The most important step you have to take before placing a parlay bet is to look for the best possible combination. At first sight, this might seem like an easy thing to do, however, it’s far more complicated. Every parlay selection should be chosen for a well defined reason, and it should not be intuition or number of available matches. You shouldn’t bet on a Yankee just because you have a gut feeling to risk your money on four matches.
So let's take this from the start. Rule number one of parlay betting is: Do not build parlays on extremely low odds. Of course no one is stopping you from doing it, but you should understand that in the long term, winning will only boost your confidence and not your bankroll. If you’re satisfied by telling your friends and colleagues that “I make pennies for a profit on every parlay I place”, you may proceed. However, we all know this is barely enough, as our main goal is to find a way to substantial increase our return on investment.
Let’s put theory into practice:
Suppose you've picked four matches where you're backing the hosts to win at 1.40 odds. If you decide to place a Yankee by risking €10 in every bet, you’ll need a total of €110 (6 doubles, 4 trebles, 1 fourfold).
What happens if all your selections are confirmed? You will have basically won 11 different bets, but will only receive €238,33. It’s like having placed a bet on a single match at approximately 2,17 odds.
Is it worth the risk?
The theoretical chances of winning a single football bet stand at 33,3%. The chances of winning a four-match parlay fall to 1,23%. You don't have to be an expert in math to see that 33,3% outweigh 1,23% in terms of probability. Even if these figures are derived from theoretical chances, trial and error have proven that backing singles are far more profitable compared to placing parlay bets at the same odds.
If you've decided to build a straight parlay consisting of the same matches and stake, your profit would be €422,57. That’s more or less a 400% increase of your initial bet. In terms of odds, it amounts for 3.84, which although not great, are more acceptable for your low theoretical winning chances.
The main reason behind placing a system bet is to safeguard your initial capital. But do you actually cover your losses when you back low odds? If you win three out of your four selections, you won’t even get 80% of your total Yankee stake (€86,2). If you lose two matches out of four, you'll only get €19,6, less than 20% of the total amount.
Divide & Plunder
Most parlay punters who pick low odds try to built mammoth parlays consisting of eight to ten matches and choose a 6-7-8 or 8-9-10 parlay bet instead of, let’s say, a Goliath. This is tempting when you glance at the potential winnings, but it is also extremely hard to be confirmed. At the end of the day, it's less a matter of odds and more of a number of selections.
Instead of building multi-match parlays, it is best to divide a ten match acca into five double bets. Suppose you've built an 8-9-10 bet in a 10-match parlay. You need to win at least eight matches to get some money whilst having placed as many as 56 individual bets (45 eight-fold, 10 nine-fold and the one ten-fold).
What happens if you win eight matches? If you have staked €1 per selection, you'll only get €14,75. So let's break it down: You were right at 80% of your selections but didn't even manage to get back more than 25% of your stake. Sure, things do improve for 9 confirmed selections, as you get €153,41 and reach the heavens for winning 10 out of 10, as your profit amounts for €899,27. Unfortunately, probability wise this amounts to a tiny 0.001%.
Less Selections = More Money
Is this more profitable than betting on five doubles at €11 each? In case of eight winning matches (the least you need to get paid in an 8-9-10 bet) you have a minimum of three winning wagers, giving you €64,5 from your original €55 stake. Much better than €14,75 from €56, isn’t it?
Of course, the difference when winning nine or all ten bets is huge. Winning all five doubles gives you a profit of €107,50, that pales in comparison to the €899,27 of the 8-9-10 bet. But if you need a 90% percentage to win this amount of money, why not omit the eight-fold bets and place a 9-10 parlay instead? You have to place only 11 different bets (10 nine-folds and the ten-fold) at €5 each. In case of winning 9/10 bets you get €103,3 (almost double your profit) and with a 10/10 success you get even more than in the 8-9-10 bet (€1177,67 in total).