Parlay Betting

Updated Wed 11th November 2020

Parlay Betting
Betting Basics
Betting Basics

So what is a parlay bet? Have you ever thought that multiple different results could happen across different contests and sports, but not wanted to place individual bets on each one.

Parlay sports betting allows you to combine the odds of multiple single bets into one larger bet allowing you to get larger parlay betting odds!

How does a parlay bet work?

After reading our expert picks and predictions for all of the day’s action and heading over to your favourite bookmakers website or app, you can select multiple different bets and ‘add to betslip’. This will then have those bets as singles, but also combine them as a ‘parlay’. 

The parlay betting odds are all of the single bets’ odds multiplied together into one larger bet. In order for your parlay to win, all of the individual bets combined into the parlay must be successful. 

An example of a parlay and some of the maths behind the parlay betting odds below;

Our best college football picks for that day could be:

GameExpert PickOdds
Texas A&M v Alabama Alabama -5.5-110
Oklahoma v TexasUnder 64.5-110
UCLA v USCOver 67.5-110

Parlay Betting Explained

If you were to bet on each of these individually, you would need to place a $110 bet to create a profit of $100 ($210 return, including your stake) from each bet. That would be a total of $330 bet across the three bets for a combined $300 profit, if all three bets win. 

What is a parlay bet using these expert picks? 

You can combine the three single bets in the table above, to create a parlay, combining the legs to create bigger odds. If you were to create a parlay with these three legs, those odds would roughly combine to +600, meaning if you place a $100 bet, you would profit $600 ($700 return, including your stake) if all three legs win. 

You can use as many legs as you like when creating a parlay. If you were to combine four legs with -110 odds in an NBA Parlay, the odds would roughly be +1200 meaning if you place a $100 bet, you would profit $1,200 ($1,300 return, including your stake) if all four legs win. 

Those are just using -110 odds, commonly found on spread betting or total bet markets, but if you wanted to combine moneyline odds, it may look something like this:

GameMoneyline BetOdds
Texas A&M v Alabama Alabama-1000
Oklahoma v TexasOklahoma-170
UCLA v USCUCLA+150

This parlay includes; Alabama, Oklahoma and UCLA all to win their respective games. The odds of -1000, -170 and +150 respectively, combine for roughly +336 odds, meaning from a $100 bet, you will profit $336 for a total return of $436.

This is so much more appealing than betting $1000 on Alabama to win just for $100 profit, along with placing the other two bets individually as well. 

Working out the odds for this online betting parlay might seem difficult, but your favourite sportsbook will automatically combine the parlay betting odds for you.

Can you parlay prop bets?

A prop bet is where you bet on individual or team performance, and is explained in more detail in our prop bet betting guide

Whether you can parlay prop bets depends on which bookmaker you use. Most do not allow it, but FanDuel is now allowing their users to parlay prop bets from the similar and multiple games. 

Bookmakers often don’t allow this as there is a bigger liability from their end when people bet on prop bets, compared to other markets. 

One way to tell is adding multiple prop bets to your betslip and then if there is no calculation for a parlay, then your bookmaker doesn’t allow this betting type. 

Below are some advantages and disadvantages of parlay sports betting

Advantages of placing a parlay bet:

  • Combined bigger odds than individual bets
  • Less risk/stak for bigger profit
  • Can combine multiple games across multiple sports into one bet, keeping interest high through a day’s play
  • Can combine multiple bets across multiple time periods, including futures markets, to have a bet lasting multiple days, weeks or months with a big payout waiting at the end

Some risky punters combine futures markets such as Eastern and Western Conference Champions in the NBA with AFC and NFC Champions in the NFL, with the winner of the Stanley Cup in the NHL well in advance, taking advantage of increased odds in futures markets and combining them in a massive parlay bet.

Disadvantages of placing a parlay bet:

  • When you account for the probability of a single bet to win, and then multiply that with the probability of all of your bets in your parlay to win, the probability continually decreases
  • All you need is one leg to fail, and the whole parlay fails

If you place a four-leg parlay and the first leg fails, the parlay is done, regardless of what happens in the following three legs. You lose your stake that you placed on the parlay and that is the end of it. 

Alternatively, you could have a larger parlay on with numerous legs, and all of the legs up until the last one have been successful. The final leg fails and even though all of the other legs won, since the last leg lost, the whole parlay loses. 

That is the big risk vs reward when placing a parlay bet. You can risk less money (lower stake) for a higher profit, but the probability of your parlay bet being successful continually decreases with the more legs added. 

That is why our experts take the time to research every game for every sport and provide you with the best free picks and predictions for all sports, including; NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, College Football, College Basketball, UFC, Tennis, Golf, Soccer, Horse Racing and eSports

If you would like some more information on some other betting styles, check out the betting guides pages for moneyline, spread, over/under, prop and futures betting.

Tim is a keen follower of all American sports, in particular the NBA and NFL. He has followed both sports for over a decade and would happily sit down and watch every game, regardless of who is playing! No matter the sport, whether it be NFL and NBA or even MLB, NHL and UFC, Tim covers it from every angle, keeping up to date with all the news to bring you the most up-to-date information and the best picks and predictions across all sports.