How to Use Parlays in Sports Betting

Parlays are used by gambling sites to increase the excitement of a bet. Simply put a parlay is a series of bets or multiple bets all of which must be won for you to collect your winnings. For instance if you are betting on football, you can place a parlay bet saying that team A will win, team B will lose by more than 12 points, and the total points scored will be more than 20.

Here, the online gambling site will pay you only if all three of your bets win. Otherwise you lose your stake. Additionally, if one of the bets results in a tie, the percentage of the bet is deducted before the payout is made. This often means that the odds in a parlay are not 50-50 as in the case of straight bets but skewed to favor the book maker.


When it comes to parlays, most online gambling sites and book makers offer poor odds. This means that you are better off placing individual bets that placing a parlay. However, in certain circumstances, it makes sense to place parlay bets and enhance your profits.

True Odds

When the odds offered by the gambling site or bookmaker are all -110, the odds are against you and you should avoid placing a parlay bet. However, if the book maker is offering odds of -115 on even one of the bets, the odds change in your favor and you can use this to place a parlay.

Free Play Credits

Most online gambling sites offer either cash bonuses or free play credits. When you use a cash bonus to place a bet and win you get both the bonus and your winnings. However, when you are offered a free play credit, you will only obtain the winning amount. One way of getting over this is to use your free play credit to make parlays. This will help you to compound your winnings multiple times to land or secure a larger winning amount.

Betting Limits

Another way in which parlays can be used to your advantage is when a gambling site sets betting limits. In such cases, you will be unable to place multiple large bets, but can place a single parlay bet within your limit and still obtain a large winning amount. This is a particularly attractive advantage of parlay sports wagering.

Co-Related Parlays

Typical parlays are skewed toward the book maker and against the recreational sports bettor. This is because the odds of a series of unrelated events happening just as you predicted them is very low. This is especially so if the parlay has more than three plays. However, bettors can place co-related parlays and take advantage of the benefits of the odds offered by parlays with a maximum of three plays.

For instance, if you have been following teams A and B and are sure of the way in which they are likely to play, you can place a parlay that predicts that team A will win, and include a point spread bet that team B will lose by at least 6 points, and also include an over-under bet that says that the total points scored will be over 12. On the other hand if you favor the underdog, team B, you can parlay by including that the point spread will be less than 6, and that the total points will be under 20.

This parlay will reduce the odds against you for essentially the same prediction about the game but enhance your winnings substantially. This is because your stake of $100 will first win you say another $90, and the second bet in the parlay will provide winnings based on the combined stake of $190. The final bet in the parlay will further compound your winnings. This type of parlay will enable you to substantially increase your winning amount from the gambling site even if you use only a small stake.

Another popular variant of the parlay are teaser bets. Teasers are a combination of two or more bets in which the bettor moves the point spread or total in their favor in exchange for a reduced payout. Similar to parlays, all individual bets must win in order for the teaser to pay out. There are certain instances when teasers may work to your advantage, but in general their name does them justice.

A Complete Understanding

Recreational sports bettors can take advantage of the parlays offered by gambling sites as long as they understand the odds being offered. While it is not advisable to offer parlays with more than three plays, or use un-co-related parlays, in some circumstances it is makes perfect sense to use parlays. This is especially so if the gambling site places a limit or offers free play credit. You can convert these circumstances into a large win by using parlays judiciously. A recreational bettor who understands exactly what a parlay entails and the way the book maker can benefit if the number of plays increases will be able to select parlay combinations that provide them with a winning edge.

Other Common Sports Wagers:

Betting Point Spreads

Totals: Over/Under Bets

How to Bet Moneylines