Parlay Betting Guide

For Beginner

Have a parlay!

A parley is a betting term that you may have heard many times before, but you might not be entirely sure what it entails. If you are interested in betting and unsure what a parlay is, rest assured that we are on hand to give you all the information you need. So let’s take a closer look at what parlays involve along with some examples and the type of odds you should be looking out for when using it for sports betting.

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Table of Contents

What does parlay mean?

It's very simple, the term parlay refers to a bet slip where you can have as many bet selections as you like. For your bet to win, all the picks need to be winners and your potential winnings multiply through the odds of your selections.

Parlays have become an increasingly popular bet type in recent years. Parlays can be used on a whole range of sports and events but it's hugely popular in the following areas:

It's commonly known that fans love staking a wager on a weekend of sports action. There is no better way of doing it than placing a parlay across the games you most look forward to, and those sports mentioned above suit the situation perfectly - some sites also run promotions where you receive an extra bonus multiplier, depending on the size of your parlay.

Different ways to build your parlay:

Parlays are often used to determine the correct winner of a game, but it doesn’t mean it's limited to just the match result. You can build a parlay with a series of different bet types, the only essential element is that all your bet selections end up as winners. 

It’s easy to see why parlays are such an exciting concept. It's a compelling way to spend a weekend watching sport while following multiple teams.

The beauty of a parlay is that, unlike other bets, it can still stand a significant chance of coming in until the very last second. If four of your five NHL results are coming in, and one is a 2-2 tie, you just need one goal for your bet to come in to reap the benefits that the bet offers.

Variations on the parlay betting market

The biggest variation as regards parlays depends on how many ‘Fold’ a parlay has. ‘Fold’ in this context means how many bets are intertwined within your one single bet. 

For example:

Bet NameType of parlay
4Four-Fold parlay
5Five-Fold parlay
6Six-Fold parlay
7Seven-Fold parlay
8Eight-Fold parlay

So, from this table, you can see that it takes four ‘events’ within your bet for it to be classed as a parlay. We already mentioned that the ‘events’ don’t necessarily have to be an outright winner, you can bet on over/under markets, first scorer markets, and several other markets within your parlay bet. 

The bet markets also don’t have to be the same within one parlay. You could bet on the Green Bay Packers to beat the New York Giants and in your next line have over 3.5 goals in the New York Rangers vs Toronto Maple Leafs game.

Let’s talk parlay odds

So, let’s talk about the odds. The important part of any bet is what odds you are going to be offered, and parlays come into their own when it comes to the odds you're going to get, making it a very attractive type of bet. Seeing four or more specific events turning out as you predicted isn’t likely, so the odds reflect this. But the more events you pack into your parlay, the higher the multiplier in your odds.

So, let’s check out an example so that you can see exactly what we mean.

For argument’s sake, let’s say you have sat down to watch a night of basketball and want to place a parlay across the evening’s games. We will use decimals for now as this will make the calculation a lot easier.

Los Angeles Lakers 113-115 Golden State WarriorsGolden State-125
Brooklyn Nets 122-109 Philadelphia 76ersBrooklyn Nets-143
New York Knicks 100-83 Toronto RaptorsNew York Knicks120
Houston Rockets 109-96 Los Angeles ClippersHouston Rockets140
Charlotte Hornets 106-107 Boston CelticsCharlotte Hornets220

If your parlay consists of $5 on the ‘winners’ column, then you have won a successful parlay. But, what have you won? Let's take a closer look. In its simplest form, your bet is:

  • $5 on Golden State Warriors to beat LA Lakers at -125 which will return $9, a profit of $4
  • This $9 then goes on the Nets to win at -143 odds which would return $15.30
  • The $15.30 then gets placed on the Knicks to get the better of the Raptors at 120 odds. This would return $33.66
  • $33.66 is then placed on the Houston Rockets to beat The Clippers at 140 odds. If this comes in then your returns will be $80.78
  • Finally, the $80.78 stake goes on the Celtics coming out victorious against the Hornets at odds of 220. If this comes in then your return is up to $258.50.

As you can see from the above example, your $5 has become $258.80 very quickly with a profit of $253.80 in total.

Each and every selection will boost your potential returns. If you were to add one more line to this bet and make it six-fold, you would then have the following scenario:

Milwaukee Bucks 126-96 Chicago BullsMilwaukee Bucks210
  • Get this prediction correct and your $253.80 suddenly becomes worth $786.78. 

As you can see from this example, the way to make big money is to bet on more outcomes within your parlay. Of course, this comes with more variables and risks, therefore has less chance of success. However, you can see that it just takes one extra event to come in and that multiplier grows significantly. 

So, what odds can you expect for your parlay?

Typical odds for an parlay bet

The funny thing about Parlays is that you can add bets as you want, the odds will then depend on how many different scenarios need to play out for your bet to win.

If you choose four huge favorites in a parlay, your odds aren’t going to be too enticing. If you select 12 unlikely events, you are going to get astronomical odds.

Possibly, the best way to showcase this is through the example of Fred Craggs who placed a $0.50 stake on eight different horses at various race events in the UK back in 2008. He went for an eight-fold parlay on a series of outsiders that returned odds of 2,000,000/1. Bookies must have laughed when they saw the bet, but Mr. Craggs had the last laugh when his eight horses came in as winners and he scooped $1,000,000 in winnings.

Enjoy the excitement of parlays

Parlays are a great way of making a serious profit, and most importantly they are great fun. They keep the enjoyment flowing across a series of sports events until the very last second, and they can transform a boring weekend of sport into an exciting and profitable one. Hopefully, with the help of our guide, you now have all the knowledge you need to go and place your own parlay bets. 

Perhaps you can be just like Fred Craggs and turn a few dollars into a few million? Come and choose one of our recommended sportsbooks at and start picking out your selections today.