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What is a Parlay Bet?

A parlay bet merges multiple individual wagers into a single, larger bet on a single ticket. Success depends on multiple outcomes going your way, offering higher payouts if you win. Each game/event in a parlay is a “leg,” and the entire parlay wins only if all legs are correct. While challenging, parlay bets offer attractive payouts that can be life-changing for some casual bettors, akin to a lottery ticket.

In sports betting, a parlay combines two or more bets into individual wager, also known as “accumulators” or “multis.” Winning parlay, every smaller bet must be correct; losing one means losing the entire parlay. Sportsbooks offer larger parlay payouts for more games in a parlay, making it riskier but with bigger payouts.

How does a Parlay Work?

Parlays link separate bets for a single higher-payout wager. All involved legs must win for the bet to pay. More legs mean better odds, but also greater difficulty. For instance, a three-team NFL parlay needs each team to meet specific conditions.

If any fails, the parlay is lost. In sports betting, it combines multiple wagers into one wager; if any bet loses, the whole parlay is lost, but if all bets win, the payout is larger.

Types and Example of Parlay Bet

  • Teasers: Teasers are a type of parlay bet that allows you to adjust spreads or totals for a better shot at winning. While they enhance your chances, the odds are reduced due to increased likelihood of success. For instance, you could modify point spreads in football games to improve winning odds.
  • Round Robins: Round-robin parlays let you place various bets across several games, creating various combinations of parlays involving a set group of matches. Each parlay requires its wager, offering flexibility in constructing bets.
  • Same-Game Parlay: Also known as single-game parlays, these bets use correlated wagers within a single event for higher payouts. If one outcome affects another's likelihood, such as spread and total in a football game, you can strategize for better predictions.

These parlay types offer diverse ways to enhance potential winnings and tailor your betting strategy

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Illustration of a Parlay Bet

Consider a scenario where a bettor anticipates the Green Bay Packers (+4) and Baltimore Ravens (-6) will meet their spreads on NFL Sunday. They might place $5 individual bets on each team, with a potential $19 combined win if both succeed.

Alternatively, combining these bets in a parlay could yield around 2.65 times the bet, or roughly $26.50. Possible outcomes include:

Both teams cover: Win ($26.50)

Packers cover, Ravens don't: Loss (-$10)

Ravens cover, Packers don't: Loss (-$10)

Neither team covers: Loss (-$10)

While parlaying amplifies risk, it offers greater rewards compared to separate bets. Parlays can involve more complexity, such as betting on five teams to cover spreads. If all succeed, a $10 bet could yield a $230.35 win (+2335 odds).

Parlay Odds

Parlay odds are computed by dividing the total return (win + wager) by the wager, yielding decimal multipliers for each parlay bet. Multiply these multipliers together for the final parlay odds.

For instance, consider a three-team moneyline parlay with bets at -120, -130, and +115.

With a $100 wager, the individual bet multipliers are 1.83, 1.77, and 2.15. Multiplying these gives 6.96, resulting in a total return of $696 ($100 x 6.96) and a $596 win.

Pros and Cons of Parlay Bets

Pros

  • Enhanced Payouts: Parlay bets offer valuable odds due to their challenging nature. Adding teams elevates the odds significantly, promising potentially substantial winnings if the parlay succeeds.
  • Excitement: Parlay betting brings an exhilarating dimension to wagering, especially when the final leg unfolds after a day of action.

Cons

  • Tough to Win: Parlay betting's major downside lies in its difficulty. Triumphs are infrequent, often limited to two or three-leg parlays. Achieving massive 10-team wins is notably improbable.
  • Unfavorable Stats: Numerous statistics highlight why parlays are generally unfavorable bets. In Las Vegas in 2021, a single NFL bet had over 10 times the likelihood of winning compared to a multi-team parlay.
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How to Calculate a Parlay Payout

To calculate parlay payouts

  1. Convert American odds to decimals
  2. Multiply decimal odds
  3. Multiply by bet amount
  4. Subtract stake for parlay odds

For instance, with three -110 point spreads (1.91 decimal): 1.91 x 1.91 x 1.91 = 6.97

Then, multiply by $10: 6.97 x 10 = 69.7

Subtract $10: 69.7 – 10 = 59.7

This parlay pays $59.70 for $10 bet (+597 in US odds), near 6-1. A simple rule: -110 double ≈ 2.6-to-1, triple ≈ 6-to-1. Odds roughly double for each -110 added.

What Happens to my Parlay Bet when Game gets Cancelled

In parlaying bets in sports, a common question arises about canceled or postponed games. Fortunately, the answer is straightforward and fair to players. If a game in your parlay is called off or ends in a tie, your parlay is not lost; it's considered a push.

The canceled leg is removed, adjusting payouts accordingly. For instance, a three-game parlay might become a two-game parlay. Different sportsbooks have rules to handle such situations.

To sum up, what is a parlay, parlay betting offer the potential for higher payouts by combining several wagers into a single bet. While they come with increased risk due to the need for all included bets to be correct, successful parlays can yield significant rewards.

Bettors should approach parlay betting with a clear understanding of the odds, the added excitement they bring like any other sports betting, and the importance of responsible gambling practices to avoid gambling problem.