Parlay Betting In Sports

A parlay is a type of sports bet in which you combine multiple individual bets into one bet. Combining the bets gives you worse odds to win, but a larger reward for winning. The larger the number of wagers included in your parlay, the larger the payout. Parlay bets are among the most common wager types for sports bettors in the United States.

The growth of sports betting apps in New Jersey and beyond in the time since has made parlays, once seen as an exotic bet, more mainstream than ever. Betting Parlays is now extremely convenient with online sportsbooks, where odds can be easily calculated and the betting options are multiplied.

It should be noted that states offering legal online sports betting outlets are seeing significant revenue increases as a result, and parlays play a decent role considering their popularity among casual bettors.

What Is A Parlay Bet?

The first thing you may be asking yourself is, what is a parlay bet exactly? You’ve come to the right place to find out. Simply, a parlay allows the player to link multiple wagers into one larger bet in order to gain more favorable odds.

For example, say you were interested in the following two NFL games:

  • Packers -8 (-110)
  • Jaguars +1.5 (-110)

To wager on each of these teams separately, you’d have to risk $110 to win $100 on each, with the goal being you win both and walk away $200 richer. With parlay odds, however, a single $100 wager could net a win of nearly $265 at most sports betting sites in NJ and Pennsylvania as odds change from -110 to +265.

Rather than risking the loss of $220, you can only lose $100 while the potential profits have grown.

This is a simple example but as you add more teams and a range of odds to the bet, calculating parlay payouts becomes more and it requires a bit of mathematical legwork. Luckily, online sports betting apps make things easier by calculating payouts for you.

How Do Parlays Work?

The low-risk, high-reward potential of parlay bets are attractive in nature, and many prefer to place these kinds of bets with the hope of securing an amazing return on investment since a small gamble can create a large payout.

All parlay betting odds are modified to make wagers more profitable, but depending on exact lines and the number of teams involved in the bet, parlay payouts can vary greatly.

These bets aren’t without risk, however, and are actually quite difficult to win on many occasions. That is because, in order to hit a parlay, each one of the individual bets needs to win in order for the bet to win. If one side (also referred to as a leg) of your parlay loses, the entire bet is a loss.

At online sportsbooks, parlays can be created from a variety of bet types, including the following:

  • Moneylines
  • Spreads
  • Totals
  • Props
  • Futures

Parlays can feature games in the same sport but most online sports betting apps allow these bets to cross over into multiple leagues. We’ll get into more detail below about the exact parlay payouts offered in New Jersey and at the best PA sportsbooks.

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Parlay Betting Odds

Your original investment can be multiplied via generous payouts, and that’s why parlays in sports betting are great for the gambler. But it’s also worth noting that sportsbooks grab an edge wherever they can, and in this case, it is by offering payouts that are slightly less than ‘true odds’.

This means payouts should actually be higher than they are and the more teams added to the bet, the higher the house advantage becomes in terms of odds offered.

If you want to know how to parlay payouts work at most sports betting sites in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, take a look at the table:






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Remember that not all parlays will correlate with these odds. Calculations for the above chart are based on the standard -110 odds that commonly accompany most point spreads when the lines open (mainly football, basketball, and totals in most sports).

Once moneylines are included (which is very common), payouts are altered depending on the odds. When it comes to underdogs, moneylines enhance your parlay odds but take away the cushion of the spread. On the other hand, favorites can put a dent in your potential payout but don’t require the “better” team to cover the oddsmakers’ number.

For example, let’s use the same two teams from our earlier example, but this time we’ll include a moneyline instead of the spread.

Once we take the spread away from the Jaguars and go with the moneyline as a slight underdog, we see the parlay payout increase slightly to +290 from +265. If we took the Packers’ moneyline instead, the payout would decrease due to the team being a heavy favorite.

Lines shift depending on how the underdogs/favorites you choose are, and the two can sometimes balance one another out. Some sportsbooks also offer special promotions via odds boosts that may help you to win larger amounts. 

Parlay Betting Strategy

As mentioned, parlays aren’t easy to win and can add up to significant losses over time if you’re gambling this way while not winning any bets. In order to have a chance to get ahead, you need some type of plan going into it.

Below are some parlay betting strategies to keep in mind before placing any multi-team wagers at online sports betting apps.

  • Focus On Smaller Parlays

Even though larger parlays come with more robust payouts, there are major advantages to placing smaller parlays. One very logical rule to remember is the fewer teams in a wager, the better the chance it has to actually win. Keep in mind that two and three-team parlays actually offer payouts closest to true value odds and as bets add teams, the sportsbook’s edge gradually grows. Be on a lookout for possible betting odds boosts offers by some sports betting sites. 

  • Mix In Favorites

Favorites are like water during a night out drinking, it’s good to mix one in every once in a while. So if you’re looking for a parlay addition, consider the moneyline of a sizable favorite. Adding teams increases the sportsbook’s edge, but that’s how parlays are and you may still occasionally try larger bets. If doing so, here’s the time for a team whose odds have no standalone value. It can be a risky but effective way to give some juice to the bet.

  • Include Moneylines

This doesn’t mean go exclusively with moneylines, but they do make things simpler. By eliminating the point spread, you’re just going with which side will win the game regardless of the score. In general, it’s easier to pick straight-up game winners than it is to pick against the spread, even if it means cutting into your payout to select a favorite.

  • Correlate Sides And Totals

It can be helpful to select a team and total from the same game to find two parlay legs in the same spot. For example, you may feel a strong defensive team will shut down another with a weak offense, not allowing them to score much. There are reasons to think this could correlate to the under being in play as well. Think about it this way: if the game goes as you predict, does that bode well for the over or the under.

  • Choose Games With Staggered Starts

If possible, try to parlay games with different starting times. This can be difficult, especially when wagering on NFL football, but it opens up new opportunities. If you win, there’s a chance to hedge the later game(s) and earn a guaranteed payout of some kind, and a loss will allow you to possibly create a new bet with one of the matchups you were confident enough in to include in the original bet. The later game can be re-bet a straight wager, too.

Parlay Betting Things To Know

Aside from how to place parlays to give yourself a parlay payout and devising a sound betting strategy, there’s more to know about these wagers. It can be useful to be aware of how to use these bets to gain the most out of your online sportsbook experience and what happens if one of your wagers winds up in a tie, so check out some additional parlay information below.

  • Use Sportsbook Bonuses On Parlays

Most online sports betting sites offer some kind of risk-bonus bet or signup bonus, and many of those allow players to gamble on parlays with those funds. Because this type of sportsbook-issued currency isn’t returned to the player following the wager, maximizing it with a parlay is the way to go.

  • Parlays Can Help Circumvent Betting Limits

There are times when bettors want to put a significant amount of money on a given game or market, but the sportsbook has a limit set.

If what you’re wagering on can be parlayed with another market, find a heavy favorite of little risk to lose straight-up and pair it with your original side. This increases the odds as a two-team parlay while enabling you to put more money on a game you’re confident in.

  • Parlay Push Rules

A push occurs when the score of a game ends with the same exact amount as the point spread. If we have the Packers -8 and they win 28-20, the bet is a push for both sides. Pushes are also common when betting on over-under, which in this case would be 48 total points.

At most sportsbooks, a push in a parlay eliminates that game from the wager and the bet moves forward with one less side. A four-team parlay lowers to three teams while a three-team bet with a push becomes a two-team wager and a two-teamer would become a straight bet with the remaining game.

Parlay Bets In Professional Sports

Many sports fans in the United States are interested in more than one league, so you could be wondering: how do parlays work in professional sports?

The rules of parlays don’t change sport-to-sport, but the strategy and type of bets are included could change. For example, one sport may be more conducive to betting moneylines while taking the spread could be worthwhile in others. The good news is, the best online sports betting sites will let your wager combine multiple sports and leagues into the same parlay.

NFL Parlays

Football is the most commonly wagered on sports there is, so it’s no surprise that NFL parlay picks would be wildly popular among bettors. It goes much deeper than the conventional moneyline, spread, and totals as well.

Bettors have seemingly endless options thanks to a huge stable of prop markets and ready-made parlays for individual games. On top of being able to parlay together lines, spreads, totals, and props from different games, there are parlays with alternate lines are offered with modified odds that can be included in larger wagers. To learn more about betting on NFL online read our in-depth guide.

NBA Parlays

After the NFL, the NBA is the next most popular professional sports league in the United States and basketball parlays are quite common.

Foul shots at the end of games can make betting on spreads tricky, but like any sport, bets on big favorites just to win don’t have much value unless they’re in a larger parlay with other teams. The NBA is a volatile league and a notoriously difficult one to handicap, so the most successful basketball parlays tend to be smaller ones with fewer teams. Homecourt advantage and the schedule play a huge role in NBA picks and parlays as well. You may also try round robin bets if regular parlays are not enough for you. 

MLB Parlays

With a slate full of games every day for months on end, baseball is a popular option for parlays. Moneylines, spreads, and totals can be included, as well as alternate lines offered by most online sports betting apps.

The spread is -1.5 for a favorite and +1.5 for an underdog for all MLB games. Because moneylines on heavy favorites have a tendency to lose value, bettors look to the -1.5 spread in order to gain more juice on the payout. On the other hand, mixing in heavy favorites with less value on the moneyline to add teams to a parlay is also a well-known strategy to attempt for an easy win. To learn more about betting on MLB online read our in-depth guide.

NHL Parlays

Parlays in hockey can be equated somewhat with those of baseball since we are dealing with moneylines, totals, and spreads of 1.5 one way or the other.

Oftentimes, the 1.5-goal spread relies upon the sometimes unpredictable making or missing of an empty-net goal, which makes for a riskier bet. Because hockey contains more parity than other professional sports, underdogs may have more value in this sport than others on a night-to-night basis.

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