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Betting Parlay Explained 2024: Parlay Betting Definition, Meaning & Strategy

Publish Date:19/05/2023
Fact checked by: Heather Williams

Once bettors have mastered moneyline wagers and spread betting, they might well turn their attention to combining multiple wagers into a single bet. This is known as parlay betting.

However, you will need more than just a parlay betting definition to make the most of using these wagers. To help you, we have put together this guide which will show you how they work and it also has the different types of parlay bets explained, so you know what to expect when you place one yourself.

Parlay betting explained

Parlay betting should be one of the first things you learn after the basics like 1x2 bets and the plus and minus in betting. As mentioned above, a parlay bet is when you combine more than one wager into a single bet, with the winnings from each wager rolling over into the next one, giving you the opportunity for a much larger win. However, if one single selection loses then you lose the whole wager, and your money is gone.

If that parlay betting meaning sounds familiar, you might have also heard the term ‘accumulator’ used before, which means the same thing. Or perhaps the term ‘multi’, which is also the same as a parlay bet. Regardless of what you may have heard it called before, the best way to have parlay betting explained to you is by using an example.

Sports betting parlays explained

The first is by using three unrelated events. You might want to bet on three hockey teams playing the same weekend all winning. Your first selection wins, and your winnings go forward to the second game. You win here too, so you have a much larger wager going on the third match. If that wins as well, you would have won more than betting on all three games individually; however, if any of them had lost, you would have lost the entire bet.

You can also wager on several events on the same game if you choose. You could bet on a team to win, the correct score, and the star player scoring the most goals or points. Again the combined winnings of placing these in a parlay bet would be much greater than individual wagers, but should one selection not win, then you would lose.

The only exception to this is if one of your selections never happens, such as one of your hockey games being canceled. In which case, your whole bet doesn’t become void; the canceled selection would just be removed and it would all rest on the remaining two. While three selections in a parlay bet is a popular number, you can have as many selections as you want, as long as it is within the rules and the limits of the sportsbook you are using.

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In betting, what are the parlay wager pros and cons?

Now you have had the mechanics of betting parlay explained, it will be clear that this type of bet has quite a low chance of coming off. It will, of course, depend on the number of selections in any parlay wager, and what those selections are, but it should come as no surprise that sportsbooks do better from parlay bets than bettors, on average.

That said, parlays have their plus points, and there has to be a reason why they are among the most popular types of bets placed at the best betting sites. The first of these is that combining several wagers into one can provide big returns from a modest stake, so bettors might like the excitement and anticipation of this, combined with the fact that if it doesn’t come off it might just be a loss of a couple of dollars.

Other bettors might combine several events with low individual odds into one to create a worthwhile wager. Take for example a weekend where the three best teams in the MLS were playing the three worst. It might not be worth you betting on all three to win separately but combined – it could give you a more respectable return.

Conclusion - parlay bets are a type of wager you should not overlook

Whether or not you choose to use parlay bets will be down to your betting style and what you want from your betting experience. If you like the thrill of a potentially big win, then they might be your go-to bet. On the other hand, the chances of a parlay coming off can be quite slim, so more risk-averse bettors will use them more sparingly. Either way, now you have had betting parlay explained, you will be able to decide for yourself.

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Betting parlay meaning FAQ

💡What is parlay betting ?

Parlay betting is a popular wager, yet some are hesitant to try it as they are not quite sure how it works. In our short guide, parlay betting is explained in full, so you will know how to place one.

💭What happens if one selection in a parlay bet is canceled?

Parlays are made up of more than one selection, which means there is a lot that can happen before the bet is settled. Our best betting guides explain how parlay betting works, including what to do if one of the events doesn’t take place.

❓Is a parlay bet the same as an accumulator?

Parlay bets are used all over the world, so you might have heard them called by different names. Our latest guide contains a full parlay betting definition, so you can see if it is the same as what you think of as an accumulator.

💸How do you win with parlay bets?

Winnings from any type of bet are never guaranteed, but our guide will show you what makes a parlay bet a winner, and under which circumstances you would lose your money. 

🤔How many selections can you have in a parlay bet?

Placing parlay bets is quite simple but there are certain things you need to be aware of. By reading our guide, you will know what to expect, including how many selections you need so it all goes without a hitch. 

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