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Pros and Cons of Parlay Bets

Been keeping up with the blog? If so, you probably noticed that I am doing a series of articles discussing the pros and cons of common types of sports wagers you can place on UK betting sites. In the past, I have written articles delving into the different types of bets, but those articles focused more on the definitions and variations of different types of bets than on their advantages and disadvantages.

Here are the articles so far in this new series:

If you're all caught up, let's talk about parlay bets.


What Is a Parlay or Accumulator Bet?

A parlay bet is one of the most common and complex types of sports wagers. It is similar to a teaser bet in that it consists of a series of straight bets. With the most traditional form of parlay bet, every selection in the wager needs to win in order for you to win the payout on the parlay. There are some variations such as progressive parlay bets which allow you to win some money if certain selections go on to win even if others end up losing. Read more about parlay bets in the Types of Sports Bets: Accumulator article.


Pros of Parlay Bets

Here the main reasons why you might consider a parlay bet:

1.  Parlay bets are considered quite exciting. Because you are unlikely to win, you get major bragging rights if you do.

2.  If you manage to win a parlay bet, the payout to be enormous.


Certain types of punters are very attracted to parlay bets. These include bettors with a gambling mindset as well as beginners. Beginners often simply do not know any better, because they do not yet have a strong grasp of risk and odds. They just see the potentially enormous payout and figure that it has to be worth a try. By the time they figure out that it isn’t working out, they are out of a bankroll.

Those who approach sports betting with a gambling mindset (as opposed to an interest in making a consistent stream of income) usually understand parlays, but do not care all that much about the fact that they are probably going to use. In fact, this may only make them even more excited by the prospect. They may feel that it is a special achievement if they actually manage to succeed against the odds.


Cons of Parlay Bets

The major drawback of a parlay bet should be obvious to you at this point. Even if you have an excellent betting system, your chance of winning every selection in a parlay bet is pretty low. If you talk to professional punters, you will discover that most of them do not make a living by much of a margin when it comes to win percentages. Winning anything from 55% to 60% of your total wagers is pretty spectacular. Considering that, why would you expect to win 100% of the selections in a parlay?


You would have to have astonishingly good reasons to actually justify saying that you are making a responsible parlay bet. The vast majority of the time, complex bets like these simply do not pay off. Yes, the thought of winning a huge payout can be enticing, but UK betting sites only offer these kinds of payouts because they so seldom have to pay them.


For those reasons, I highly recommend that you stick with simple types of bets like win single bets, even if they seem less exciting. You do not build a career in sports betting with a few massive wins. You build it through consistency and numerous small, regular wins which you can rely on over the long run. Ultimately, that may seem more "boring" from day to day, but the prospect of actually being able to make a living betting on sports is certainly more exciting than blowing your money on parlays!


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Gambling on the Internet

A few things to consider when gambling online:

  • Take advantage of first deposit bonuses
  • Have a budget and stick to it
  • Don't lose more than you can afford
  • When drunk, don't bet!
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  • Bet on markets you know well
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