When starting out, most bettors dream of hitting it big and winning a life-changing payout with a minimal amount of their own money at stake. One of the most popular ways that bettors try to earn a substantial amount of money is by putting together a parlay bet. Parlays are a high-risk, high-reward type of wager that can generate significant profits when all of the selections on a bet slip are correct. For recreational players that don’t want to incur a lot of financial risk but still want a sizable return, parlay betting can be a powerful tool.
Many sportsbooks also encourage users to make parlay bets by offering incentives, such as accumulator bonuses, parlay insurance, and free bets. These types of bonuses and promotions can help bettors reduce risk, maximize their return, and get more out of their sports betting experience.
To help parlay bettors become profitable, the team at Basketball Insiders has compiled a list of the best betting sites for parlay betting.
Check out our parlay betting guide below.
$250 ➡️ $103,041.28… Are you kidding me?!? 💰
The dream parlay 💯 https://t.co/14gzcjXlwd
— FanDuel Sportsbook (@FDSportsbook) January 21, 2021
What Is A Parlay Bet?
In the simplest of terms, a parlay is when multiple bets are put together to generate a bigger payout. For bettors with a greater appetite for risk, parlays are a great way to boost their odds and increase their profits.
A parlay bet combines two or more selections into a single bet. When making a parlay bet, the odds of each selection are multiplied together, increasing the odds and potential return of a single wager.
In order for a parlay to be settled as a winner, all of the selections on the bet slip must be correct. If any selection in the parlay loses, the entire bet is settled as a loss.
Different Types Of Parlay Bets
While any bet involving two or more selections qualifies as a parlay, there are several different types of parlay betting options. Every time a selection is added to a parlay, the number of possible combinations of bets that can be made from these selections increases.
A round-robin bet allows bettors to cover all of these possible combinations through a series of smaller parlays made up from their list of selections. When making a round-robin bet, bettors are actually making multiple wagers of equal value on a series of different parlay bets. Round robin bets often have nicknames depending on the number of selections they involve.
Below, we’ll cover the different types of parlay bets and round-robin betting options.
A doubles bet is the simplest kind of parlay bet. It combines two selections into one bet for a two-team parlay. Also known as an “if bet”, a doubles bet automatically takes the total return from a successful wager and places that amount on the second betting option.
An each-way bet consists of two bets of equal value. It creates one bet with the selection to win and another with the selection to come within a certain number of places determined by the oddsmaker at a fraction of the odds. Often used in horse racing and futures betting, an each-way bet gives bettors a chance for a payout even if their selection does not win.
Like a double, a treble is simply another name for a three-leg parlay. It involves a single parlay ticket with three sides where the total return from a successful wager is placed on each subsequent game. When betting on a treble, all three of the selections must be correct in order for the bet to be settled as a winner.
For bettors that want to increase their chances of generating a return, a Trixie bet may a good option. Like a treble bet, a Trixie involves three unique selections, but instead of combining them into just one bet, it covers all of the possible two-leg and three-leg parlay combinations between those selections. A Trixie bet creates three double bets and one treble bet for a total of four separate wagers.
A patent bet is similar to a Trixie bet in that it includes three unique selections. Most popular in horse racing, a patent bet helps bettors wager on all of the potential combinations involving their three selections. Similar to a Trixie, it creates one treble bet and three double bets, but it also adds three single bets on each selection for a grand total of seven different wagers.
A Yankee bet involves a total of four unique picks and creates all of the possible parlay combinations between those selections. It creates one four-leg parlay, six double bets, and four treble bets for a total of 11 different wagers.
Like a Yankee bet, a lucky 15 also involves four unique selections. It covers all of the possible betting combinations between these selections, adding four single bets to the equation. As you might expect, a Lucky 15 bet creates a total of 15 different wagers: one four-team parlay, four treble bets, six double bets, and four single bets.
Taking things to the next level, a Super Yankee bet consists of 26 bets on all of the possible parlay combinations for five unique selections. Also known as a Canadian, a Super Yankee creates 10 double bets, 10 treble bets, five four-game parlays, and one five-team parlay.
Similar to a Lucky 15, a Lucky 31 involves all of the possible combinations for five unique selections but also adds single bets to the equation. It creates five single bets, 10 double bets, 10 treble bets, five four-team parlays, and one five-leg parlay for a total of 31 different wagers.
A Heinz bet consists of 57 bets of equal value on the selections for six separate events. It covers all of the possible parlay combinations for all six selections. A Heinz bet creates 15 double bets, 20 treble bets, 15 four-team parlays, six five-game parlays, and one six-game parlay for a total of 57 wagers.
Adding single bets to the equation turns a Heinz bet into a Lucky 63. A Lucky 63 involves all of the possible betting combinations for six unique selections. It creates six single bets, 15 double bets, 20 treble bets, 15 four-team parlays, six five-game parlays, and one six-game parlay for a total of 63 different bets.
A Super Heinz bet turns seven unique selections into 120 different bets. It covers all of the potential parlay combinations for all seven events. A Super Heinz creates 21 double bets, 35 treble bets, 35 four-team parlays, 21 five-game parlays, seven six-game parlays, and one seven-game parlay.
A Lucky 127 takes the Super Heinz bet and adds seven single bets into the equation for a grand total of 127 different wagers of equal value. A Lucky 127 consists of seven single bets, 21 double bets, 35 treble bets, 35 four-team parlays, 21 five-game parlays, seven six-game parlays, and one seven-game parlay.
Moving up to eight selections, a goliath bet covers all of the possible parlay combinations when betting on eight separate events. A Goliath bet is comprised of 247 total bets. It includes 28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70 four-team parlays, 56 five-game parlays, 28 six-team parlays, eight seven-game parlays, and one eight-team parlay.
When making more than eight selections, a block bet is used to cover all of the possible parlay combinations. A block bet may involve nine events or more. When choosing nine unique selections, a block bet will generate 502 bets and that number increases every time a new selection is added to the bet slip.
As bettors make their selections, sportsbooks will automatically calculate the parlay odds and payout for their bets. Simply click your selections and open your bet slip to see your total odds. To view your total return, just type your wager and your total return or possible profits will be displayed at the bottom of your bet slip.
However, there are times when bettors will want to calculate the odds of their parlay bet on their own. Calculating the total odds for a parlay can seem confusing, especially for bettors using American odds. To make things easier, bettors can switch the odds display to a decimal format in their sportsbook settings or simply convert American odds into decimal odds using the formulas below:
(American odds / 100) + 1 = decimal odds
(100 / American odds) +1 = decimal odds
Once you’ve converted your odds into the decimal format, simply multiply the odds from your selections together to calculate the total odds for your parlay. Once you’ve calculated your odds, multiply that number by the stake of your bet to tabulate your total return.
Here, we’ll use an example from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The bet slip above from Bovada shows a three-game parlay or treble bet on three Men’s Basketball games. The bettor above selected Team France to cover -8.5, Team USA to cover -13.5, and Australia to cover -8.5 to generate an exciting +581 or 6.81 odd.
If all three selections are settled as winners, a $100 bet on these three single games would generate just 268.75 in profits while risking a total of $300. Meanwhile, the parlay bet above would generate $581.39 in profits, a difference in profits of over 116 percent.
Parlay Payout Calculator
Betting on point spreads and totals often generate the same odds for both sides of a contest. Combining point spread and totals bets are some of the most common ways that bettors create parlay bets. Normally set at -110 or 1.90, point spreads and totals can often generate fixed odds when adding multiple selections to your bet slip.
Check out the chart below to view the approximate parlay odds when adding selections priced at -110 or 1.90 to your parlay bet.
|Parlay Payout Chart at 1.90 odds|
|Number of Selections|| |
Approximate Parlay Odds
(@ -110 or 1.90)
Enhanced Odds Parlay
Enhanced odds are one way that sportsbooks try to encourage bettors to make parlay bets and take certain selections. Sportsbooks will often offer daily specials and odds boosts to attract more wagers for a specific event.
Odds boosts can provide additional value for bettors, increasing their potential rewards without incurring any extra risk. While receiving enhanced odds does not increase the probability of winning a bet, it does increase the total return when all of your selections win.
Since the oddsmaker is moving the odds in favor of the bettor, enhanced odds are considered to be a bargain and sportsbooks may apply lower wagering limits to these types of promotions as a result.
Parlay Betting Promotions
Parlay bets can be difficult to handicap and are even harder to win. Sportsbooks offer many different types of promotions for parlay bettors to help them reduce their overall risk and increase their profits. Below, we’ll detail some of the most common promotions available for parlay bettors at the top online sportsbooks.
The best online sportsbooks offer accumulator bonuses that increase with every selection added to a parlay bet. Using this promotional offer, bettors can earn up to an additional 70 percent in profits for winning parlay bets at participating sportsbooks. The bonus amount will normally be dependent on the number of selections. Doubles bets can offer an additional five percent of the profits while a 14-fold bet may bring in up to 70 percent in additional profits.
In addition to accumulator bonuses, some sportsbooks will also offer users a free bet for making a parlay bet each week. To qualify for this promotion, users may have to make a parlay bet with a certain amount of legs or for a certain amount of money. When using a free bet, bettors are only entitled to the profits made from their selection, as the original stake is subtracted from the total return.
Nothing is worse for parlay bettors than coming one selection away from winning a lucrative bet. To counter this, some sportsbooks offer parlay insurance, allowing bettors to receive their money back if only one selection on their bet slip loses. Parlay insurance can be an attractive offer for regular parlay bettors, allowing them to reduce their overall risk and increase their return on investment over time.
Don’t want to bet against the house? Many sportsbooks offer season-long contests where bettors can compete against one another for a chance to win all or share of a lucrative prize pool. Since many contests offer five and six-figure payouts, these contests attract bettors of all experience levels. Contests can be free-to-play or paid entry, depending on the sportsbook and the payout structure will vary as a result.
Single-game parlays allow bettors to combine multiple outcomes from the same event into one bet. Like other parlays, each of the selections must be correct in order for the bet to be settled as a winner. Single-game multi-bets and bet builder options can be found at several sportsbooks on matches in nearly every major sports league. Single-game parlays allow bettors to combine game lines and props bets to increase their profits by making bets that are correlated with the same contest.
Single-game parlays can be a profitable investment for parlay bettors that have an edge on a particular contest. For this example, we’ll go back to Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
We selected the Milwaukee Bucks on the money line (+145), over 218 points (-110), and Pat Connaughton to hit over 1.5 3-pointers (-120).
While a $100 single-game bettor would have profited $315 from these selections, a $100 single-game parlay would have generated 8.57 in parlay odds and +$757 in profits. Again, this creates a substantial difference in profits of 140 percent.
Best Parlay Betting Sportsbooks
Bovada – One of the most trusted online sportsbooks with competitive odds and a long list of betting markets
BetUS – Longtime oddsmaker that offers competitive odds, lucrative promotions, and season-long contests
Intertops – trusted offshore oddsmaker with special parlay promotions
BetOnline – modern sportsbook that offers great odds, unique promotions, and lucrative contests
MyBookie – new betting site with competitive odds, bonuses, and contests
Sportsbet.io – modern-looking sportsbook with competitive odds and free-to-play games
Betzest – Up-and-coming sportsbook that is known for e-sports betting
Sportsbetting.ag – trusted sportsbook with competitive odds with excellent contests and promotions
XBet – new oddsmaker with good odds, bonuses, and contests
BetAnySports – With less juice, parlay bonuses, and a house money program, BetAnySports is one of the best emerging sportsbooks for parlay bettors
Top 3 Betting Sites for Parlay Betting
When it comes to parlay betting, some sportsbooks are better than others. Certain oddsmakers may have some rules for parlay betting, including restrictions for betting amounts and combining certain markets. Promotional offers are another factor that parlay bettors consider when choosing a sportsbook. Parlay bonuses and other promotions can help bettors increase their profits and get the most out of their sports betting experience.
Below, we’ll take a look at the top three sportsbooks for parlay betting.
BetUS – Competitive Odds, Excellent Bonuses, and Parly Challenge
Armed with competitive odds and a wide variety of betting markets, BetUS is one of the best sportsbooks for making parlay bets. First-time users can benefit from a 100 percent deposit, allowing them to boost their bankroll and increase their return on investment. BetUS also features a parlay challenge, which allows bettors to compete against each other for a weekly prize pool.
BetOnline.ag – Modern Design, Great Promotions, and Lucrative Contests
With a revamped website, BetOnline has a modern look and feel that makes it one of the best sportsbooks for parlay bettors. BetOnline offers users several great promotions, including a 50 percent welcome bonus, a $25 risk-free player props wager, a $25 risk-free in-play bet, and a free bet of up to $50 when betting with your mobile device for the first time. BetOnline also offers lucrative contests in nearly every sport, including the Half-Million ($500,000) NFL Megacontest and a $200,000 winner-take-all NFL Survivor Contest.
Bovada – Reputable Oddsmaker With Props Builder and Custom Bets
One of the most trusted oddsmakers on the web, Bovada has established a strong reputation amongst sports bettors. With a props builder and the ability to request custom bets, Bovada is one of the best sportsbooks for parlay betting. Bovada also offers a welcome bonus of up to $250 and over $4,500 in Bitcoin bonuses.
Parlay Betting Techniques
Since all of the selections have to be correct, parlays are generally harder to win than single-game bets. Despite their lower success rate, parlays are still attractive to bettors that want to hit a home run and earn bigger profits. Winning a big parlay bet can often make the risk well worth the reward.
Parlay bettors use several different techniques to increase their winning percentage and overall returns. Below, we’ll go over some of the most common strategies that parlay bettors use to turn a profit.
Point Spread Parlay
Point spread parlays are one of the most common types of parlays that are made by parlay bettors. Betting on point spreads usually creates relatively even odds for both sides of a match. To increase the potential payout of a point spread wager, bettors often combine two or more wagers into a parlay for an all-or-nothing approach.
There are times when bettors will prefer to wager on whether a contest will be a high or low-scoring affair. Like point spreads, a single-game bet on the total of a matchup doesn’t offer odds that yield a substantial payout. Totals parlays allow bettors to combine totals selections from more than one contest to boost their odds and potential profits.
Money Line Parlay
Money line parlays can be one of the most lucrative kinds of parlays for bettors. When selecting teams to win on the money line, bettors do not have to worry about the margin of victory. Mixing and matching favorites and underdogs can allow bettors to get creative with their wagers.
Parlaying Heavy Favorites
One strategy that parlay bettors like to employ is adding heavy favorites to the same bet slip. This allows them to increase their profits while taking on less perceived risk by backing better teams and more probable outcomes. Combining selections with a higher implied probability can increase your winning percentage and overall profits.
Teasers involve moving the point spread or total in the bettor’s favor and are common in point spread betting sports like football and basketball. Bettors can buy points on the original game line by accepting lower odds and “teasing” the line. Adding points to the original game line is like getting a little bit of extra insurance for your bet, albeit at a premium price tag. Combining teaser bets can make buying points a more attractive option, allowing bettors to increase their winning percentage and total profits.
For bettors looking for bigger payouts, parlaying money line underdogs together can be an attractive option. Since the odds of each selection are multiplied together in a parlay, backing teams that are priced at more than 2.00 or +100 can allow bettors to increase their payouts exponentially by winning just one bet.
Adding multiple underdogs to a parlay can push the implied odds closer to true odds, which can increase a bettor’s profits over time. Remember, teams and events that are priced at plus money are generally less likely to win, which means that the overall success rate of such parlays is often very low.
Single-game parlays can be another lucrative strategy for parlay bettors. Bettors often have an edge on very few games but can increase their profits by making correlated picks on the same contest. By combining game lines and props bets, bettors can focus their attention and funds on the games where they have an edge, allowing them to increase their winning percentage and profits over time.
Bettors don’t have to stick to a single game or even just one sport when making their selections. Most parlay bettors are well versed in more than one sport, so it makes sense to use all of their knowledge when making creating their bet slips. Selecting teams in multiple sports can allow bettors to stick to the games that they have an edge on and employ strategies more broadly using different betting markets.
Futures bets often run over the course of a full season and are already priced at attractive odds. When combined together, futures parlays can produce even greater profits. Bettors can predict division winners, select the outright winner in different sports, or combine season props and awards winners to increase their profits.
How To Place A Parlay Bet
Placing a parlay bet is easy. Most sportsbooks make building a bet with multiple selections a very simple process and bettors can often execute a parlay bet with the click of a few buttons.
Below, we’ll go over how to make a parlay bet in just a few simple steps.
Step 1: Navigate The Betting Markets
Once users have logged onto their favorite sportsbook, they can start by navigating the betting markets. Simply search through the different sports to find your preferred matches and events.
Step 2: Make Two or More Selections
In order to make a parlay bet, users must make at least two or more selections. Adding multiple selections to your bet slip will automatically generate several different parlay betting options. Simply click on the different selections and you’re ready for the next step.
Step 3: Open Your Bet Slip
Once you’ve added all of the selections to your bet slip, you are ready to make your parlay bet. Most sportsbooks will bring you right to the parlay section of bet slip. In some cases, bettors will have to select “parlay” or “multi” on their bet slip to bring up their parlay betting options.
Step 4: Enter Your Stakes
With their bet slip open, bettors are ready to enter their stakes. Users can enter their stakes for their parlay and find the total return or total profits from their bet automatically calculated on their bet slip.
When entering their stakes, bettors must be mindful of the number of wagers involved in making different types of parlays. For reference, be sure to check out the different types of parlay bets.
Step 5: Submit Your Wager
After you have double-checked your wager and are comfortable with the potential payout, simply click “Place Bets” to submit your wager. Once you’ve submitted your wager, your bet slip, payout, and cash-out options will be displayed under “Open Bets”.
Why Do Bettors Make Parlay Bets?
Sports betting at a profitable level is hard enough as it is. That’s because there are already implied profits worked into the original lines set by the sportsbooks. The cut or profit margin that a sportsbook collects for taking the bet is often called the “juice” or “vig”.
When two teams are evenly matched, bettors might expect to see even odds (+100 or 2.00) for both sides, allowing them to double their money. However, this is simply not the case. On standard game lines, bettors will often see odds set at -110 or 1.90 in decimal odds. In these cases, it will take $110 to generate a $100 profit. Similarly, a $100 bet would bring in $90 in profit. The extra $10 is the vig and is considered to be the cost of doing business with the sportsbook.
To beat the oddsmakers, bettors must win at a rate that also covers the juice incurred on their wagers. In order to do so, single-game point spread bettors must win around 53 percent of the time. Professional sports bettors and advantage gamblers rarely sustain a winning percentage of higher than 55 percent. However, sweating out sporting events for minimal profits simply does not appeal to the recreational bettor.
While single-game bets offer smaller, incremental returns, parlay betting can generate exciting odds, big payouts, and make it more fun to follow the games on your bet slip. In essence, parlay bettors are paying a premium for some additional entertainment value and the potential for greater returns.
Drawbacks of Parlay Betting
While parlay bets can generate lucrative odds and enticing profits, they can be much more difficult to win than single-game wagers. Most professional sports bettors would advise against making parlay bets, as they can eat into your bankroll and subtract from your overall profits. Parlays expose bettors to more variance and often offer almost no advantage in terms of their projected returns over time.
Parlay bets do not offer true odds, which means that parlay bettors are incurring even more juice than single-game bettors. Since parlay odds involve multiple selections, they also create a bigger edge for the oddsmakers. According to the Nevada Gaming Control Board Gaming Revenue Reports, sportsbooks have traditionally boasted a nearly 30 percent hold on parlays.
Simply put, making parlay bets makes it harder to become a profitable sports bettor.
Do Professional Bettors Make Parlay Bets?
Professional sports bettors do not make parlay bets often but that doesn’t mean that they do not indulge in sports betting’s guiltiest pleasure from time to time. There are times during the course of the year when pro bettors make parlay bets.
For example, if multiple games start at the same time slot and bettors need to conserve their bankroll, it might make more sense for them to take an all-or-nothing approach by grouping their selections together.
Bettors that make parlays with longshot odds should be mindful of their bets’ implied probability and projected winning percentage. When making parlay bets, professional bettors only risk what they can afford to lose, as wagers with multiple selections are more likely to be settled as a loss.
In the end, the juice usually isn’t worth the squeeze.
Parlay Odds vs. True Odds
In terms of pure math, parlay betting offers bad value to bettors and exposes them to more variance in comparison to straight wagers. While the payouts might seem enticing, the odds offered actually give the oddsmakers an even greater advantage.
The following table illustrates how the probability of winning a parlay bet changes in comparison to the odds offered by most sportsbooks. For the purposes of this example, we are going to be assuming that each bet comes with the standard -110 or 1.90 odds and each side has an even 50 percent chance of winning.
Parlay Odds vs. True Odds Chart
|Number of Legs||Approximate Parlay Odds |
(@ -110 or 1.90)
|Implied Probability Percentage||True Probability |
The house edge is defined as the percentage difference between the parlay odds and the true odds. It is a mathematical advantage maintained by sportsbooks and online casinos in order to ensure that the house stays up and running.
The house maintains about a 4.8 percent advantage on single-game bettors but that edge doubles immediately to 9.6 percent for two-game parlays.
As you can see from the chart above, three and five-game parlays offer the house the smallest edge. However, the house edge starts to rise with every selection that is added to the parlay thereafter.
Biggest Parlay Wins Since 2019
In 2019, William Hill accepted a wager from professional sports bettor Parlay Patz, who earned the biggest parlay payout of the year with a $326,000 score on a 13-game money line parlay. Patz bet some heavy favorites but the parlay still generated better than 46:1 odds on his original $7,050 investment.
One bettor took things even further, going a perfect 15-for-15 on Dec. 22, 2019, turning a $5 parlay ticket into $100,000 at the William Hill Sportsbook inside Casino Royale in Vegas.
In 2020, another bettor compiled a same-game parlay on an NFL contest to make nearly 500x their original stake. The parlay features six legs combining point spread, total, and player props selections to generate a total odds of 492.97.
The $1,000 wager on FanDuel paid out a total return of $492,977.62. Check out the single game parlay on the Bills-Broncos (Dec. 19) game below:
- Bills -5.5 ✅
- Josh Allen Anytime Touchdown ✅
- Over 59.5 (Alternative Total Points) ✅
- Noah Fant Anytime Touchdown ✅
- Dawson Knox Anytime Touchdown ✅
- Devin Singletary Anytime Touchdown ✅
What Is The Best Sportsbook for Parlay Betting?
For most parlay bettors, the best sportsbook will come down to personal preference.
Parlays are not always bad bets but bettors often get the short end of the stick from the oddsmakers in terms of overall value. Parlay bets give the house a bigger edge but also allow bettors to cash in on larger payouts when all of their selections are correct.
Winning parlay bets is not easy, so finding an oddsmaker that offers parlay promotions and accumulator bonuses can help bettors extract the most value out of their parlay bets.
Sharp bettors often sign up for accounts with multiple sportsbooks to shop for the best odds and take advantage of different bonus offers, which can increase their bankroll and overall return on investment.
No matter what you’re looking for when placing your parlay bets, choosing one of the top online sportsbooks is a safe bet to add value to your sports betting experience.
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