March 14, 2024

What is Parlay Betting and How Do Parlay Bets Work?

Ever wonder what could be better than winning one bet? How about winning a carefully configured series of bets and seeing your payout go through the roof?

Parlay bets are a way to do exactly that. Parlays are wagers combining two or more bets like moneylines, Over/Unders or point spreads.

Gamblers love parlays because even though they’re less likely to win, when they do you’re guaranteed to win big. A parlay bet of two or more outcomes will always offer a higher payout than betting on each outcome individually. The caveat is that you must get all of the wagers correct to win the bet.

On this page we’ll explain everything you need to know to start betting parlays and reaping the rewards. We’ll tell you how parlays work, show you examples of parlays in action and explore how parlays work in all the major sports like NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL.

What is Parlay Betting?

Parlay bets, also known as accumulators or combo bets are individual wagers that combine two or more bets and require all of the outcomes to be correct.

From the bettors perspective, the parlay is enticing because you stand to win more than if you had made each bet individually (assuming each side’s toal betting amounts are equal).

A common parlay bet is to cover multiple games and bet the moneyline or point spread in each. If all your picks win, you win the parlay. If even one of them loses, you’re out of luck.

How Does Parlay Betting Work?

We know that parlays are when you combine more than one outcome into a single bet and you need to get every wager correct in order to win but how does that look in action and how does it affect your chances of winning the overall bet?

Let’s take a look at an example and do some quick math. In the following parlay bet, assume that the teams in each game have a roughly even, 50/50 chance of winning.

Most sportsbook offer a 2.6:1 payout on a two-game parlay. This means that a $100 bet that correctly predicts both outcomes pays you $260 ($160 of which is profit plus your initial $100 investment). If, instead, you bet $50 on each outcome separately, your winnings would be $50×2=$100 plus your initial $100 investment for a total of $200.

We can see clearly now that the parlay, at a payout ratio of 2.6:1, pays $60 more overall than the two individual bets.

While the payout is greater so is the risk. That’s why sportsbooks love taking parlays. If you don’t get it perfect, you lose. The greater the number of wagers you put into one ticket, the higher the chances of failure but the bigger the potential reward.

Examples of Parlay Bets

Sportsbooks and casinos use parlays to let combine the three general-bet forms of wagers into one bet. These include the moneyline, Over/Under, and point spreads.

For example, if you like the Braves at -1.5 (a point spread bet), the Nuggets and Clippers Under 198.5 (an Over/Under bet), and the Penguins to beat the Capitals (a moneyline bet), you can place this combo bet for as little or as much as you please.

Remember, once yo make this bet, you need all three results to be correct in order to win.

The maximum number of games you can combine on most sites is 15. That’s a potentially humongous payday and a true longshot.

Parlay Betting Rules

As mentioned above, you are allowed to wager across different kinds of bets and across sports, so long as they are independent events and not correlated. This is an important distinction to make: sportsbooks DO NOT allow correlated parlays.

Ok, but what is a correlated parlay?

A correlated parlay is when you try to bet on two events that directly relate to each other.

For example, if you think the Nuggets/Clippers game will be Under at halftime and Under at full time then you will need to make the wagers independently. This is because one accurate result is directly correlated to the next. If the game is grossly below or above the halftime line, it is extremely likely to remain as such for the full time line.

They will, however, let you bet on Over/Under and a winner in the same game as these are considered semi-correlations.

Another important rule to consider when placing parlay bets is that a tie outcome, or in some cases a null/void bet, will result in that event being removed from the wager and the parlay subsequently reverts to the next lowest value of games for the payout.

Example: A five game parlay with a tie/push/void result in one of the outcomes would then make the ticket a four-event parlay.

Do Parlay Bets Include the Spread?

Yes. Parlay bets, so long as they are not fully correlated, can include the spread if you choose to bet this way.

A point spread will make your wager more difficult as the bookmakers are experts at setting lines that often reflect the final outcome. As such, you may be very confident about who will win a game but if you play the spread you can still lose the bet if the winning team doesn’t win by enough points.

Standard Parlay Betting Payout Odds

The following is a guideline for how most sportsbook pay parlays. This is assuming the games are standard -110 payout outcomes and the wager placed is $100. Of course, variations to the favorite or underdog side will impact these payouts.

NumberOddsAmount wonPayout
2 Team Parlay13 to 5$260$360
3 Team Parlay6.5 to 1$650$750
4 Team Parlay13 to 1$1,300$1,400
5 Team Parlay25 to 1$2,500$2,600
6 Team Parlay50 to 1$5,000$5,100
7 Team Parlay100 to 1$10,000$10,100
8 Team Parlay180 to 1$18,000$18,100
9 Team Parlay400 to 1$40,000$40,100
10 Team Parlay825 to 1$82,500$82,600
11 Team Parlay1500 to 1$150,000$150,000

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