Parlay betting explained

What is a parlay?

A parlay bet is a wager that links several single bets together to form one bet.

The winnings from every single bet are reinvested into the next leg of the parlay. A parlay bet is also called an accumulator bet, and on first glance appears to be the same as a multi bet. However, there are different versions of the parlay bet that distinguish it, notably, the parlay formula bet.

What is an accumulator bet

An accumulator bet is the same as a parlay bet, in that a cumulative series of single bets are combined to form one bet. The winnings from each bet are in turn bet on the next leg.

Parlay formula bet

Whereas a multi bet, or same game multi bet, demand that all legs be successful to win; a parlay formula bet will pay a dividend depending on the ‘formula’ input by the bettor. A parlay formula bet is less risky than a multi bet, as a leg can fail to win, yet the bettor can still receive a rewarding payout.

Parlay betting explained using examples

The example shows an ‘all up’ 3-leg parlay bet where the bettor’s three selections must all win for the parlay to be successful. The odds multiply with each leg making the parlay bet a potentially lucrative product. In this example, if successful, a $10 parlay bet would pay out a dividend of $184.80.

Parlay formula bet example

To explain parlay formula betting, we use an example of a 3-leg parlay involving three horse races. Parlay formula bets are only available for horse racing bets in Australia.

The bettor has selected a formula of two for the parlay bet, this means, that two out of the three legs must be successful for the bet to win. The bet amount is $10, and the total bet cost is $30, because there are three possible combinations that will see the bet be successful, they are:

    Formula 2 combinations:
  • Races 3 & 4 – Horse 1 and horse 5
  • Races 3 & 5 – Horse 1 and horse 7
  • Races 4 & 5 – Horse 5 and horse 7

The dividend would only pay out the odds multiple of the two correct races.

If the bettor had selected a formula of 3, then that would mean the bettor would need three wins from the three races, the total bet cost would be $10 as there is only one combination that would see the bet payout:

    Formula 3 combinations:
  • Races 3, 4 & 5 – Horse 1, horse 5 and horse 7

Selecting multiple parlay formulas

It is also possible to select multiple parlay formulas, for example, a formula of 2 and a formula of 3. In this case, that would mean a total number of 4 possible combinations; however, the bet cost would increase to $40.

Parlay formula bets can are complicated, we have developed a parlay calculator that can compute the bet cost and potential returns of parlays.

Bookmakers that offer parlay betting

Most betting sites in the UK offer parlay formula betting. Parlay bets, where the formula is not applied, are commonly referred to as multi bets in Australia. Multi bets are available with all Australian bookmakers.

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