Parlay betting is common because these bets give a larger payout than choosing a single team to win. However, parlays are more of a gamble as you’ll need to win every wager of the parlay in order to win any kind of money from that bet. If one “leg” loses, the whole parlay loses and the bet is lost.
Sportsbooks love when people put chunks of money on parlays and it’s really what keeps them in business at the end of the day. Bettors like parlays because of the potential payout. The more additions to a parlay, however, the more chance of losing the bet.
What Is Parlay Betting?
A parlay is considered a single sports wager that includes two or more bets combined into one. The bet can include any kind of wager like point spreads, moneylines, totals, futures, or prop bets, as long as the bets are on different games. For example, spread and totals wagers are usually around -110 odds.
If you add two different -110 bets to a parlay, the odds change from -110 to +260. Because the odds change to +260, if both wagers win, you’d get a payout of $360 on a $100 wager. However, if one of the two wagers loses, then the entire wager loses and that $100 is with the sportsbook.
Where Can You Parlay Bet?
These are some of the best sports betting sites for parlay betting:
How Does a Parlay Bet Work?
A parlay is two or more wagers combined into one wager. Instead of placing a wager on two separate games, you’re combining the games and playing the lottery in your belief that you can win every wager or every leg or your parlay. Every sportsbook will allow you to combine a wager from different games and combine them.
You can start with moneyline wagers, spread wagers, and totals wagers. You can even add one of each to the parlay. For example, you can try a 10-team parlay with every single wager having odds at -110.
If you put $100 on a 10-team parlay with every bet being -110 and won, your payout would be $72,100!
This is why so many casual bettors love parlay betting. While the rewards are certainly enticing, parlay betting isn’t the best strategy long-term. Weird things happen in games that you can never predict, which is why parlay bets are so hard to cash.
There’s a reason why the odds jump so high: They’re ultra-risky.
Keep in mind, that there are other types of sports bets worth taking into consideration.
How to Calculate Parlay Odds?
Online, there are many parlay calculators you can use to help you do the math. If you’d like to do the math on your own without a calculator, convert the odds on your lines to decimal format. Then, multiply those decimal odds together for the overall odds for that parlay.
If, for example, the result of multiplying legs of a parlay bet is 5.68, for a stake of $100, your payout would be $668.19 (5.68 x $100 plus your initial $100 stake).
How to Make a Parlay Bet Online
- Navigate to your desired sport (you can use multiple sports for parlays if you’d like).
- Select two or more games at any odds that appeal to you.
- Once two or more games are added, click on your Bet Slip and click “Parlay.”
- Enter your bet amount and submit your wager.
What Are Same Game Parlays?
A new type of parlay has been added to the betting scene allowing bettors to wager on parlays from the same game. FanDuel, PointsBet, and BetMGM are some of the sites that offer Same Game Parlays — or in BetMGM’s case, One Game Parlays.
This allows bettors to place multiple bets on the same game in a parlay, helping the odds grow from their single wager.
Here is an example of a Same Game Parlay using the 2021 NBA Finals Odds from Game 4 between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns:
- Bucks -4.5 (-110)
- Chris Paul Over 22.5 Points (-104)
- Deandre Ayton 10+ Rebounds (-410)
- Devin Booker 2+ Three-Pointers Made (-340)
- = +696 odds.
By combining all of these outcomes into one wager, the odds grow to +696. Therefore, a $100 bet would carry a payout of $796.61. If you’re able to lock down many outcomes in one game, this type of betting is for you.
Parlay Betting Strategy
The best and most profitable strategy is known as a correlated parlay that you can use as a Same Game Parlay. By definition, a correlated parlay is essentially a bet that is tied into another, in that if one bet wins, it increases the odds of the other bet winning.
As a rule, most sportsbooks do not accept correlated wagers. For example, if you win the first half over/under wager and the second half over/under wager, you’re obviously going to win the over/under wager for the game as well.
But there will be instances over the course of any season where bettors find games and totals that essentially offer a correlated parlay opportunity. This is the best way to be profitable, so listen up. Let’s say the Bucks are favored in a game against the Suns by 4 points. In the first half, they are likely to be 2-point favorites. Our bets for this game would be:
- $100 Parlay to win $250 on the Bucks -2 (1st Half)/Bucks -4 (Game)
- $100 Parlay to win $250 on the Suns +2 (1st Half)/Suns +4 (Game)
One of those wagers is definitely going to lose, but the other one has a chance to win. In this scenario, all you need to do is win at least 25% of your parlay bets to profit. For example, if you went 3-7 on those types of parlays betting on five games during football season, you would turn a profit by hitting 30% of your bets:
- 7 Losses x $100 = $700
- 3 Wins x $250 = $750
- Total Profit = $50
Another way to incorporate parlays into your strategy is to bet weak numbers and combine them with other stronger spreads to increase your exposure to the weak number.
For example, if you combine three wagers for Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-275), the Buffalo Bills (-295), and the San Francisco 49ers (-370), your parlay odds would be +131, which are much better than the odds for each individual game.
It’s much tougher to correctly guess three outcomes as opposed to one, of course, but it’s still a great way to decrease the juice betting on heavy favorites when placing NFL parlay bets.
Where Can I Legally Parlay Bet Online?
The key states where sports betting is legal online are New Jersey, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Sports betting is legal in other states as well, but some only allow in-person wagering. You can also bet online in Washington, D.C.
You can legally bet on licensed sports betting sites such as FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, PointsBet, and many more. Every sports betting platform allows parlays, although some have different limits for how much you can wager on a given bet.
Should You Make Parlay Bets?
- Huge payouts and beautiful odds
- Don’t need to win as many to profit
- Bragging rights
- Hard to win
- Lose more frequently
- Require deeper research on multiple games
Parlays are always fun, but unless you’re using a top strategy like stated above, it’ll be extremely hard to become profitable betting parlays.
Even professional bettors typically only hit around 55-60% of their single wager bets, so their parlay success rate is likely in the 20-30% range.
For the casual bettor, it’s going to be even lower. If you’re looking to have some fun and don’t mind losing a couple bucks, parlays can be a nice change of pace from standard bets. If you’re spending lots of hard-earned money on parlays, however, you need to look in the mirror!
Want to learn more about different types of sports bets? Visit our “How To Bet” hub.