To Parlay or Not To Parlay?

Parlays are a popular type of bet in the world of sports betting, offering the potential for big payouts by combining multiple bets into one. However, when it comes to parlays, it is essential to understand the true odds of winning and the typical payout odds offered by sportsbooks.

A parlay bet involves combining two or more individual bets into one wager. In order to win a parlay, all individual bets within the parlay must win. For example, a two-team parlay would require both individual bets to win in order for the parlay to pay out.

The allure of parlays is the potential for a big payout. The more teams that are added to a parlay, the higher the potential payout becomes. However, it is important to note that the true odds of winning a parlay are not the same as the payout odds offered by sportsbooks.

To illustrate this point, let’s look at the true odds of winning a 2, 3, 4, and 5 team parlay, alongside the typical payout odds offered by sportsbooks:

Number of TeamsTrue OddsTypical Payout Odds
23/12.6/1
37/16/1
415/110/1
531/120/1

As you can see, the true odds of winning a parlay increase exponentially with each additional team added, while the typical payout odds offered by sportsbooks do not keep pace.

It is important to understand this disparity between true odds and typical payout odds when considering whether to place a parlay bet. In general, it is advisable to avoid parlays unless your bookie has low limits on your straight bets and you have a high degree of confidence in your individual plays.

The only time it makes sense to reach for a parlay is on a two-team parlay. Even then, it is important to consider whether the potential payout is worth the added risk. The more teams you add to a parlay, the greater the advantage you hand over to the house.

In conclusion, while parlays can offer the potential for big payouts, it is important to understand the true odds of winning and the typical payout odds offered by sportsbooks. Avoiding parlays unless you have low limits on your straight bets and high confidence in your individual plays is generally the best course of action. When considering a parlay, always weigh the potential payout against the added risk and consider whether the potential payout is worth it.

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