If you have been a sports bettor for any length of time, you've probably already heard that parlays are "suckers bets". The payouts aren't correct, the odds too long, and the wager doesn't win on a consistent basis. The bet, however, is so darn enticing that most sports gamblers love to throw down an eight-team parlay a few times throughout the football season with the hopes of scoring a huge payday with less risk. A parlay bet can become a solid wager to add into your sports gambling playbook if you understand the odds, know when and how to wager on one, and do not fall in love with the thought of hitting a lottery ticket-because if that is what you are looking for, just go buy one of those instead.
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Let's take a closer look at parlays, why they are "suckers bets" and figure out the best ways to use them to make a profit at the end of the football season.
Why parlays are sucker bets
The biggest issue with a parlay is the fact that the payouts do not match the true odds of an event happening. For example, an eight-team football parlay pays out at a standard price of 100/1, which on paper looks like a fantastic number, but the problem is that the odds of all eight teams winning (if each situation is a coin flip because of the spread) are 255/1. Now you might be thinking, "I'm ok with that because if the bet wins, I still get paid out". The issue, however, is if you make 255 eight-team parlays over the season, you will probably only win one and get paid out 100/1, and still be down 155 units (if all your wagers were the same).
Here is a quick look at parlay payouts and the true odds
2 team: 2.6/1 vs 3/1
3 team: 6/1 vs 7/1
4 team: 10/1 vs 15/1
5 team: 20/1 vs 31/1
6 team: 40/1 vs 63/1
7 team: 75/1 vs 127/1
8 team: 100/1 vs 255/1
9 team: 150/1 vs 511/1
10 team: 300/1 vs 1023/1
What is the best way to bet a parlay?
By glancing at the payout versus true odds list, the first thing that becomes apparent is bettors lose value on a parlay with every team that is added into the mix. A two-team parlay pays out at a fairly high rate, and that small discrepancy between the odds can be overcome by making smart plays. The huge discrepancy on a 10-team parlay from 300/1 versus 1023/1, however, is impossible to overcome with smart handicapping-the difference in odds is simply too large.
As a bettor, you do not have to kick parlays out of your regular sports gambling routine, but if you plan on staying profitable, sticking to two- and three-team bets is probably the smart way to play. And if you must make an eight-team parlay every week of the football season, try taking a few of the strongest plays and wagering on them individually as well in order to win back some of the loses you will take on those parlays.
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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