Sports Betting Strategy

Sports Betting: Why Bettors Should Avoid Parlays

There has been a lot written about the parlay bet over the years. There is also lot of truth to the statements made by those that feel the smart handicappers should avoid them altogether. While the parlay bet can be very attractive based on the potential for high reward, the risk factor is usually too great to make it worth actually betting. Here is a look at why bettors should avoid parlays.

The Parlay Bet

A parlay bet is any wager when two or more teams are wagered on as part of the same ticket. The bettor can pick between two and 12 teams to wager on and then pick the amount of money they would like to risk. The fact that there are so many teams on the same ticket means that the potential payout is much higher than if the bettor chose to bet each pick on his parlay ticket individually. However, every single pick on that parlay ticket must be right in order to prevent that ticket from becoming void.

The Ideology

The reason that sports bettors use the parlay bet is simple. It provides them with an opportunity to make a large amount of money in one shot. However, while they are hoping to hit it big with one bet they are also risking losing their money by getting one single bet wrong. There are always cases when bettors actually win these types of wagers and it catches everybody off guard. For example, there was a bettor in 2015 that took 21 college football teams on the point spread for one ticket risking $63. All 21 of his selections won and he ended up getting paid $86,796 for the ticket. While this is an extreme case, it’s easy to get sucked in to the idea of winning that much money even the though the likelihood of winning such a big parlay is so small.

The Odds

The other issue with the parlay bet is that the odds can differ depending on the sportsbook. For example, a Las Vegas sportsbook will have the odds for a four-game parlay at 10/1, while an offshore sportsbook will have the odds for a four-team parlay at 12/1. Therefore, you are getting better value betting with an offshore sportsbook then you would at a sportsbook in Las Vegas. The same is true for the more teams you add. An eight-team parlay with a Las Vegas sportsbook offers 150/1 odds while an eight-team parlay with an offshore sportsbook could offer 175/1 odds. While you can make a lot of money hitting a big parlay the numbers can change depending on which sportsbook you decide to use.


While the potential big payout can make the parlay bet extremely attractive, it simply isn’t worth it if your intention is to build up a steady profit over the long term. On the odd occasion a sports bettor will hit on a massive parlay, but those instances are so few and far between that it doesn’t make for a sustainable strategy. There is nothing wrong with picking your spots and having some fun putting a little money down on a parlay wager to win big money. However, you definitely want to make sure you aren’t risking too much money on parlay bets or your bankroll could end up taking a huge hit as a result.

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