Esports gambling offers plenty of betting variety, including moneylines, point spreads, live wagering, outrights, and totals. These wagers give you an opportunity to bet on a single outcome (a.k.a. singles) and win money if you’re successful.
But these bets differ from another type of esports wager called a parlay (a.k.a. accumulator). A parlay sees you bet on multiple outcomes under the umbrella of a single wager.
Many new esports gamblers avoid accumulators because they’re so different from the previously mentioned bets. But parlays aren’t much more difficult to learn than regular wagers.
The main question is if it’s worth making parlay bets over a moneyline, point spread, or another type of wager. I’m going to answer this question and go over the basics of esports accumulators.
What Is an Esports Parlay Bet?
An esports parlay begins with you making two or more regular bets. These can be anything from a simple moneyline wager to a prop bet on which Dota 2team gets “first blood.”
Every outcome you choose goes under the umbrella of a single wager. Therefore, you can bet on 10 esports teams winning their matches and only pay for one wager.
This is exciting because it gives you more action. But the catch is that all of your chosen bets must win in order for your overall wager to be successful.
Just one loss means that your bet is also a loss. This makes accumulator bets much riskier than standard wagers.
The payoff, though, is that you stand to win more money with a successful parlay. A 10-team accumulator greatly increases the payout you can win.
One more point worth noting is that any push will simply remove that outcome from the parlay.
Here’s an example:
- You make a 4-team parlay bet.
- Three of your picks win.
- One pushes.
- You get paid according to odds for a 3-team parlay.
Understanding Esports Parlay Odds
Many accumulator bets feature moneylines, which use odds to create balanced betting action between the favorite and underdog.
Here’s an example involving a moneyline with decimal odds:
- Defusekids 2.36
- Sector One 1.54
You can win $2.36 ($1.36 profit + $1 stake) for every dollar wagered on Defusekids. You stand to earn $1.54 ($0.54 profit + $1 stake) for every dollar bet on Sector One.
Of course, parlays are different since you’re betting on multiple outcomes. Parlays account for this by multiplying the odds of all outcomes by your wager size to determine the payout.
Here are some examples:
- 2-team parlay: (2.36 x 1.54) x $10 bet = $36.34 payout
- 3-team parlay: (2.70 x 3.32 x 1.74) x $10 bet = $155.97 payout
- 4-team parlay: (3.21 x 5.23 x 2.36 x 4.01) x $10 bet = $1,588.78 payout
The 4-team parlay really shows the power of these wagers, because you risk just $10 to win $1,588 – nearly a 160x return. But you also have to be conscious of the benefit that accumulators offer betting sites.
Bookmakers love these wagers since the chances are low of you actually winning big. Furthermore, the bookmaker’s edge increases once you get to 4-team parlays and beyond.
Standard house advantages for parlays are as follows:
- 3-team parlay = 12.50% house edge
- 4-team parlay = 31.25%
- 5-team parlay = 34.38%
These house advantages are subject to change based on the bookmaker’s odds. But the point is that there’s a large increase in the house advantage when moving from 3-team to 4-team accumulators.
I suggest sticking with 2-team and 3-team bets if you’re interested in parlays. Anything above this essentially amounts to a lottery ticket due to the bookmaker’s advantage.
How to Make an Esports Accumulator Bet
Online bookmakers give you an electronic betting slip for the wagers that you want to place. This bet slip should feature two tabs labeled “Singles” and “Multiples.”
Not every esports betting site will use the exact same method and labels. But this is the basic jest on how you get started at the average bookmaker.
Selecting multiples will now enable you to choose multiple wagers from the main betting screen. Every outcome you select will be added to your parlay betting slip.
You also need to enter how much you’re wagering on the accumulator. Doing so will bring up the potential amount you stand to win.
When you’re finished making your picks, simply approve the bet to finalize your parlay. The accumulator will be placed as long as you have enough funds to cover your desired wager.
Pros of Esports Parlay Bets
Parlay wagers are fun to make if you’re looking for something different beyond traditional moneylines and point spreads.
But these wagers have more to offer than just variety. Below are the biggest advantages to making esports parlay bets.
You Stand to Win a Large Payout
The most attractive quality to accumulators is that you can make a small bet and win a relatively large prize.
The size of your payout depends upon your wager size and how many teams you put on the betting slip. However, you always have a chance at a sizable win in relation to your bet.
This is even true with 2 and 3-team parlays, which offer nice payouts. But you can really hit a big prize by selecting 5-10 teams (outcomes) or more.
Earlier I discussed an example where you could win $1,588 on a $10 bet. You just can’t do this with a normal wager, even if you’re taking a major underdog in an esports match.
You Get More Action in a Single Bet
One limitation to singles is that you only get action on one outcome. If you bet on Absolute guy beating Storm Rider in a Counter Strike: Global Offensive match, then you only get to root for Absolute.
Parlays differ, though, because they allow you to bet on far more action. Wagering on multiple teams gives you a chance to monitor several matches that relate to your bet.
The only way to do this with singles is by placing multiple wagers. And the problem with this is that you risk additional money to get more thrills out of esports gambling.
In contrast, an accumulator allows you to risk a small sum for a larger amount of entertainment.
You Can Combine Prop Bets & Standard Wagers
Many gamblers stick to moneyline bets when filling out parlays. But you don’t have to be confined to this style of wager since accumulators let you combine various betting types.
You can mix a moneyline, point spread, and prop bet in a single betting slip. This goes back to the point discussed above, where parlays help you get more thrills out of smaller wagers.
Parlays Allow You to Combine Multiple Favorable Lines
Have you ever seen multiple bets that you wanted to place, yet you didn’t have the bankroll to do so?
This is a common scenario for recreational esports bettors who don’t have lots of money to spend on making numerous single bets. The same bettors are sometimes unable to capitalize on multiple quality opportunities.
A parlay allows you to take advantage for a lower cost. You can place a single wager and capitalize on two or more favorable lines that you see.
You’ll also be rewarded for this if your bet is successful, because parlays pay more than a single bet.
Cons of Esports Parlay Bets
Accumulator wagers are far from perfect. In fact, they’re often referred to as a “sucker bet” due to the house edge.
This sucker bet moniker can be exaggerated, especially when you’re dealing with solid 2-team and 3-team parlays. But you should be aware of all the downsides, including the ones listed below.
Your Odds of Winning Are Low
Accumulators may give you an opportunity to win bigger prizes without much risk. But the downside is that you won’t be collecting these payouts too often.
The odds of you winning a parlay are low due to the fact that you need multiple bets to come through.
How low depends upon the odds and number of selected outcomes. But generally, your short-term prospects of winning these wagers are slim.
The House Takes a Bigger Cut
A single bet gives you two or more options to wager on. The bookmaker’s role in this situation is to balance out the wagering action on all outcomes, while collecting a small profit from the “juice.”
Single wagers don’t technically have a house edge, because you’re not betting directly against the house. Instead, you’re simply trying to win enough wagers to counteract the odds and juice.
Parlays, on the other hand, do involve betting against the esports bookmaker. The site is offering you a big payout if you’re able to win a multiple.
Esports betting sites are more than willing to offer potential prizes worth thousands of dollars when considering that they’re going to earn plenty of long-term profits.
Their edge on 4-team parlays and beyond is extremely high. Accumulators with high house advantages are the true sucker bets in this game.
Even the world’s most-skilled esports bettors will find it impossible to beat big parlays over the long run due to the high house edge.
Parlay Betting Involves Lots of Volatility
Volatility refers to how likely your short-term odds are to lineup with your long-term prospects of winning.
Single bets with even odds (2.0) have extremely low volatility, because you have almost a 50/50 chance of winning (skill notwithstanding).
But parlays are different because you have to win multiple wagers in order to get paid. The chances of you even winning a 2 or 3-team accumulator are much lower than winning a single.
This isn’t to say that accumulators are always a terrible idea. You can win a decent percentage of small accumulators.
Overall, though, you’ll won’t be successful on a high percentage of these bets. This creates more volatility and usually leads to fewer wins in the immediate future.
Bankroll Management Is More Difficult with Parlays
Bankroll management is the practice of managing your esports betting funds in a way that reduces your risk. Simply put, the best strategy is to make small bets in comparison to your bankroll so that you minimize your short-term risk.
Here’s an example:
- You have a bankroll worth $2,000.
- You break this bankroll down into 100 units ($20 each).
- You never risk more than 5 units (5% of your bankroll) on one bet.
Accumulator wagers make this process more difficult, because you won’t pick up as many winnings along the way. Therefore, you may need to bet an even smaller percentage of your bankroll to handle the dry spells.
Are These Wagers Worth Making?
Parlay bets aren’t the evil that some gamblers make them out to be. But there are enough cons to make it worth questioning whether accumulators are worth your time.
The answer all depends upon what type of bettor you are, your bankroll expectations, and the size of the parlays.
If you’re a casual esports bettor who watches lots of matches, then you may love accumulator bets. You can place a small bet, choose multiple outcomes, watch your bet play out across multiple matches, and hopefully win big.
It’s a bonus if you also have a large bankroll to help you deal with the volatility of parlays. After all, you’ll experience plenty of losing streaks as you wait for larger payouts to come through.
I don’t, however, recommend parlays if you’re a serious esports gambler who’s hoping to make consistent profits.
This isn’t to say that accumulators are always a losing proposition. But the house edge on these wagers is really high.
In these cases, you’re better off making a single bet that only requires you to win enough to overcome the odds and house juice.
One more instance where you want to forget about parlays is you have a tiny bankroll and wish to preserve it longer.
Parlays offer terrible odds, especially as you continue adding teams to your betting slip. You’re far more likely to run out of gambling funds with these bets than singles.
Strategy for Esports Parlays
Parlay bets are sometimes viewed as the lottery tickets of esports gambling. But you can use strategy in order to improve your chances of winning.
The simplest strategy is to never bet on a 4-team parlay or higher. Earlier I covered how these bets usually have over a 30% house edge.
Outside of lotteries and land-based keno rooms, there’s no worse bet in the gambling world than an accumulator involving several teams.
Another thing that you want to do is prepare for volatility. Having a sizable bankroll in relation to your desired parlay bet gives you a stronger chance to stay in the game.
I recommend having at least 100 betting units for whatever accumulator stakes you want to play.
You should also shop around different esports betting sites to see which offer the best parlay payouts. Some bookmakers pay more for these bets than the next operation.
Simply visit different betting sites, fill out your parlay ticket, and see how much it pays for the number of teams you select. Continue this process while using the same number of teams across multiple sites to find out how much they pay.
Parlays are a great way to spice up your esports betting action. These wagers give you an opportunity to bet a few dollars and win hundreds or even thousands.
Everything starts with knowing how to place these bets. Simply visit your favorite esports bookmaker, select “Multiples” on your betting slip, then choose your desired outcomes.
Of course, there’s more to think about with these bets than simply how to place them. You also want to weigh the advantages and disadvantages before diving head-first into accumulators.
The best aspects to parlay wagers include the potential payouts, extra action, and combining betting types.
Downsides include the low odds of winning, high house edge, extreme volatility, and complicated bankroll management.
The house edge is killer on 4-team parlays and above. This is why you should definitely stick to betting on just two or three outcomes.
Other strategies you can use include shopping around for lines and properly managing your bankroll.
Accumulator bets aren’t the ultimate path towards serious profits. In fact, I recommend that you stay away from these bets if you have professional esports betting aspirations.
But parlays are a refreshing break from the norm and offer large payouts. These wagers are fine to mix in with your normal bets on occasion.