A Parlay is where you combine multiple individual wagers into one combined bet.
For example, instead of placing separate wagers on the Jets winning outright tonight and Julio Jones getting at least one Touchdown for the Bucs, you could combine these two into a two-leg parlay by wagering that both of these will happen.
Now you might ask why one would want to do this?
Let’s assume that the odds for the Jets to win tonight are -110, and for Julio Jones to score a TD is also -110. If we were to bet $10 on both of these separately, we would get a combined payout of $38.18, including the $20 we put down.
So, our actual profit would be $18.18. From your payout of $38.18, you subtract your stake of $20 to leave you with that $18.18.
Now, if we put $20 down on a two-leg parlay for both of these to hit, and assuming they do, you’d be walking away with $52.89.
Your profit would therefore be $32.89. ($52.89 payout minus the $20 wagered) This is about 1.8x more net win than if you had bet them separately.
So how does this work?
Parlays essentially transfer your winnings from each of the individual legs automatically into the next one.
When you bet $10 on each of these legs and both are successful, you win $9.09 each. However, when you parlay them, and the first leg hits, the $19.09 total payout from that first leg is automatically wagered again on the second leg, therefore increasing your stake.
That’s why you can win more money with Parlays than you would betting on them individually.
Of course, this comes with significant risk.
When you bet on Parlays, all legs of your bets have to hit, which makes it significantly more challenging to get right than just betting on individual straight bets.
Our Parlay Calculator crunches the numbers to tell you how much money you would win when placing a bet on a certain number of games.
It works with a minimum of two legs, but it can process Parlays all the way up to eight legs.
For example, if you were to put down $20 on a 3-team moneyline parlay with all teams being -110 favorites, our parlay calculator will immediately tell you that the payout will be $119.16.
The parlay math behind this is a bit tricky to do in your head and involves translating all odds to the decimal format and then multiplying the decimal odds with each other.
If you are interested in taking a look under the hood, check out the article that we’ve written on how Parlay odds exactly work.
But we’ve done the hard work for you, so you can just plug in your numbers and get the result you want.
One important note, when you put in the legs of your Parlay, make sure to add the minus (-) for all favorites.
There is no need to indicate underdogs by adding the +; however, you need to add the – for our calculator to get you the right result.
For example, If the Boston Red Sox are a -150 favorite vs. the New York Yankees, enter “-150” in the box, and you are good to go!
What Do You Use Parlay Calculators For?
We have created this Parlay Calculator for three main reasons:
Checking whether you are getting good value
The team behind this calculator also runs an odds comparison and offers a comparison site called BestOdds.com.
As you can imagine, with a name like that, we care about getting the best odds on any of our bets. Why?
Because getting the best odds can make the difference between losing money or winning money or, in most cases, losing a lot less money in the long run.
This is especially relevant when it comes to Parlays.
Getting the best parlay value on as many of the legs as possible can make a big difference, especially with high-leg parlays. Imagine you put $1 down on an eight-leg longshot parlay, and it hits.
Firstly, congratulations, you are likely to have won tens of thousands of dollars. But if there were better odds out there, you would have likely won thousands of dollars more!
As such, it is important to make sure you are getting value for money. You wouldn’t buy a pair of sneakers for more money if you could get the same pair next door for less.
So why should betting be any different? The first step is to use an odds comparison tool like BestOdds.com to check where your bets have the best price.
The second step is to put all the legs into the parlay calculator and compare that payout with what the book is offering to pay you.
Sometimes, you will see that the number that the book is offering will be lower. In this case, consider shopping around for better value.
Seeing what you would have won
Every now and then, we catch ourselves looking at last week’s upsets and thinking, oh, what could have been if I placed a six-leg underdog parlay at some of those teams?
Especially for people like us, whose job is to produce sports betting content, these hypothetical scenarios can be very entertaining.
Using our Parlay Calculator, we can easily get the potential payout and be mad at ourselves for not putting 50 cents down in hindsight.
People were asking for it
Lastly, we did it because the demand was there.
There must be hundreds of use cases that we do not yet know about with bettors using the parlay calculator for other purposes.
Almost 70,000 people search for the term Parlay Calculator every single month!
So here we are with a tool to help all of those with their Parlay calculation and education needs.
Are Parlay Bettors More Likely To Lose Money?
The short answer to this is, statistically, yes.
Hitting Parlays is difficult, and while you need to win very few to make money, most people tend to lose money with parlays.
If you are an average sports bettor that wins about 50% of the time, you would expect to lose around $5 dollars on every $100 you bet.
With Parlays, this number climbs to about $9 dollars on every $100 you bet. Parlays will always be long shots.
Unless you are a professional that has a consistent edge on the sportsbooks’ oddsmakers, you are unlikely to turn Parlays into a sustainable strategy.
However, if you are like us and bet on sports for the fun and excitement, Parlays make a weekend full of sports events a whole lot more exciting as one leg after the other hits or misses.
What is important to remember is that we strongly recommend you see your Parlay budget as entertainment dollars.
Bet what you can afford to lose and enjoy the ride but never overextend yourself!
What types Of Parlays Are There?
In the US, there are two variations on the classical Parlay that enjoy popularity.
They are called Teasers and Round Robins.
A teaser is a unique form of Parlay betting. Teasers need a minimum of two games.
When you are playing a teaser, a bettor can buy points and move the spread in either direction.
For example, this week, the Buffalo Bills vs. Baltimore Ravens game has a point spread of Bills -3. Normally this means that the Ravens will have a spread of +3 (i.e. the opposite of the Bills’ -3).
If a bettor wanted to “tease” the Ravens, they could move the +3 points and instead make the spread Baltimore +9 or +10.
The most popular teaser bet is a 6-point, two-game teaser. This allows a bettor to move the spread 6 points for both games in their teaser parlay.
Teaser bets can only be applied to Spread and Total Bets. The teasing applied in the individual legs of the Parlay does not have to be one-directional.
You could tease the point spread of one game up while you reduce it with another leg. The only rule is that you have to apply the same amount of points teasing to each leg.
As you can imagine, these bets are easier to hit than traditional Parlays, as you can make the spread or total of each leg more favorable. Hence, they payout less than your usual Parlay.
There are a few unique variations of the Teaser Parlay, with the most famous one being the Wong Teaser.
If you want to learn more about this, head over to BestOdds.com, where we cover them in more detail.
Round RobinParlay Bets
Round Robin bets allow you to automatically bet multiple Parlays from a group of games.
You can imagine this almost like the knockout stage at the WorldCup. The USA is in Group B, together with Wales, England, and Iran.
All of them have to play each other before two of them can move on to the next stage.
With a Round Robin Parlay, you can choose multiple bets. Instead of putting them into one all-or-nothing wager, you can put them into a Round Robin, which plays all four out against each other.
Let’s look at a practical example to make this clear:
Our average sports bettor Joe Schmo has four bets he likes for today:
- Jets to Win outright
- Bears to cover
- Lakers v Bulls to go over
- Canucks to Win
While Joe is fairly confident in his predictions, he does not want to put his money down on a four-leg parlay, risking it all if one of them doesn’t pull through.
With a Round Robin, he instead creates two-leg parlays for each possible combination.
To keep this illustration simple, we will use the first letter of each bet: J(ets), B(ears), L(akers v Bulls), C(anucks).
This is what Joe’s Round Robin would look like:
JB; JL; JC: BL; BC; LC;
Instead of putting all his money on one four-leg Parlay, he has used a Round Robin to distribute it amongst six 2-leg Parlays.
Unless there are heavy favorites, Joe would be expected to cash out more money by placing a Round Robin in comparison to betting all four of them individually.
With most books in the US, you have to select between 3 and 14 bets for a Round Robin.
You are not going to win the mega payout of a straight parlay, but you are less likely to lose your entire stake with a Round Robin.
Other Parlay Bets
Outside the US, there are several other forms of Parlays, many of which have resulted from betting on Horse Racing. Super Heinz, Goliath, Lucky 63, Trixie and more funky names are all staples of British horse racing betting.
As the market matures, we expect there to be more Parlay formats being introduced in the US as well.
Sportsbook Parlay Bonuses
We all know that Parlays are long shots, so what could be better than using the bonus money that sportsbooks are handing out to bet on them!
There are several types of bonuses to watch out for which could benefit your next Parlay.
Risk-Free Bets Parlays
Sometimes books will offer new users risk-free bets when opening an account.
This could either be in a balance that is being added when the account is opened or money that is refunded if bets are being lost.
Many books will allow you to place these risk-free bets on longshot bets such as parlays.
While some books may have limits on the maximum odds they will allow you to bet, most of them tend to be quite liberal with their limits.
So if you have a hunch, why not use the books money to test it!
Deposit Match Parlays
A Deposit match bonus is an offer where the sportsbook will match what the user puts into their account.
This is usually only applied to first-time deposits.
If you’ve made the decision to open a sportsbook and you’ve done your research (or using the research we did for you by checking out our sportsbook reviews at BestOdds.com), you are now ready to deposit some money.
Take some of the free money that the book is giving you and throw it at some of these long shots.
We suggest you use the money you’ve deposited to play on more probable bets or to just route for your home team.
But with the money that the book is giving you, take a risk and put some $1 parlays out there.
Boosted Odds Parlays
Boosted Odds are becoming an increasingly popular bonus at the moment.
Sportsbooks may decide to offer a special price on any given market. For example, you might see something like:
Julio Jones Anytime Touchdown +130, now +300
You can use promotions such as these to increase the payouts of your parlays.
We’d still recommend caution and going small on those parlays, but by playing the boosted odds strategically, it’s possible to get some value.
If you want to check out all the latest bonuses available at the books, check out our overview here.
There is more than $18,312 available at the moment across more than 25 sportsbooks!