The term parlay is something you may have heard of before, but the chances of that really depend on where you are in the world and if you are familiar with terms from other countries. This term comes from American betting terminology, and a parlay is a type of bet.
For those in Europe, a parlay is the same as an accumulator bet, or acca, for short, meaning it is a multiple bet where all your selections need to come in for you to receive a return. For example, a five-team parlay requires five winners, get four with one loser, and you’ll not receive a return.
The Different Types of Parlay
There are two different types of parlay bet that can be placed. The first is a regular parlay, which has a number of different selections from different events. It may be a small parlay, like three selections to win, or it could be huge 12 selections, but as long as these are all different teams to win different games, then this is classed as a regular parlay bet.
The second type of parlay bet is something that is newer to the betting industry, and that is a same-game parlay. Here, you still have multiple selections on your bet still, but instead of coming from different games, you choose different bets on the same game. For example, a team to win, total points on the over/under market, scorers, stats betting and other things. In some parts of the world, this is referred to as a same game bet, a bet builder, or same game acca, but in the USA, this is referred to as a same game parlay.
These are the two different types of parlay bet that you can place with your bookmaker, though the first type, covering different selections across multiple games, is certainly the most commonly used.
How Does a Parlay Bet Work?
Whichever type of parlay bet you choose to go with, the rules around them are the same. First of all, when it comes to placing the bet, this must be a multi that has two or more selections involved in it. Secondly, the bet is just one single bet, so your unit stake is something you pay just once. One bet on all the selections, not individual bets on each one.
The rules around a parlay are simple. It doesn’t matter how many selections you have, they all need to win. So, if you’ve got two selections or 10, they still all need to win. Of course, this means that the more selections you have in your bet, the tougher it is to get a winner because you need to get more right.
However, alongside this, the more selections you put into a bet, the bigger the returns, so the size of your parlay bet is all about where you want the risk and reward to fall with the wager. Some people prefer a bigger stake where they play a smaller number of selections others prefer a small stake with a bigger number of selections in the bet and longer odds.
Lastly, you need to understand how the odds work. Your stake is placed on the first selection, at the odds of that team to win. If they win, the returns from that single wager are placed onto the next selection, if this wins, you move on to the next and keep going through until you get to the end of your selections. The returns keep accumulating as each selection wins, so you have more and more stake money going onto the next, and this is where the accumulator name comes from.
Can Parlay Bets be Worthwhile?
There is a level of difficulty attached to parlay bets, which is why many people believe them to be great for bookmakers and impossible to get a return from. However, that is not strictly true, though to get any kind of return from this type of bet, you need to be a very disciplined punter.
First of all, you cannot go too big and expand the risk to the point where it is too large. Parlay bets of five or six selections usually hit the sweet spot where they offer solid returns on the bet without making it too difficult to land.
Secondly, you need to take a long-term approach to your betting. With these bets, if you bet on one sport, you may only land one winner per year. However, that one winner may be enough to give you a positive return because the odds on offer mean that the returns can pay for the rest of your bets. You shouldn’t panic or change strategy if you don’t land an early winner, parlay betting is all about sticking with your strategy and thinking about the long term rather than looking for a quick fix.
If you get these two right, then parlay betting can on some occasions generate positive returns. It is still very tough, but certainly possible if you get your strategy right.
Are Parlay Bets Good to Place?
Parlay bets add a great option to your betting portfolio. These bets can be changed to suit what you want. Do you want to go for the easier option, with fewer selections, or are you looking to stake low with big odds? The choice is yours, there’s no right or wrong answer to this, it is entirely up to you.
But as long as you have a strategy in place, and a plan for this type of bet, preferably with a long-term angle attached to it, then yes, parlay bets are good to place. The chance to make high returns while staking very low is one of the main reasons why punters use this type of bet, because of the excitement that it brings when they are placed.
It should certainly be noted though that in a parlay bookmaker margins are additive, so the more selections you add the worse value it is to you compared to the true odds. This is one reason why bookies push them and why there are so many offers available for these bets.
These bets can be enjoyable, especially with low stakes, but ultimately in the long run, as with most gambling, you are likely to lose more than you win.