Parlay bet / accumulator / combo bets are bids composed of two or more events, each of which affects the overall prospect of the bet. You can only succeed if all events were played and/or some of them were voided. Bad news here is a loss of at least one of the picks, leading to inevitable defeat.

Let’s set up a live example of three group stage matches of the 2020 UEFA European championship: Belgium - Russia, England - Croatia, and Hungary - Portugal. For convenience, each bet amounts to $100.

Our picks:

  1. Belgium - Russia: a win for team Belgium or a tie (1,24).
  2. England - Croatia: a win for team England or a tie (1,26).
  3. Hungary - Portugal: a win for team Portugal with handicap(0) (1,25).

The odds are quite low. If we make three single bets of $100 each, we’ll have: ($100 х 1,24) + ($100 х 1,26) + ($100 х 1,25) = $375. Meanwhile, net revenue will amount to just $75, though at risk is $300.

Now let’s get straight to counting: 1,24 х 1,26 х 1,25 = 1,953. You have to admit that these odds are much more reasonable.

The calculation of the parlay is pretty simple, though we have the whole three options here:

  1. All bets paid off. At this point we can settle for victory of $195,3 ($100 х 1,953). At risk was the amount of $100, and the return is $95,3.
  2. A win for team Belgium, a win for team England, but team Portugal drew against Hungary. One of the events in the parlay was voided and the total rate should have been counted as “1”, which means the parlay value came down to 1,24 х 1,26 х 1 = 1,5624. The overall return is $156,24 ($100 х 1,5624).
  3. One or more bets paid off. It’s an automatic failure. We simply lose our bet.

Now we know what’s behind the parlay and that it can bring tangible profit with low risk. However, it doesn’t mean you should definitely include risky bets in your deal. It’s always better to go for lower odds, leaving open the possibility of return.