How Parlay Bets In Sports Work

by Maisie

Do you enjoy sports betting? Parlays are enticing high payout bets you must understand.

A parlay is a single bet that ties together two or more bets for a larger payout. Notably, for you to win a parlay bet, you must win all the bets you selected and combined. The higher the number of bets the higher the payout and the higher the risk. If a single bet in your parlay is incorrect, you lose all the other bets. This twist makes parlays bets risky but their high profits influence their popularity on sports betting websites like this Malaysian online casino site.

How Parlays In Sports Betting Work

The high number of bets and payouts in a parlay ramp a game’s odds. You risk more money as your wager. You must select at least 2 bets and more to make a parlay. The number depends on your oddsmaker. Bookmakers allow you to place parlays on different sports selections like hockey and tennis. You may combine Moneyline odds, point spread bets, etc but each bookie has his own set of rules. Notably, you can’t parlay bet on two events that relate to each directly.

3-Team Parlay

This parlay involves selecting three teams and placing a single bet on them. If all of them win, you’ll receive a payout based on their odds. In this example, the Chiefs must win by at least 3 points, the Cowboys must win by at least 11 points and the Bucs must lose by more than 4 points or win their game. Your $100 parlay bet has a $495 profit compared to a $170 profit from $300 single bets.

Parlay Bet Single Bet

+4 (-110)




-2.5 (110)




-10 (110)


+4 (-110)


-2.5 (110)


-10 (110)

Bet: $100 Bet: $100 Bet: $100 Bet: $100
Payout: $90 Payout: $90 Payout:$90
Total Payout: $595 Total Payout = $270

Parlay Cards

Most casinos list a standard set of odds that determine payouts on cards. It’s popular among bettors who want to lower their risk and increase their payout.

Round-Robin Parlay

These bets are a more complex parlay strategy. You’re allowed to divide a parlay into smaller individual groups. You can have several different combinations of teams in your parlay. For instance, a  four-team round-robin parlay can have 2, 3, and 4 teams. You can get a payout from all these combinations but you must wager all of them first.

Progressive Parlays

These parlays allow you to lose up to 3 wagers and still get a payout from the rest of your correct bets. The number of incorrect wagers and your oddsmaker’s rules affect your total payouts. They have lower risks and payouts compared to standard parlays.

The Odds Winning A Parlay Bet

Most bets use the standard -110 vigorish (vig) for total bets and point spreads. This is simply the fee a bookmaker charges for accepting your wager. The odds of winning a parlay depend on the number of bets therein. For instance, a two-team parlay has a 27.47% chance, and an eight-team parlay has 0.15% of a win. Notably, picking many teams for your parlay increase your chances of winning the bet significantly.

Calculating Parlay Payouts

You can calculate parlay odds using this formula; (win + wager) ÷ wager amount= decimal odds. Use these odds on each bet in your parlay. You can also use an online parlay calculator to get the best parlays and estimate your total wins. The total payouts you get also depends on the number of teams in your parlay. With a -110 vig, the two-team parlay yields $264, and the eight-team parlay yields $64,208. The payouts increase as you add more teams to your parlay.

Should you place a parlay bet?

Several people in history beat odds and won parlays. For instance, in 2019 a bettor won a parlay on NHL, NFL, and NBA games. However, due to their risky nature, place parlay bets responsibly once in a while. Aim for a small number of teams to minimize risk and use point spreads to even out your odds.


Parlays are complex bets that allow you to wager on two and more teams in multiple games. However, in most parlays, except progressive bets, losing a single bet means you can’t receive a payout. Lastly, you can calculate parlay odds and payouts as a precaution before you bet.

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