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Parlay Bets Explained

Parlay bets, also known as accumulator bets, are a versatile and very scalable type of bet which can win you a lot of money from relatively inexpensive layouts. Popularly used in sports betting, their usage in increasingly common due to their ubiquity, simplicity and their potential for ludicrously high pay-outs. Similarly, because of these characteristics it is easy to sap your bankroll in covering large numbers of combinations- a typically fruitless exercise given the extremely high number of possible outcomes on multiple matches and races.

A parlay is a combination of bets on typically 4 or more teams. What defines a parlay is that every selection you make must be successful in order for you to win. The teams you pick need not be all from the same sport. You can combine leagues, disciplines and almost anything else, so long as your teams win: A 6 fold bet on Saturday’s Premier League games, a 2 two fold on the Super league and another 2 on the Japanese 2nd division ladies Handball circuit will net you a diverse and interesting 10 fold Parlay accumulator. And if all those results come in, you’ll be looking at a pay-out that’s comfortably into 4 figures.

There are various kinds of players when it comes to Parlays. The Amateur is most likely to take a low value punt on a small-to-medium number of games, mostly as a way to add excitement to the matches they are watching or if they have a good feeling about a couple of current teams. These players can occasionally strike it lucky, but it’s most likely that by the time they do accumulate, they’ve lost more in frivolous bets than what they’ve recouped.

Next in line is the long-shotter, who places denominations on a large number of team parlays, usually at least a dozen. Not only that, but using form analysis and insight they will attempt to predict at least one upset and factor that into the accumulator, allowing for 5 figure cashpots in the rare event one comes in. Because of the frequency at which familiar teams will play, perhaps once a week, it would only take one win to recoup years of losses on long-shot speculation.

Even so, there’s a growing crowd of bettors using automated betting strategies to hedge safe bets in order to facilitate multiple long-shot bets. This maintains a healthy bankroll from which an allocated proportion is systematically bet solely on lots of low-cost, high reward bets like parlays to safely maximise the chance of big wins - a casual bettor’s dream!

Finally there’s the Pro, who typically avoids the Parlay, except when there’s potential for a correlated parlay. If you’ve not heard of this before, it’s because they’re generally not allowed and so it’s not in common usage, but basically, it is an example of an exploitable related contingency: where winning one bet increases the likelihood of another bet winning in the future (Team A to be leading by 3 at half time and Team A to win the game). Opportunities are few and far between, and even then, it’s probably not worth your time.

Suffice to say, if you’re a casual bettor with an interest in a competitive league sport, Parlays are worth considering for the thrill of acquiring a number of results that can potentially bring large rewards. And if you do happen to lose, you’re never more than a slight adjustment from the big win. Something which is both encouraging and frustrating in equal proportions!

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