Online sports betting is now legal and ongoing in nearly 20 states. Soon Maryland, Ohio and Massachusetts will be joining the action. And with legalized sports betting only a reality since May of 2018, there are many newcomers to the world of real-money betting on sports.

Sometimes the jargon and terminology can be overwhelming for rookie sports bettors. In particular, the different types of bet seem to have a language of their own. So let’s break it down and answer a common question for beginners. What exactly is a Parlay Bet?

Popular Types Of Bet

Sports bettors in the U.S. are privileged to have access to some of the best mobile sports betting operators in the world. Caesars Sportsbook, BetMGM, DraftKings, PointsBet and BetRivers are just some of the apps available in legal states.

There are some differences between the apps, but what they all have in common is a wide range of betting options.

A betting option is a method of wagering on games, players, or game outcomes. A typical list of betting options would include:

— Straight bet: Point Spread
— Straight Bet: Moneyline
— Teaser
— Proposition bet
— Live in-game wagering
— Round Robin
— Futures odds betting
— Parlay

In the following section, the focus will fall on the last option on this list, the Parlay Bet.

How to Make a Parlay Bet

The parlay, also known internationally as an “accumulator” or “acca“, is one of the most popular betting options among all sports bettors. Simply put, it is multiple bets rolled into one.

It is a single wager that includes two or more games on the same betting slip. To win a parlay bet, the sports bettor is required to correctly select the winner of each and every game that is listed on the parlay betting slip. If just one listed game comes back as a loser, the entire bet is a loser.

There is a special provision for games that end in a tie whether it be with the money line or point spread. In such cases, the game is counted as a push and the parlay is relegated down one “leg.” A leg is one of the games listed on the betting slip. If the ticket was originally a 3-leg parlay, it stays active as a 2-leg parlay.

Betting a parlay is not difficult online. All a bettor has to do is select the parlay option and add as many legs as they want to their betting slip. The potential payout of the parlay will be provided as each leg is added within the app.

Calculating Parlay Odds

In sports betting, every game is assigned a money line in increments of $100. Yes, point spread wagers also have a money line.

A money line represents one of two things. When betting the favorite, the money line represents the amount that needs to be wagered to win exactly $100. When betting on the underdog, the money line represents the amount the bettor will win if they bet exactly $100.

Example: Game between the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys, with the Cowboys favored. The line might be expressed as follows:

Green Bay +3.5 (+100) – Bettor would receive winnings of $100 for a $100 wager (even money).
Dallas -3.5 (-120) – Bettor has to wager $120 to win $100.

When betting on games that include point spreads, the money line is presumed to be -110 unless otherwise stated. Generally, point spread parlays will pay as follows based on the number of legs:
2-legs = 2.6-1
3-legs = 6-1
4-legs = 11-1
5-legs = 22-1

The odds continue increasing as the number of legs goes up.

Keeping It Simple

In reality, online bettors don’t have to worry too much about calculating the odds. The betting app will automatically show you the potential payout as you add legs to your parlay.

When betting on games that include a money line, the possible winnings can be calculated one game at a time, rolling the winnings from each successive game to the next until the total is reached.

It’s not hard to see the appeal of a Parlay Bet. The sports bettor can add interest in several sports events and line themselves up for a big payday if they can successfully predict multiple outcomes.

It’s not an easy bet to win, but a landing a successful parlay is one of the most satisfying experiences for a sports bettor.