Parlay Betting Guide Strategy and Tips for Parlay Bets

March 31, 2020
Parlay Betting Guide

Parlay Betting Guide

Have you ever wondered what Parlay, combo, or accumulator bets mean? If so, you should read our comprehensive glossary and learn about common terms and phrases in sports betting. In this article, our experts at Game Advisers portal will explain in depth what the parlay betting (combo, accumulator) is, and give you all the positive and negative angles of this popular betting market.

To make things simple, parlay bet is one bet with several different selections in it. The bettor needs to predict all selections correctly to win a parlay bet. Parlay betting is a highly volatile betting strategy, which means that your win will be rare, but your winnings should be high.  

It is harder to win Parlay as you need to hit several games at the same time, while when you play single bets, you need to hit just one selection. Many professional punters look at parlay bets as a “sucker bets,” but that is not 100% true. If you possess a bit of luck and smart selection skills, you will be able to win some nice amounts of money using the parlay betting market. 

Parlay betitng

History of Parlay Betting

It is unclear when the parlay betting became available by the sportsbooks, but we can only assume it started back in the 1950s when the sports betting industry in the US started to develop. 

Also, parlay bets are the type of bets that sportsbooks love the most, because it is tough to hit multiple selections and to win big often, and many recreational bettors love to play parlays as they dream of getting rich from one parlay. 

What is Parlay Betting?

Parlay bet is a type of bet where the bettor combines several individual selections on one ticket. This way, the bettor gets higher odds, but on the other hand, it needs to hit all of the selections to have a winning ticket.  

You can make a parlay bet in virtually any team sport. You can create mixed Parlay picking few NBA selections plus few NHL selections plus an MLB selection. There are no boundaries when you want to make a parlay selection. 

The minimum number of selections you need to include in your parlay bet is 2 (two). Otherwise, it is a single bet. The maximum amount of selections can vary, but most of the sportsbooks set the limit to 10-15 individual selections. 

Calculating Payouts in Parlay Betting

Calculating the potential win of a parlay bet isn’t a hard task at all. Today, most of the online sportsbooks will calculate the odds for you before you place the parlay bet, but it doesn’t hurt to understand the process of how the parlay payouts are calculated. 

Here is the example where we will make one parlay from five different sports and leagues:

LA Lakers to cover -3.5 point spread with 1.90 odds

Parlay bet

Red Sox to win (money line) with 1.80 odds

Boston Bruins to win (money line) with 2.05 odds

Cleveland Browns to cover +7.5 point spread with 1.98 odds and 

Notre Dame to win (money line) with 1.40 odds

Here we have five different games, leagues, and selections, all in one parlay. To win this Parlay, we need LA Lakers to win with 4 points difference (or more), Red Sox to win the game, Bruins to win the game, Cleveland Browns to win or not to lose with more than 7 points difference and Notre Dame to win the game.

Calculating the odds of this parlay bet is easy, first multiple all the decimal odds together (1.90 x 1.80 x 2.05 x 1.98 x 1.40 = 19.43). 

With stake of $100 you could win: ($100 x 19.43) – $100 = $1843 of pure profit!

We agree that this type of betting seems tempting with such a high payout but have in mind that the odds are against you in parlay betting. 

Types of Parlay Bets

As we said, there are just a few limitations when you want to place your picks and parlay bets. You can make NHL picks and parlays together with NCAAF picks and parlays, just before you place the bet check the terms and conditions with your selected sportsbook. 

You can mix Moneyline bets, with Totals, and even make a teaser parlay. There are no limitations when you make your parlay bets.

Also, you can find every day good free picks and parlays on several popular betting forums where experts post their selections and give the previews of the games played that day. 


Is the parlay betting for suckers? Well, there is no direct answer to this question. Stats are ruthless and show that sportsbooks get the most profit from players that prefer parlay betting. Still, there are numerous examples of people getting vast amounts of money betting on parlays. 

Our advice is to be smart and to choose your selections when you bet on parlays carefully. Don’t get greedy and put too many selections, and you should be able to hit some nice winners. 


What’s the difference between a Parlay and a Teaser bets?

With the teaser bet, you can move the line of every individual selection, while in Parlay bet, you don’t have such an option. But, in both of these types of bets, you need to predict all the individual selections correctly to win the bet.  

Can you win a parlay with a PUSH in one selection?

Yes. If one of your selection on parlay bet finishes in push, odds on that game will be counted as one. So, it is possible to win a parlay if one or more selections finish in a push.

How to win a Parlay bet?

There are a lot of strategies on the internet, but we think that the best way to win parlay bet is to use betting systems. Betting systems (Trixie, Yankee, Goliath, etc.) are similar but different types of parlay bets. Some of these are described in our betting systems guide, so if you want to learn more about the best betting systems, you should read that article.