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What to Watch for When Betting on Parlays

If you’re looking to increase your chances of success when betting parlays, you surely understand how the bet works. It’s actually a series of bets - two or more - combined into one. If one of the bets is a loser, the entire parlay is a loss.

In order to improve your chances of winning parlays, there are some things you should watch for. It starts with understanding the online sportsbook odds and the house’s edge.

Parlay Odds - Betting Parlays

The standard bet comes with the standard -110 odds.. The house makes 10 percent and the implied probability of a win is 52.38 percent.

When you combine two bets, it will be harder to win both bets compared to just one. It makes sense then that the odds payout higher at +265. You have just a 27.35 percent chance of winning in that case. This is where the age old question comes, is betting parlays a good strategy?

Adding a third bet to the parlay reduces your chances of winning ever further. You have a 14.35 percent chance of winning all three bets. That’s why the payout is much higher at roughly +600.

You also have to understand that the house’s take will rise as the number of legs of a parlay increases. The house edge on a two-leg parlay is 10 percent. That rises to 12.5 percent on a three-leg parlay and goes way up to 31.25 percent on a four-leg parlay.

As a result, it makes more sense that typical parlays consist of either two or three legs. The biggest question with parlays is, are they worth the risk?

Building a Parlay

There are numerous ways to build a parlay, but not all of them are created equal. One of the best parlay strategies is to create what is termed a “correlated parlay.”

Put simply, you take two or more bets that actually influence each other. The idea is that winning one bet will increase the odds of winning the other bet (or bets). One type of correlated parlay is the same-game parlay. These are common in sports betting.

Let’s say you’re betting the NBA and two of the highest-scoring teams in the league that play at two of the fastest paces are playing each other. You like the total to go Over. A great same-game correlated parlay would be to include the first-half Over.

If the first half total goes Over, isn’t it likely to push the game total Over? That’s the idea with correlated parlays.

Betting NFL Parlays

Another typical same-game parlay is used in betting the NFL. It’s a Sunday night primetime showdown with a favorite laying three points at home. Both teams run the ball well and play great defense. The total is favorable and both teams trend Under.

You take the favorite -3 and combine that with the Under. A tight game between two defensive-minded, run-oriented teams typically leans Under. One bet influences the other.

Another parlay strategy is to stagger games. This works well in the NFL where Sunday games are played at 1 p.m., 4 p.m., and a night game at 8:15 p.m.

You build a three-team parlay with two early games and one late game. If the first two bets win, you can then guarantee a profit by adding a hedge bet. It’s just another parlay strategy that can improve your success.