What is a Parlay and How Does it Relate to Sports Betting and Wagering?
I’m sure we’ve all been in a situation before where we stare at the list of games and think to ourselves “if only I could hit a nice 10 team parlay”. Now, depending on the odds of the games you selected or the amount of money actually wagered on the parlay, this bet won’t necessarily make you “rich” but it could offer up a very nice four or five-digit return. The problem with hitting a parlay that size is that it’s damn near impossible to do. Most experienced bettors refrain from ever making parlay bets. Thankfully, for sportsbooks, parlays will always be a staple of the betting game since there is always the potential of that one big payout every square bettor chases.
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What is a Parlay?
When you hear someone mentioned the term “parlay” in a sports betting discussion, they are referring to a type of bet that involves two or more teams. In order for a parlay bet to be successful, each team involved must win, or cover the spread – depending on how you bet them. A parlay can also be called an accumulator or a combo bet. Parlays are the most popular bet amongst amateur bettors since it has the potential for the biggest payout.
Are There Different Types of Parlays?
In short, yes. A parlay can have a combination of money line bets, point spread wagers and even include the “over/under” option. Some sports books allow bettors to include different kinds of prop bets, half time wagers and sometimes even future bets.
Depending on the type or parlay you make, the payout could be minimal or significant. A lot of things go into determining the odds but the main thing you need to know is that not all sportsbooks offer up the same odds.
Generally speaking, a two-team point spread parlay will pay about 2.5/1, while a three-team parlay pays 6/1, a four-team parlay pays 10/1 and a five-team parlay pays 20-1. Obviously, the more teams you select to put in your parlay, the higher the odds go.
Are Point Spread Parlays Worth Playing?
Generally speaking, no. Parlays are typically referred to as sucker bets and only attract people looking for one massive payout. The problem with parlays is that the more teams you add, the number of possible outcomes increases. For example, a three-team parlay bet has eight possible outcomes, where only one of those outcomes will make you a winner. Since none of those eight outcomes is more likely than the others, a three-team parlay would need to offer up 7/1 odds in order to break even over the long haul. At 6/1, turning a profit is only doable if a bettor can pick winners at a very high rate – one that is almost unattainable, let alone sustainable.
What About Money Line Parlays?
A money line parlay is the better of the two parlays since the potential return is dependant on whether or not you bet underdogs or not. To find the return of a money line parlay, you simply multiply the individual money line odds together. Because of this, a parlay featuring two underdogs and a big favorite would return much more than 6/1 odds like a three-team point spread parlay would. Unfortunately, this way of betting is just as difficult as a point spread parlay. The more teams you add to the parlay, the more combinations there become, which in turn could take a big chunk out of the bankroll if you are a parlay-only player.
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