Guide to Parlay Betting: Everything You Need to Know About Parlays

Intro to Parlay Betting

Everyone has heard a friend, family member, acquaintance, or random person say something along the lines of, “I have a parlay that I feel terrific about!” So, what are parlays? Parlays are a compilation of individual bets combined into one bet, where every “leg” or “individual bet” of the parlay has to hit for you to get your payout. Parlays can span across multiple sports and different games. For instance, a bettor can place a parlay on the Indiana Pacers money line and the Boston Red Sox to score at least four runs. These bets in conjunction form a parlay, and if one of them (the legs) doesn’t hit, then you win nothing. However, if they both hit, then your payout is a more considerable amount.

Placing a Parlay Bet

Parlays can begin at as few as two legs and go up to a substantial amount of legs (10, 11, and even higher). As mentioned earlier, parlays can span over different sports on different days and with varying types of betting. Some bettors will bet on futures that are months away in conjunction with games that could occur today or tomorrow. It all depends on the confidence, and sometimes randomness, of a bettor on specific bets. There are a few different types of parlay bets, which will be covered later in this article.

Parlay Betting Slip

What Does Winning A Parlay Look Like?

There are plenty of parlay calculators available online that can give you an idea of what types of odds a sportsbook will provide you with based on the games/bets you choose and how many legs you have in any particular parlay. This should give you an idea of the meteoric returns you can get if you’re lucky and hit one of those massive parlays. Each sportsbook will likely offer different odds on parlays considering that each leg will probably have differing odds from sportsbook to sportsbook. When you are thinking about placing a parlay, take a look at different sportsbook options to see which one would give you the best odds for your respective bets.

Why Are Parlays Attractive?

Parlays are attractive as long-shot bets for bettors who crave the big hits. Some of the biggest parlays to hit have netted bettors millions of dollars. However, there are many examples where one leg will miss, and bettors walk away with nothing. It’s inherently a high-risk, high-reward bet in nature. Ideally, bettors don’t rely solely on parlays but instead use them as bonuses or fun bets with no real expectations.

Parlays also have a substantial amount of flexibility relative to other betting types. As previously stated, parlays can be different bets on different days for different sports. This gives bettors incentive to find two, three, or sometimes more lines on bets and betting lines that may be deficient in their opinions.

Types of Parlays

Two examples of types of parlays would be “Round Robin” and “Teasers.” Round Robin is a type of parlay that is best described as a bettor placing multiple parlays at once with a combination of different teams or totals. It’s not a complex concept but can be overwhelming for newer bettors trying to learn all of the ins and outs of betting. The other primary type of parlay is a teaser. A teaser also referred to as a “two-team tease,” is a way to combine bets on multiple games. The primary function is the ability to adjust the point spread, which then makes those particular bets more favorable. In turn, the teaser gets a less profitable return than a general two-team parlay, but the odds of it hitting are much more likely. For every leg of a teaser, you must use the same amount of points, and that number generally ranges between six points and ten points. For example, if you decide to take the Milwaukee Bucks against the spread with an additional six points, then every single leg must be six points and not more or less. You do have the ability to tease up or down on each game as long as the point total is the same. For example, if you choose a point spread of six points, you will move an underdog team from +8 to +14 or a favorite from -8 to -2. This parlay type is used primarily in the NBA, college basketball, college football, and the NFL.

Teaser Bet slip

What To Consider?

There is an essential piece of advice that I would extend to any new bettor with a lot of interest in parlays. It is crucial to find a sportsbook with a “cash-out” option available to bettors. A “cash-out” option gives you the ability to cash out your bet before it has settled. Regarding a parlay bet, this could mean that the sportsbook allows you to cash your bet out before every game or event you bet on has been completed. This is important because there are plenty of times when a parlay will get to its last leg and lose, and then the bettor walks away with nothing more than a story of how they almost hit big. Sometimes it’s better to take your gains on a parlay than to let it play out all the way and lose by one leg. For that reason, look into sportsbooks with that feature because it may come in handy one day.

Round Robin Bet Slip


Parlays are a great way to diversify your bets and keep things interesting in both the short-term and the long-term, depending on the timeline of your bets. Since you can have both longer-term parlays or short-term parlays, they give you the flexibility to have a lot of fun and get creative with your bets. It is essential to remember that parlays are slightly riskier than most straight, money line, or total bets and should be placed with some responsibility. You should never forget to diversify your betting portfolio and not rely solely on parlays with extremely long odds. Regardless, having objective knowledge of the pros and cons of parlays is imperative for any bettor.

Parlay FAQ

How many bets constitute a parlay?

A parlay has to be at least two bets in order for it to be considered a parlay. Additionally, the two bets have to be placed together. Thus, if one of the bets misses, both miss, and you would not get a payout.

What is an advantage to parlay betting?

The most evident advantage to parlay betting is the increased odds that you will get by tying a series of bets together. Some people have hit million-dollar parlays and made life-changing money from them. This is rare, of course, but intrigues bettors everywhere.

Can you only parlay certain sports?

No. Any sport that you can bet on can be part of a parlay. Also, you can put together a parlay with multiple different sports in it. For example, you can have a parlay with an MLB game, an NBA game, and an NFL game.

Does every sportsbook offer parlay betting?

Virtually every sportsbook that you would be able to find will offer parlay betting. You should not have to worry about any shortage of sportsbooks providing this type of bet because it can be pretty profitable for sportsbooks in general.

Do parlays have a cash-out option?

The answer is that it depends. The cash-out option varies from sportsbook to sportsbook. Some of them offer it, while others do not. It can be an advantageous feature for a sports bettor in the case that you hit several legs of a parlay and want to cash out.

Drew is one of the NBA Lead Writers at, specializing in betting content such as game predictions and player props. With a deep knowledge of players and prospects, Drew has an extensive edge in covering everything NBA.