A parlay is a bet that includes multiple individual wagers, such as bets on the outcome of two or more separate games, that are combined into a single bet. All of the individual bets are required to win for the parlay to be successful.
Parlays are combined bets that can almost be as colossal as you like. In return, you’ll get bigger odds than on a straight wager but with that comes greater risk. Whether you’re a ‘go big or go home’ gambler or a ‘building on a budget’ bettor, parlays can be a great way to boost your bankroll.
Sports betting folklore tells of legendary parlay winners with hundreds of thousands returned on just a few dollars. The chances of reaching those heights are about as low as winning the NY Lotto but there are still healthy profits to be had. Understanding how parlays work and adopting some wise combo betting strategies can increase your prospects of a prosperous payout.
A parlay bet is a wager on two or more outcomes with the odds rising the more picks that are added. All of the single wagers must win for a parlay to be successful. A two-team combination is a parlay at its most basic but all of the top rated NY sportsbooks will let you add 10 to 15 legs or more.
You can place parlay bets on all manner of markets including moneylines as well as points spreads and totals. Parlays might run throughout an evening, a day, a weekend, a month or even a year. Parlays can be constructed out of legs chosen from one game (a single game parlay) or multiple events.
The winnings from each individual wager in a parlay roll over into the next leg a bit like earning compound interest. To illustrate this multiplier effect, consider two standard moneyline bets with $50 staked on the New York Rangers and the Buffalo Sabres to win at odds of +110.
If both ‘win’ bets came in, a happyish bettor would land 2 x $50 in profit plus have their stake returned. If said savvy sharp had used their $100 to back both teams in a parlay, they’d have been up by $341. That’s quite the difference in payouts on what is a pretty simple parlay.
All of the best NY sportsbooks make placing parlay bets straightforward. Most also have handy parlay-building tools that you can load selections onto and see at a glance what the potential profits will be.
To put on a parlay bet, navigate to the sport you want, choose the event and browse all of the available lines. Add the ones you’ve opted for onto your bet slip and you’ll be presented with all of the wagering options. You can place individual stakes on each one, or navigate to the parlay option to enter a single wager amount.
Although the parlaying possibilities are almost endless, some sportsbooks won’t allow you to combine certain bet types on certain events. There’s no universal rule across all bookmakers on what parlay combos they will allow or restrict.
Those that most commonly can’t be placed together are bets correlated to each other. Usually, this will be the moneyline and the points spread as the two outcomes are not completely separate. For example, you might not be able to parlay on the Islanders to win and choose the spread at +1.5. That’s because if they are victorious, the Isles will automatically cover the 1.5.
Sportsbooks generally aren’t keen on offering the parlay as an option for a combined bet of the first half over and the final score over either. The reason being, once the first over comes in, the chances of the full-time over following suit is much more likely.
You might also find some parlay options limited on futures bets when they’re also connected. For instance, sportsbooks typically won’t accept a parlay on the Giants to win the NFC Championship and the Super Bowl. Neither would they offer parlay odds on the Rangers to win the Eastern Conference Play-Off Finals and the Stanley Cup.
Now that we’ve said all that, the parlay prospects have opened up significantly in recent years with the advent of the SGP. Same game parlays are now offered at all the top NY sportsbooks. SGPs enable much more flexibility as to the legs that can be built together all from the same event. The books still like to be in control of the lines that can be added to a parlay from the same match though. You’ll most often find the options available advertised on a separate tab or with an ‘SGP’ icon next to them if they can be combined into a single parlay.
If you’re going to bet parlays, always check the potential payouts as odds can vary between sportsbooks. Also, beware of the honeypot lure of spying a chance for big profits on an extensive parlay. The odds will be huge for a reason - because the wager has a low chance of winning.
Sportsbooks will offer standard-type parlays with the most popular line combinations on the biggest games. Offered at fixed odds, it’s easy to calculate what the payout would be. If you’re building your own custom multi-leg wager though, it’s also still quite straightforward to calculate a parlay:
Take the following example:
New York Giants at odds of -150
New York Rangers at odds of -120
Buffalo Bills at odds of +170
Then follow the math to work out the multiplier on the whole parlay:
A wager of $100 on the Giants returns a total payout of $250 (so 250/150 = 1.67)
A wager of $100 on the Rangers returns a total payout of $220 (so 220/120 = 1.83)
A wager of $100 on the Bills returns a total payout of 270 (so 270/100 = 2.70)
Then calculate all of those individual figures together to give the overall multiplier - 1.67 x 1.83 x 2.70 = 8.25.
To get the actual decimal odds you’ll be offered from the book, subtract 1. In this example, that results in 7.25. A winner will be at fractional odds of 25/4 and American odds of +625. The total potential payout of a $100 parlay on the Giants, Rangers and Bills in this instance would be $725.
When constructing a parlay, the odds work as they would for any other type of bet. It’s when the legs combine and begin compounding as wins that things get a little more complicated.
As with any odds displayed in the American format, negative numbers mean that the player or team are the favorites and positive figures represent the underdog. It’s the less favored (+) sides that quickly and significantly drive up parlay odds, though with bigger risk. If your parlay includes a balance of heavy favorites and big underdogs, then the odds will level out. A higher number of legs always results in a higher potential payout though.
Many sports betting markets feature standard odds lines of -110 and +110. There’s a simple rule to applying these to parlays. A double parlay at -110 pays about 2.6/1. So, a $100 wager on two favorites, both at odds of -110 will return a total of a little over $260. Adding a third leg at the same price receives odds of 6/1. From there, parlay odds roughly double for each additional -110 line added.
That general guide to how parlay odds work is important for calculating value, but also for comparing the prices at different sportsbooks. At different times and on different markets, sportsbooks will take a slice of the top of the odds as ‘vig’ or ‘juice’. That’s the fee a bookmaker charges for facilitating bets. The vig on a parlay will usually be higher than for a straight bet because there’s a commission cut chopped off each leg.
It can help to visualize parlays in terms of their chances of a win. The perceived probability of a multi-leg wager winning lengthens exponentially with each line added, even when betting on several teams that are all rated as favorites to win. Check out these examples taken from recent wagers at WynnBET NY sportsbook to illustrate this:
With the New York Yankees sitting atop the standings in American League East during June 2022, they traveled 500 miles to take on the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. The moneyline odds closed at -153 with the over market at 9.0 and -105.
Moneyline @ -153
Over 9.0 @ -105
Total odds @ +222
Making two individual bets on the Yankees of $100 on this game pays out $165.36 on the moneyline and $195.24 on the over. That would mean a total profit on the two single bets of $160.60
However, still rated as quite probable at a little over a 2 to 1 chance, $200 with both added to a parlay returns $445.69 with a profit of $225.69. Ahead of the game, you’d rate the parlay as better value than the two straights.
If we were feeling particularly confident of the Yankees' chances, then adding another leg to the parlay returns even bigger profits.
This time, we’ve also included the points spread (run line) at -1.5 with odds of +105:
Moneyline @ -153
Over 9.0 @ -105
Run line @+105
Total odds @ +560
Just adding that run line, where we’re expecting the Yankees to win even with a modest -1.5 handicap, makes a big difference. This time, a parlay wager of $200 would payout $1,320 with a cool $1,120 in profit.
Parlays can be placed on most sports available at all of the legal NY sportsbooks. If a particular sport is one you follow closely, use your expertise when it comes to developing betting strategies on them. Here are just a few examples.
Parlay bets on football are among the most popular wagers during the pre-season, NFL schedule and playoffs. When there’s an extensive football fixture list, parlay betting makes sense when it offers better value than placing wagers on individual games. With many big favorites in NFL games, combining teams that you think are very likely to win in a parlay makes sense. Also, look for value in semi-correlated parlays that incorporate the points spread with the total.
With so many games taking place every week, baseball parlay opportunities are enormous. A good strategy can be taking heavy favorites and placing two or more modest parlays on them combined with underdogs that you (and the bookmaker) think have a good chance of the win. You’ll be able to identify those dogs when their odds are in the range of +150. If you follow a team that’s strong in defense or pitching, it follows that if they win the game will go ‘under’ on totals bets.
It’s common for NBA teams to have modest winning and losing streaks of four, five or more games. If you can spot a team that looks like it’s about to hit form and win or lose consecutive matches, you can get in ahead of the rest of the basketball betting population to find great odds. If a team is doing this by relying on its disciplined defense check out the ‘under’ betting options.
Round robin betting takes parlays into more complex realms. A round-robin bet is a wager made up of three or more parlays. For many casual bettors, that’s as far as they’ll go near a round-robin. However, a simple example illustrates just what this means.
If you pick three teams to win on an NFL Sunday - the Jets, the Giants and the Yankees. Placing a round-robin might involve three double parlays, one treble parlay and three single wagers, like this:
The Jets and the Giants to win.
The Jets and the Yankees to win.
The Giants and the Yankees to win.
+ Treble Parlay
The Jets, Giants and Yankees all to win.
+ Single Wagers
The Jets to win.
The Giants to win.
The Yankees to win.
Each of those wagers will have its own odds to win which are all then computed on the successful combinations. Just one winning individual parlay guarantees a return. The ticket costs the amount chosen to stake on each parlay added together. The more winning lines, the bigger the payout.
A round-robin can be even more complicated when combining totals and points spreads. This type of parlay betting is risky when you add up to the overall wager amount required and they get expensive when adding in more teams. However, they can also earn big profits.
A teaser is just like a parlay bet but you adjust the parameters - the points spreads or totals - for a better chance of winning. You move the lines in your favor to create a parlay that has a better probability of success but the odds will lower as a result. Adding more teams and ‘teasing’ their lines increases the potential payouts.
Most NY sportsbooks will offer options to change the points spread by 6.0, 6.5 or 7.0. Some will occasionally go up to 10 but this depends on the sport and the game in question. Teasers are most commonly found in football and basketball where there are higher scores, so moving the line by a point or two makes less of a difference than in low-scoring sports such as soccer.
Hedging is a betting strategy that at least guarantees some profit on a parlay but at a price. Rather than maximizing winnings, hedging is a way to optimize betting security. Hedging a parlay bet takes place after the events making up the legs are underway. Parlays force the winnings from a previous bet to roll over to the next one so, say you’ve placed a 3-leg wager and the first two have come in, you could still lose the lot if the final line is unsuccessful.
At this point, you could place a bet that’s against your original one but still guarantees you a payout. You have to get the math right to hedge successfully, but taking a particular wager at the right price will cover all possible outcomes on the final leg, and so the overall parlay’s chances of success. A hedge at the wrong price, and at the wrong time, could also result in a loss. So a successful approach means monitoring changes in odds closely before the game and when it’s in running.
A push occurs when the final result of the wager equals the line set by the sportsbook. For example, if a game between the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning has the former at +2 for the points spread and the game finishes at 3-1 to the latter, then any wagers on the spread will push.
When a push happens on a parlay, the sportsbook will treat the leg as if it had never happened. The line is removed and the overall odds adjusted. So, if it was a three-leg parlay, it would simply become a two-leg one.
All of the sportsbooks operating in the State of New York have masses of parlay betting options. Each will be slightly different in how they allow users to construct parlays, what types of wagers can be combined, and the odds they offer. Check out the following for some of the best NY sportsbooks for parlay bets.
Easiest sportsbook for building parlays - BetMGM & WynnBET
For those new to parlay betting or anyone who wagers on the fly, BetMGM and WynnBET have great tools for easily combining legs. BetMGM’s ‘Easy Parlay’ feature does exactly what it says by allowing users to click on its dedicated tab to access all the biggest games from which to build bets. WynnBET also excels by quickly enabling bettors to load up their lines and switching between traditional parlays, teasers and round robins.
Biggest number of parlay odds boosts - Caesars
Boosting the odds on a parlay can result in a sizable higher return. Caesars offer masses of boosts on parlay pricing with increased odds throughout the NFL season and on same game parlays for tons of MLB fixtures.
Largest selection of props and single-game parlays - DraftKings & FanDuel
As the fantasy sports market leaders, DraftKings and FanDuel deliver a fantastic array of game and player props that can be added to parlays. FanDuel was also the first US sportsbook to introduce same-game parlays so expect to find that their SGP offerings are among the best around.
Best for live same game parlays - PointsBet
PointsBet was the first US sportsbook to offer same-game parlays on its live betting markets. Currently only available for NFL and NBA games, in-game SGPs deliver an extra dimension to following the action as it happens.
A same-game, single-game, or one-game parlay is a wager that ties together multiple markets from the same game. The legs can be correlated and NY sportsbooks offer same-game parlays on baseball, football, hockey, basketball and soccer.
A ½-point parlay card has ½-point spreads to eliminate the possibility of a tie or a push on a wager.
At the biggest NY sportsbooks, cash-out will be offered as an option on parlays for selected sports. Cash-out means you settle for a profit or loss in running or mid-event.
Certain NY sportsbooks will enable you to parlay prop bets. DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM and Caesars offer extensive options to parlay game and player props.
Typical odds for a 4-team parlay are +1000 (10/1) or +1100 (11/1) (depending on the bookmaker and the vig applied )which would payout $1100 or $1200 on a wager of $100.
For a parlay bet using standard -110 odds, a 2 team parlay would typically pay out $360 on a wager of $100, netting you $260 profit.
A 5-team parlay of $100 at standard odds of +2200 will pay $2,300 with a profit of $2,200.
If a game in a parlay is canceled or postponed, most sportsbooks will let the bet stand. They will treat it as if the game had never been, remove the leg and adjust the odds accordingly.
A match/total parlay is a wager with two legs - who will win and by how many points under or over a figure set by the sportsbook.