Parlay Betting – The Right Path to Becoming an Experienced Combo Bettor

Have you ever wondered what does parley mean in sports betting? If you did, then this is the guide for you. Parlay betting is common in US sports betting but are less well-known in Europe. But for those familiar with the accumulator or the multiple bet, a parlay bet has some similarities, although there are important differences. So, what is a parlay? The essential principle of the parlay bet is that you will be combining more than one bet into a joint bet, potentially increasing your winnings but also reducing the odds of being successful. This trade-off between risk and reward is the key to weighing up a parlay bet.

  • In-Play betting sports
  • Exclusive offers
  • Game Winner option
£30Matched Free Bet if your first Acca loses Claim Offer
Betway Review
  • Unibet TV
  • Stats & Livescore
  • Horse racing
£40money back Claim Offer
Unibet Review
  • Betting Exchange
  • Live results
  • Live Streaming
£100in free bets Claim Offer
Betfair Review
*18+ T&Cs Apply!

Topics on this page

First Things First: How Does a Parlay Work?

The process of making a parlay bet is straightforward. On your sportsbook of choice, simply click on the bets you want to add, and these will be combined into a parlay. But at this point, it is important to differentiate between two different types of parlays: fixed odds and true odds.

Fixed Odds Parlays

Fixed odds parlays are those in which all of the selections involved are 50/50 chances. This includes bets on the total number of goals in a game or the margin of victory or point spread. In these parlays, the sportsbook will set a predetermined list of odds that apply, depending on how many selections are in your Parlay. For example, the odds list may state that a two-selection parlay will pay out at odds of 12/5 and that a three-selection parlay will be paid out at 11/2.

True Odds Parlays

How does parlay betting work?

Making a parlay bet becomes more complicated when you include different types of selections for which the odds vary. This will be the case when you’re betting on the money line or match outcome markets. In this case, a parlay bet pay-out is determined by what are known as the ‘true odds’. This doesn’t mean that the odds for each selection reflect the true real-world probabilities of that bet being successful! It just means that the sportsbook will use the latest odds available for that selection, rather than the predetermined list of odds that are used with Fixed Odds Parlays.

With a True Odds Parlay, your entire stake is placed on the first selection, and if that is successful, the return is rolled over onto the second selection and so on. In this way, it is possible for a True Odds Parlay to produce some enormous pay-outs, though, as with the Fixed Odds Parlay, it can obviously be frustrating if one of your bets loses as the whole Parlay fails.

Working out the potential win for a True Odds Parlay can also be complicated, but fortunately, most sportsbook sites will do that for you at the time when you place your bet. You can also find parley calculators which will help you determine your chances of success. And if you are betting with European sportsbooks, you may also find that this type of Parlay is referred to as an accumulator, multiple, or by the number of selections in the bet, such as fourfold, treble, or eightfold.

Benefits of Sports Betting Parlay

Without a doubt, the main benefit of the Parlay is the ability to generate a large win for a small stake. This is hugely beneficial to small stakes punters, who might be excellent at finding good value bets but lack the bankroll to capitalise. Particularly in the case of sports like football, where you often have to bet at short odds, a parlay bet offers the chance to earn a big reward for your expertise without the need to risk large sums of money. That’s why the weekend parlay or accumulator is such a mainstay of the betting community, bringing mounting excitement to a day’s betting activity.

Parlay Betting Disadvantages

If the possibility of landing a big prize for a small stake is the main benefit of the Parlay, there are some downsides. By combining multiple selections in one bet, you are often not getting the best value, particularly if you end up adding in a ‘banker’ selection or two at short odds to fill out the Parlay. Technically speaking, better value is to be found by making single bets on your selections. The problem is that with a small bankroll, that can mean returns and profits are also small, and this, in turn, means that it takes a long time to build up significant funds.

The biggest problem with the Parlay, however, is the fact that it only takes one losing selection to take down the whole bet. Given that even successful punters make losing selections on a regular basis, you can’t expect to find a straight answer to the question “How to win parlays?”. Of course, what matters ultimately is not how often your Parlay wins, but whether the profit from the wins outweighs the losses from the losers.

Is There a Strategy for How to Win Parlays?

How to win parlays?

There are steps you can take to improve your chances of making a profit and tilt the parley odds in your favour. When it comes to Fixed Odds parlays, the biggest edge can be found by looking for parlays with a smaller number of selections. By shopping around, you can sometimes find a two or three-selection parlay that offers more or less the same value as if you were to bet on your selections as singles. These bets might be relatively rare, but they can be profitable.

It is also sometimes possible to take advantage of some of the best betting sign up offers and promotions. Some sportsbooks will offer Free Bet Bonuses to be used on parlay bets or accumulators. In this case, since you are not risking your own money, it is worth considering placing this kind of bet, as you are risking nothing with the possibility of landing a big reward, tilting the odds dramatically in your favour.

And when it comes to True Odds Parlays or standard European accumulators, some sites offer Parlay or Acca Insurance as a bonus or promotion. These offers sometimes coincide with certain sports or events, but they can be useful. With the typical Parlay Insurance offer, the sportsbook will refund your stake in the event of one of your selections being unsuccessful. This is another way to tilt the odds more in your favour and can be a useful supplement to your Parlay betting strategy.

To Conclude

The Parlay bet isn’t for everyone, but it is worthwhile understanding how they work, and in some circumstances, particularly for those who have a relatively small bankroll, the Parlay offers a good opportunity to land a big prize for a relatively small stake. And, if combined with Parlay Insurance or Free Bet promotions, this wager can be a handy addition to your overall sports betting portfolio.

Other Betting Types