What Is A Parlay?

What is a parlay? It's a question that you may be asking, luckily OddsChecker is here to explain what parlays are.
Published: April 29, 2021 - Estimated Read Time: 3 minutes

Parlay bets are incredibly popular types of wagers among sports fans because they add more suspense and excitement than other types of bets. If you've never placed a parlay before, you may have a few questions about them and how they work.

Well, you've come to the right place. In this guide, we've answered all the most common questions about parlay bets to help you get started.

And don't forget to watch below as Jamie Kelton teaches us everything their is to know about parlay betting.


What Is A Parlay Bet?

A parlay is a sports bet that combines several individual wagers into one single bet. In most cases, for the parlay to payout, you need all of the separate wagers to be successful.

For example, you might make pick three point spread bets for three different NFL games on a single day. If you make the spread on the first two but come short on the third, you'll receive no payout.

Alternatively, you can combine three different types of bet, such as a moneyline, over, and under. All three wagers still need to be successful for the parlay to payout.

You place parlay bets in the same way you do any other wager and you'll receive one betting slip, no matter how many different bets you include. Most US sportsbooks offer parlays on all major leagues, so you will have no trouble finding them.

A parlay bet can, in theory, contain as many wagers as you like, though it's usual for fans to include two to six separate bets.


How To Understand Parlay Odds

Parlays have odds displayed in a similar way to traditional bets, though the numbers are usually much bigger than individual wagers. This is what makes parlay bet payouts significantly higher.

Odds are essentially probabilities expressed in one of three ways: a fraction (1/3), a decimal (1.33), or "American" (-300). All three of these odds are the same and indicate an implied payout probability of 14.3%.

When making a parlay, the odds need to be multiplied together and it's usually easier to convert American odds to decimals to do this.

Then you simply multiply the decimal odds of each bet together to get the parlay odds. For example:

1.6 x 2.2 x 1.9 = 6.688

To calculate how much the parlay will payout, multiply the parlay odds by the amount you wager. So if you placed a $150 bet on a parlay with odds of 6.688, you'll receive $1,003.20 if all three wagers are successful.

In comparison, if you'd made three individual $50 bets at these odds, you'd have received $285 ($80 + $110 + $95) if they were all successful.

There's one other factor to consider though. Sportsbooks may shift the odds slightly (either in or against your favor), so there may be some minor variance between the odds you calculate and what the bookie pays out.

Calculating odds on parlays can be quite tricky, especially if math isn't your strong suit. Thankfully, there is a solution. At OddsChecker, we've created an easy-to-use tool that does all the heavy lifting for you.

Just head to our parlay calculator and enter the odds of each team you're betting on, the amount you're wagering, and select which odds format you're using. It'll then give you both your total payout and total winnings.

If you need to find the odds for NFL games or any other sport to enter into the calculator, we've got you covered. We've partnered with all the biggest sportsbooks in the country to compare odds on almost every market.


Why Are Parlay Bets Popular?

You may also sometimes hear parlays known as "accumulators" because the potential payout gets bigger after each successful wager. Therefore, parlays offer bettors the prospect of significantly higher winnings if they can successfully predict the outcome of several games.

This is one of the reasons that parlays are so popular, though it's worth bearing in mind that the higher payouts come with much longer odds. This means that the parlay bet is less likely to payout because you need all of the wagers to be successful. So if you make four selections but only three are winners, you will receive nothing.

Many sports fans love parlays because they add a new dimension of excitement to betting. Instead of just cheering on one team, you have the thrill of doing it two, three, four, or even more times over a day.

The challenge that parlays present to bettors is another reason why so many people enjoy making this kind of bet. They like the chance to use their sporting knowledge to predict the outcomes of several games at once.


What sports can you wager Parlay bets on?

The short answer to this question is, nearly all of them. Provided the sportsbook has a market for the sport you want to bet on, you should be able to make a parlay for it.

American sports fans will be glad to know that it's easy to place a parlay bet on all major leagues in the US, including the NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS, and NHL. Depending on the sportsbook, you'll usually also find parlays for international leagues like the English Premier League, the National Rugby League, and even tennis Grand Slams.

So no matter whether you're looking for a football or basketball parlay, you'll have no trouble finding a bookie who can accommodate you.


Where Can I Find The Best Parlay Picks?

With many variables at play with parlays, it can be a real challenge knowing which ones to bet on.

Thankfully, at OddsChecker, we make it easy for you. Our team of experts live and breathe football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and just about every other sport you can imagine. They spend hours combing through reams of data, examining past performance, and understanding the condition of each player to spot trends and find betting opportunities.

With this, the team puts together our free parlay picks that you can use when making your betting decisions. No matter what sport you want to bet on, we've got the best parlay picks every day of the week.

Click here to see our latest picks and parlays.

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