What Is A Parlay

Parlay Betting

In sports betting, a parlay is one of the most exciting and profitable bets. So, what exactly is a parlay bet? And can you really get larger winnings through parlay bets than regular bets?

Read on below and let SportsBetting.com guide you through making parlay bets.

What Is a Parlay Bet?

A parlay in sports betting is when bettors make multiple single bets on one ticket. Your win is dependent on all your bets winning collectively.

Simply put, parlays are two-in-one, three-in-one, or four-in-one combo bets (four-in-one parlays and more are not advisable, but more on that later!).

What Are Parlay Cards?

Parlay cards are a popular way to bet parlays in casinos and during football season. You fill in the numbered circle of the point spread or side you want to add in your parlay bet.

After choosing your teams and totals, just present the filled-in part of the parlay card to the ticket writer and state how much you’re betting.

Exploring Parlay Odds

Parlay odds are often worse than straight bets, but the allure of more profitable payouts keeps bettors making parlay bets.

The odds per game you bet on are the same as when placing individual bets. But in parlays, the odds for a winning parlay change depending on how many teams you group together.

Every additional team on your ticket also increases your potential winnings. Still, the odds of winning large parlays are relatively low.

Parlay odds and payouts can change depending on which sportsbook you place your bets on. Additionally, parlay odds can change anytime.

Check the SportsBetting.com website or app for the latest betting odds to ensure that they’re in your favor!

Types of Parlays

There are different types of bets in a parlay. The most common are teasers and round robin parlays.

Round Robin

A round robin bet is when you place several parlays in one bet. This parlay type makes it easy for sports bettors to place parlays on multiple teams and lines.

Online sportsbooks usually allow between 3 to 8 teams or totals for round robins. Still, some allow more than eight teams.

After choosing the number of teams, bettors can decide how many teams or totals they would like to tie or group for the round robin. Usually, they select 2 to 6 team combinations or parlays, with each parlay equivalent to a ticket.

The number of different parlays a bettor has depends on the combination of teams.

A bettor with eight teams for the round robin can have 28 different parlays with two-team parlay combinations. If they choose three-team combinations, they’d have 56 different parlays.


A teaser is the same as a traditional parlay. The main difference is that moneyline bets are not allowed in a teaser.

You can still select multiple teams or totals. With teaser bets, you can move the point spread anywhere from 6 to 10 points, all to your favor.

One condition for teaser bets is that each leg must use the same number of points. Those legs can go in either direction on different teams.

For example, you can tease the New Orleans Saints up six points from +4 to +10 while teasing the Los Angeles Rams down from -7 to -1.

Six-point spread teasers like that have around +160 betting odds. Your chance to win each teaser bet is higher thanks to the point spread changes in your favor.

Compared to parlays, teaser bet payouts are much smaller. But like regular parlay bets, your potential winnings increase the more teams you add to your ticket.

How Do Parlays Work?

The odds of winning large parlays may be low, but you’re only risking a small sum of money for a large potential payout.

For instance, in a three-team parlay where your chances of winning are 50-50 (meaning 3 bets x 2 = 6), your odds are generally 6-1 or +600.

If you placed $10 on a 10-team parlay bet with -110 game odds each, your potential payout would be over $6,430. This is your $10 bet plus around $6,420 profit.

Placing a Parlay Bet

You can add as many straight bets as you want on one parlay bet ticket. You can even vary the bet types, like spreads, moneylines, totals, or prop bets on one ticket.

With one parlay ticket, you can make all-NFL parlays or combine bets from different sports, like NHL or MLB. For example, you could couple two straight bets on an NFL game with one NBA point spread parlay.

Winning a Parlay

The key to winning a parlay bet is getting all your game predictions correct. The more bets you place on a parlay ticket, the higher your potential winnings.

All bets in your parlay bet slip have to win; otherwise, you lose it all.

If you bet on four teams separately, you can still profit from winning three out of four bets. But in a four-team parlay, it’s an all-or-nothing situation.

You can also win if one of the games you bet on ends in a tie or gets canceled. A parlay can only succeed if none of the chosen teams, totals, or moneylines loses.

Calculating a Parlay Payout

You can use an online parlay calculator for instant results and convenience.

If you prefer calculating payouts the old-fashioned way, here’s how:

  1. Convert the moneyline odds of each bet to decimal odds. Use the following formula for a positive moneyline:

(moneyline ÷ 100) + 1= decimal odds

For a negative moneyline, convert the moneyline odds to positive then use the following:

(100 ÷ moneyline) + 1 = decimal odds

Decimal odds for a standard -110 moneyline would be 1.91 when rounded off.

  1. Multiply all the decimal odds for each bet on your parlay ticket. For example, a four-parlay ticket with the same -110 odds and $110 bet would be:

1.91 x 1.19 x 1.91 x 1.91 = 13.31

  1. Take your answer and multiply it by your bet to get the potential payout.

Total decimal odds x amount of bet = total payout

Following our earlier example, a $100 bet would give you $1,331 in potential winnings:

13.31 x $100 = $1,331

Parlay Payouts vs. True Odds

True odds are the actual probabilities of any bet.

They can be slightly better than the payout or house odds. The difference in house betting odds is that one-way sportsbooks and bookmakers compete with each other.

One trick of the trade to improve your entire parlay odds is to include one team or bet with a different payout or pricing.

If you’re betting on a five-team parlay, you can include one team at -115 odds and have all other four bets at the standard -110.

This is called “forcing true odds.” It gives you better chances against poor house odds and a better deal on the parlay.

Common Parlay Betting Rookie Mistakes

Make sure to avoid these mistakes and pitfalls to continue enjoying your low-risk bets.

Letting Your Biases Lead Your Bets

Are the Packers the underdogs? Are the New York Jets predicted to win over the New England Patriots? Always do your due diligence so you make an informed bet based on facts, even if you’re just having fun.

Going After Larger Payouts

Parlays offer high potential payouts for a small initial bet or risk. But if you make a hundred small parlay bets to chase a big win, you lose the value of that small risk.

Forgetting Self-Control

Whether you’re a recreational or a professional bettor, don’t dismiss bankroll management. Practice self-discipline when choosing parlays and create bet limits with SportsBetting.com to keep yourself in check.

Failing to Line Shop

Make sure to line shop and see where you could save a dollar or two on your bets.

But with parlays, keep all the bets on your ticket in one sportsbook. Dividing bets between two or more sites can affect your odds and total payout!

Going on a Drunken Betting Spree

It doesn’t matter whether you’re betting on college football games, high-stakes Super Bowl matchups, or the latest Las Vegas Raiders home game in Nevada.

Don’t drink and bet. You need to be sober for better decision-making.

Betting Only on Favorites

If you’ve ever watched any inspiring sports movie, you’ve seen how underdogs are portrayed as unlikely but much-loved winners.

Don’t blindly bet on season favorites without paying any consideration to the underdogs.

Disregarding Last-Minute Shake-Ups

Sports betting has a lot of variables, especially with over/under bets. Shake-ups can occur even in the last inning or quarter of the game.

Going After Streams

Streams are fast-moving betting lines across various sportsbooks. It’s wiser to ignore streams. By the time regular Joes and recreational betters get wind of streams, it’s likely too late to place a bet.

Relying Only on Your Sports Know-How

Yes, doing your due diligence and relying on sports knowledge is important and helpful. But, always consider the timing, your money management, and self-discipline when betting parlays.

Chasing After Every Possible Win

Here’s the truth: hardly anyone ever wins the big payouts! So don’t go chasing after every win, especially the big ones.

If you get ahead of yourself, your sports betting hobby can become a huge gambling problem.

Place Your Bets With Us!

With all those tricky odds, should you still take a parlay bet? If you’re looking to try a new bet or have some low-risk fun with a few small bets, then yes!

The odds of hitting a big parlay win are tricky. You may even say the odds are hardly ever in your favor. Our tip for parlay bets? Just aim to have fun!

Study each team’s odds to the decimal and play with handicaps. Do all these in the spirit of having fun. Parlays are good bets as long as you aim to enjoy the experience.

Some people compare parlay bets to casino slot machines. Both can give you the chance to win big for a small initial stake. But they can also be addicting.

Remember that constantly chasing after a potential large win can take the fun out of parlay bets.

After you go through this primer on parlays, we’re sure you’re now ready to make your first (or next) parlay bets! Visit SportsBetting.com for more tips on how to improve your parlay odds.