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DunkOrThree > Betting Guide > Parlay Betting Guide: How to Navigate Multiple Sports Bets

Parlay Betting Guide: How to Navigate Multiple Sports Bets

Publish Date:20.02.2024
Fact checked by: Emily Carter

Exactly what is a parlay in sports betting? That’s a question that I will answer for you in my complete and comprehensive guide today.

But to put it simply, a parlay bet is two or more bets combined in the same wager. As multiple wagers are added together, so are their odds, giving you a larger potential payout. However, all of your parlay selections need to win for you to receive a payout, so the implied probability is lower.

What is a betting parlay?

A parlay is a bet type where you put multiple betting selections into the same wager. This increases your odds and the potential size of your payout, but you need all of your selections to win for the parlay to payout. If one line loses, the whole parlay loses.

Parlay betting explained: Pros and cons

Before we take a closer look at some parlay bets and how they work, I’d first like to give you a summary of the main pros and cons:

Advantages
  • Combine multiple wagers into one bet
  • Larger potential payout at longer odds
  • Most sportsbooks offer same-game or multi-game parlays
  • Gives more flexibility to enhance your betting experience
Disadvantages
  • If one selection loses, your whole parlay bet loses

How does parlay betting work?

Because you are combining multiple bets into one, your odds and potential payout increase, but so does your risk of losing. Creating a combo bet like this is easy online, as most parlay betting sites have a bet builder tool that makes it easy to add selections to your bet slip in one click.

Example: Three-team parlay

To give you a simple example, I’ve created a three-team spread bet parlay for the NBA. My reason for using spread betting is that the odds are all -110, which keeps the calculation easy:

BetsMavericks (-11.5)Bulls (-4.5)Knicks (-2.5)
Odds-110-110-110
Probability (individual)52.38%52.38%52.38%
Probability (parlay)14.37%
Total payout with $100 stake:$695.79 ($100 stake + $595.79 profit)

How do parlay bets work: The odds

Calculating parlay betting odds can be quite tricky to do on your own. That’s why I recommend using a parlay calculator, or checking the odds in your bet slip before you confirm your bet.

To calculate the odds manually, you first need to flip them from American odds to decimal format. If we were to use the example above, all three selections would be 1.91. You then just need to multiply all of these odds together to get your parlay odds:

  • 1.91 x 1.91 x 1.91 = 6.96

To put that back into American (moneyline) odds, +596, which with a $100 stake gives you a total potential payout of $695.79, with $595.79 of that being your profit.

What are the odds of winning a parlay?

Adding multiple selections to the same bet increases your level of risk, but also the potential reward – that’s just sports betting 101. The more selections, the greater the risk but the greater the payout if you do hit the parlay.

To keep things easy, here is the implied probability for 2 – 10 selection parlays at odds of -110:

Two selections:27.47%
Three selections:14.37%
Four selections:7.52%
Five selections:3.94%
Six selections:2.06%
Seven selections:1.08%
Eight selections:0.56%
Nine selections:0.30%
10 selections:0.15%

Parlay betting explained: Payouts

The size of your potential payout from a parlay bet varies depending on the odds, the number of selections and the amount that you bet.

To keep things easy and consistent, I’ve put together this table showing the potential payouts for the same parlay examples, with a $100 stake and all selections at odds of -110:

Two selections:$264.46
Three selections:$595.79
Four selections:$1,228.33
Five selections:$2,435.90
Six selections:$4,741.27
Seven selections:$9,142.43
Eight selections:$17,544.64
Nine selections:$33,585.23
10 selections:$64,208.16

How does parlay betting work when the result is a tie? Push parlays explained

As basketball fans, we don’t have to worry about this too much, but if you want to bet on a sport like soccer, a tie is a very common result. If one of your selections ends in a draw, it is known as a “push” and is removed from your parlay entirely.

For example, let’s say you placed a three-selection moneyline soccer parlay and one match finished 1 -1. In this case, the tied game would be removed from your parlay and it would be treated as a two-selection wager, as opposed to three, with the odds reduced accordingly.

Parlay betting explained: Round robins

Now that we’ve covered the basic parlay, let’s up the ante with a round robin. This is basically mini-parlays within a larger parlay – sort of like a Russian Doll.

For example, you might pick four basketball games, and make three selections for each game. While this might be a bit more convoluted and confusing, it brings its advantages as you can still receive a payout if some of your combinations don’t hit.

Example:

Still a bit confused by this? Don’t worry, that’s totally understandable, so allow me to try and break it down with an NBA example.

Say you choose these four NBA games:

  1. Mavericks vs Wizards
  2. Bulls vs Hawks
  3. Knicks vs Rockets
  4. Lakers vs Spurs

Within each of these games, you might pick three selections, such as the moneyline, spread, and totals for each one. So you now have 4 x three-selection parlays all in one wager.

What is a parlay in sports betting: Parlay cards and payouts

You’re more likely to find this at a retail casino than online, but sometimes sportsbooks offer fixed odds parlay cards for over/under and spread parlays. Generally, over/under and spread markets start at -110 and rarely move drastically, because it’s in the interest of the sportsbook, and you as a bettor, to simplify the process in that way.

Parlay betting explained – Conclusion

In summary, a parlay bet is essentially a combination of smaller bets that join together to make one big single bet. The upside is that you can increase your payouts for one stake compared to backing each selection individually.

However, this is offset by the fact that your risk increases, as just one wrong selection can blow the whole thing. But on the whole, with modest wagers and a small number of selections, I think you’ll find that parlays can make a regular season NBA game week a whole lot more fun.

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Parlay betting explained FAQ

❓What does parlay mean in betting?

A parlay in betting means that you combine two or more bets into a single wager. This increases your potential payout, but lowers your implied probability of winning, as all selections need to be correct.

💰 How does parlay betting work?

A parlay bet works by combining multiple wagers into a single bet. The odds are added together, but so is the risk, as if just one of your selections loses, the whole wager is a bust. For more information, and to find the best sports betting bonus types explained, head to Dunkorthree.com.

💸 How do you win a parlay bet?

For your parlay bet to win, all of your selections need to be correct. If one or more of your selections loses, the whole bet loses – you don’t get a smaller payout for those that you got correct. This increased level of risk is reflected by higher odds and a larger potential payout.

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