A parlay offers sports bettors the tantalizing opportunity to earn a large profit from a relatively
modest risk amount. This article explains what parlay betting involves, illustrates how parlay
profits are calculated, and provides tips on how to compile a successful parlay.
What is a Parlay?
A parlay allows you to combine multiple predictions in a single bet. It is also known as an
accumulator, or an acca, in certain countries.
For example, you could predict that Real Madrid, AC Milan, Liverpool and Borussia
Dortmund will all win on a particular weekend. One option would be to divide your money
into four and place individual bets on each team to win.
However, placing a parlay can be a far more compelling option. All four predictions must
prove correct for your parlay to pay off. If just one team lets you down, the entire bet fails.
It is therefore a riskier bet. However, the reward is also a lot greater if you are successful.
How is a Parlay Profit Calculated?
Each selection you add to a parlay is known as a leg. The more legs you add, the greater the
profit you will earn if it succeeds.
The profit you earn from each leg rolls onto the next leg, meaning the potential payout
For example, let’s stick with the example used above and say you predict:
– Real Madrid will beat Barcelona at odds of 1.75 (-133 or 3/4)
– AC Milan will beat Sampdoria at odds of 1.80 (-125 or 4/5)
– Liverpool will beat Manchester United at 2.05 (+105 or 21/20)
– Borussia Dortmund will beat Freiburg at 1.67 (-150 or 4/6)
Your potential profit is calculated by multiplying the odds on each selection together:
1.75 x 1.8 x 2.05 x 1.67 = 10.78
You should therefore expect 10.78 units of profit for every unit you wager on this parlay if it
A €40 bet would earn you a €431.20 payout if all four teams were to win. By contrast, if you
simply wagered €10 on each of them to win, you would end up with just €32.67 in profit if
they all clinched victory, which illustrates why parlays are so popular.
Alternatives to a Parlay
An alternative to a parlay is a round robin. This essentially allows you to group a bunch of
selections together and place a series of parlays within that group.
You could, for example, choose four teams, and place a 4-leg parlay, four 3-leg parlays and six
2-leg parlays within that group. In that example, it essentially amounts to 11 separate bets. You
will earn a large profit if all of the teams win, but it also protects you if one or two teams let
you down, ensuring you still get a return.
Another popular option is a teaser. This is a bet used mainly on NFL, NBA, college football
and college basketball. It is similar to a parlay, but it is comprised of alternative spreads that
are much gentler than the official spread. It is easier to land a successful teaser than a parlay,
but the catch is that you earn a smaller profit if successful.
You can also place a same game parlay using a bet builder tool. This involves rolling multiple
predictions on a single game into one bet, such as Bayern Munich to win, over 3.5 goals, both
teams to score and Robert Lewandowski to score.
How to Compile a Winning Parlay
– Ignore selections with very low odds. They do not really boost your potential profit by
much, and a shock result could bust your parlay.
– Avoid adding picks with very high odds, as they can simply be placed as single bets.
Find a sweet spot, such as 1.40 (-250 or 2/5) to 2.20 (+120 or 6/5).
– Remember that you can add all sorts of bets into your parlay. For example, you could
go for one team to win, both teams to score in another game, and over 2.5 goals in a
– Find a sportsbook that offers parlay insurance. That means you get your money back –
typically as a free bet – if one leg lets you down.
– Conduct thorough research before adding a selection to a parlay.