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Parlay betting is the most fun, thrilling and popular form of betting. It is also, however, the most difficult form of betting and an easy way to lose money. In a parlay bet, you are selecting that two or more bets win.
Each bet in a parlay is called a ‘leg’ and in order for you to win a parlay bet, all the ‘legs’ must win. If just one leg misses, then the entire parlay is considered a missed bet. Because of the degree of difficulty, payouts are typically lucrative.
How does Parlay Betting Work and How To Bet a Parlay?
As mentioned, a parlay works when a bettor combines two or more bets for one payout. Parlays can consist of as many legs as a bettor wishes, but the more legs added the more difficult it is to win.
If a bettor thinks that both the Steelers and the Raiders will win their NFL games on Sunday, then the bettor can parlay the Steelers and Raiders into one bet. If both the Steelers and Raiders win, then the bettor wins the parlay. If either team fails to win, then the entire parlay is over.
The more bets added to a parlay, the greater the payout will be if the bettor wins. Again, it becomes more difficult to win a parlay with added bets which is why the payout increases with more legs added.
Calculating Parlay Odds and Payouts
Calculating a parlay moneyline is very difficult to do. In fact, many websites offer parlay calculators you can use to determine the exact outcome of your desired parlay. Simply add each leg’s moneyline into the parlay calculator, and it will automatically calculate the odds for you.
Most sportsbooks will already feature this calculator when you select desired bets for your parlay. Sometimes games within a parlay will be postponed or suspended, and if that’s the case be sure to check with your sportsbook for house rules.
Most sportsbooks will simply deduct the moneyline from the postponed or suspended from the final parlay calculated odds. Other sportsbooks will mark the parlay a ‘push’ or a ‘tie’ and give the bettor the wager back – as if it never happened.
For individual sports, such as tennis, the rule can be much more tricky. If a tennis player gets injured during a match, the time at which the player was hurt dictates the ruling on a tennis wager within a parlay.
Pros of Parlay Betting
As mentioned, parlay betting is by far the most exciting and thrilling form of sports betting. The winnings are juicy and the engagement between games makes for an eventful day.
Bet small, win big
The more legs added to a parlay sees a bigger payout for the bettor. It’s very eye-catching for a bettor to see that it would only cost $1 to potentially win $50 or more if multiple bets hit. The risk is low and the reward is very high if a bettor can win a parlay bet.
More exciting than straight bets
With multiple bets on the board, the engagement of games becomes amplified. Many bettors wager on more than one game a day, so the parlay betting allows for bettors to put all their daily bets into one wager to pay attention to.
Cons of Parlay betting
Despite the excitement and large rewards for parlay bettors, there are more cons to it than there are pros.
Difficult to win
As mentioned above, it’s very difficult to win a parlay bet. It’s difficult to win a single bet as it is, let alone multiple bets. Some of the best handicappers max out around 50% with single bets, so anyone thinking about a parlay bet should understand entering that you will lose more times than not.
Not for long-term expected value
Because of the degree of difficulty it is to win a parlay, bettors should never enter this form of betting if gambling long-term. Successful betting comes over time and not in short forms, as it is more a marathon than it is a sprint.
In fact, sportsbooks payout winning tickets with parlay money lost in wagering. It’s also called ‘Fool’s Gold’ in the industry, so consider it a tricky way for books to slowly suck money from you. Sure, you can get lucky and win but the odds of that happening aren’t very good. Also consider the fact bettors will lose their parlay winnings with other wages over time.
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