The Parlay, also known as the Accumulator bet, is a single bet that comprises of several bets placed on a combination of two or more games. As per the Parlay betting system, all your selections must win in order for your bet to win. If in case you lose even one of the bets, you will lose the total bet. Let us take a look at how a parlay betting system works and what you can receive in payouts.
For example: You are betting on three outcomes in three soccer events through a single bet using the Parlay betting system. The odds offered for each outcome is as follows.
Home Win | Draw | Away Win Outcome
Manchester United vs Liverpool 1.5 2.8 3.5 0 – 0 (draw)
Arsenal vs Bolton 1.6 3.2 4.1 2 – 1 (home win)
Chelsea vs Tottenham 1.5 3.7 6.2 3 – 1 (home win)
Supposing you bet $100 on the first two teams (Manchester United and Liverpool) to draw and the next two teams, Arsenal/Bolton and Chelsea/Tottenham to win and your selections win, your payout will be calculated as $100 x 2.8 x 1.6 x 1.5 = $672
If you deduct $100 that you invested on the bet, your net profits from the three team Parlay would be $672 – $100 = $572
Supposing you had bet on a Manchester United win too, you would have lost your bet as the match had ended in a tie.
Again if there is a draw, also known as ‘pushes’, incomplete, postponed, rescheduled or cancelled game, your parlay is cut down to the next level. So if you have a four team Parlay, it goes down to three and if it is three, it is cut to two and so on. If you are reduced to a two team Parlay with a draw, then the bet becomes a straight bet.
For example: You decide to place a three-team parlay of $100 each on Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool. If your selections win, you get paid out $600. In case one or more of the teams fail to win, you will lose your bet. Again, if you achieve a push or a tie, your parlay will be reduced to a two team parlay, which can turn into a straight bet if you push again.
This is a basic Parlay betting strategy, but there are several others offered by online bookmakers and sportsbooks, such as betting on multiple events (sports). You can even place your bets well in advance, which could be several days, weeks, months or even seasons. At some bookmakers, you are allowed to bet up to 12 team Parlays in a single bet. Think of how much you could profit if your prediction for the 12 teams came out accurate, but this is only a supposition, as you will have to be exceptionally good to make 12 right selections.
A standard Parlay Odds layout would be as follows.
- Two Team Parlay – 13 – 5
- Three Team Parlay – 6 – 1
- Four Team Parlay – 10 – 1
- Five Team Parlay – 20 – 1
- Six Team Parlay – 40 – 1
- Seven Team Parlay – 75 – 1
- Eight Team Parlay – 100 – 1
- Nine Team Parlay – 150 – 1
- Ten Team Parlay – 300 – 1
- Eleven Team Parlay – 400 – 1
- Twelve Team Parlay – 600 – 1
The odds payout in a parlay is usually higher than a regular single bet, but if you consider the three (or more) bets individually, the odds that you can receive at 1-1 for each game win would be 3-1. Taking the above chart as an example, we can see the difference between the odds offered for a team parlay and the odds presented in straight bets. Let us compare the first four bets.
- Two Team Parlay – 13 – 5 Straight Bet Odds – 3 – 1
- Three Team Parlay – 6 – 1 Straight Bet Odds – 7 – 1
- Four Team Parlay – 10 – 1 Straight Bet Odds – 15 – 1
- Five Team Parlay – 20 – 1 Straight Bet Odds – 31 – 1
Experienced players generally do not bet Parlays and call them Sucker bets because of the impossibility of making twelve correct predictions in a single bet. Sportsbooks would usually encourage you to place large team Parlay bets because more than the player, it is the sportsbooks who benefit from the Parlays. However, you can make profits from the Parlay betting system if you keep certain factors in mind.
- Keep the Parlay teams small and bet more, say three to four team Parlays would be reasonable. Instead of betting $5 or $10 on several team Parlays, you could consider betting $30 to $40, but that too if you have a strong feeling that your selections will win.
- Hedging is advisable for larger Parlays as you can make a lucrative profit from it.
- Bet on sports such as football and basketball, as these work well with Parlays.
- Choose the sportsbook you wish to bet with wisely. Remember that Parlay betting is far more profitable for the sportsbook than it is for the bettor. So do not fall for any traps of making huge profits, as Parlay betting needs exceptional skills of judgement.
- Parlays are certainly not a betting system for the beginner, as predicting multiple outcomes offer high risks especially when even one wrong selection can make you lose your entire bet.
Although Parlays have been known to be profitable for some, the majority of bettors have to return empty handed. Taking the risk of betting more than three or four team Parlays is certainly not advisable unless you have a very good knowledge of the participating teams overall performance to rely on your prediction to be true. Experience can teach you a lot and help you add what you have learnt to your betting skills and turn this into profits for yourself. So whether you choose to play the Parlay or not is up to you to decide, but keep the risk factor in mind.
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