parlay sportsWith parlays, instead of betting on the outcome of a game the bettor can predict the outcome of a group of matches on a single bet. In simple form, parlays are just several bets in one betting order or ticket.

Parlay bets can also be termed as combination bets.

It is the hardest way of betting and only risk addicts or professional bettors use it, but if used well they can be the best option to bet with, some sports books even forbid them as they know they favour the smart bettor.


If the bettor manages to correctly predict the outcome of all the matches in that group or parlay he wins the bet, and a very big juicy purse that will make him rich for years. The payoff from a Parlay bet is usually much higher than the ordinary bets because the odds of the bettor correctly predicting the results of all the matches in the group are really low.

*An example at the end of how a $5 dollar bet in the NFL almost gave $100,000 dollars to a bettor

Consider a parlay of three matches, if the bettor were to correctly predict the outcome of two of these matches and then gets the third prediction wrong, he loses the parlay bet.

In short there isn’t any consolation prize at the end if you get one of the bets in the parlay wrong. If one of the matches ends up as a push (the game ends in a tie, no winner or loser) then the parlay will be lowered to two matches and the bettor can win the bet if he predicts the outcome of these two matches.

Football parlay bet example

Let’s understand Parlay Bets better through the use of an example.

Consider a parlay of four matches between,

  • Chelsea vs Manchester City
  • Liverpool vs Everton
  • Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur
  • Manchester United vs Southampton
Home Team                         Away Team                    Home Win                   Draw  Away Win
Chelsea Manchester City 2.20 1.70 2.80
Liverpool Everton 1.40 3.20 5.20
Arsenal Spurs 2.40 3.50 3.20
Manchester United Southampton 3.20 1.50 1.40

Here the bettor is predicting a victory for Chelsea, Southampton and Liverpool and a draw between Arsenal and Spurs. He is betting 1,000£ based on his predictions on this parlay.

If his predictions came true he will get in total a payoff = 1000*2.20*1.40*1.40*3.50 =15,092£.

For a bet of 1000£ the total pay off turned out to be 15x more = 15,000£

Now if he got one of his four predictions wrong then it is game over, and he can kiss his 1000£ goodbye. As with everything betting parlays carries its own set of risks. Some bettors prefer parlays knowing the little chances they got of getting it right. The final payoff can overcome several parlay loses.

The parlay pool can contain matches from multiple sporting events. A parlay pool of five matches can have two football matches on different dates, two rugby matches and one hockey match. Hence why this is the most complicated form of betting and only an experienced professional bettor can predict parlays without relying so much in luck.

But stories have been heard of bettors making hundreds of thousands of dollars having faith in their judgement. There is a fine line between luck and handicapping parlays as shown in the following real life case

Story of a $5 parlay bet on NFL that almost won $100,000…

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