Parlay betting, such as 8 fold bets, may sound confusing, especially to players based in Europe. Usually used at American football betting sites, parlay gambling involves placing multiple individual bets on the same card.
European players initially wondering “what is a parlay bet?” may suddenly recognise the term as something else. In Europe, we more commonly refer to parlay bets as accumulators.
Sports betting with parlays or accumulators is commonplace across the internet. However, you may also stumble across parlay bets in casino gambling games, too. What does parlay mean in gambling?
You can find out in our guide. With this short, simple and easy to read betting guide on parlay action, we’ll have you up and running in no time. Let’s begin with the basics behind parlay bets, then.
Best Bookmakers for Parlay Betting in 01 March 2024 – Updated List
Parlay Betting – The Basic Facts
Before you can start placing sports parlay wagers, you need the answer to a very simple question – how does a parlay work? Parlay is a North American term which means a series of cumulative bets where the winnings are accrued from each bet and used as stakes for further bets on the same ticket. Confused? Perhaps we can explain online parlay betting in simpler terms for you:
What a player is essentially doing is betting on several events on the same ticket or card. An initial wager is placed for the first bet in a series of bets. Anything won from that bet is then transferred over to become the stake for the second bet, and so on.
The odds on each bet in the series will be decreased with parlay bets, but the amount which can be won is maximised in the process. There is risk involved with parlay betting, though. For instance, you will often have to get most (if not all) of the bets on your card right to win.
Many players in Europe will already be familiar with this type of bet, albeit under a different name. Parlay betting in the UK is known as placing an accumulator bet. In the next section, we will provide you with an example of how to play parlay betting options online.
Get Started and Winning with Parlay Bets and Accumulators
To better showcase how parlay betting works for you, we’re going to provide you with an example. Most parlay gambling bets work the same as in our example. Most North American sports use American odds. However, parlay bet rules aren’t tied to a specific type of odds format. Decimal odds are easier to work with, so for our example, we’re going to use those.
A player wants to bet on three NFL matches featuring the Cowboys, Packers and Broncos. They have the following odds:
– Cowboys (2.85)
– Packers (1.67)
– Broncos (1.59)
One option is to place three individual bets on separate tickets. These are known as moneyline bets. If you do this, any bets you win will see you receive winnings based on the odds shown above. So, a $1 bet on the Cowboys will yield a payout of 2.85 x $1, or $2.85 winnings plus your original stake of $1 back. You will win on all the bets you get right and lose on all the ones you don’t. This is straightforward betting. However, if you want to maximise the amount you can win, you’ll want to avoid a moneyline bet, and opt for a parlay bet instead.
With a parlay bet, the player will bet the same $1 on each of the three teams. However, he or she will place all three bets on the same ticket or card. New odds are displayed for a parlay bet, and they are calculated by multiplying the moneyline odds against one another. It will look like this:
2.85 x 1.67 x 1.59 = 7.57.
Your new odds are 7.57. This means that with a $1 starting bet, you can now expect to receive $7.57 if you successfully get all three bets correct. That is the key part. You must get all three bets correct. If just one loses, you will lose the entire bet. Parlay bets are similar to “if bets“. With an if bet if your first pick wins, your second bet will also be activated with the wager carried over from the first. And so on for all picks. If the first pick wins but the second looses you still win something from the first pick. Usually with if bets you can add up to picks.
Parlay betting rules ensure that the three-team parlay odds you receive for placing a bet on all three games on the same ticket are superior to placing three individual bets on those same matches. For instance, three successful separate money lines bets would see you win $6.11 with a $1 bet. You’d win $7.57 with the same $1 bet on a successful parlay ticket.
We’ve answered, “what’s a parlay?” so now it is time to look at how to win sports betting parlays.
Parlay Pushes and Promos
We’ve taken a look at how to win sports betting parlays in a general sense. However, there are exceptions which can come into play. Some online bookies make exceptions for certain bets. On occasion, a sportsbook may offer you the chance to be wrong with a single bet.
They may still count the parlay bet as complete with just one mistake, or they may simply remove the bet in question from the parlay. This is not common practice at all bookies, and in Europe, such deals often form part of a sportsbook’s promotions or special offers.
Over in the US, where bets on spreads and totals are popular, and even stranger practice comes into play. In terms of how parlays work, oddly enough, it is possible for bets to end up pushed. This is usually a term we expect to see in casino gambling, but it does show its face in parlay sports betting in the US, too.
It is still possible when betting with parlays to pocket cash with pushes. The road to how to win betting on parlays with pushes isn’t straightforward, though, and changes from bookie to bookie.
Generally speaking, a push in a parlay bet occurs with spread bets. If you have an 8-point spread on the Broncos to win, and they win by 8 points, then that bet will push. Fortunately, this doesn’t see you lose your entire parlay bet payout.
Instead, the bet payout is calculated by merely removing the Broncos game from the bet. Provided that the game you failed to nail down wasn’t worth epic sums of cash, your parlay bets won’t be too unbalanced in the end.
When engaging in parlay sports betting, it is wise to pick parlay matches which are “dead certs” to win. This way, you can avoid too much instability or uncertainty when wagering.
Parlay Odds – Which to Use and When
Three main types of odds exist in the online betting world. Learning how to bet parlay stakes means that you’re going to have to become familiar with these odds from time to time. They are as follows:
– American Odds: Expressed as a plus or minus figure. The figure is either the amount you can win if you bet $100 (+), or the amount you need to wager to win $100 (-).
– Fractional Odds: Most common in the United Kingdom. These are expressed as fractions, such as 5/1. The left figure is what can be won when the value on the right side of the fraction is wagered.
– Decimal Odds: Displayed in decimals (such as 1.98), these odds display what can be won when a single unit of currency is wagered.
Which types you use for parlay bet odds is down to you. However, in our how to win parlay bets guide, we prefer decimal odds, as parlay payouts are far easier to calculate with them. Some bookies have fixed parlay gambling odds, and others allow you to choose your own odds as you see fit.
Even UK bookies tend to stay away from fractional odds for parlays and accumulators. Instead, they opt to go with the decimal odds format. In fact, most online sportsbooks involved in parlay betting go with decimal odds, save for American bookies. They prefer to display parlay betting payouts in their natural, if more complicated, American odds format.
How Will You Play? – Common Types of Parlays You Can Use
Unsurprisingly, there are plenty of different types of parlay betting options out there. Before you pick and place parlay bets, it helps to have a greater understanding of the options open to you. You never know, you might miss something. So, before slapping down a few parlay betting stakes on college football, have a look at these:
– Round Robin
This parlay betting system is one of the easier options out there. As you will know from other sporting events, a round robin format of competition sees teams take each other in eliminator matches, sometimes over several legs. You are, in a sense, betting on an entire round of matches. Many bookies already have round-robin parlays set up for you, consisting of anything from 3 to 8 team parlay odds. A parlay betting calculator will typically display the amount which can be won or lost with each round-robin. A 3 selections Round Robin bet in horse racing consists of 10 bets: 3 doubles, one treble and 3 pairs of up and down bets.
– Parlay Cards, Team Parlays
Parlay cards are essentially the tickets you will be putting all your bets on. Also known as accumulator tickets in the UK and Europe, a parlay card is a series of matches wagered on the same ticket. Players may be able to choose their own games for a parlay card, or they can use predetermined parlay cards from bookies.
– NFL Parlay Ticket
In many cases, an NFL parlay ticket is identical to a typical parlay ticket or card. It is a card which features a variety of football parlay payouts for you to choose from. Simply select the card which works for you – or develop your own by selecting the matches which interest you – and you’re good to go.
– No Lose Parlays
Similar to free bets or money back bets in Europe, a no-lose parlay is often provided as a promotion at some bookies. In short, you will be allowed to lose one or two matches on your parlay bet and still win. In some cases, you will get your stake refunded even if you lose the lot. These types of parlay bets are not common.
– Future Picks
Also known simply as future bets, these stakes are essentially bets on something which will happen in the future. The odds for future picks tend to be somewhat epic. A typical soccer futures parlay bet may consist of a domestic league winner, domestic cup winner and European cup winner all on the same card. Many punters use picks based on consensus scores, and betting trends can be powerful ways to select future picks.
– Consensus Scores
Amongst your picks may be consensus scores. In short, these are bets which the general public seems to be backing. Future picks via consensus are common enough, and there are resources at many bookies which allow you to pick with consensus scores standings.
– Second Chance Parlay Bets
Parlay betting odds can also include second chance parlay bets. As their name suggests, second chance parlays allow players to be wrong, and they can get their money back. However, the margin for error is often just a single game.
– Spread, Moneyline or Totals
If you’re wondering, “do parlay bets include the spread?”, well the answer is – they can do. Not all parlay bets involve spread betting. Some parlay bets are money lines; some are totals. The truth is, a parlay bet or an accumulator can be anything you want it to be, within reason.
The Big List of Parlay Betting Sports
Virtually all sports can be used to engage in parlay betting online. Baseball parlay, football parlay and parlay bets on basketball are all popular in the USA. So, too, are parlays bets for college football or baseball, and parlay betting on hockey.
Over in Europe, the emphasis tends to be on parlay football bets, known as accumulators, as football is considered the easiest sport to bet on. However, other popular European parlay sports bets include parlay betting on Formula 1, rugby, tennis, but here you can learn more about the best tennis betting strategies from our guide and other major sports which Europeans can get a parlay game bet on.
Not all sports have proven popular with players as parlay betting in baseball or football parlay betting online. Parlay betting on horse racing or placing a parlay golf bet are less frequent than you might expect. However, if you look around, you’ll be able to place parlay sports bets on anything, really.
Find and Use Handicap Parlay Bets
Ordinarily, a heavy favourite would have short odds to win a match against an underdog with any outcome. However, by stipulating that the heavy favourite must win by so many goals or points, a handicap makes the bet more challenging for the punter, thus betting on the favourite is possible with longer odds.
Handicap is permitted with parlay gambling. That can make things extra spicy if you still think a favourable can pull a handicapped win out of the bag. This is because the odds you’ll be multiplying on your parlay card will be much higher than with a regular parlay bet.
Where Do Teaser Bets Come In?
Teasers are another type of bet which can be used in parlay betting on sports. A typical teaser is quite like a parlay, in that punters can choose from several teams in their bet. However, this type of spread betting option allows players to adjust the spread from 6 to 10 points. Read our guide on key numbers in sports betting to learn about the most important key numbers when betting on point spreads and totals.
They must do this on all the bets on their parlay card, though. In the battle of the teaser vs parlay bets, which one comes out on top is down to you.
Parlay Bets in Casino Gambling
You might be surprised to learn that you can also find parlay betting in blackjack. Parlay in gambling games you would commonly find in land-based casinos is possible. This type of parlay represents a positive progression betting system, which sees bets increased following a win. Some of the most used ones are the Martingale, Paroli or the Fibonacci betting system. Just like in sports betting, you are carrying over your winnings to form the next bet. However, unlike sports betting, you won’t have a parlay card. You will, therefore, need to remember to pull out after 3, 4, 5 hands, or whatever you deemed adequate before you lose.
Parlay betting on baccarat, having a parlay bet on craps, or engaging in parlay betting in roulette is riskier than with sports betting. The main reason for this is that the winnings are usually paid out as even money (less than with a sports bet) and you don’t have any stats or tips you can use to gauge how successful your bets will be.
The Dark Side of Parlay Betting
As fun and exciting as parlay betting can be, there are still a few darker aspects to the game that you should consider before you place a parlay bet online.
Obviously, the first thing a player needs to note is the margin for error. Some parlay cards will not let you suffer a single defeat, or you’ll lose all your bet. Others will allow one defeat and offer a push with your stake returned. Some will permit one loss and simply remove that bet from the card. If you’re not in the know regarding how your bet works, you could lose the lot.
As the same time, you may wish to shop around with your odds. Many European sportsbooks are more generous with odds than their American counterparts. Even if you intend on betting on quintessentially American sports, it is worth getting a second opinion on odds before you commit.
As good as parlay bets sound, sportsbooks do make money off them, and a lot of it. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t offer such a bet. Between 1984 and 2015, Nevada Gaming Control Board Gaming Revenue Reports announced that Nevada sportsbooks reported a 30% increase in revenue from parlays. Parlays can, therefore, be good business for players, but even better business for bookies.
Top Tips for Betting Online with Parlays
Now we’ve gone through the motions of parlay rules, and you’ve had parlay betting explained a bit, it is almost time for you to bet. Before slapping down parlay bets, though, why not check out our parlay betting tips?
– Tip 1 – Find Calculators and Use Them
There are plenty of top resources you can use to form parlay bets. A sports parlay calculator is one. Odds calculators for parlay bets are some of the most common sports betting odds calculators around. The average money line parlay calculator will provide you with a reasonable idea of which cards are likely to see you bag the best return. They can even be found at some leading bookies.
– Tip 2 – Tipsters
Good football betting parlay strategy advice can be sought out from tipsters. These may charge you for their parlay sports betting strategy, although some do provide parlay betting advice for free. They will, in short, tell you what to bet on and when. Other resources such as soccer scores and standing stats can help, but these league standings and stats game logs are great as form guides but won’t tell you much about upcoming matches. This is where tipsters come in.
– Tip 3 – Understand Parlay Betting Terms
We’ve gone through most of the parlay betting terms listed above. You should know what each type of stake on a parlay bet chart is now. However, you still need to know the specific terms of each bookie’s accumulators and parlays. Do they allow for a margin of error? If so, what is it? Always read the FAQ guide at any online sportsbook to understand how each site’s parlay bets work before betting.
– Tip 4 – Check Potential Winnings Before Betting
There is no point asking, “how much does a two-team parlay (also known as a double bet) pay, or what does a 3-team parlay pay?” (also known as a treble bet). This will vary depending on the teams you have picked on your card. Three team payouts for parlay football betting, 5-team parlay odds, even 10-team parlay odds vary. It is up to you to decipher just what can be won based on the matches you pick. We recommend that you do this before you wager money. Also our guide on how to win football accumulators will help you.
– Tip 5 – Pick the Simplest Games
The key to any sports betting parlay strategy is to bet on the teams which are most likely to win. It can be tempting to have a punt on an underdog, but if just one ill-result ruins your accumulator, why bother going for it? Calculators and tipsters can help with this but generally; the teams with the shortest odds are the most likely to win, and thus, give you the best chance of landing your parlay card.
Pick Up a Parlay Bet and Wager Online Today
You asked, “what does parlay mean in betting?” and we’ve answered. We’ve covered betting with parlay stakes somewhat intensively, so you are almost ready to have a bet yourself. All that remains is finding parlay betting sites to join. We can help you here, too.
If you’re wondering “what is the best wagering site for parlay betting?” you’ve come to the right place. Our website is filled with top domains which offer parlay betting, some even via parlay betting apps for mobiles.
Yes, you can place parlay bets at Bodog easily enough, but why not check out some other top sites, too? There are plenty up for grabs at our page, wherever you happen to be located.
After checking our reviews, finding a parlay betting site and eyeing up the odds for accumulator matches which tickle your fancy, there is just one thing left to do. Have a punt with a parlay bet today.
FAQ about Parley Betting
The parlay bet works like system bets, so your bets will be linked together to create bigger odds for you.
Bad is not all the time the right word for parlay bets, sometimes the bettors want to win more and more money so that's why they will add more games and the chance of winnings is getting lowers.
If you lose a parlay in some cases you will lose the entire ticket, but in some cases, for example, if you win 10 of 11, the bookmakers will give you money back or more than that.
It can be if you will put a generous amount of money on it, but is still a tricky type of bet because if you will lose 1 game, you will lose all the ticket, so you need to do some research before.