Parlay Betting for Beginners


The art of parlay betting (multiples, express) is something that is usually enticing to new players whereas professional, serious players tend to avoid them. Putting together a winning parlay can be trick for even the most experienced bettors.  

It is understandable how some new players could immediately take to multiples betting in the hope of winning some massive amount of money in exchange for a small investment.

You can see stories about the bettor winning $500,000 from a $25 bet and players get excited.  Especially when you throw in some safer bets it really does sound to good to be true.

You can see stories about the bettor winning $500,000 from a $25 bet and players get excited.  Especially when you throw in some safer bets it really does sound to good to be true. Why not just put eight heavily favored teams and pick them all to win. It cannot fail, right?

There are many different types of parlay bets, and they all have some logic to them as well as a good number of risks attached. In this article we will go through the different types of express bets, the logic behind them and how they are likely to fail. 

The “Sure Bet” express

All aboard! This ones going straight to the bank. This is one of the safer types of multiples. This is where the player will add in some very low-risk bets to go alongside the player’s original bet. You could add it in any game with a very high-chance of winning like a first-round soccer game between Spain and Andorra. 

The reason bettors use this method is quite simple, they want to increase their odds while using a very low-risk bet to do so. In theory a good idea, however the chances of an upset or a “sure” bet not playing out are much more likely than the player is probably anticipating. 

The reason for this is that there is a math involved that most players do not figure in to their parlays. The likelihood that a team with a 90% chance to win is evident, but the 10% is what the player needs to understand. The 10% represents a real chance that the fixture will not end the way the player intends. 

Now, if you take the original bet with only a 50% chance to win and combine it with your safe bet, your bet now only stands with a 45% chance to win.

Betting only on the favorites

This is one of the types of express bet that will be used by newcomers to sports betting. It is also probably one of the laziest forms of multiple betting. The idea here is not complicated, the player will simply place a bet on all of the teams that are favored to win that day. The biggest mistake that players make is choosing all teams with a 90% chance of winning and believe their multiple bet therefore has a 90% chance of winning.

However, when you combine all of the teams, their chances of winning are actually much lower than to begin with. Remember that you will only win the bet if all of the selections win, so the odds of this happening will sit much lower. If the player chooses 10 teams that all each have a 90% chance of winning (decimal odds 1.10, American odds -1000), then you will have to calculate your odds like so (110^10= 2.8394): 

The biggest mistake that players make is choosing all teams with a 90% chance of winning and believe their multiple bet therefore has a 90% chance of winning.

Keeping this in mind the odds for your bet are now 2.8394 (+184), which translates into a 32.5% chance for the entire parlay to profit. Not looking so great already, even with such high starting odds. The odds get even worse the further you stray from the original 90%.

For example, if we took games with odds of 80% instead, you would end up worse off with odds of about 10.74 (+974) for the entire bet to win. This translates to a 9.3% probability. 

Just one game losing will ruin the entire bet and when you pack so many games into one bet, the likelihood one of them loses is significantly increased. This goes for all bets, but there is the option to go for high odds right away with fewer teams involved. Speaking of..

The gambling man

For this type of express bet, the player will go the opposite route of the previous strategy, and instead bet only on the underdogs for each game. Although the likelihood of these bets all winning is of course less, the payout for these express bets will substantially increase. 

Here, the player can either choose to back underdogs in each of the games, or can instead place wagers on a lot of 50/50 matchups. Either way, the volatility for these bets will be very high, and a good deal of luck is necessary. A professional bettor will never recommend doing this as a long-term profit gain. Rather, these bets can be used mostly for fun with the chance of winning a large sum of money. 

These bets can stem from having a small amount of money in the player’s bank, something that you will rarely see occur with professional gamblers. What they will normally do in that situation is to play single markets with higher stakes, as opposed to turning them into parlay bets. Still, this method can be an exciting option, with a potential for huge profits. 

Betting like the pros

Although single bets are where the average punter makes they money, some professionals do continue to make multiples bets and manage to make a continual profit doing so. Some of these even make more off of this than they would betting on singles. 

The main thing to understand is the positives and negatives that come with positives and negatives to making multiples bets: 


Some of the negatives:

  • Lower limits than on individual games
  • More volatility in the player’s lines
  • The player needs to wait before collecting profit on the bet


Some of the positives:

  • The payout will be higher than single games
  • The opportunity to combine bets with current prices
  • Opportunity to combine different types of bets into one
  • There are certain edges to betting on multiples


If using the round-robin option, player has chance to get down a lot of money at current prices

The art of piecing together multiple bets can be a profitable one for bettors if down correctly and understood. They can be used by both professional and newcomers alike. No matter which strategy you choose to employ, the main thing is to understand all of the information behind these bets before making them. Once you understand this, you will be able to play with a strategy that benefits you at any specific moment.