A parlay bet is a type of wagering that links two or more bets together into one bet. Knowing what are parlays versus knowing what are single bets can make a huge impact on potential winnings because successful parlay betting pays out exponentially more than the same single bets on its own.
For this reason, parlay bets are tremendously popular with bettors, and bookies like them because bettors have to make perfect choices on a series of bets that make up the parlay to win.
What Are Parlays?
Parlay bets offer huge potential returns. Where most point spread betting come with -110 odds, most sportsbooks offer +260 odds for two-team parlays and +600 for three-team parlays. The more bets tied together into one parlay, the higher the correlated odds and subsequent payout on winning parlays.
For example, in NFL betting a straight $55 bet on the Dallas Cowboys -2 to cover the spread versus the New Orleans Saints, and another $55 on the Green Bay Packers +4 to beat the spread versus the New England Patriots would return $100 in profits for two single bet wins.
However, a $100 two-team parlay on the same two teams accomplishing the same results would win an average of $260 in profit. You can also parlay moneyline betting.
Taking the same example above and adding a team in order to turn it into a three-team parlay would yield even a more substantial benefit to the bettor. You can also include NBA betting and NHL betting in the same parlay, mixing sports.
Let’s say the two-team parlay above also includes the Los Angeles Lakers -11 to cover the spread against the Toronto Raptors in an upcoming NBA game. This successful three-team parlay yields an average of $650 in profit on the same $100 bet.
Adding a fourth team to the parlay –let’s say taking the Boston Bruins -1 to cover the spread against the Chicago Blackhawks in an NHL game -- would return even more profit on the same $100 bet.
Adding that fourth selection to the previous parlay betting example above on the Cowboys-Saints, Packers-Patriots and Lakers-Raptors games would return an average of $1,300 in profit on just a $100 bet.
The more teams in the parlay means the potential for return is greater and greater. An eleven-team parlay can yield up to $150,000 in profit on just a $100 bet! Successful parlay bets can pay huge dividends when done correctly.
Parlay Betting Explained
Sports parlay betting is an important aspect of a winning betting portfolio, but it’s critical to understand that correlated parlay betting is typically not accepted by bookmakers.
A correlated parlay is two or more bets which are tied together directly in a specific outcome. For example, sportsbooks do not allow bettors to parlay bets on a specific team to win both the first half of a game as well as being the final victor.
The reason sportsbooks don’t offer parlay betting on correlated results is because the statistical possibility of a team winning the first half of a game greatly increases the chance that same team will win the game. If sportsbooks allowed this type of parlay betting, they probably wouldn’t be in business very long.
Sportsbooks do allow bettors to make parlay bets on indirectly related results. For example, for an NFL game between the Dallas Cowboys -7 and the Houston Texans, one can parlay bets on both the Cowboys to cover the spread as well as on the over/under of the game (47.5).
Advantages of Parlay Betting
It’s important for bettors to know what are parlays and how to use them effectively because parlay bets can offer such huge payouts on winning bets. The advantages of parlays are the exponentially increased odds for each additional betting option included in the parlay.
While single game bets usually offer -110 odds, parlay odds are much higher and rise greatly with each additional bet added to the parlay. Parlay betting allows bettors to risk less overall money than single straight bets while still giving punters the chance to take home huge returns in profit.
Disadvantages of Parlay Betting
Bookmakers like to include parlay betting options for customers to choose from because bettors selecting a parlay have to be perfect on a string of bets to win the parlay.
While most wagerers find selecting single game bets challenging on its own, trying to string together two or more winning bets into a parlay is a difficult proposition for even the most skilled bettor.
Imagine laying $100 on an 11-team parlay to win up to $150,000 in profit only so see 10 of the picks go right and the very last go wrong. While straight bets on all eleven games separately would have been profitable for the bettor, the person tying all the bets into one parlay would lose the total stake of $100 in its entirety even going 10-1.