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Parlay Betting » A Complete Guide


Parlays have become time-honored traditions at the finest US sportsbooks. After all, we would know as we are constantly examining the types of odds and markets dished up by the biggest online sports betting operators in the industry. There is so much versatility associated with making parlay style wagers and ultimately it adds a sense of intrigue and excitement to your betting slips.

But what are parlays and how do parlays work? To get to grips with the parlay definition, we will run through examples of how to read them and give you the confidence to place parlay bets in the future. Stay with us to find out more.

What are Parlays?

Parlays are the US equivalent of accumulators. So, if you like to keep abreast of the NFL or NBA games taking place over any given weekend, you can string together a two-team or three-team parlay. This means that you can combine multiple bets onto one betting slip, however, in order to win, all legs of your bet will need to be successful.

As you will see, you can assemble a parlay using odds from a Moneyline, spread bets and Over/Under bets.

Putting Parlays to the Test

So, while you may have a clearer idea of what a parlay is, how do they work in reality? Well, if we took three games across the board for any given NFL weekend, they might look like this:

  • Buffalo Bills (-6.5) over New York Giants (-110)
  • New England Patriots (+3.5) over Green Bay Packers (-110)
  • Kansas City Chiefs (-7) over San Francisco 49ers (-110)

With a $110 bet, you can expect to scoop $596 in winnings if it comes off. Generally, three-team parlays will pay off at odds of around 6/1 if using the fractional format and generally, the vig or juice, as it is known, stands at -110 insofar as American odds go.

You will find at the top US online sports betting sites a betting calculator that will work out potential winnings from a three-team parlay based on your stake size.

Understanding Parlay Odds

Normally, most US sports betting sites will display odds in American odds, whereby the favorite will be denoted with a minus sign (-) while the underdog will have a plus sign (+) next to their name.

As mentioned, you can use a betting calculator to determine any potential winnings you can make. However, if one of the picks results in a push, then don’t worry. Parlay bets won’t lose on a push; instead, the specific pick is removed from the parlay bet and the potential payout on a parlay will drop accordingly.

Benefits of Parlay Bets

Parlay style bets have many advantages associated with them. We have outlined a few of them below:

  • Flexibility – You can combine multiple wagers onto a single betting slip, so you aren’t just stuck to wagering on a single game and they are one of the more versatile betting types around.
  • Added excitement – Although the risk factor is high, you can keep track of multiple games which can be quite exciting, but be wary that last-minute goals can scupper your bet if it goes against you.
  • Chance to win big – If you can strike lucky with a three-team parlay, then you can scoop some serious winnings. Ideally, you should stake with lower amounts so that any losses can be offset elsewhere.

Developing a Parlay Strategy

If you are going to get the most out of making parlay bets at sportsbooks, then there are a couple of practical strategies we suggest you take advantage of to help you in the long run:

  • Lock in heavy favorites – While the favorites can lose, if you can put more of them on your betting slip, then there is a greater chance you will make some profit.
  • Expose weak links – You may spot a weak betting line but if you can pair a weak line with a stronger line on the board, then you could come up trumps.

Parlay Betting – Final Thoughts

Parlay betting can be extremely profitable, but it is also high risk. Nevertheless, if you can be smart and manage your bankroll effectively, then you may well wish to stick to this betting type in the future. We hope our guide has acted as a source of inspiration, so what are you waiting for? Try out a parlay today and see what all the fuss is about!

FAQ – Parlays

What is a parlay bet?

A parlay bet is like an accumulator as you can combine the odds of two or more sports outcomes onto one betting slip.

Can you parlay Moneylines?

Yes, of course. Moneyline bets are very simple, and with some sports, there are no ties so the result won’t end up with a push.

Do parlay bets lose on a push?

No, parlay bets won’t lose a push. Instead, a pick will be removed and the potential payout will be adjusted accordingly.

How can you win a parlay bet?

To win a parlay bet, all legs of your bet will need to come through to return a winning wager. At some sites, you may be allowed to cash out before the last game finishes so you can retrieve any winnings early.