What Does Parlay Mean in Betting?

October 1, 2020
What Does Parlay Mean in Betting

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. 

Generally, a parlay will include moneylines, point spreads and/or totals, but it’s also possible to make parlay bets with player/team props at the best online sports betting sites

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. 

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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.