Everything You Need To Know About Parlay Bets

A parlay bet is a type of wager where you combine two or more bets into one. If all of your bets win, you’ll receive a larger payout than if you had made each bet separately.

Parlay betting can be a great way to boost your potential winnings, but it’s important to remember that all of your bets must win in order for you to collect any money. This means that parlay betting can be quite risky.

Parlay bets are very popular among bettors. This is a type of wagering where you put down money on two or more bet selections, which are combined into one bet. All of your selections must win in order for you to collect on the bet. Let’s say that you put all these bets in a parlay:

  • [Steelers -7.5] +120
  • [Red Sox ML] +115
  • [NYY vs Giants Over 9.5] +105
  • [Barcelona +0.5] -125

In this case, all selections must win. If only one bet is lost, your parlay is lost. You can combine any bets, teams, over/under bets or anything that bookmakers will allow you to bet and combine. It depends from Sportsbook to Sportsbook, what kind of parlay bets will they offer and how much money they allow you to bet on such parlays.

Is it better to do parlay or single bet?

The payouts for parlays are much higher than for individual wagers because they are more difficult to win. However this is only one side of a coin and professional sports bettors usually stay away from parlay betting. Here is why…

Fist, bookmakers will typically only allow you to bet a certain amount of money on a parlay in order to limit their exposure to risk.

But the most important thing is that, every time when we combine multiple bets on a ticket, bookmaker’s commission (margins) multiply and they are harder to beat. The math is against you because betting margins (juice, vig) is the bookmaker’s advantage and the main reason why they win. The bigger advantage bookies have, the harder is for a bettor to beat them.

Let’s do the math and calculate parlay odds

To understand parlays, we must first understand why bookmakers win. They win because they create the edge with the margins.

Let’s take an example:

We have Team A and Team B and let’s say we have an equal game (50% vs 50% chance)

What would be the fair odds?

  • Team A fair odds = 1/0.5 = 2.00 (American odds = +100)
  • Team A fair odds = 1/0.5 = 2.00 (American odds = +100)

Bookmakers will lower the odds

But we will never get these odds, because bookmakers will add some margins or their commission if you like.

They will offer us something like:

  • Team A fair odds = 1.91 (American odds = -110)
  • Team A fair odds = 1.91 (American odds = -110)

The odds of 2.00 (+100) would pay you $100 for every $100, but because they lowered them (added margins), your $100 invested will return only $91.

With this single bet, you lose $9, which is 9% less than you should normally get if the odds would be fair.

Let’s see what happens if you bet single, double (two bet elections), treble (three-bet selections),… 10 bet selections. And how much money you lose.

parlay bet calculator
How much do we lose if we bet parlays?

Types of parlays

There are common types of parlay bets that you will encounter: teasers, accumulators, round robin, progressives, and conditional parlays. Each type of bet has its own set of rules and odds, so it’s important to know the differences before placing a parlay wager.


Teasers are type of parlay bet, and they allow you to adjust the point spread or total in your favor. For example, if you are betting on a football game and the point spread is 7 points, you could “tease” the line down to 3 points in your favor. This would make it easier for your team to win, but the odds of winning the bet are lower.


Accumulators are another popular type of parlay bet, and they involve combining at least four multiple bets into one wager.

Round robin

Round robin betting is a type of wagering that involves placing multiple bets on different outcomes in a single event. The name round robin comes from the fact that all of the bets are placed in a “round” fashion, with each bet covering a different outcome.

This type of betting can be used in any sport, but is most commonly seen in horse racing and golf. Round robin bets are often placed by those who are looking to hedge their bets or increase their chances of winning.

To place a round robin bet, you will need to choose three or more selections in an event. Each selection will be wagered on with a different bet, and the winnings from each bet will be placed on the next bet.


Progressives are similar to accumulators, but they involve adding more money to your bet each time you win. For example, you could start with a $5 bet on a football game and add $5 to the bet each time your team wins. If your team wins three games in a row, you would win $20. However, if your team loses even one game, you would lose the entire bet.

Conditional parlays

Conditional parlays are a type of parlay bet that allows you to place a bet on multiple outcomes, but only if certain conditions are met. For example, you could bet on two different football games, but only if the point spread is 7 points or less. If even one of the games has a point spread greater than 7 points, your entire bet would be void.

Verdict: Is it smart to bet parlays?

So, you’re thinking about playing a parlay. But is it really the smart move?

On the surface, a parlay bet can look very appealing. After all, you’re essentially combining multiple bets into one and if everything goes your way, the payouts can be quite large.

However, the downside is that you need all of your bets to come through in order to win the parlay. And if even one bet doesn’t go your way, you lose the whole thing. And the most important thing is that bookmakers have a bigger advantage against you, which is impossible to beat in the long-run.

So, what’s the verdict? Is playing a parlay a smart move or not?

The answer really depends on your goals and objectives. If bet for fun and if you’re looking to win a large amount of money and are willing to risk losing it all, then a parlay may be worth considering.

However, if you are serious about betting and if you’re more interested in consistent, smaller wins, then sticking to single bets is probably the smarter move.