Parlay Betting Explained

Parlay Betting Explained

Parlay sports betting is one of the most popular betting lines available, with sportsbook users looking to place parlay bets all the time. We will answer the question “what is a parlay bet?” Then, detailing how does a parlay bet works, as well as highlighting betting opportunities when placing parlay bets for our readers.

What is a Parlay?

So, what is a parlay bet? A parlay bet is a type of sports bet that combines multiple individual bets into what is known as a “card.” Sometimes this type of bet is known as an accumulator. A combination of bets means the odds you receive are worse, but the risk is greater so the reward can be spectacular. Like with any other bet, the larger the stake, the larger the payout.

In order for the parlay bet to come in, the bettor must win every single bet on the card. Much like in all our other betting guides, we’ll provide an example to make things easier. For example, if a bettor chooses the Mavs, Suns, and Clippers to win their games on any given Sunday, all three would have to win for the payout to come in. If any single one of those teams happens to lose, then the parlay won’t payout.

While it’s imperative that the bettor wins, there is an exception to the rule. Parlay bets online or made in a casino, can result in a “push”, or tie. If one of the games on the parlay is pushed, it means that the rest of the parlay will still work, but the game will be taken off the card. The payout will of course be smaller, but the bet still works.

Typically a 10 team parlay bet purchased for $25 could pay out over $15,000 if every game comes in. Looking at round-robin betting or using kenpom vs sagarin rankings are other methods of making money, but parlays are simple and can bring with them huge rewards.

That covers the basics of parlay betting, now let’s take a look at the kinds of betting lines that function with parlay bets.

Types of Parlays

There are a variety of bets that can work with parlay betting, which we’ll cover below with a short explanation and examples. We should also address a common question, which is “can you parlay prop bets?” The answer to this is generally no. However, certain sportsbook providers may allow for this in certain circumstances.


We’ve covered how to parlay bet, but now let’s look at parlays within over/under betting. So what does a parlay mean in betting on over/unders? It’s quite simple really, over/unders, or totals, bets are popular in betting parlays because they allow bettors to place multi bets on the same game. For example, betting on which team will win, then adding a parlay with whether they think the game will go “under” or “over.”

Point Spreads

Point spreads, most commonly known as “the spread,” are one of the key elements of sports betting. Without them, the bets would just be moneylines based on who we think will win or lose. A point spread aims to even the odds and allows bettors to play on the underdog. An example of this would be if the Knicks are playing the Lakers, a sportsbook might post odds -15 Knicks and +15 Lakers. If the Lakers win by 12 you lose the bet, but if the Knicks lose by 16, you win!

The spread is dictated by the difference between the two teams. If there is a huge mismatch, then the spread will be greater. In the NFL the spread rarely goes beyond 13.5, but in other sports, the spread can be much greater.

The question “can you parlay the same game?” is a common one. But using a point spread with a parlay on the same game is commonplace. Always review the full betting options before placing a bet, as sportsbooks provide such a broad range of betting options these days.


Finally, we discuss moneyline bets, the most common betting market available. Moneyline bets are very common with parlay betting. A straight-up bet based on the winner and loser of an event, so you can see why they suit one another.

Bettors just create a card filled with a variety of moneyline games, if those bets come in then the parlay will pay out in full. When it comes to moneyline parlay bets, it’s smart to try and include some underdogs on the card to boost the odds at the end. Alternatively, a bettor may choose to back the favorite for every bet on the card, which is still unlikely to come in but will yield lower profits.

Something some bettors don’t know is that they can mix moneyline bets with point spread bets on a single parlay. However, this is the only type of mixed bet that can be made using parlays.

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