How To Bet Parlays

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How to Bet Parlays

Parlay bets can be very lucrative for sports bettors that go about them the right way. They can also be costly for those who do not.

Remember, a parlay is a series of bets, two or more, that are grouped together and wagered as one. To win, all legs of the parlay must win.

So, how can sports bettors use parlays to their advantage?


Understand Parlay Payouts

Most sportsbooks will calculate your payout odds for you, but it never hurts to do so yourself when attempting to put together a parlay. Remember, you will be putting together multiple bets to create one large wager. All legs of the wager must win for the bet to payout.

Let’s say you choose two games you like in MLB. You like the Tigers as a +110 underdog and the Braves as a -115 favorite. You can convert those American odds to decimal form – 2.1 for the Tigers and 1.87 for the Braves.

Take the decimal odds and multiply them together – 2.1 X 1.87. That gives you 3.927 which you can multiply by your wager amount to see how much your parlay bet will pay. If the Tigers and Braves both win and you bet $10, you would win $39.27.

Where it gets interesting is when you add legs to your parlay. Add just one more bet and assume all three are given -110 odds. Converted to a decimal, this gives you 1.91 x 1.91 x 1.91 or 6.97. In American odds, that equates to +597 or nearly 6-1. A $10 bet now pays out $60 if all three legs win.

Bettors can essentially get lottery type odds when they add more teams to a parlay bet. One simple strategy is to take a set of moneyline underdogs sprinkled with a few strong favorites in say college football. Bettors can often create up to 10-team parlays that will feature odds of +10000 or better. 

Same Game Parlays

Another recent trend is the same game parlay. Bettors put together multiple bets all on the same game. Take a recent NFL example. 

A bettor liked the Colts to beat the 49ers and the total to go Over. He added in a few player props and had an eight-leg parlay. With a $100 wager, the bettor collected $97,560 when all eight legs were winners. That’s the power of the parlay.

When looking at betting the 2021 NFL Playoffs, imagine the excitement when watching a game with multiple sides covering a same-game parlay.

Understand House Advantage

While parlay bets like that one sound great, hitting an eight-leg parlay doesn’t happen all that often. If you are not a seasoned bettor and you’re dreaming about hitting a big parlay, keep in mind the house advantage. 

The hold percentage on parlays – the amount the sportsbook holds after all bets have been settled – is about 30 percent. The average hold percentage on most other bets is right around five percent.

Sportsbooks love parlays because they can make a ton of money. They are the equivalent of the penny slot machine in the casino. Players keep going back in hopes of that one big payout.

If you are smart about it, using parlay bets can help you add to your bankroll. Use them wisely.