When you look at the upcoming schedule of games, do you circle a few teams that you think are sure things but cringe when you see the low payout compared to the amount of money you would place at risk? You could consider placing a parlay bet, which is a single bet that combines multiple wagers.

A parlay bet is created by combining two or more wagers. Each individual wager, commonly called a “leg”, needs to win in order to win the parlay bet. The payout is the same as multiplying all the odds of each leg. For example, if you placed a two leg parlay with each wager having American Odds of +100, the payout would be +100 times +100 to equal a +300 payout. There is no extra boost for combining the bets, however: if you placed $100 at +100 to receive $200 and used that payout to bet $200 at +100 to receive $400, the payout is identical as placing the two bets as a parlay.

Parlay bets can combine most types of bets (moneyline, spread, totals, props, and more) from multiple sports. Look closely at the House Rules of the sportsbook you are using before you place a parlay bet, because they can vary from place to place.

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What about combining wagers from within the same contest, you ask? Most sportsbooks will have a few fixed combinations such as picking a side to win and if the full game total will go over or under. Beyond that, however, all but a few will prevent you from picking your own combinations of bets from the same game due to something called correlation.

What is a correlated parlay? Sportsbooks employ complex formulas created by skilled mathematicians. If they realize a combination of bets is more likely to win because they are linked in some way, they will not allow the two bets to be placed into a single parlay. An example of a correlation: if a football game has a first half total listed at 22.5 and a full game total listed at 45, a game that is 3-3 at halftime is much more likely to stay under the full game total. On the flip side, if you parlay bet the over for both and the score at halftime is 28-21, you have already won.

Stay tuned for my in-depth review of Same Game Parlays from FanDuel Sportsbook – it is a game changer and worth learning about!

Common Questions:

Q: Is a parlay bet a sucker bet?

A: Sportsbooks love seeing parlay bets placed. It is hard enough to get one sports bet right, and the chances of winning a parlay bet goes down as more legs are added. The marketing departments loves sharing long-shot winning parlay bets on social media because they know more people will be motivated to try and lose than will win. One thing to keep in mind is that routinely placing long-shot parlay bets will affect your long-term betting profits and losses.

Q: Is there ever a time I should consider placing a parlay?

A: There are a few instances I can think of where combining bets makes sense. First, when two games are being played at the same time, eliminating the ability to take the payout from a winning bet and putting it all on the other bet. Second, you want to take advantage of correlation, such as placing a parlay bet at a sportsbook that provides Same Game Parlays.

Q: What about “Round Robins”, “Teasers”, and “Parlay Cards”?

A: These are usually terrible ideas. Stay tuned for a more in-depth review, but here is a quick explanation:

  • Round robin parlays break your selections into multiple combinations of parlays. The only reason to use the round robin feature on a sportsbook website is to save yourself the headache of making separate parlay bets using the same combination of bets.
  • Teasers add or subtract points from the spread or totals bet. Payouts decrease as you increase the number of points added or subtracted.
  • Parlay cards are forms that can be filled out to make things easier at the ticket window. Avoid using parlay cards when possible! The payouts are sometimes rounded down when a parlay card is used, so look carefully before using one!

Q: How do I know which teams to include in a parlay? Always bet the favorite since they win more often, right?

A: Not always! See Betting Strategies for more helpful information.

Please note: if you think your gambling is becoming harmful or you think someone you know is having a hard time dealing with problem gambling, please click here to learn more about obtaining help.