Parlay Bet Explained: Definitions and Examples




Parlay bet is common because it gives a huge payout than selecting a single team to win. But, it is more of a gambling type as you need to win every wager of parlay. If one “leg” loses, you lose the whole parlay and bet.

What is Parlay Bet?


A parlay is a single sports wager that combines two or more bets for a large payout. It includes various types of wager, including point spreads, Moneyline, totals, props bets, and more. To win the parlay, you must win all the bets involved in it. This means if you lose any bet in a parlay, you will lose the whole parlay.


The more bets are added in it, the more is the risk to lose it, and the greater is the winning amount. Most betters of parlay try to create a lottery-type payout with many games combined together.

How Does a Parlay Work?



Parlay bet combines together multiple bets, and because of this, the risk is much higher than a single-game bet. Here is how parlay works with example:

3-Team Parlay Bet


Say there is a three-team NFL parlay. It involves three spread bets: the Dallas Cowboys -2.5, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers +4, and the Kansas City Chiefs -10. To win this three-team parlay, Chiefs must win by at least 11 points, Cowboys by three points and Buccaneers by five points. Even if one of these three bets lose, the overall parlay loses.

Parlay Odds


You can calculate parlay odds by using the Decimal odds format. Convert the numbers either yourself or change the settings on the online sportsbook you use.


Convert the American odds to decimal odds

Multiply all the decimal odds together

Multiply the result by your bet amount

Subtract your original stake to get the parlay odds


Follow this formula to do conversions manually.


Favorites (negative numbers): divide favorite with then add 1.0

Underdogs (positive numbers): Divide underdogs with 100, then add 1.0


For example, you want to bet a favorite with -150 with an underdog who is +300. Here’s what the formula looks like.


100/150 + 1 = 1.666

300/100 + 1 = 4.0


Now, calculate the potential payout by multiplying the decimal odds by the wager amount that is $100:


1.666 x 4 x $100 = $666.4


If you have more than two wagers on your parlay, simply convert the odds for each and include it in the final multiplication. That’s a great payout, but remember that you’d have to win all three bets for this.

Should You Bet Parlay?


Mathematically speaking, this bet is not a good idea because, in this, the risk is high. But, if you have good knowledge of sportsbook and you are confident of winning all bets that involve in a parlay, then go for it. The payout is high, and if it attracts you think twice and place a bet carefully.