It’s fair to say that parlay bets are the sports betting equivalent of a lottery ticket. You can win big with a single wager, but the odds of doing so are also relatively slim. Parlay betting is also an alternative to combine multiple low-paying odds into a better payout – as long as all bets in the parlay win, of course.
Most stories about massive payouts come from parlays with long odds. Do keep in mind that, while you could win a life-changing prize with one of those, it’s obviously extremely difficult. We will go through the basics of parlay betting and how it works, while providing helpful tips and examples.
Basics of Parlay Betting – What is a Parlay Bet?
If you’ve ever read about big payouts in sports betting, then odds are that there is a parlay bet involved. But what is a parlay in betting? Also referred to as multi or accumulator, a parlay bet consists of combining multiple bets into a single, multi-legged bet. This means that, for the parlay to win, every single individual wager must win as well.
As you can see, winning a parlay bet isn’t exactly easy. You are probably wondering: “Why should I make a parlay bet, then?” Naturally, parlay betting pays out accordingly. By combining multiple odds into one, you will earn a bigger payout compared to making multiple individual wagers – the downside being that, if a single bet loses, then your entire parlay goes down the drain.
How are parlay odds calculated? In a parlay bet, the first leg becomes the stake for the second leg and so on. If you are using American odds, then it requires a bit of a workaround. First of all, you need to convert your American odds into decimal odds, which can be done by using a betting calculator. After doing that, you need to multiply all odds from the individual bets to obtain the parlay odds. Then you can either multiply the parlay odds by your wager to obtain the total payout, or convert the decimal odds back to American odds – whichever you feel most comfortable with.
Parlay Betting Tips
It goes without saying, but parlay bets are the ultimate high-risk, high-reward wagers, so don’t go throwing them around without thinking about it thoroughly.
- You can combine multiple relatively safe bets into a parlay to increase your payout. Again, keep in mind that a single slip is all it takes for the parlay to lose. But if you feel confident about each bet, then a parlay to increase the payout is a valid option over making individual bets.
- Same game parlays are also possible. Just as the name suggests, a same game parlay means wagering on multiple odds from a single match. As an example, you can combine a moneyline bet, an over/under bet and a prop bet. This way, you can increase your payout while sticking to a single match you feel particularly confident about.
- Cashing out of a parlay is also a very good option. If you make a parlay consisting of multiple legs, around four or five, then it’s worth considering a cash out halfway rather than riding it to the end and risking a loss. Of course, you will be getting a slightly smaller payout, but that’s still better than watching everything crumble on the final leg of the parlay.
Parlay Betting Examples
- You can combine multiple low-paying favorite teams into a single moneyline parlay bet. If Team A pays out -150, Team B pays out -200 and Team C pays out -250, a $10 bet would pay out $35.01 for a $25.01 profit. Wagering on each game separately would net you $15.67 in profit. For extra security, you can hedge your parlay and bet against the final leg, creating winning odds in both cases. That’s a guaranteed profit no matter the result, albeit a smaller one.
- What happens if one of your parlay’s legs ends in a push – or tie? Let’s assume that you bet on Team X to cover a -6 spread. In the end, Team X wins by exactly 6, tying the spread. In this case, this leg is simply excluded from the parlay, meaning that you won’t lose your bet either. The remaining bets are unaffected by this, and the odds are calculated accordingly.
- Let’s now look at a same game parlay example. Let’s assume that you are backing Team C in a one-sided matchup versus Team D, which can end in a blowout. In this case, you can bet on Team C to cover the spread, along with the over and prop bets on Team C’s quarterback throwing for 300-plus yards. These are all likely to win, allowing you to cash in on a sizable payout from a single match.
Pros and Cons of Parlay Betting
- Parlay betting increases your payouts, even for short odds. Combining multiple favorite teams into a single parlay offers a significant increase in payouts compared to wagering on each of them separately. This is probably one of the safest parlay bets you can make, although it still comes with a risk.
- Ever dreamed of scoring a life-changing win in betting? Well, parlays are the way to go then. As long as you understand the risks associated with placing a parlay bet facing extremely long odds, then there is no harm in going for a homerun. Remember to stick to the basics of betting: only bet what you can afford to lose, and that’s especially true for a high-risk wager parlay.
- The most obvious negative about parlay bets is the risk associated with it. It only takes an unfortunate bounce on the last leg of your bet for everything to crumble down – and you will end up with nothing. Betting is all about weighing risk versus reward, and parlay bets are one of the best examples available.
- Winning a massive payout in one go can be tempting, and plenty of newcomers get tempted into making big parlays. You are better off avoiding it, though. Remember that these long odds rarely win, and you are far more likely to end up with a losing ticket instead.
Betting is risky, and parlay bets increase the risk factor even for safer bets. The payoff is earning a bigger payout compared to single bets. While many bettors have won life-changing prizes betting on parlays, the reality is that the vast majority ends up losing their wagers. Parlays are usually the most profitable type of bet for bookmakers.
Should you avoid parlays? It all comes down to your own betting preferences and as long as you have a clear understanding of the risks involved.
Parlay Betting Explained – FAQs
1. How Does a Betting Parlay Work?
2. How to Hedge a Parlay Bet?
3. Where Can I Bet Parlays Online?
4. How to Parlay Bet in Vegas?
5. What Happens If One Bet in a Parlay Pushes?