Parlays are one of the most popular forms of soccer betting. Rather than just choosing one particular match to put money on, a parlay allows bettors to place a wager on various different games with a view to maximizing earnings.
Parlay: A single bet that links together two or more individual wagers and is dependent on all of those wagers winning together. Check out our comprehensive guide on parlay betting.
As well as being fun, it can also be hugely effective. With each line that is added to a parlay, the potential return increases. Of course, this can be a risky form of betting– you either win or you do not, and just one incorrect prediction will result in a squandered stake.
So, how do you build the best soccer parlay and what are the key things to bear in mind? Let’s take a look.
This is essential to any form of soccer betting. Before choosing a match to put money on, you should make sure you have a handle on the state of the two teams. What kind of form are they in? Are any key players missing through injury or suspension? Are they better at home or away?
If you want to go further in-depth (and you should if you want to win more often than you lose), look at the underlying statistics. Expected Goals is a useful tool that measures underlying performance and can be used to make predictions about future games.
These days it is possible to bet on soccer matches from all around the globe. Log on to DraftKings Sportsbook or BetMGM at any time and there will probably be an in-play market allowing you to place a wager on a game in Spain, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, or South Korea.
It can be tempting to add random matches to your parlay, particularly as doing so will increase your potential winnings. It is advisable to avoid this. You should try and stick to leagues you know well, or at least those that are easy to research.
The most popular soccer market is – unsurprisingly – the one that predicts the winner of the game. There is nothing wrong with sticking to this straightforward market, but bettors can reap the rewards by digging a little deeper.
Get creative. If you fancy Manchester City to beat West Bromwich Albion and are confident that the favorites will run up the score, look for a combination bet of City to win and over 2.5 goals. This does not have to be done for every match and you are obviously relying on more than one thing to go right per game, but it can be a good way to add further value to your choices.
Draw no bet, win both halves and both teams to score are other markets worth looking into. The latter, for instance, is equally as simple as the outright winners market and is often easier to predict.
Picking a winner between Real Madrid and Barcelona is tough, but there are usually goals for both sides when the two Spanish giants go head-to-head. Look at teams who are known to score and concede a lot of goals – Manchester United for example – and put some money on both teams to score.
It is important not to go too far in the other direction, though. High-risk selections are tempting, particularly when you see how much the potential winnings increase.
It is useful to play around with the odds before placing your parlay bet. You can use WSN’s free parlay calculator to help you. This tool certainly shows why some bettors cannot resist including a risky wager in their parlay.
Four picks of +150, +100, +110 and +120 would return $231 including a $10 stake. If you add a +500 selection, the potential winnings rocket to $1,386 including the stake. That is the advantage of a parlay – the return increases exponentially with each selection.
There is a reason why the above combination pays out almost $1,500 on a small stake, though: it is very unlikely to be successful. It is best to stick to more achievable wagers rather than chasing improbable triumphs.
On a similar note, try not to get carried away with too many plays – a five-play or six-play parlay is usually the best choice.
Again, the parlay calculator illustrates how adding more plays to your bet can hugely increase your potential winnings. A five-play parlay of +100 for each selection returns $160 including a $10 stake. An eight-play parlay with the same odds per play gives a return of $1,280 including the stake.
Bigger is not always better, though. In fact, in the parlay world, it usually isn’t. This is partly because a parlay with too many plays is highly unlikely to win, but also because a larger parlay means you are more likely to be dipping your toes in leagues or matches you are not really familiar with. Stick to what you know when it comes to building a parlay.
Let’s say you have a $10 wager and have inputted four bets of +110 each into WSN’s parlay calculator. The potential payout in this scenario would be $194.48, including your $10 stake. But if you add a sure-fire -1000 wager to the equation, that payout increases to $213.93. If you add a likely -500 pick on top of that, you stand to get back $256.71.
Do not go overboard with this. Each selection added to a parlay increases the risk as well as the reward. In a low-scoring sport like soccer, upsets are relatively common. In January alone, Burnley beat Liverpool at Anfield, Bayern Munich were eliminated from the DFB-Pokal by Holstein Kiel and Real Madrid was knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Alcoyano, a team from the third tier. If you add 10 seemingly sure-fire picks to your parlay, you will probably come unstuck.
Adding one, though, could be the difference between a decent win and a brilliant one.
After graduating from the University of New Hampshire with a BA in Journalism, Richard Janvrin has been covering iGaming and sports betting since December 2018. Richard has covered betting at Bleacher Report, Gambling.com, The Game Day, Forbes, and more.More info on Richard Janvrin
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