Sports Betting Strategy: Parlay Betting

Sports Betting Strategy: Parlay Betting
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Parlay betting allows sports bettors to combine the odds for different outcomes or games and create a larger payout – but all legs of the parlay wager must win for your bet to cash out. Parlay betting is well-known in Canada as it has been the only legal form of online sports betting offered by provincial lotteries since 1985. The Canadian Criminal Code was updated that year to ban single-game sports betting, which left parlay betting still on the table.

Parlay betting in Canada

Parlay betting was allowed in Canada because the chance of someone or a group of individuals to fix several different outcomes at once would be rather difficult. Fixing one match would be easy, but fixing three or four? Probably not going to happen.

This allowed provincial lotteries to offer parlay betting alongside lottery offerings, through Pro-Line style wagers. Recently, single-game sports betting was legalized in Canada – but what does that mean for the Canadians that have thrived on parlay bets for decades?

Parlay bets are great for turning a few outcomes into a big payday. Canadian citizens are used to parlays, so we expect that they will continue making these riskier bets in the future, alongside their single-game wagers.

What can I include in a Parlay bet?

A parlay bet can include two or more bets on different outcomes, whether they occur in the same game, same day or same week, month or even year if you’re patient enough. Your parlay can include all different types of bets – moneylines, point spreads, totals and even props and specials. You usually won’t be able to bet on conflicting outcomes – rightfully so, as you would lose your parlay because all legs of your bet have to win.

Many sports bettors will bet on a few games in a single night for optimal parlay betting. You don’t have to wait days to find out if your bet cashes, and you can place one each night there are a few games on the sports schedule. During the peak fall/winter season, you could bet on an NFL moneyline, an NBA total and an NHL point spread all on the same ticket.

NFL Sundays tend to be a huge opportunity for sports bettors to take advantage of primetime parlay betting. Each NFL Sunday has plenty of games to choose from, so you don’t have to bet games for the sake of betting – but you have plenty of options to build a decent parlay each week during the 17-week season.

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How to make a Parlay bet

We want to build a parlay ticket that we are confident will win, but also has great odds that will indeed turn a profit. If you’re taking the risk, you will want the reward. Let’s look at a simple three-game parlay bet for our example.

After doing your research, you decide you want to bet on these games:

Green Bay Packers point spread set at -5.5 (-110) Brooklyn Nets moneyline set at +120 Las Vegas Golden Knights vs. Vancouver Canucks total set at 6.5 (-110)

If you bet $15 on all three of these games separately you would win:

Packers = $28.64 Nets = $33.00 Golden Knights vs Canucks total = $28.64

= $90.28

Now, if you bet $50 on these three games in a parlay wager, you would win $400.89.

Whether you’re a fan of betting on the NHL, NFL or EPL betting, you can cover them all with a parlay bet. What parlays do is combine all three games into one, increasing the odds and you’re then betting on that new, larger number. By betting $5 more and combining the odds, you are winning four times as much as you would have won by betting all of those single games.

Now, imagine if you bet and won on a 10-game parlay!

How to calculate a Parlay bet

While there is never a perfect system to calculating a parlay bet due to all sportsbooks having different odds, we’re going to teach you the most basic way to calculate your parlay bet.

Many spreads and totals bets will have -110 odds, which is fairly standard across the board – it’s the moneyline bets that will be the big movers in your parlay. Let’s look at a three-leg moneyline parlay to keep things simple.

Dallas Cowboys -140 Montreal Canadiens +200 Toronto Raptors -110

First, we’re going to determine the multipliers which is essentially the winnings less the stake.

A standard single game wager on -140 would win $240, so you would follow this calculation: 240/140 = 1.71

A $100 wager on +200 odds would result in $300 in winnings, so: 300/100 = 3

And our standard -110 will look like this: 210/110 = 1.90

Now, you need to multiply these to get the odds for this particular parlay:

1.71 x 3 x 1.90 = 9.747

This translates to about +875 in American odds.

While calculating parlay odds can seem a little redundant as the sportsbooks all do this for you with a built in parlay calculator as you add wagers to your bet slip, it can be a great learning experience if you aren’t overly familiar with true odds and how they can combine together.

How do Parlay odds work?

Depending on which odds format you use, the odds will show you how likely it is that your bet might win. In North America, it’s customary to use American odds, so we will use that as our example, but we recommend checking out other odds formats like Decimal and Fractional.

The odds for each game will be pretty clear cut – the negative numbers mean the team is favoured, and the positive numbers mean the team is an underdog. The underdog (+) odds will be what drives your bet slip’s value up, but also increases the risk of the wager pretty significantly.

The odds are pooled together, the heavy favourites will level out the big underdogs.

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Will a push void the entire bet slip?

A push occurs in sports betting when the result is equal to the line set by the oddsmakers. In the case of a point spread in football being 9 points, and the spread is equal to 9, you would receive a push on your wager. Or if the total number of points scored by both teams equals the oddsmaker’s line, you would also receive a push.

Many sportsbooks offer these types of wagers in half point increments to eliminate the push. Having an 11.5 point spread would make it impossible for a push. The underdog would need to lose by less than 11, and the favourite would need to win by 12 points.

In the case that your bet slip does have a push, you would not lose your entire parlay bet. Pushes eliminate that specific bet from your slip, so your odds will decrease, and you would win a smaller amount because of the push game being removed from the bet slip.

How do you buy points for a Parlay?

If you are betting on spreads or totals, you can buy points to swing the parlay bet more in your favour. Buying points will allow you to move the line more in your favour or to make the bet more profitable for you. You are able to buy up to ten points on most online sports betting sites.

When do you buy points on a parlay? When you believe that the game will result in a push. The push can affect your parlay payout as we mentioned above, and you can easily move the line on that game to benefit your parlay. You usually pay a few cents per point – so it’s better to buy the points than miss out on the benefit of having that outcome on your parlay slip.

What is a Round Robin Parlay bet?

Round robin betting is a more complicated, and intricate version of a parlay bet. Round robin bets are the same as parlays, but instead of betting on three or more individual games, you are creating a parlay with three or more parlays within it.

It’s like a parlay bet made of parlays.

You can still make a profit on round robin betting even if your round robin doesn’t go perfectly. There is a slight margin of error at a reduced payout if one of the legs of your parlay doesn’t win.

If you chose to make a 5-way round robin on ten different outcomes, you would be creating five parlays that will be different combinations of those ten outcomes. This also means you only have to correctly pick half of the combinations to earn some winnings.

This parlay type is extremely risky, and we recommend learning basic parlays before you dive in.

Best Sports Betting Sites for Parlay Betting

Now that we have a grasp on how to bet on parlays, we will want to find the best online sportsbook for our parlay wagering. Finding a sportsbook that allows you to buy points, create two-game parlays (some only allow three or more) and offer great odds on parlay betting shouldn’t be that hard – especially in Canada.

Canadian lotteries have been solely offering parlay betting for the better part of the last 30 years, but the lotteries lack in the odds department. The odds on a Pro-Line parlay ticket will never match what you’ll find on an online sportsbook. The odds are not competitive – because they have never had to be, but we expect that to change with the coming legislation and new betting operators moving into Canada.

Keep an eye out for some big sports betting sites moving into Canada in the coming months – you might want to make your next parlay online!

FAQ


A parlay bet allows you to combine the odds on two or more sports betting outcomes to create a larger wager that will ultimately pay out more. It allows you to combine several different games, as long as all bets within the parlay win.

Parlay betting is easy – you simply choose the outcomes or the teams you believe will occur and add them to your bet slip. Once you have made all necessary decisions, you can select to add them to a parlay, and choose your stake. Once you place your bet, all your wagers are merged together and create one big wager that is dependent on all bets in the slip being accurate.

A parlay means you can combine the odds for multiple wagers to create one big bet. You will link all your wagers together, combine the odds and you will only win your wager if all bets are correct.

You can parlay moneyline bets easily! Moneylines are simple wagers to place and are great for parlay betting as games don’t usually end in a tie so you won’t risk having the game result in a push.

You can parlay many different prop bets within a game. If you want to place a few wagers within the game, you can bet on a certain player to score, or which team will win the first quarter, or if it’s a big event like the Super Bowl, how long the National anthem will be sung. You can combine all of these into one prop bet parlay to make them a little more valuable. Many props have limitations on how much you can wager on them, so you can make it worth your while by adding them to a parlay.

Yes, over/under wagers or totals are commonly added to bet slips as they are a simple wager to make and allow you to bet on an outcome that has nothing to do with which team will win the game. Many times, a total is set and it’s easy to determine how many points or goals will be scored, so you can make a few reliable totals bets on one parlay slip.

Winning a parlay bet isn’t necessarily easy, but it can be if you are familiar with the games or teams you are betting on. Adding a bunch of underdogs to a bet slip out of greed likely won’t pay off, but strategically picking a mix of underdogs and favourites will help you load up your bet slip and set you up for a big pay out.

Round robin parlay bets are an easy way to hedge your bets, making multiple parlay bets at once in different combinations. You will need a minimum of three parlays to create a round robin parlay bet and they will be independent of each other but allow for a slight margin of error, so you don’t come up empty handed if your bets don’t go perfectly.

No, a push on a parlay bet does not void the bet. If one game results in a push, that game will simply be eliminated from your bet slip and your bet slip will be recalculated based on the remaining game’s odds. If you only had a two game parlay, your bet slip will have dropped the pushed game, and you will only receive winnings based on that one remaining game.

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