Are you looking for a guide to explain the parlay bet? Bet Station is here to make your life easier. That's why we have put together a series of sports betting guides to help new players learn all the betting jargon. This guide will tell you all about parlays, including what are the best sportsbooks for parlay bets. Plus, we will explain how to make a parlay bet and what is a same game parlay.
One of the hardest parts of sports betting for new players is distinguishing between different bets. Once you have a good understanding of the various bets you can place, you can decide when is the best time to use one type over another. The easiest way to identify a parlay is in the bet slip. Simply add a couple of wagers from different sporting events and you should see a new option appear in the bet slip. If you select one over-under bet and one moneyline from different games, you can combine them into one bet. The more bets you add to a parlay, the more you can win.
The parlay bet is your chance to combine several wagers into one rewarding bet. There is no designated way to build a parlay. Each time you try to make one, it will differ completely from the last. The bets you add and the value of each wager will fluctuate, so no two parlays look the same. There are a few select wagers that you can’t use in a parlay. However, a parlay bet is usually a great way to make low-paying bets significantly more rewarding.
What is a Parlay Bet?
A parlay bet is an exciting type of wager, as it can increase your returns drastically. This is a great option to have in your arsenal, even in weeks when a lot of underdogs take on the big teams. What makes this bet particularly enticing is the ability to combine multiple bets across different sports. For example, you could pick the over under bet for an NFL game, the spread bet of an NBA match-up, and the moneyline bet for the NHL, which makes a three-leg parlay.
In parlay betting, it is vital that all your wagers come true to win. If any of your legs fail, then your bet is over and you cannot win any cash. This is the case if you pick a two-leg parlay, just as it is if you pick a 15-leg parlay. Some of the best sportsbooks offer exciting promos for certain parlays, especially during the playoffs. This can include parlay insurance or money back as a free bet if one leg loses your bet. These promotions are not as common as we would like, but can make the parlay bet even more exciting.
You can keep track of your parlay bet by looking at the bet slip. This is where you can adjust your stake to see how much you could win. Parlay bets do not allow you to combine the moneyline and spread from the same game. You must pick different games to form a parlay bet unless the sportsbook offers a same game parlay. We will go into greater detail about the same game parlay later on, for those interested.
What Does Parlay Mean in Sports Betting?
In its simplest form, a parlay bet is a combination of bets that form one big wager. This means you can take single bets from multiple games across several leagues and combine them into a parlay. There are many pros and cons in doing something like this, but the primary reason people do it is for the significantly increased potential earnings. Keeping things simple, if you were to put a $5 spread on the Atlanta Hawks to beat the Miami Heat and another $5 for the Memphis Grizzlies to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves, you would make $8.93 in profit if both bets win. If you stake the same amount, ten dollars, on a two-leg parlay, you could win $25.84 profit for the same wagers.
How can a sportsbook offer you better odds for the same wagers? Well, the parlay works as one big bet. If you make two separate bets and one team loses, you still win some money. However, if you did the two wagers as a parlay, if either game loses, then you do not win any money. The sportsbook gives you better odds the more games you add to a parlay, as it becomes less and less likely that you will win. Essentially, you are trading your security for better rewards, as it is risky to put everything down as one bet.
How to Place a Parlay Bet
Placing a parlay bet is easy at any of the best sports betting sites. Each sportsbook makes it as convenient as possible to add wagers to your bet slip. If you like to use mobile apps for sports betting, then you might have to flick between the bet slip and the list of sports to ensure what you select is eligible for a parlay. If you make your wagers on a tablet with a large screen, you can often keep track of your bets while browsing to increase the odds of your parlay.
Some sportsbooks offer you the opportunity to make a same game parlay, where you can choose multiple wagers from the same event. They usually have a dedicated section just for same game parlays, to make your life easier. These wagers can include the outright result, who scored first, the total number of points, assists, penalty minutes, and many more.
Unfortunately, sportsbooks do not allow every single type of bet for a parlay, which you can see inside the bet slip. This may sound restrictive, but there is a huge variety of bets across multiple sports to select. You can choose a soccer game in the states, a rugby match from the United Kingdom, and the result of a basketball match in China. These games can be on at the same time or weeks apart. The further apart the games are, the longer you will have to wait for the conclusion of your bet.
How to Win a Parlay Bet
We here at Bet Station want to help you be as successful at betting as possible. However, there is no guaranteed way to win anything. The entire point of gambling is to risk your money, hoping to come away with more than what you spent. If we could guarantee this, then it would not be a gamble! Anyway, there are a few useful tips you can find below which may help you win or avoid losing your next wager.
- Check the odds: If you are new to parlays, you might grab a few games, go to place a $10 bet, and see the potential winnings are not as good as you would hope. This is because if you just add “sure things” to your bet slip, you have taken a small risk and therefore won’t win much. Some games will be the exact opposite, adding massive returns to your bet slip, as they are very unlikely. Make sure you check the odds before adding them to your bet slip.
- Make adjustments in the bet slip: The bet slip is the perfect space to tinker with the size of your stake and which legs are worth keeping or removing. You might add 15 legs to the bet slip and then remove more than half the games after you entered your stake. This is because some of your picks might not be worth the risk, so take them out!
- Keep it simple: Sure, you can make a parlay using sporting events from across the world, but will it help you win? Your best chance of winning is to pick sports you know and to research the teams before the game. Remember, nothing is guaranteed in sports, however, that does not mean you have to go in blind.
Parlay Betting Examples
If you are still unsure about parlays, we have put together a few examples. Below is a range of sports, each of which you can make a parlay similar to the ones we have created. You don’t have to use our examples as a guide, but they can help you get an idea of a parlay bet without having to spend any money.
NBA Parlay Bet Example
If you are a fan of the NBA, then you might be interested in placing a parlay based on the next round of fixtures. Let’s say you had a hunch across eight NBA games and placed either a spread or moneyline bet for an outright winner in each game. The return from a $10 wager on FanDuel for this eight-leg parlay is over $1,000 in profit (depending on the games you choose). These are especially good returns, especially when you compare this bet to placing these wagers individually.
Let’s say you bet on the Phoenix Suns to beat the Pelicans; your $10 would only win around $2.04. Betting this heavily on the favorite is not worthwhile as a single. But when mixed with other wagers, it can strengthen the returns of your parlay. If you want to make an NBA parlay, add your predictions to your bet slip. Then enter a stake, and remove or add games to see how it affects your returns.
Parlay Bet Example NFL
During the regular season in the NFL, you can make wagers like the ones we outlined above for the NBA as well as same game parlays. However, if you are looking to place football bets before the season starts, it can be very difficult to make a parlay with futures or draft picks. Futures are rarely eligible for parlays as they already have typically high odds, as you are predicting an event like the division champions or Super Bowl winners.
Depending on the sportsbook you join, you can make a two-leg parlay with the AFC and NFC championship winners. Or you can make a parlay with each division winner. Placing a $10 wager on each of the favorites across eight NFL divisions will see over $2,255 in profit. This may not sound impressive, but the Buccaneers have -320 odds, which would return $3.13 if you wagered the same amount as a single.
Remember, if you are trying to build an NFL parlay during the regular season, look for a mix of favorites and close contests. If you only select favorites, your bet might not have good returns. If you bet on massive underdogs, your bet could fall flat before it even gets started. The underdogs can significantly increase your odds, but if you have a hunch, you are better off with a single.
NHL Parlay Bet
The NHL is another sport where you can combine the outcomes of games into one big parlay. Most online sports betting sites don’t support same game parlays for the NHL, meaning you can only make a parlay using one bet per game. That does not mean you have to stick to the iconic three sports wagers, the moneyline, over under, and spread. Instead, you can browse for more specific wagers and create an exciting parlay based on the scoring in the first period, for example.
MLB Parlay Example
In the MLB, you can place a same game parlay and traditional parlays. The difference between the two is pretty simple: a same game parlay (SGP) combines multiple bets all on the same game. The best sports betting sites, like FanDuel and Caesars Sportsbook, have an indicator next to each game eligible for a SGP. If you were to bet on the MLB game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Washington Nationals, there is a variety of wagers to choose from. This includes the outright winner, the first player to hit a home run, each player’s RBIs, and even the total number of runs scored for every player.
How to Calculate Parlay Odds
If you are new to parlay bets, you may wonder about the odds and if the bet is worth placing. However, most parlays will have different odds, so it's not worth getting a calculator out. How do you calculate the odds? Each sports betting site will have its own bet slip. This is where the wagers you select end up, and where you can adjust the stake. This is the perfect area to calculate your winnings as it adjusts to live odds in real-time.
While adding wagers to your bet slip, we recommend looking at each game's odds. It's helpful to remember whether you bet on the favorite or underdog, but even more useful if you can remember how much of an underdog the team is. If you were to bet on a team that has a clear favorite, it will do almost nothing to your parlay. All you would do is add more risk to your bet without adding more rewards.
The bet slip will tell you the bet you selected and what odds it will give outside the parlay. But the best way to save time is to look at it before you add it to the bet slip. Yes, making a 10 or 20-game parlay is fun, but it is unlikely to win. If you picked five good games rather than 15 obvious choices, you will have better returns; plus you might actually win! There is a fine line between a good parlay and a shot in the dark.
Moneyline Parlay Calculator
When looking to create a parlay, it is important that you know exactly how much you can win from your stake. That’s why all the best sports betting sites have a parlay calculator inside the bet slip. Simply add the bets you want to your bet slip and you can adjust your stake and see your winnings in real-time. They do not always lock your odds in place while in your bet slip, so you will need to place the bet to lock things in place.
This calculator applies to most online sportsbooks and they often don’t even require you to log in. Simply add whichever wagers you want and the sportsbook will do all the hard work. This calculator does more than just parlay bets; it also allows you to experiment with round robins and various other wagers. The bet slip is the perfect place to calculate the wager before you submit your bet.
A lot of players use standalone parlay bet calculators before building a bet on the sportsbook. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, it’s an unnecessary step. When you use one of these calculators, you will need to input the odds for each leg you wish to include in your parlay bet; something the sportsbook does for you. Odds at sports betting sites change regularly, so you could build your bet on a calculator, go to do it for real, and get a different result. You may as well just build your bet on the sportsbook.
What Happens if you Tie on a Parlay Bet
When you make a parlay bet on American sports, you are hoping you win. However, in the event one or more of your legs don’t come through, is it all over? If one or more of your legs lose, then your bet is over and you can’t win any money unless you had parlay insurance. If one of your games ends as a tie, then your bet is void, better known as a push.
A push is when neither you nor the sportsbook wins the bet, so you get your money back and that’s the end. Some sports don’t allow for pushes, meaning a tie will see your bet end in defeat, anyway. Plus, wagers like the 3-way moneyline no push also can’t end in a tie, so it will settle your bet. It is possible for an over-under bet to end as a tie if the sportsbook did not use a decimal for the wager. We have more information about this wager in our standalone over-under bet guide. Just remember, most ties in a parlay will end with a push, or in some circumstances, defeat.
When to Make a Parlay Bet
A parlay bet is a great option when there is a round of fixtures. When we say round, we mean a variety of games that occur over a few days. Why do we want the games to be all close together? Otherwise, you have to wait for ages before the bet finishes. Below, you will find several tips to help you choose the parlay bet at the right time.
- Is the game part of a series? Most sports have a series of games that lead up to a big event. This can include the NBA, MLB, and NFL, as teams go head to head several times to come out on top. Games like these seem perfect for parlays, but they are hard to get right. When the occasion is big, there is no way of knowing who will turn up or who will make a mistake.
- Who is in form? If the games you’re betting on take place during your average game week, then you want to check out the teams before you bet. The sportsbook will make it abundantly clear who is in form by making them the favorite. However, they can overlook a team from time to time. Do some research, see who is playing well, and find out if any major players have an injury.
- When in doubt, cash out! There is no harm in taking some money from your parlay. After all, if you have the chance to make a large sum without having to wait until the end of the game, then why wouldn't you? Remember, all it takes is one game to cost you all your winnings. It might not be worth holding out for the big prize, especially when you can walk away with a good chunk of change.
Why Choose Parlay Betting?
Whether you are new to sports betting or have a few years under your belt, one of the most challenging tasks is to select the right wager. For the parlay bet, the hardest task is to select the right games. If your plan is just to bet on the best teams every week, it's rare to have a game week where all the favorites win. There is usually an upset or two thrown in somewhere.
So, why choose a parlay over several singles? The answer to this is in the rewards. Let’s say you were right. All your predictions came true, and each bet was a winner. Hooray, right? Well, in this situation boo for you. Although picking several singles was safer, you only won a fraction of what a parlay would pay. How happy would you be to win $50 compared to losing out on $500? If you can live with missing out, then singles are the way to go. If you are like us, then you won’t be able to let it go knowing you missed out on a big payday.
While we wish we could give you advice on every parlay, that is just not possible. Instead, think of it as a balancing act. How much are you prepared to lose? How big a risk are you willing to take? Are you going to back any underdogs? Finding a balance among these three questions should see you, at the minimum, cut down on your losses.
Same Game Parlays
We touched on a same game parlay a little, but what exactly is it? A same game parlay is where you can make a parlay on one individual game. This means you place a variety of wagers on one sporting event, such as the first goalscorer, overall game-winner, or how many points scored in total. Not every sport has the option for a same game parlay, but most sportsbooks mark the eligible games.
There are several rules to follow when creating a same game parlay. The most important rule to remember is your predictions can’t contradict each other. This means you can’t pick a spread bet for the Nets to beat the Celtics, and then also pick a spread for the Celtics to win. This also applies to sections, such as the first goal scorer or first basket. As there can only be one person who scores first, the same game parlay will only allow one prediction.
Not every sport has the ability for same game parlays, but the best sports betting sites have additional parlay bet promotions you can enjoy. This includes risk-free same game parlays and parlay bet insurance. Be sure to check out the sportsbooks promotions for more information.
Best Sportsbooks to place Parlay Bets
There are many online sportsbooks to place parlay bets. However, some are better than others. If you are looking to join a new sports betting site, then you should check out some of our Bet Station reviews. Here we examine sports betting sites and compare them to see where you can get the best promotions and odds. Below are just a few sportsbooks offering brilliant parlay bets.
How to Make a Parlay Bet on DraftKings
One of the biggest sportsbooks in America is DraftKings. They have a fantastic reputation for fantasy sports, and that reputation has extended into the world of sports betting. They offer brilliant odds across a wide range of sports, making them perfect for parlay bets. If you want to know more, check out our DraftKings review.
Parlay Bets at Betway
Our Betway review explored how good the casino and online sport betting services are. We found that if you are looking for a sportsbook that is constantly giving back to the players, then Betway is an excellent choice. They regularly give free bets to players, allowing you to make parlays for free. They also have a brilliant collection of sports from across the globe, so there is always something to bet on!
How to Bet Parlay on FanDuel
The FanDuel Sportsbook is one of the best around. It is widely available across the United States and is one of the most popular in America. What makes parlay bets at FanDuel special is when they have the right promos. FanDuel is a great sportsbook for promos and it's even better when they have parlay insurance or various ways to get free bets. The promos at FanDuel change throughout the year, so keep an eye open for a good one!
PointsBet offers parlays and the famous PointsBetting wager. If you are unfamiliar with PointsBetting, then you should read out PointsBet review. If you wanted a quick summary, it’s a unique type of bet where you can win more the more correct your prediction is. Although the sportsbook is famous for one type of wager, it is still a fantastic place for parlays. The reward system helps, as you can earn free bets to use on parlays. Plus, they have a fantastic range of same game parlays and they regularly introduce parlay-based promotions.
Final Thoughts on Parlay Betting
The best way we can summarize the parlay bet is to think of it as a line of dominos. The more dominos you have in your line, the bigger the payoff is at the end. However, if one of your dominos fails to topple, then no more will fall into place. This is the same in the world of sports betting. You need each of your legs to win to come away with a payout. If any of your legs let you down, then you can't win any cash.
Parlays are a useful wager when you have a busy game week full of fixtures. That does not mean you have to stick to one sport, you can create a parlay with NBA, NFL, and NHL games. Some of the best sportsbooks offer certain promotions to make your parlays even more exciting. This can include parlay insurance or money back as a free bet if one leg loses. Overall, the parlay is a fantastic bet to place and is often far more rewarding than other wagers available at a sports betting site.