50. But if you choose to bet on heads hitting three times in a row, that is far less likely. With each individual spin at 50/50, a single tails flip could completely botch your three heads in a row bet. Parlays work on a similar system. Because you’re guessing various outcomes, the odds are much higher than you’d find at a standard moneyline or point spread bet.

The more legs you include in a parlay, the higher the potential payout. Additionally, if you combine parlay legs with already-high odds, the payout could potentially be massive.

Bear in mind this is all very risky, as every single individual bet within your parlay must hit in order to win. But the flipside is a higher potential payout than you’d get on individual bets.

Example Of A Parlay Bet

Below, we’ll outline two parlay examples to showcase how the bets work. We’ll start with a 3-leg parlay, then move on to a 4-leg parlay. Keep in mind you are not limited to this many. You can place 5-, 6-, even 7-leg parlays, and some sportsbooks allow up to 15-20 legs. But the more you add, the risker your bet.

3-Leg Parlay

For our 3-leg parlay, let’s make three MLB selections:

  • Arizona Diamondbacks moneyline: +205
  • Boston Red Sox -1.5: +155
  • Nationals vs. Pirates Over 9: -118

When combined into a parlay, these three bets become a single wager with odds of +1336. With those odds, a $10 wager would win $133.69. But of course, if even one leg failed, you would lose the bet. Three things need to happen for this parlay to hit: the Diamondbacks win, the Red Sox win by 2 or more, and the Nationals/Pirates game sees more than 9 runs scored.

4-Leg Parlay

To keep things simple, let’s add a single leg to the bet from above to show how the odds change. Now, the parlay includes four legs:

  • Arizona Diamondbacks moneyline: +205
  • Boston Red Sox -1.5: +155
  • Nationals vs. Pirates Over 9: -118
  • Oakland Athletics moneyline: +160

Adding the Oakland moneyline into the mix significantly increases the payout. Now the odds are +3635, meaning that same $10 would pay $363.58 in the event of a win.

As you can see, more legs make for more potential winnings and higher risk.

Benefits Of Betting A Parlay

There are numerous benefits to placing parlay wagers. They’re especially effective when you combine multiple shot-priced moneyline or point spread bets. Combining bets with odds around -100 or similar can drastically up your potential payout. This is a smart move if you’ve done your research and feel confident in your selections.

Another benefit, if you’re willing to do the legwork, comes in the form of player props. If you’re confident a few NBA players will nab a certain number of points or assists, it can be beneficial to bet on those stats and combine them into a parlay for a nice payout.

Drawbacks Of Betting A Parlay

First and foremost: the risk factor. You’re taking on more risk with a parlay than with most other bets. The main reason for this is simple: if multiple legs of your parlay hit but even one misses, the whole bet is lost. You have to be fairly confident in each of your selections. Otherwise you’ll lose your bet thanks to a single miss.

This also means parlays tend to favor bettors who are well-educated about a specific sport. If you can find a fan or site that you trust to make solid picks, that can be a helpful tool in mitigating the risks that come with building parlays We have multiple guides and picks pages available for various sports, including baseball, basketball, hockey, and more.

What Happens When A Bet In A Parlay Is Canceled?

If a bet is canceled or voided by a sportsbook and you had it in a parlay, the sportsbook will typically keep the parlay live but reduce the odds as though the voided bet were never included in the first place. This means you don’t have to worry about rebuilding your parlay. The bet will stay active, just with reduced odds.

If the fixture is rescheduled, a few things could happen. The book could choose to void that leg like we describe above, or it could remain active. Practices and policies surrounding this type of occurrence tend to vary by sportsbook, so it’s best to contact your preferred bookmaker’s support tools if you need clarification on this.

Types Of Parlays Available

There are a few more complex types of parlays. For example, there’s a round robin parlay, which essentially places all of your selections into smaller groupings, making them individual parlays. For example, if you make a round robin parlay containing three legs, the round robin would contain three different 2-leg parlays combining your selections.

You can play around with round robins and make some much more complex selections. If you were to select five teams, for example, you could break those out into:

  • 1 parlay with 5 picks
  • 5 parlays with 4 picks each
  • 10 parlays with 3 picks each
  • 10 parlays with 2 picks each

Think of it as placing multiple smaller parlays, but without actually logging each one individually.

There are also teaser parlays. These bets allow you to adjust lines between two selections (hopefully) in your favor. So you might pull 2 points from a spread (bringing it from +4.5 to +2.5) and apply those points to a second spread bet, bringing it from 5.5 to 7.5. Teasers are a great way to adjust the liens on a specific bet, especially if you’ve done your research and feel confident in how your bet will perform.

When Should You Bet A Parlay?

Overall, parlays have pros and cons like any other bet. If you have carefully researched your picks and feel confident in them, a parlay could be a great option with a potentially massive payout for you.

However, we don’t recommend only placing parlay bets. It’s a volatile wager type, and it’s best reserved for occasional bets. Try to vary your betting strategy so you don’t rely solely on parlays, but can still place one when the time is right. See also same game parlays if you prefer to bet multiple things on a single match.

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