What Is a Parlay Bet?

If you ask anybody what the most profitable type of bet to make is, then they will likely tell you that it is a parlay bet. If somebody has ever won big in the world of sports betting, then chances are that it would have been a parlay bet placed. But, what is a parlay bet? Luckily for you, you are about to find out!

What Is a Parlay in Sports Betting?

What is a Parlay Bet - Explained
Man placing Parlay sports bet at home

A parlay in sports betting is simple to understand. 

A parlay bet is two or more bets that are tied together.

If you wish to win a parlay bet, then you will need to win all of the bets on your parlay. If you lose one, then you win nothing, even if everything else is a parlay.

Parlay bets can be as simple or as complicated as you like. A simple parlay bet may look like one of these:

However, you can make things real complicated, if you wish. Some people may even tie the outcomes of numerous sports into a single bet, and maybe even throw in a futures bet too. Although, this isn't recommended. In our opinion, if you want to make things simple with a parlay, you need to keep things simple.

One of the major benefits of placing a parlay is the fact that you can win big.The odds are considerably better on a parlay than if you decided to place the bets individually. This is because the risk of losing is much, much higher.

What Is a Parlay in Betting Potential Winnings?

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As we said, the parlay odds are better than placing individual bets. There are numerous ways to determine parlay odds, but we find the easiest method to be to convert the odds into decimal odds, then follow this process:

The number will be the amount of cash you stand to make on that bet if it comes through. Although, you probably don't need to worry about parlay betting odds calculations all that much. This is because every major online sportsbook will calculate things for you.

How Do You Place a Parlay?

How you place a parlay will likely be dependent on where you are gambling, although no online sportsbook will make the process difficult. They want you to have a bet, after all. This is how they make their money. If you need guidance on how you place a parlay bet with a specific online sportsbook, then you can dive into their help information. This will walk you through the process.

In most cases, you just need to add the bets that you want to form part of your parlay to the betting slip. You then have to click a button that will state that you wish to convert these into a parlay bet. You will then be given the odds for the parlay.

Make sure that you read each and every bet that you add to your parlay, after all, if you add the wrong bet then you are going to be stuck with it. We have seen plenty of people lose winning parlays because they accidentally added the wrong bet to their slip. We don't want you to fall into the same trap!

Parlay Bonuses 

Before we dive into the pros ; cons of parlay bets, we do want to point out that there are some parlay bonuses available. A lot of online sportsbooks actively encourage you to place parlay bets. The bonuses can vary.

One of the most common will be boosted odds on certain parlay bets. This means that you can win a bit more cash from each and every bet that you place on the platform.

Another is the parlay insurance. This bonus will ‘insure' your parlay bet. This means that if one of the lines that you have on your parlay loses, you will get your stake back as bonus cash. You can then use this to make another parlay bet.

Pros ; Cons of Parlay Bets

Most sports gamblers tend to steer clear of parlay bets, despite the potential for big winnings. As we go through the pros and cons of this type of betting, we are sure that you will start to see why this is the case.

Pros of Parlay Bets

The biggest pro is that parlay bets can pay out extremely well. Seriously. There have been people that have been able to afford a home based upon a parlay bet of a dollar or so. Although, the chances of that happening are ridiculously small. You would need to be successful with dozens and dozens of lines.

Parlay bets tend to work best as a fun bet. No gambler will ever see them as a serious way to make money. They are there for the casual punters that want to place a quick, fun, bet on a game that they are watching. If they win? Great! If they lose, then it is probably fine. They probably spent no more than a couple of dollars on the bet anyway, so it isn't an issue.

Cons of Parlay Bets

While parlay bets can pay out really well, most of the time they do not. Even if you have just 2 lines on your parlay bet, the risk goes all the way up. This means that (in most cases) you are just throwing money away. Even if you do your research, there is still just too much risk with placing a parlay bet.

As we said before, parlay bets do carry far better odds than if you decided to place two individual bets. However, the expected value is much lower. Think about it.

If you place 2 individual bets, you have 2 opportunities to win.

If you place one bet containing two betting lines, you have 1 opportunity to win, but two places where it can go wrong.

This is why the vast majority of more experience gamblers will tend to place individual bets rather than a parlay. They know that they are never going to win anywhere near as much as they would do if they decided to place a parlay bet, but they also know that the chances of them walking away with at least something is going to be good. Most gamblers want to win something. Not to lose everything. 

What Are Parlay Bets? – Summary

A parlay bet is a combined bet. You will have two or more betting lines on a parlay. In order to win a parlay, every betting line will need to be a winner. If it doesn't, then you win nothing. One of the major perks of a parlay bet is the fact that they can pay out incredibly large amounts of cash, which is exactly what people want. However, they also carry a huge amount of risk, which means most keen gamblers are going to steer clear of them. Our opinion? Only use them as a fun bet, not as a serious way to make cash.