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Parlay Bets

Parlay bets are common in a lot of sports, and especially horse racing. A parlay bet is where you pick multiple event winners and put them all on one ticket. So, instead of placing multiple, single bets, you combine each of them into one bet.

On a parlay bet, every team or participant on the ticket must win. If any team or participant loses, the entire parlay bet is lost. For example, if you’ve picked four NFL football teams to win, all four must win. If any of those teams loses, you lose your parlay.

Most online sports betting sites allow up to 8 team parlays, but some go as high as 12 or even 15.

At most live and online sportsbooks, different sports can be combined onto on parlay. So, you can have a baseball game, two football games, and a basketball game all on the same parlay.

Parlay Bet Fixed Odds

The major benefit of a parlay bet is the increased odds. Since every team on a ticket has to win, parlays are more difficult to win. However, if you hit a five or six team parlay, the pay out can be very high. Parlays are most commonly used on sports with a point spread, like basketball or football. In these cases, the point spread theoretically creates a 50/50 winning percentage which means that fixed odds can be set. With that said, there is some odds fluctuation between different sportsbooks, and they won’t always be the same. When football and basketball games are the only sports on a ticket, the odds are usually as follows:

2 Team Parlay: 2.6/1
3 Team Parlay: 6/1
4 Team Parlay: 10/1 (up to 12/1)
5 Team Parlay: 20/1 (up to 25/1)
6 Team Parlay: 40/1 (up to 45/1)
7 Team Parlay: 75/1 (up to 80/1)
8 Team Parlay: 150/1
9 Team Parlay: 300/1
10 Team Parlay: 600/1

Money Line Parlay Bets

* Our favorite online sportsbook for money line parlay bets is Bodog.com. They pay true odds on these types of parlays, making them a great sportsbook for people who like to bet parlays.

Money line parlay bets are used for sports without a point spread, or when sports without a point spread are combined with those who do. For example, MLB baseball does not use a point spread and every game has it’s own, unique odds. because of this, fixed odds cannot be used for these types of parlay bets.

Since money line bets generally have much higher odds than point spread bets, the odds for money line parlays is generally much higher as well. At online sportsbooks, the odds will typically update as you add teams to the ticket. This allows you to see the pay out you’re going after before placing the bet.

As a rule, we recommend keeping your parlays down to 2-3 teams each. While the odds are lower than a larger parlay, the win-rate will be higher. Smaller wins more often will keep the bankroll healthier, and wins are wins. If you’re going to go after larger parlays, there is a way to protect yourself if you’re ticket is a winner going into the final game. Going 6-0 is great, but if it’s a 7 team parlay, you have to win game 7 as well.

Large Parlay Bets

When you’re on headed to the last game of a large, winning parlay, don’t risk the entire win on the final game. Instead, place a straight bet in the amount of roughly 1/2 the size of the parlay payout on the opposing team of the final game. For example, if you’re 5-0 on a 6 team ticket, place a bet on the team your parlay is betting against. This will guarantee you a win of about 1/2 the size of your parlay win.

For example:

You have a $100, 6 team parlay. The first 5 teams have won, and you stand to win $4000 if the sixth team comes through. If they lose, you lose the entire parlay, and your initial $100. To protect yourself, a straight bet in the amount of $2150 on your 6th teams opponent will ensure you a win of $1850. If your parlay comes through, you’ll win $1850 profit ($4000 parlay win minus $2150 straight bet = $1850). If you lose the parlay, you’ll win the straight bet for $1954 (at -110) minus $100 for the parlay = $1854 total profit.

Then you can sit back and enjoy the sixth game, knowing you’ve made $1850 no matter what the result is.

If you still want to go for a big win, of course you could make a smaller side bet. A side bet of $600 for the opponent of your 6th team would guarantee you $545 (at -110), minus your $100 parlay bet for $445 profit. Then you’d still be able to win $3400 on your parlay if the 6th team wins their game.