Parlay betting is immensely popular. So, what does parlay mean in betting? A “parlay” is a type of bet where the bettor needs to wager on two or more straight bets.
Here’s an example of a three-team parlay:
Buffalo Bills –5.5 (-110) + Patriots –2.5 (-110) + Cowboys –4.5 (-110)
If all three selections win, you’ll be paid out at the parlay odds, which we explain later in this guide.
We’re starting a new feature here at the GameAdvisers Betting Academy where we will be answering all of your most common sports betting questions.
What Is Parlay Betting?
Parlays have two or more straight bets on the same wager. There is a maximum limit on the number of outcomes on a parlay bet, but that number varies depending upon where you’re betting.
For instance, at Bovada the maximum is 12 selections and at BetOnline the maximum is 15 selections.
How Does a Parlay Win?
In order to cash your parlay bet, every selection needs to win or push. If a single selection on a parlay loses, the entire bets loses and you will lose the entire stake that you wagered.
In sports betting, a “push” is when a bet is a tie. For example, if the Heat are favored by –5 against the Raptors and the Heat win by exactly five points, that would be a push.
If you have a push on your parlay, it doesn’t count as a loss. Let’s say you bet on a four-team parlay and one selection pushes. What would happen is your parlay would now be a three-teamer.
As long as your other three selections win, you’ll be paid out at the three-team parlay odds.
How Do Parlay Odds Work?
Sports betting sites will calculate the parlay payout odds in real-time as you form your bet.
If all of your selections are spreads or totals (-110 odds) then sportsbooks have fixed parlay odds payouts that you can view in a chart. A three-game parlay will payout at +600 (6/1 odds).
That’s the reason why parlays are so alluring to sports bettors.
There’s the potential to win huge payouts if you correctly predict all selections on a parlay.
For example, at BetOnline the payout on a 15-team parlay where all of the selections are –110 odds is 16306/1. That means for every $1 you bet; you would win $16,306 if all 15 selections hit.
While we don’t recommend gambling on huge longshot parlays, they can be a great bet to have in your arsenal and the potential payouts even on three-selection parlays are huge.
Let’s take a look at how parlays can propel your sports betting profits.
If you bet $100 on three straight bets at –110, you would win $90.91 for each correct selection. You would end up winning a total profit of $272.73 if all three selections win.
If you bet those same three selections on a three-team parlay, you’d make $600 profit on a $100 bet.
However, if one selection loses, you lose your $100, so there’s definitely more risk involved.