Parlays are one of the first bet types punters will come across when they start sports betting. They allow you to combine several bets into one, which is why some sportsbooks also refer to them as multis or accumulator bets. They can be quite tempting, especially to those new to wagering on NBA basketball, because they usually offer impressive payouts for stakes that can be considered meager in size.

This does come at a price, however. Namely, when it comes to traditional accas, even one loss will cost you the entire parlay bet. It is for this reason that experienced bettors advise caution when dealing with accumulator bets. The perceived lower risk in terms of the stake you need to place can mask the fact that winning all selections of an ordinary parlay is not an easy task. If you are not confident in your bets, you should stick to low-leg progressive parlays and system bets or rely on features such as acca insurance.

How NBA Parlays Work

Parlays are a fairly unique type of NBA bet because each acca consists of multiple bets. In terms of how the payout is calculated, each wager’s ability to win is tied to the previous one not losing, which means that every single leg in a parlay must win for an accumulator bet to be successful.

Bettors’ opinions on multis are somewhat divided. Parlays are, simultaneously, considered some of the riskiest wagers one can place, but they are also favored for their perceived lower levels of risk. This discrepancy is owed to the different groups that assess them. The latter is a popular view because you can place stakes that are fairly small compared to the payout you could end up with, which is something recreational punters like. The former, however, is common among sharp bettors because the winning chances of a parlay are, in practice, lower than what you would get if you place several single bets.

With the following example we will demonstrate how a 4-leg parlay will look like if you were to wager $10:

  • Toronto Raptors to beat Orlando Magic: 1.18
  • Washington Wizards to beat Dalla Mavericks: 4.50
  • Sacramento Kings to beat Houston Rockets: 1.83
  • Oklahoma City Thunder to beat Detroit Pistons: 2.60

We can calculate the payout by multiplying the odds by one another and then multiplying the result by our stake. Then, we will simply subtract our stake to find the exact profit:

10(1.18 x 4.50 x 1.83 x 2.60) = $252.64 payout

252.64-10 = $243.64 profit

In the following example, we will showcase how the size of the profit can be explained by how the payout is calculated and how the individual bets interact with one another. Each bet after the first one is placed with the previous bet’s payout as the stake, and this is how we reached the final $252.64 payout:

  1. First bet payout: 1.18 x 10 = 11.8
  2. Second bet payout: 11.8 x 4.50 = 53.1
  3. Third bet payout: 53.1 x 1.83 = 97.173
  4. Fourth bet payout: 97.173 x 2.60 = 252.64

The bet we used as an example is known as a 4-fold. In general, the type of parlay you will use is reliant on how many legs you will be using. Doubles involve two selections, trebles consist of three, 4-folds of four, 5-folds include five legs, and so on. Occasionally, you will see such bets referred to as 5-pick multis. Note that here, we are only talking about traditional parlays where all selections are combined into a single parlay. System bets, which also involve parlays, are categorized in a different way.

Progressive Parlays and Parlay Insurance

Traditional parlays are an exciting type of bet, but the risk involved can be worse or better depending on a punter’s viewpoint. As established, parlays are a fairly safe option in the eyes of many casual bettors, at least compared to single bets. After all, when you make an acca bet, you are placing a smaller stake and have the chance to win big.

Experienced punters, however, are of the general opinion that parlays pose a greater risk to one’s bankroll and are less lucrative in the long-run. The reason behind this is the winning requirement, as none of the selections can lose without the entire parlay going to waste. Even if the stake is small, the significantly lower chance of winning will make certain bettors wary of placing a parlay bet, which is why sportsbooks have made an effort to make this wager type more appealing. As a result, lots of bookies offer an alternative to conventional accumulators named progressive parlays, and parlay insurance is also a feature that has become very popular.

Progressive Parlays

Progressive parlays are a variant of standard multi bets. All in all, both function almost the same, but with progressive accumulators, one loss will not result in you losing your entire stake or winnings. Instead, you will win money, but the payout will be lower than what you would have gotten had none of your bets lost.

The amount of legs that can lose for your stake to remain a winning one is, in general, reliant on the overall number of selections your progressive parlay has. Typically, with parlays 6 or under, up to 1 loss is allowed. The more selections you have, the more losses you will be able to incur while still getting a payout from the rest of the legs.

This is not to say that progressive accas are strictly better than ordinary parlays. Tie bets are considered a loss with progressive multis, while a tie would simply turn your ordinary acca from a 4-fold to a 3-fold, for example. In other words, there are situations where an ordinary parlay will be the superior option.

Parlay Insurance

As established, one of the main drawbacks of parlay wagering is that the risk is far greater than your average group of single bets, especially when you make parlay bets that have more than 2 legs. One of the simplest ways of dealing with this problem is a feature called parlay insurance.

If you are offered parlay insurance and you accept, it means that if just one of your legs loses, but the rest win, you will be refunded your stake. Typically, the refund will be in the form of a cash-back, and you will simply receive your stake back as money. The other type of acca insurance is given out in the form of a free bet which has the same value as your parlay’s stake. Generally, the latter tends to be the less valuable option, so make sure to go with cash-back insurance if given the choice.

Teasers and Pleasers

Teasers are similar to traditional accumulators, but they differ significantly in one major way – teasers allow you to change the point spread or the over/under points of a game in your favor. In other words, when you use the teaser feature, your chances of winning are increased significantly.

This does come at a cost, of course, because you will need to accept lower odds for your teaser bet. Basically, you are sacrificing the size of your payout for a lower risk of losing, and whether this is worth it is highly reliant on the event in question and the odds themselves. Sweetheart teasers, for instance, allow you to tease the spread of NBA bets by eight to ten points. They are largely considered not to be worth the hassle, however, because sweethearts are notoriously difficult to win despite the extra points you have at your disposal.

Pleasers are the opposite of teasers. When you place a teaser bet, instead of seeking to make your bets safer, what you are doing is adjusting the point spread or over/under number in favor of the sportsbook for much better odds and, in turn, a larger potential profit.

All in all, sharp punters are advised to avoid pleasers and teasers if they wish to wager on NBA events. Basketball games, especially NBA ones, tend to be exceptionally volatile since the sport is fast-paced, and teasing or pleasing will not significantly improve one’s actual chances of winning a spread bet in the long-run. Recreational punters can give these features a try if they wish, however, as the extra degree of control can make wagering all the more fun.

System Bets

System bets, which are also known as round robins, are bets that contain a series of parlays. They allow punters to take a more cautious approach to NBA parlay betting, seeing as you do not need all of your selections to win for a system bet to succeed. Instead, you will typically be able to end up with one lost selection, but if all of your other legs manage to win, then the system bet in question will not be considered a loss.

To demonstrate what a typical round robin looks like, we will take a look at a system bet comprising the following selections:

  • Philadelphia 76ers to beat Miami Heat: 3.50
  • Cleveland Cavaliers to beat Toronto Raptors: 2.85
  • Charlotte Hornets to beat Phoenix Suns: 2.60

Making a regular round robin out of these bets will result in three double parlays:

  1. 76ers and Cavaliers
  2. 76ers and Hornets
  3. Cavaliers and Hornets

If you were to wager $5 on each bet, the total system bet stake would be $15. In addition, if only the Hornets do not beat their opponents, i.e., the first parlay will still win.

This is the so-called safety factor that makes round robins more appealing to some recreational bettors. If this were a regular parlay, all three of your selections would have had to win for you to get anything, that is, it would have been an all-or-nothing situation. Here, however, two teams winning is enough. Keep in mind that two selections that resulted in one winning acca will not always be able to cover your stake, but it is still better than nothing.

There are various types of system bets, the most simple of which are simply shown as 2/3, 2/4, 3/6, and so on. There are, however, slightly more complex round robins that are often offered at sportsbooks.

Trixie and Patent Bets

Trixies are fairly straightforward. Like trebles, there are three selections, but here, you will place four acca bets instead of one 3-fold parlay. Trixies contain three double accas along with one treble. Like all other round robins, you do not need all of your selections to win for your trixie to be successful. One losing bet will still leave you with some kind of a return, provided that two of your legs manage to win.

As for patent bets, they also contain three selections. The difference, however, is that patent bets also include the single wagers, which means that you will have a total of seven bets if you go with a patent.

Picking between the two is often a matter of the odds of the selections you wish to wager on. If the odds are on the lower side, a trixie will usually be a better idea. This way, you can compensate for the lower odds thanks to how multis are calculated. If the odds are great, however, a patent bet might be a better idea so that you can take advantage of them.

Trixie and Patent Bets Summary
Bet TypeSelectionsTotal BetsSinglesDoublesTrebles

Yankees and Lucky 15 Bets

Yankees are a variation of round robins unique in the way that four selections will result in eleven bets here. The bets in question are six doubles, four trebles, and a four-fold acca bet. Yankees can be an attractive option when you are confident in all four of your selections, and you fancy a more lucrative payout that is less risky than a regular accumulator. In addition, keep in mind that when you place a yankee, you wager the same amount of money per each selection.

The lucky 15 is very similar to yankee bets. It, once again, comprises six doubles, four trebles, and a four-fold acca bet. A lucky 15, however, also includes four single bets, which is what increases the total number of wagers to 15.

The similarities do not end there. Lucky 15’s are also praised for being technically safer than your average parlay since a single loss will not ruin the entire lucky 15 acca. On the other hand, the stakes here are even higher than those of a yankee.

Yankee and Lucky 15 Bets Summary
Bet TypeSelectionsTotal BetsSinglesDoublesTrebles4-fold
Lucky 154154641

Large System Bets

These types of bets are not exceptionally popular among those who love NBA events. In general, not many punters bother with them because of the staggering amount of bets included in each of these round robin variations, which makes them look a bit intimidating. Nonetheless, NBA bettors who are more daring find such wagers exceptionally fun.

The first of these round robins is the five selection Canadian bet, which includes ten doubles, ten trebles, five 4-folds, and one 5-fold, all culminating into one twenty-six bet large Canadian system bet. Next, we have the lucky 31, which is basically the full-coverage version of the Canadian bet and thus contains the singles as well.

Above the Canadian bet is the Heinz, which has six selections. It contains fifteen doubles, twenty trebles, fifteen 4-folds, six 5-folds, and one 6-fold. This makes for a round robin with fifty-seven bets, and, once again, there is a full-coverage version, this time named the lucky 64. Even further still, there is the super Heinz with its seven legs and a total of a hundred and twenty bets. Here, we have twenty-one doubles, thirty-five trebles, thirty-five 4-folds, twenty-one 5-folds, seven 6-folds, and one 7-fold.

Last but not least is the appropriately named Goliath. The bets in this round robin are a whopping two-hundred and forty-seven, which are all the possible combinations between the eight legs you choose. Here, there are twenty-eight doubles, fifty-six trebles, seventy 4-folds, fifty-six 5-folds, twenty-eight 6-folds, eight 7-folds, and one 8-fold. As with all system bets, a minimum of two winning selections is required for you to win back at least some of your money.

As we mentioned, these bets are not often placed by NBA bettors, especially those who do not wager for recreational purposes. The size of these system bets makes for costly stakes even if you were able to wager just $1 per selection. Moreover, the more legss you include, the less likely it is that the majority of them will be able to win.

Nonetheless, these bets do have their place in NBA betting, even if they are a bit niche. They can be very entertaining and provide a thrill, not unlike what it feels to participate in the lottery, so casual punters who wager for fun will find these exciting.

Large System Bets Summary
Bet TypeSelectionsTotal BetsSinglesDoublesTrebles4-fold5-fold6-fold7-fold8-fold
Lucky 315315101051000
Lucky 6466461520156100
Super Heinz7120021353521710

When to Place NBA Parlay Bets

As it often is with wagering, when and when not to place NBA parlays depends on many factors. Multi bets can be quite tricky to make, and ultimately, it is reliant on what type of punter you are and the wagers themselves.

As a rule of thumb, remember that bettors looking to make money should either stick to parlays with a small number of selections or avoid accumulators altogether. As tempting as these types of bets can be, underestimating their difficulty can be an expensive mistake to make.

The requirement that all of your selections must win for you to not lose can make successful parlays a rarity. Although this can be mitigated with the help of parlay insurance and progressive parlays, as well as system bets, they do have their own caveats. Progressive parlays and system bets, in particular, are safer, but you will often lose money even if you do not part with your entire stake.

Ultimately, accas as a whole are worth trying, provided you fancy yourself an expert at wagering on NBA events. If you are experienced, aware of the risks associated with parlays, are very well-versed with the ins and outs of NBA basketball, and thoroughly research both teams before an NBA game, multis can win you some juicy payouts if you play your cards right. Paying attention to scheduling advantages, possible player injuries and other events that can influence a game is as valuable as ever here.

You could also take advantage of correlated parlays, that is, wager on offers from a single NBA event. The idea behind correlated bets, in general, is that if you wager on one outcome and the bet succeeds, the chances of your next wager winning become higher. For instance, you could wager that a favorite NBA team will win and then place a bet that they will cover the point spread.

As for casual punters, the entertainment factor is pretty much the only thing that makes parlays appealing. A casual bettor is unlikely to win often, but when they do happen, the occasional wins can make for a very fun wagering experience.

How to Place an NBA Parlay Bet

Placing a parlay is not all that difficult, at least in terms of the process in and of itself. Furthermore, online sportsbooks have done a lot to ensure that even novice punters will be able to make such bets without much difficulty. Before we start, remember to brush up on the terminology of accumulator bets and round robins so that you can easily pick the best parlay for your situation and specific selections.

  1. Visit your sportsbook, navigate to the NBA section of the sportsbook, and pick the selections you wish to include in your parlay. When you click them, you will find that the betslip will automatically list them out. The bookie will give you several options to choose from, the first of which is individual single bets.
  2. In this case, we can scroll down to find the accumulator bets, which are named multiples here. Most sportsbooks’ betslips will update automatically and give you the available parlay options as you add or remove bets from the betslip.
  3. Choose the parlay you wish to place, input your stake amount, and proceed to place your bet. In this example, we chose to wager $5 on a trixie bet, which totals to a $20 stake.

You are now done with making your first accumulator. All that is left to do after you finish placing your bet is to wait for your wager to settle. There will be some differences in the UI depending on the sportsbooks you frequent, but all in all, they all follow a similar formula when it comes to parlays.


All things considered, there is an excellent amount of variety you can pick from if you are a fan of wagering on NBA basketball. The possibilities seem endless, even when we focus on a specific wager type, and parlays are yet another example of this.

Multi bets come in many flavors. If you wish, you could go with the default variations, which are suitable for daring bettors. They offer the most generous payout of all parlay types, but at the cost of being far riskier than singles, as every selection needs to be a winning one. On the other end of the risk-taking spectrum, you could choose a more conservative approach and, instead, go with a betting category called system bets. These types of wagers are a bit on the safer side, as you can avoid situations where just one of your bets resulted in a loss.

Either way, you can rest assured that whatever variation you wish to pick will be available at your NBA sportsbook of choice. Bookmakers are well-aware of how popular parlays tend to be, so their betslips are well-equipped to make placing them as streamlined as possible. is a media website dedicated to sports news and reviews of the most popular sports betting sites. Here you will find comprehensive guides on where to bet on football, tennis, NBA, NFL and information about the most popular betting deposit methods.