What Is a Parlay Bet? Learn How Parlays Work

Parlays are a popular sports bet that increase the possible payout of a wager. Learn about different types of parlay bets, parlay odds and parlay payouts with examples from MLB, NBA, NFL and more!

Jun 27, 2023 • 07:56 ET
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What is a parlay?

A parlay is one wager on two or more bets that are tied together for a larger payout. For the parlay to win, all bets involved must win. The more bets added to the parlay, the greater the risk and the bigger the payout. If a single bet in the parlay loses, the entire parlay bet loses as well.

How does a parlay work?

Parlays tie together multiple bets and because all the bets involved must win for the parlay to pay out, the risk is much higher than a single-game bet. However, that increased risk is reflected in the parlay odds.

3-team parlay

As an example, this is a three-team NFL parlay. The parlay involves three spread bets: the Dallas Cowboys -2.5, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers +4, and the Kansas City Chiefs -10.

In order for this three-team parlay to win, the Chiefs must win by at least 11 points, the Cowboys must win by at least three points, and the Buccaneers must win outright or lose by less than four points. Even if two of these three bets win and only one loses, the overall parlay loses.

What is a parlay bet? Learn how parlays work.

Parlay odds

Parlay odds can be calculated by dividing the total return amount (win + wager) by the wager amount to get a decimal multiplier (also known as European odds) for each bet involved in the parlay. Then you times those multipliers by each other to get the parlay odds.

For example, a three-team moneyline parlay involves bets of -120, -130, and +115.

If you’re wagering $100 on the parlay, you should have multipliers of 1.83, 1.77, and 2.15 for those individual bets. Multiplying those odds gives you 6.96 and with a $100 wager on the parlay, the total return would be $696 (6.96 x $100) – a win of $596.

What are the odds of hitting a parlay?

Parlay betting is a high-risk, high-reward wager and the more bets involved the slimmer the odds of hitting the parlay.

Using the standard -110 vig for point spread and totals bets, these are the odds of winning your parlay based on the number of bets involved:

  • Two-team parlay – 27.47 percent
  • Three-team parlay – 14.37 percent
  • Four-team parlay – 7.52 percent
  • Five-team parlay – 3.94 percent
  • Six-team parlay – 2.06 percent
  • Seven-team parlay – 1.08 percent
  • Eight-team parlay – 0.56 percent
  • Nine-team parlay – 0.30 percent
  • 10-team parlay – 0.15 percent

Parlay payouts

The size of your parlay payout depends on how many bets are involved and the individual odds for those bets.

Using standard -110 vig for point spread and totals, these are the parlay payouts for a $100 wager:

  • Two-team parlay - $264.46
  • Three-team parlay - $595.79
  • Four-team parlay - $1,228.33
  • Five-team parlay - $2,435.90
  • Six-team parlay - $4,741.27
  • Seven-team parlay - $9,142.43
  • Eight-team parlay - $17,544.64
  • Nine-team parlay - $33,585.23
  • 10-team parlay - $64,208.16

Payouts will increase and decrease with the number of games added to the parlay but also with the varying odds for those bets. A moneyline parlay involving heavy payouts will not pay out as much as one involving underdogs because the risk isn’t as great.

Use our parlay calculator to build your best parlay picks and calculate how much money you could win.

Push on a parlay

If one of the bets involved in a parlay is graded as a push or tie, the bet is removed from the parlay and it’s graded on the remaining bets.

If a three-team parlay has two bets correct and one graded as a push, the bet that pushed is removed and the parlay is then graded as a two-team parlay and the payouts are adjusted to reflect the risk of the two correct bets.

Round robin parlays

Round robin parlays allow multiple parlays to be placed across several games. Bettors can choose multiple bets and then create parlays of various sizes involving those games, with each parlay variation requiring an individual wager.

For example, a four-team round-robin parlay can include parlays of two, three, and four teams. Any possible combination of winning bets that fits those parlays will pay out, however, you must place individual wagers on the 11 different parlay combinations.

Parlay cards

Many sportsbooks, especially those retail books inside casinos, will use a standard set of odds to determine parlay payouts. Football parlay cards are very popular on NFL Sundays, as casual bettors look to risk a little to win a lot of money.

Parlay card from Circa Sports

Parlay card payouts

Instead of the parlay odds calculations shown above, parlay cards offer a set payout amount for point spread and Over/Under parlays:

  • Three-team parlay - 5.5/1
  • Four-team parlay - 11/1
  • Five-team parlay - 22/1
  • Six-team parlay - 44/1
  • Seven-team parlay - 88/1
  • Eight-team parlay 175/1
  • Nine-team parlay - 350/1
  • 10-team parlay - 700/1
  • 11-team parlay - 1,300/1
  • 12-team parlay - 2,500/1

Parlay betting FAQ

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