Nearly every sports bettor in the world has at one point ventured a parlay bet. Parlay betting is when you make multiple bets on one “ticket.” Only if all of your individual bets win does your parlay win. So if you pick a five team parlay, you need to win all five bets to win your parlay.
When you win a parlay, it can be one of the most enjoyable experiences in the world because the more bets you have on your parlay, the greater the payout odds if you win. These increased odds, of course, reflect the fact that it’s difficult to win one sports bet, let alone multiple at once.
Therefore, parlays should be used strategically instead of indiscriminately.
Understanding the Odds on a Parlay Bet
The first thing you must understand about making a parlay bet is that the odds are against you. It’s much easier to hit a single event bet than to hit a parlay of even two teams/events. There is so much unpredictability in sports, this makes picking all winners very challenging.
When you are choosing a parlay bet on sites such as Odds maker, then, you should be familiar with the odds that you are getting for your parlay. For instance, if you are betting a three team parlay, the normal payout rate is 6-1, so if you bet $10 and win, you can anticipate a $60 win amount.
Here are some other odds for different parlays:
2 Team: 13-5
4 Team: 10-1
5 Team: 20-1
6 Team: 40-1
7 Team: 75-1
8 Team: 100-1
But how do these odds relate to the chances of you actually winning your parlay? That is a good question because you will find that many sportsbooks manipulate the odds in their favor as you bet higher numbers of events in your parlay. So for example, if you’re betting an 8 team parlay and getting 100-1 odds, do you really have a 1 in 100 chance of winning that bet?
Using a parlay odds calculator can help you see if you’re getting “value” for your parlay bet.
Using Parlays as a Piece of the Puzzle
Just as an investment portfolio might include some boring, non-risky bonds along with some “growth stocks” that could either increase in value greatly or go down the drain, a sports bettor can use the same brand of logic to mix up straight wagers with parlay bets.
You will see this kind of strategy a lot in college football. Because there are so many games on per Saturday, the urge is to get a ton of action and bet everything you can. However, strategically, it often works better to bet heavier on a few select contests, but then satisfy the urge for massive amounts of action by putting together a couple parlays.
This kind of strategy will give you some “upside,” if your parlays pan out, without requiring the dollar-for-dollar risk/reward ration implied by straight wagers.
The Siren Song of Long Shot Parlays
Every once in a while you’ll meet some poor soul who is obsessed with hitting a long shot parlay, such as a 12 team parlay where you lay down $10 for a “chance” to win $6,000. The word “chance” is in quote marks because this kind of bet has not much of a chance at all.
600-1 are the stated odds for that kind of bet. Are those odds appealing to you? And yet you will find people who will make that bet every weekend, $10, $10, $10, and so forth. Realize that this is a bad investment; parlays of 3, 4, or 5 teams have a much better chance of hitting.
That being said, there was this one time where we hit a 12 teamer, and it was one of the most glorious experiences in all of human existence. Actually though, two of the games pushed, so we only won at a rate of a 10-1 parlay, which odds are 300-1, which is still incredibly sweet.
That’s another good piece of advice about parlay betting: make sure to check the rules on what happens if one of your events is a push—never bet a parlay at a site that will cancel out your whole parlay if one event pushes.