Parlay Betting

The vast majority of the time, sports betting is about one outcome: you either pick one side to win or the other. If your team wins, you win your bet. If they lose, you lose. There is also a type of bet that’s called a parlay that relies on two or more outcomes. If you’re not familiar with this high-risk, high-reward strategy, continue reading. If you would like to learn more, please email us at and we will connect you with one of our Sports Investment Consultants.

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What is a parlay?

A parlay is when you tie multiple selections into one bet. A parlay is a series of two or more bets where the original stake plus its winnings are risked on the successive wagers. You can always bet on just one outcome at a time but with a parlay, you need to win all of your outcomes to win your bet and the payout is higher as it is higher risk. Let’s say you decided to play a four-game parlay with the following teams:

  1. Dallas Cowboys -4.5
  2. Chicago Bears -2.5
  3. Cleveland Browns +10
  4. Seattle Seahawks PK

With this four game parlay, every single selection that you added to it has to win for you to win your parlay. If any of these plays lost, then you lose your entire parlay.

Benefit Of Parlay Betting?

The benefit of a parlay is the payout. Parlays are popular because you can bet a small amount and win a big one. Going back to our example above, if you bet any one of those games at -110, then you’d win less than double your money. For a $100 bet on any of the above individual games, you would win $90.91.  However, if you played a four-game parlay and won it, then you’re $100 may pay out $1,330. That’s a much bigger win.

Risks Of Parlay Betting?

Parlays have a much higher risk and lose most of the time. In sports betting, it’s tough enough to pick winners on a consistent basis. At -110, a winning percentage of 55% or higher is profitable if you follow a disciplined strategy and money management system. In sports betting, it is really hard to hit a four-game parlay. If you’re odds are 50/50 to win the first bet, then they’re cut to 25% once you play a two-game parlay, 12.5% once you play a three-gamer and 6.75% once you play a fourth. That’s a miniscule chance of winning. There are times when parlays can be a shrewd strategy but for the most part, parlays are often viewed as “lottery tickets” as it is lucky if you win.

How To Calculate Parlay Payout?

Almost every betting site will automatically calculate the odds for you as you add the selections to your betting ticket. However, if you still want to understand how they work, here is how to do it.

The first thing you want to do is convert your odds to decimals. With fractional odds, you simply divide to get the decimal. With American odds, what you’re going to want to do is take 100 and divide them by the odds. If it’s a negative sign in front of the odds – say -150 – then you add one to the decimal number. It’s a positive number in the 100’s, then you would add two. Say, if it’s +150, then you would add two. If it’s +250, then you would add a three and so on.

Once you’ve got your decimal, then you simply multiple each of the odds by each other and then add in your stake. For example: 1.5 x 2.0 x 3.0 x your $50 stake. That means your parlay would pay $450 if you won.