How Does A Parlay Bet Work + Example

Last updated:

October 9, 2023
parlay bet

For thrill-seeking sports bettors, parlays represent the holy grail – a single wager or ticket that ties together multiple bets or outcomes for an astronomical payout. But precisely how do you get in on the parlay action? This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to place your first parlay bet. We’ll start by explaining what parlays are and how they offer the potential for exponentially higher winnings than single-game bets.


You’ll learn the ideal number of “legs” to include to balance risk and reward. We’ll also cover the different types of bets you can combine into a parlay, including spreads, Moneylines, and over/unders. Whether you’re a parlay novice or looking to refine your approach, this guide will equip you with the insights and know-how to take your sports betting to the next level. Let’s boost those winnings!


What Is A Parlay In Sports Betting?

Sports betting has evolved over time, with bookmakers continuously finding new ways to engage and attract bettors. One major innovation that transformed the sports betting landscape was the advent of a type of multi-game bet known as Parlay, combining the outcomes of two sporting events into a single wager.


How Does A Parlay Bet Work + Example

Suppose you’ve got a modest betting budget but spot two can’t-miss NFL matchups you’re extremely confident in handicapping. To really make your limited bankroll go the distance, you conceive a bold plan: Wager on Game 1, then if it hits, place the entire payout on Game 2 for a shot at an exponential return. At typical -110 odds, your $10 wager on Game 1 would net $19.09 if it wins. You’d then put everything on Game 2, hopefully turning that $19.09 into $36.45. This sounds perfect, except for one issue – the two games kick off simultaneously, making it impossible to use winnings from the first to bet the second.


Here is where bookies come in with their innovative betting option- Parlay Ticket. It allows you to bundle multiple bets or outcomes within a single bet slip for multiplied winnings. With this type of wager, you’ll choose two or more bets across different games or events and combine them. To cash out on a parlay, all of the individual picks, known as “legs”, grouped into the bet must win – this “all or nothing” structure is the key difference from making each wager separately. The potential payouts are also exponentially higher, making parlays a tempting choice for bettors. The combined odds and payout amount essentially match what you would earn if placing each leg of the parlay as back-to-back individual bets and letting your winnings from the first ride into the second.


Let’s review the following example to practice what was already explained.

NFL Regular Season Spread Odds
Texans -4
Ravens 47
NFL Regular Season Spread Odds
Falcons 43
Panthers -7

You’ve decided to place a 2-team parlay wager on a pair of NFL matchups by combining the spreads for both games into a single bet. Your chosen teams are the Texans and Panthers, who are each favored by 4 and 7 points, respectively, against their opponents To make the parlay, you bet $10 on Texans covering the -4 spread and Panthers covering -7. If both teams win their games by more than the set spread, your parlay is a winner. But the whole parlay bet is a loss if either team fails to cover their spread.


With these standard -110 odds on each spread leg, the payout ratio for correctly picking both games is boosted to 2.6-to-1, or +260. So your $10 parlay bet would return $36 if both spread picks cover. You get to multiply your money substantially compared to betting each spread separately, but the catch is you need both teams to beat their spreads to cash in. This is what makes parlay bets risky.


See also  What Is A Moneyline Bet In Sports Betting?


4 Must-Know Facts About Parlay Bets

  • Most sportsbooks allow you to include up to 12 or more bets within a single parlay wager. Just keep in mind that every individual leg must win for the entire parlay to payout.


  • You can mix and match different bet types inside a parlay – point spreads, Moneylines, totals, and more. You can even combine bets on games from different sports into one parlay for maximum variety.


  • Parlay bets can stretch across multiple days and times. For example, you could parlay an NBA game on Wednesday night with an NFL matchup on Sunday afternoon within the same parlay.


  • If one leg of your parlay ends up canceled or a push, your parlay doesn’t automatically lose. The sportsbook will adjust the payout odds as if the parlay contained one less leg. So a 4-team parlay reduced to 3 legs due to a push would payout at the 3-team parlay odds instead.

The Best USA Online Casinos of May 2024


Welcome Bonus:

Deposit options:
  • table
  • table
  • table

Welcome Bonus:

Deposit options:
  • table
  • table
  • table

Understanding Odds: Parlay Payouts Made Easy

The potential payout odds for any parlay wager are directly tied to the odds set for each leg within the parlay. However, when combining bets that individually have -110 odds, most sportsbooks use the same standardized parlay payout charts. This uniformity makes calculating parlay payouts simple for these common -110 bets. Regardless of which particular games or events you choose to parlay, if all the legs have -110 odds, you can expect payouts that align with the industry standard parlay payout ratios. So, parlaying multiple bets with those typical American betting odds will earn you the same multiplied payout at virtually any sportsbook.


Let’s review the fair payout odds for different parlay tickets. If the word “fair” looks confusing, let me clarify it. Online and land-based bookmakers commonly charge extra vigorish or a commission on multi-team parlay wagers, increasing the amount taken especially when the bet has more than four or five picks.


Hence, the following table outlines fair parlay payouts at -110 odds.

No. of Parlay Bet legs Approx Fair Payout Odds / Moneyline
8 175: 1 / +17,544
7 91: 1 / +9,142
6 47: 1 / +4,741
5 24:1 / +2,435
4 12:1 / +1,228
3 6:1 / +600
2 13:5 / +264

Parlays aren’t limited to only standard -110 odds bets. You can combine moneyline wagers on heavy favorites or big underdogs if you prefer. Remember that sportsbooks won’t pay out as generously when parlaying together two favorites compared to underdogs. The payout won’t align with the typical parlay charts in those cases.


How To Calculate Parlay Payouts?

To calculate the potential parlay payout for moneyline bets, you can check the bookmaker’s calculator, as every bookie calculates potential parlay winnings for you. There are also multiple online calculators you can take advantage of.

How To Calculate Parlay Payouts?

With Moneylines, there’s no simple calculation method. But if you want to do the calculations, first, you should convert the American odds to decimal format. Then, multiply all the decimal odds together. The result of that multiplication now should be multiplied by your wager amount. Finally, to get your parlay odds, subtract your initial stake from the second multiplication result. Here is an example:


A -200 moneyline converts to decimal odds of 1.5. If you parlayed three -200 MLB favorites, you’d multiply 1.5 x 1.5 x 1.5 to get 3.375. It means a $1 bet would return $3.375 – your $1 stake plus $2.375 in profit. Doing the math yourself, using decimal odds conversions, gives you an easy way to estimate parlay payouts for any combination of moneyline bets.


What Is The Ideal Number of Legs To Include In A Parlay Bet?

Determining the optimal number of legs to include in a parlay bet requires finding the sweet spot between risk and reward payouts. On one end, sticking to just 2-3 legs keeps the parlay relatively achievable to win but limits the payout multiplier. At the other extreme, parlays with 6 or more legs offer jackpot-level rewards but have astronomically high odds of winning.


Most sports handicapping experts recommend balancing your parlay between 4-5 legs. This significantly boosts the potential payout compared to smaller parlays while still maintaining better win probability than massive parlays. You want to infuse enough difficulty to substantially multiply your money but not so many legs that the parlay becomes a pure lottery ticket.


The optimal number of legs also depends on your personal risk tolerance and bankroll. More conservative bettors may opt for 3 legs or fewer, while thrill-seekers are fine with 6+ legs despite the longer odds. Additionally, beware of over-legging by packing too many shaky picks into your parlay. In the end, 4-5 reliable picks tended to produce that perfect equilibrium of risk versus reward that most parlay bettors should target.


What Are The Different Types Of Bets You Can Combine Into A Parlay Bet?

You can bundle various bets to your single parlay ticket. But there is one thing to always remember: When combining different types of wagers on the same sporting event, it’s crucial to know the betting rules. One key rule is that you cannot combine a point spread bet and a moneyline bet on the same game.

Here are the most common bet types that you can include in a parlay wager:

  • Round-robins
  • Teasers
  • Point spreads
  • Moneylines
  • Totals(Over/Unders)
  • Props
  • Futures
  • Cross-sport(bets from different sports into one parlay ticket)
  • Live bets


Wrap Up

With a solid grasp of parlay bet fundamentals, you’re now ready to put this high-upside wagering into action! Start by sticking to reliable picks where you have an edge. Resist the temptation to over-leg parlays or pile on needless risk. Most importantly, bet responsibly and avoid wagering more than you can afford to lose.


You’ve got the know-how to confidently place your first parlay bet. So pull together your most airtight picks, take a deep breath, and let it ride! Done right, parlays are a blast that can dramatically amplify your sports betting experience. Just bet smart and enjoy those winnings when all your picks pan out!

The Best USA Online Casinos of May 2024


50% up to$1,000


250% up to$5,000


250% up to$6,000


100% up to$1,000


100% up to$1,000


100% up to$8,000

Parlay Bet In Sportsbet FAQs

  • What Are The Best Online Sportsbooks For Parlay Betting?

    The top legit online sportsbooks to place your parlays are Betonline, Bovada, FanDuel, and BetMGM.

  • Are Parlay And Round-Robin The Same Thing?

    No. These are two entirely separate concepts. Parlays offer a big payout if all bets win but risk the entire wager amount. On the other hand, round robins take the same bets and break them into many smaller parlays, so you can win money even if not all bets hit.

  • What Happens If One Leg of A Parlay Ticket Pushes Or Is Voided?

    If a game lands exactly on the spread or total, causing a push, the parlay payout is reduced as if that leg didn't exist. Hence, the entire parlay doesn't lose automatically.

  • How Are Parlay Payouts Calculated?

    For spread/totals bets, parlays use fixed payout charts. As explained above, convert odds to decimal for moneyline or prop bet parlays.


Stay ahead of the game! Sign up now to get the inside scoop on the latest bonus offers.

Featured Casino for Jul
  • $25 Minimum Deposit
  • 50% up to $1000 Welcome Bonus
Claim Your Bonus Now
This site is registered on as a development site. Switch to a production site key to remove this banner.