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US Gambling Sites / Betting Guide / Parlay Betting: What Is A Parlay And How To Use Parlay Bets When Gambling Online

Parlay Betting: What Is A Parlay And How To Use Parlay Bets When Gambling Online

Publish Date: 24/01/2024
Fact checked by: Drew the DFS Guy

For many, there are two main reasons for betting online. One is simply because you hope you’ll win, and preferably win big without taking too much risk. The second is to enhance your enjoyment of your favorite sport events.

No other betting option delivers so completely in both regards as parlay betting. However, many people are missing out on this fabulous form of betting because they don’t yet have all the information they need to bet with confidence. Well, this page is here to provide you with exactly that, a comprehensive manual on how to parlay bet.

Parlay and accumulator betting: Different words, same meaning

One source of confusion when it comes to parlay sports betting is that it often goes by different names. Parlay is the preferred term in the US, for instance, whereas in much of Europe, they know it as accumulator, acca or even combo betting.

We just wanted to make clear before we go forward with our explanations that if you see any of those terms, you can rest assured that we’re referring to the same thing.

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Understanding parlay

Although success may include intricate betting strategy, the concepts behind a parlay bet remain very simple. Essentially, your parlay bet is many individual bets collected into a single wager. They can start at two or more bets and go to as many selections as you could reasonably want.

So, how is this different to just putting on a bunch of single bets? Well, for starters, all your bets, no matter how many you pick, are tied to a single stake. And, if all of the selections in your accumulator win, your winnings can often be enormous as a result of the cumulative odds – even without very large stakes.

However, these benefits do come with one vital condition: every selection in a parlay must win for your bet to be successful. If you get 11 out of 12 predictions right, for instance, you lose just as if every single one was a failure.

Say you place an accumulator bet on the NBA. You wager $5 for the Phoenix Suns to beat the Dallas Mavericks, the Milwaukee Bucks to beat the Boston Celtics, the Memphis Grizzlies to beat the Golden State Warriors, and Miami Heat to beat the Philadelphia 76ers. You’re right on every count but the very last one. You would win nothing, and would lose your $5, regardless of your previous success. And you could have missed out on a large amount of winnings, despite modest stakes.

Let’s take another hypothetical 5-fold accumulator. (Remember this is just an example you can select as many as you want). Say your odds come out at +100, +124, +300, +700 and +1400. For $5, you could enjoy eye-watering potential returns of $10,747 according to a parlay calculator. That’s the flipside of these kinds of bets being tricky to get righ, they also offer potentially massive wins.

What are parlay bets? If nothing else, they’re the opportunity to win big without the need for huge stakes.

How to parlay bet: A step-by-step guide

The math on the returns of a big time parlay bet may be complicated enough to require a calculator, but you can rest assured that things are nice and simple on a practical level. In fact, parlay sports betting is overwhelmingly the same as single sports betting in terms of the steps you take to make your bet.

It’s as easy as these simple steps:

  1. Sign into your preferred operator.
  2. Find all the markets you wish to select as part of your multi bet and add them to your bet slip.
  3. There will typically now be an option on your bet slip to make all of your selections into a parlay bet. For instance, DraftKings parlay bets allow you to toggle between single, parlay and round robin bets on the bet slip.
  4. Enter how much you wish to wager. Your potential returns should be made clear at this stage.
  5. If those potential returns are acceptable to you, confirm your bet.

Do note, this is what we’d typically expect, but some bookmakers may have slight variations on this system of placing a parlay bet.

The benefits of parlay bets

While parlay sports betting isn’t always the easiest kind of bet to win, it comes with a dazzling set of avantages. We think these make it worthy of any sports fan's consideration. If you’re interested in the idea of an acca but are wondering why you would choose parlay over single bet wagers, well, here’s five of our favorite things about parlay:

Low stakes, high rewards

You can – as you can see from our above example – potentially win large sums of money without needing to place huge stakes. This allows people to shoot for the stars while practicing responsible gaming.

Fantastic promotions

You need not worry about missing out on quality bonuses when making the switch from single to multi bets. In fact, you may find that accumulators have the better selection on your bonus page.

Enormous markets variety

In our earlier example, we stuck with fairly simple markets, so you could understand what are parlay bets on a conceptual level. We gave the example of a 5-fold acca which backed five different teams to win. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

There’s a huge amount of parlay sports betting options, from hockey parlays and NHL parlays, all the way to accumulators on eSports and Australian rugby. It can range from the obvious to the international and up-and-coming. In addition, the parlay bet is usually available for any market available for a single bet, meaning the market variety for this type of betting is as good as any.

Added intrigue

Part of the beauty of parlay is that suddenly, an event you weren’t that interested in is a must-see. That’s because one loss could lose you that big payout. Betting should always be about having fun, and that’s exactly what a parlay provides.

Perfect for tournaments

That extra intrigue can be applied tenfold for tournaments. We’d argue there’s no single better enhancement of sporting enjoyment than the impact these bets can have on big tournaments. They provide a thread of interest all the way through, so every fixture counts whatever your sporting preferences. Win or lose, the excitement of a couple of dollars on a parlay bet that stretches across a season is worth the price of admission alone.

How to engage parlay betting

It’s possible to combine most types of wagers into parlays. Moneylines, point spreads and totals are all qualified for parlays with a few exceptions. Several sportsbooks also allow parlays on prop bets, so you can personalize parlays anyhow you desire.

Placing a basketball parlay bet is easy. The steps include:

  1. Log into your personal betting account or go through a retail sportsbook
  2. Choose the bets you want to combine and put them to your betslip
  3. Decide the amount you want to wager. This is the stage where you can see your potential payout
  4. Review your wager for correctness, then submit the wager.

Parlay betting: Where to bet

Parlay bets are available on virtually every bookmaker that offers sports betting of any kind. There may be a couple of exceptions, but by and large, we’d be very surprised to see any big-name bookmaker not provide the option for parlay.

This means that, from the biggest names in the industry to more left-field options, if sports betting is their game, then a parlay bet is likely nearby. If you’re looking for Caesars parlay bets, for instance, you won’t have to look very far. In terms of what’s available to you, that would depend on the laws of your individual state and which operators offer services within your state. However, parlay is no more affected by this than any other form of betting on sports.

Parlay Betting on Bet365

To set-up of a parlay bet (accumulator) on Bet365 just follow these steps:

  • Use our operator link below to head to the site
  • Register an account and verify your ID and address.
  • Make a deposit before you try to place your bet.
  • Head to the sports page and open your bet slip.
  • Pre-game, place a parlay on 2 or more selections on NBA /  NFL / NHL or MLB on the following 2-Way markets: Spread/Run Line/Puck Line, Game Totals, 1st Half Point Spread, 2nd Half Point Spread, 1st Half Totals and 2nd Half Totals.
  • Providing you win the bet, Bet365 add a bonus of 5-70% to the winnings. The amount of the bonus depends on the number of selections.
  • Bonuses are paid as cash and are added to the withdrawable balance
  •  Note that bets placed with Bet Credits will not qualify with this offer.

Parlay Betting with MGM

There are several ways to make a parlay bet with BetMGM. The options are depicted in the table below for your perusal.

Parlay GameDescription
The Regular MGM ParlayThe standard parlay betting with MGM is much the same as any other casino. Players are able to mix a collection of picks to create an improved odds bet, this can be done across a variety of different sports or through a single one. As well as this, BetMGM players will be rewarded if they place a 4-7 leg parlay on any combination of events or sports, with up to 40% more in profit if the parlay wins.
The MGM ‘Easy Parlay’The Easy Parlay option is a new addition to the MGM accumulators. Essentially a parlay builder that can be accessed via the Easy Parlay section on the BetMGM site or if you're on the move, the app offers a sleek and easy to use interface that can display all of the key information you'll need to make your parlay bet.
The MGM ‘One Game Parlay’If you're watching live games, then the One Game Parlay is the one for you. Allowing players to to create an enhanced odd bet by mixing combinations of legs from the same game. You'll be pleased to know that BetMGM offers a number of insurance options when it comes to betting on One Game Parlays. If you're going to place a 3+ leg One Game Parlay on any NBA game and one leg doesn't come through, you will have your wager refunded up to the total of $25. If you choose to place a $25 One Game Parlay wager on the Super Bowl then you'll get a $10 bet to use on a market of your choosing.

To claim any of the parlay bonus offers mentioned above, you'll need to make sure you have an active account. Here are the easy steps to follow to get you on the road toplacing your BetMGM Parlays:

  • Click on our BetMGM links on this page.
  • Register your details and verify your ID and address with the operator.
  • Make a deposit into your account
  • Head to the promotions page to activate any parlay deals that might be on offer
  • If there are no specific offers, head to the sportsbook page and open the bet slip. select the accumulator/parlay option and start selecting your legs.

You'll notice that your odds will change on the slip with every leg added to your slip.

The distinct promotions of parlay

Bookmakers love a parlay bet. They must do – it’s the only explanation we can think of as to why so many bonus pages are so exceptionally generous to parlay punters.

For starters, you can expect many single bet bonuses to apply to the parlay bet. Free bets, for instance, are very common, as are welcome offers, bet boosts, and most VIP programs. But in addition to that, there are also often promotions which are focused exclusively on those who parlay bet.

One common example is acca insurance, whereby your stake is returned – often in the form of a free bet – if your parlay bet fails by a single selection. There’s also boosted winnings, which offer additional profits should you win via a set percentage. Typically, that percentage goes up the more selections you choose.

Make no mistake, if you find a good betting site for a parlay bet, the bonus page is well worth a visit.

Our top picks for bonuses

Bet365
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Players from Virginia accepted
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Go to Bet365
Get bonus now
At bet365 we don't do ordinary, that's why if you sign up now you'll get the choice of two great New Customer Offers, the First Bet Safety Net up to $1000 or Bet $5 and Get $150 in Bonus Bets. Deposit required. Bonus Bets wager excluded from returns. T&Cs, time limits and exclusions apply. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-Gambler 21+
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Conclusion: Parlays offer added intrigue to your wager

We think parlays represent one of the most enjoyable forms of sports betting out there. It turns a simple wager into a multi-layered spectacular, one which is entertaining and allows the casual gambler to try their chances at winning big.

Sure, the flipside of this is that with many selections comes smaller chances of actually seeing a return. However, considering that quite often, parlay bets can provide such great entertainment – even on less exciting fixtures – we think many people will be happy they gave it a shot, whatever the result. And of course, if you do win, and win big, then you can enjoy your returns even more than usual considering all the fun you had along the way.

Parlay betting FAQ 

❓ How are parlay bets different from single bets?

Our guide to all things parlay betting will explain everything you could possibly want to know, not just in terms of understanding the concepts of parlay but also how it compares to single bets. We’ll cover any key distinct advantages to help you decide whether they’re worth your while. Curious about parlay betting? Well, you’ve come to the right place.

💵 How do I place a parlay bet?

It’s important for any sports betting guide to not just explain what a form of betting is but also the practicalities behind it. That’s why our comprehensive look at parlay betting won’t stop at telling you what this kind of betting means, nor even its advantages. We’ll go even further by showing you just how easy it is to place your first parlay wager, so you can bet stress-free.

💬 Does parlay betting go by any other names?

We understand that many people reading our analysis of parlay bets will be new to the idea of parlay itself. They may also be new to all the surrounding concepts and terminology. That’s why, alongside explaining everything you need to know to enjoy this form of betting, we’ll also be detailing any alternative names for parlay, so you’re never left out of the loop.

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