Some players like opportunities to win big with a relatively small amount of risk. Parlay bets serve these types of players quite well, as they offer the potential for a big payout with relatively low risk. Parlay betting is the type of sports bet where multiple individual bets (typically 2-10 bets) are combined into one bet or so-called betting card.
Combining the bets makes the odds of winning very high; however, the reward for winning a parlay bet is very high too. The larger the wagered amount of a parlay bet, the larger the payout will be, in case of a win. However, there is one essential condition that has to be fulfilled: in order to win a parlay bet, all the individual bets on a betting card must be won.
For example, let us assume a player bet on Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, and Washington Redskins to win their games on any given Saturday. If all three teams win, a player will get a much larger return than if he just makes individual bets on each game. However, if any of the teams lose their bet, the entire parlay betting card is lost.
The only exception would be a “push,” which is the gambling term for a tie. If one of the games on the card is a push, that wager is removed from the parlay.
As you can probably figure out, winning a parlay is quite more complicated than winning an individual bet. Nevertheless, while the odds of winning large parlays (5-10 wagers combined) are relatively low, a player can still risk a small amount of money for a chance to luck out a large reward. For example, a $25 staked on 10 teams parlay bet would pay out over $16,000 if every game on the betting card were won.
Calculating a parlay bet
Let us say we want a parlay with the following teams:
Philadelphia Eagles: -170
Cleveland Browns: +190
Los Angeles Chargers: -140
First, we have to convert money line odds for each game into decimal odds (multipliers) by dividing the total estimated payout in case of a win (risk +win) by the risk amount.
Philadelphia Eagles -170 to win 100, so the total payout would be $270
270/170 = 1.5882
Cleveland Browns – 100 to win 190, so the total payout would be $290
Los Angeles Chargers – 140 to win 100, so the total payout would be $240
Now, that we have multipliers for the individual games, we multiply them together to find out the true odds of the parlay:
1.5882 x 2.9 x 1.7142 =7.8952
The odds mean that the return on this parlay including the risk amount would be around 7.86, and the total profit would be estimated at 6.86 for every dollar wagered on this parlay.
To calculate the total return of the parlay, the odds are multiplied by the staked amount. Let us say that we bet $200 on this parlay. Then our total payout if the parlay wins would be:
7.8952 x $200 = $1579.04
The potential profit of this parlay is calculated by subtracting the staked amount from the total payout:
$1579.04 – $200 = $1379.04
In reality, anything above a three-team parlay is quite hard to win, although some people do like to bet parlays because it offers a special thrill, a unique to win a lot by risking a little. In some ways, parlay betting is akin to buying lottery tickets: you can win a very high prize by investing a very small amount, although the probability of this happening is quite low.