Sports Betting Strategy: Parlay Betting

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Sports Betting Strategy: Parlay Betting
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Parlay betting allows sports bettors to combine the betting 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.

What is 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 this year’s 18-week season.

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 NFL, MLB or NBA 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 favored, 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 favorites will level out the big underdogs.

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 favorite 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 favor. Buying points will allow you to move the line more in your favor 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.

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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 sportsbooks 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 with more states legalizing and regulation sports betting in the U.S.

We recommend reading sportsbook reviews and determining which criteria is most important to you. We actually have a great selection of reviews, and you can explore our legal betting states tracker for the latest information on your region.

Parlays can be a fun way to turn a bigger profit, and finding a great sportsbook that offers plenty of betting options, as well as offering great odds, will make for an outstanding betting experience.


What is a parlay bet?

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How to bet on parlays

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What does a parlay mean in betting?

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Can you parlay moneylines?

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Can you parlay props?

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Can you parlay over unders?

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How to win a parlay bet

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What is a round robin parlay bet?

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Does a push on a parlay void the bet?

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