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Updated: Nov 21, 2023


Straight Scoop

A parlay is a wager that is placed on two or more games at once. With a parlay bet, the customer places bets on multiple games rather than just one game, as is the case with a straight wager. The payout odds increase with the number of games included in a single parlay bet.

The odds for parlays using point spreads (football and basketball sides and totals) are fixed and depend on how many games you play. These odds will differ significantly in some cases depending on the sportsbook. Three well-known online sportsbooks are listed in the chart below along with their parlay payouts.

Calculating parlays using American odds, such as -120 or 165 (baseball and hockey sides and totals), can be challenging. Here is how a three-team parlay payout is determined for those who insist on understanding the math involved.

The parlay factor for favorites is calculated as follows: (money line 100) / money line.

Your parlay factor would be 1 if you placed a three-team parlay on X at -230. 1.43 or 70. Your second team, Z, at -172, would have a parlay factor of 1. or 1 point 58, 632.

For underdogs, life is a little simpler.

The parlay factor is (money line 100) / 100. If the third team in your parlay, team Q, is valued at 115, the parlay factor would be (115 100)/100, or 2.15.

In order to parlay, you currently have three games. The payout for the parlay would be the sum of the three parlay factors, or 1.43 x 1.58 x 2.15 = 4.86.

Then, take 4.86 and multiply by 1, getting 3.86.

It was that simple. nothing about it. Go online and enter some random lines into one of the many parlay calculators that are available. By including favorites and/or underdogs in your parlay, you can see how much your payouts will change.


After learning the odds, let's go over the regulations.

*Two out of three isn't bad, but it won't win a parlay wager. All games must win for the parlay to be successful.

*Your parlay will be reduced by one team for any game that ends in a tie. (Watch out for sportsbooks that classify pushes as losses. They're accessible.

*The side and total from the same game cannot be bet on in a parlay, according to some sportsbooks. (Don't ask me why.).

*It depends on the sportsbook whether or not you can combine different sports in parlays. (I suppose no one wants to perform the necessary math.).

*A parlay wager cannot be changed once it has been placed (Coach decides to give a few star players the day off right before tip-off? Too bad). The second team had better answer the bell, you better hope).


In contrast to a straight bet, where you must correctly predict the outcome of just one game, all games must win in this wager, so it is obvious that the risk is much higher. A parlay's payout more than makes up for its higher risk.

Whether or not to parlay has been a topic of discussion among all levels of gamblers and handicappers. Mathematical analysis has been calculated and poured over repeatedly for topics like "target win rates" and "optimal returns per unit.". Making straight bets rather than parlays offers much higher profit potential. Parlays are viewed as sucker bets by many serious gamblers because of this. In my opinion,

There is no harm in laying some down for a few dollars here and there, even though I wouldn't go around putting large sums up on multi-team parlays. Bets on parlays can be placed at some sportsbooks for as little as 50 cents. If you're an action gambler, placing a $5 multi-team parlay instead of a straight bet might be enough to sate your craving while also saving you a ton of cash.

Don't forget the person who gave you the advice if you do manage to hit a big parlay at some point. Just a tiny cut is required.


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