Parlay Betting Explained

What is a parlay in betting

With American betting becoming more and more available, we are getting asked more and more what is a parlay? So we thought we would write this post to provide a simple explanation.

What is a Parlay?

A Parlay is a wager that consists of multiple picks or selections across multiple fixtures. The odds of this type of bet are multiplied in line with the risk associated. Check out below as an example.

For this example, three picks are selected, all with odds of +200. This means a $100 stake will return $200 should it win (plus your $100 stake back)

The return on this wager, should it come in would be +2600. The wager accumulates on top of each selection as follows.

Based on an initial $1 stake.

Selection 1 = winner

stake = $1

$1 x 2 = $2 win

$2 + $1 stake back = $3

This $3 then makes the stake for the second pick.

selection 2 = winner

stake = $3

$3 x 2 = $6

$6 + $3 stake back = $9

This $9 then makes the stake for the third pick.

selection 3 = winner

stake = $9

$9 x 2 = $18 win

$18 + $9 stake = $27

Therefore the total amount back from a $1 bet in this scenario is $27, with a $26 total profit.

All picks must-win for a parlay to be classed as a winner. If one selection lets you down, the wager is lost.

A parlay does not have to consist of three selections. It can be any number of selections greater than one.

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How do I place a parlay online?

The process of placing a parlay online differs slightly between bookmakers, but essentially it is the same. All you need to do is place multiple selections into your bet slip.  To do this simply tap on the odds of the selections you wish to choose. Once more than one selection appears in the bet slip there should be an option within the bet slip to place the selections as a parlay rather than just separate singles. See the image below as an example.

Parlay screenshot

*Image taken from the Sugar House New Jersey App.

What is a progressive parlay?

A progressive parlay offers less risk as a standard parlay, which is also reflected in the odds.

With a progressive parlay, you can get a return even if a selection lets you down (or more than one selection if the parlay consists of enough picks). The odds tend to be fixed in a progressive parlay, with the odds increasing as the amount of picks increases. These odds differ slightly bookmaker to bookmaker, but the below table demonstrates a typical example of the type of offering you can expect in this circumstance.

progressive parlay return example

With this typical example, it would take a seven selection parlay to see a return from two losing selections and a ten selection parlay to return a profit from 3 losing selections. Personally I prefer the straight-up parlay over this method, as there are greater returns to be had, but for those who are looking to just spice up the days sporting events with minimal risk, this type of wager certainly suits better. This type of wager is used mainly within the sports of football and basketball.

“Parlay” is generally a term you will find with betting in the USA, both online and in casinos where available,  and on betting sites in Canada. In the UK and Europe, these are called an “Accumulator bet” and are also known as the slang term “Acca” as in “I’ve got an acca on the football”.

Who can I place a parlay with?

We are yet to come across an online bookmaker who doesn’t accept parlay bets so your choice is restricted wholly on the legislation in your State/Region and the bookmakers (if any) that are available to you.

We have betting app guides on most regions throughout the globe, including a US section breaking down the current developments state by state (you can visit it here). We also offer reviews on the most popular African betting apps, European betting apps and UK betting apps. Take a look at our reviews for your location to get an idea on which betting apps best suit your wagering style.

You may now be wondering –

Is a Parlay a good bet? In our opinion, it is a good bet for a casual wager. The odds are good if you can pick a few winners but the risks are also high as you need all winners to get a return.