What is a Parlay?
A parlay is a type of bet in which multiple bets are connected. When part of a parlay, each bet becomes known as a leg. Winnings from the first leg are rolled over and become the stake for the next bet, or new leg. As each leg delivers, the winnings roll on to stake the next.
Outside the US, this bet structure is often called an accumulator, or a multi, depending on where the sportsbook is based.
A parlay is treated as one bet slip – so if one leg loses, the whole parlay loses.
However, if every leg hits… the result can be life-changing.
The beauty of parlays is the potential for huge payouts and lottery-style winnings. It’s a classic low-risk, high-reward scenario.
And who doesn’t like winning an awful lot from a very small stake?
How to make more from your bets
To illustrate the benefits of a parlay simply, imagine you fancy three favorites in three games this weekend, at odds of -200, -250 and -150.
You have $150 of your bankroll to play with, so you stake $50 on each game – and they all hit:
|Bet 1||Bet 2||Bet 3|
|Stake: $50||Stake: $50||Stake: $50|
|Odds: -200||Odds: -250||Odds: -150|
|Payout: $75||Payout: $70||Payout: $83.50|
|Winnings: $25||Winnings: $20||Winnings: $33.50|
You’ve got to be happy you called three from three, but your collective winnings only amounts to $78.50 – after risking $150.
Now let’s see how that could have looked in a structured bet:
|Leg 1||Leg 2||Leg 3|
|Stake: $150||Stake: $225||Stake: $315|
|Odds: -200||Odds: -250||Odds: -150|
|Payout: $225||Payout: $315||Payout: $526.05|
You’ve turned that $78.50 into $376.05.
What’s more, we’ve used very conservative odds to demonstrate. Throw in some long-shots at wider odds and make it 8- or 12-legs, and you can see how your returns can multiply fast.
Ryder Cup Sunday turns $8 into almost $1 million
At the 2021 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin, the golfing gods looked favorably upon the hosts, Team USA, and one lucky bettor.
Heading into the Sunday Singles – the last day of the competition, which features 12 head-to-head matches – the USA led 11-5, needing only 14.5 points to win the trophy.
One bettor placed an $8 12-leg parlay with Fan Duels on all the matches, successfully picking not only every correct winner, but also two ties.
At 19-9, the USA inflicted the heaviest defeat on Team Europe of the modern era.
The $8 stake paid out $966,290.
Calculating parlay odds
If you’re considering a multi-legged parlay, you can calculate the odds for the parlay as follows:
- Convert the American odds for each selection into decimal odds. Use our betting odds converter for ease.
- Multiply the decimal odds for each leg (i.e., each bet) together to get a multiplier.
- Multiply your stake by the multiplier.
- Finally, subtract your original stake to get the parlay winnings.
|Odds for 1st leg – American (Decimals)||-200 (1.5)|
|Odds for 2nd leg – American (Decimals)||-250 (1.4)|
|Odds for 3rd leg – American (Decimals)||-150 (1.67)|
|Decimal odds multiplier||1.5*1.4*1.67 = 2.1*1.67 = 3.507 (251 American)|
|Payout||$150 @ +251 = $526.05|
|Profit/ Winnings||$526.50 – $150 = $376.05|
Parlay Odds Calculator
To save on brain-ache, let our Parlay Odds Calculator do the hard yards for you:
Types of parlays
What is a Teaser?
A teaser is a form of parlay that allows the bettor to be a bit more creative in their choice of bet, and focuses on spread bets and totals bets.
Teasers exclude moneyline bets.
Unlike a regular parlay structure, where the legs are made up of main line market bets, a teaser allows you to move the spread or a total – plus or minus – by a set number of points, usually between six and 10 in football, or four in basketball.
The catch, however, is that the same number must be applied to all bets.
- Bet 1: A -8.5 point spread on the favorite in a football game can be teased down 6 points to -2.5.
- Bet 2: A +4 point underdog in the NBA can be teased up 4 points to +8.
This means that spreads are easier to cover, and totals easier to reach – though the sportsbook will adjust the odds accordingly, so teasers pay less than traditional parlays.
As ever, different sportsbooks will have different rules, so be sure to check. You can read more about teasers here.
What is a Round Robin bet?
A Round Robin is a quick and easy way to place multiple parlays at once.
In the same way that in a Round Robin tournament all teams in a group play each other, in this bet structure they all form different parlays against each other.
Once you select multiple games to bet on, your sportsbook will automatically provide the option to create a series of smaller parlays made up of your chosen games.
Harris English putt makes Punter a Millionaire
In June this year, a London-based bettor at Betfair turned an initial £11.50 into £1,039,544 in a six-leg parlay.
After correctly predicting the winners of two soccer matches and three golf tournaments, the last leg came down to American golfer Harris English to win the Travellers Championship as a +3500 outsider.
English needed – and made – a 28-foot putt on the last hole to force a playoff, and keep the bettor’s hopes alive.
Then English made him sweat it out.
The first seven playoff holes were halved at par, until finally, on the 8th, English sank a 16-foot birdie to win. It was the longest playoff in a PGA Tour event in nine years, and tied for the longest since 1949.
“I thought I was going to have a heart attack when the winning putt went in. I couldn’t believe it,” said Harris English’s biggest fan.
Correlated and Same Game Parlays
A sharp play is to explore the idea of correlated bets to give your parlays a greater chance of winning. This means choosing bets such that the first bet hitting increases the chances of the second bet hitting. This may seem logical, but it’s worth noting.
For example, let’s say a highly effective NFL offense makes it a narrow favorite over a team that has a highly effective defence. There’s a strong likelihood this could be a low-scoring game, which in turns would make it easier for the underdog to cover the spread.
The correlated parlay, therefore, would be to back the under, and take the underdog to cover the spread.
An even more obvious option would be to parlay the first half over/under with the game total over/under. If the first-half over hits, then the total over seems a clear favorite.
Both of these are examples of same game parlays (often abbreviated as SGPs).
Initially, for fairly obvious reason, sportsbooks often restricted or prevented SGPs because correlated bets could increase their exposure to potentially large payouts.
To run with our example, it’s much easier to parlay a first-half over, with a game total over and a player prop bet such as a QB total passing yards over than it is to correctly parlay three individual game lines.
However, SGPs are popular given the opportunity to apply logic, or a clear view, to correlated parlays versus having to make different calls on different events.
As such, some sportsbooks – always in the business of giving bettors what they want – now embrace the SGP.
That said, you should have twigged by now that sportsbooks are themselves sharp. And exist to turn a profit, so the odds on offer on a SGP may not be as generous as those available if you were to parlay three individual bets together, because the book has already taken the correlation into account.
What happens if a bet is void in a parlay?
Generally speaking, if a bet in your parlay is void, a sportsbook will remove it from your parlay and adjust the odds accordingly.
As such, an eight-leg parlay becomes seven; a seven-leg parlay becomes six, and so on.
What happens if a bet is a push in a parlay?
Pushes are treated the same way as void bets. If any one of your legs results in a push, the good news is it doesn’t bust your parlay the same way a loss does. Rather, the push bet simply drops off the ladder and your parlay remains intact – just one leg shorter.
Can you parlay a futures bet?
Yes. Check your sportsbooks rules, but most bets can be worked into a parlay, especially if they are unrelated.
Moneyline, spreads, totals and prop bets can all be parlayed, along with futures bets.
However, be aware that some sportsbooks may restrict correlated parlays, or, if they do offer correlated and/or same game parlays, take the correlation into account when setting the odds.
What is another word for parlay?
Parlays are called parlays in the US, but in the UK they are commonly referred to as “accumulators” – and abbreviated as “accas”. They may also be called “combo bets” or “multis” by some sportsbooks.
What does a $100 3 team parlay pay?
This will depend on the odds on each individual bet.
To work out your multiplier, take the odds on each game, convert them to decimal odds, multiply them together and times that by your stake. Remove your original stake from the result to see your winnings.
What does the ‘moneyline’ mean on sports gambling websites?
The moneyline is a bet on the winner of an event. It is perhaps the simplest bet in sports as it usually has only two potential outcomes – Win or Loss, although in some sports like soccer, there is a third, in a Draw.
Here you can find The AllStar’s guide to the moneyline bet.
Should I bet the Over/Under, the Moneyline or the Spread?
If a market is sharp – meaning seasoned pros have bet – the likelihood is that the Totals line is as close to the most probable outcome as suggested by all the information available to the sportsbook – including the views of the betting public because it reflect the action taken.
But even then, the sportsbooks don’t always get it right.
Totals, moneylines and spread bets all offer bettors something different. Finding value in any particular set of odds offered on an event is a major key to being a successful sports bettor.
Is it possible to make decent stable income on sports betting?
Yes – if you know what you’re doing. While you may get lucky one day, you may also find Lady Luck deserts you on an off day.
One of the many keys to success is managing your bankroll properly.