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Online Sports Parlays Betting Guide and Parlay Calculator

Parlay bets are popular because this is a way to combine your bets to get even bigger rewards for your wager. However, at first glance, it isn’t always easy to see how much your parlay bet will make you This can be a problem if you want to compare different bookmakers and see whether they are offering fair odds for the risk without having to register a new account and add your parlay picks onto a bet slip so it is worked out for you. This is where a free parlay calculator comes in handy – you can work out your parlay payout with ease – without the need to register for a sportsbook account or sit there and do the math. You just need the odds, the bet amount and you can work out the entire parlay payouts quickly and easily.

A single bet – or straight bet -is simple – you can work out what you will get pretty easily, in all different odds formats – especially Moneyline odds format. However,  it starts getting a little more complicated when it comes to a two-team parlay, three-team parlay, four-team parlay or higher!

Why Make a Parlay Bet?

While placing single bets every week is fun, a parlay bet can really be the cherry on top. If you know what you’re doing, it can crank your excitement up to 11. For those unfamiliar with the concept, parlay betting allows you to combine multiple bets together in order to drastically increase the payouts. However, all of the bets must win in order to get your payout.

The more games you add, the higher your potential payout is, but your odds of winning also take a massive hit. Because of this, it’s important to educate yourself on how to effectively bet parlays over the long term, no matter which sport or league you prefer.

In this how-to guide to betting on parlays, we will cover topics ranging from the basics of calculating parlay odds, different types of parlays, current betting trends and strategies tied closely to parlay wagering.

The Basics of Making a Parlay Bet

A parlay is composed of two or more selections that are combined together to make one big bet. However,  most sites will cap how many legs can be connected to one wager, which is usually between 10 to 12.

Betting on a parlay is simple. All you need to do is add each section separately to your betting slip and then click on the ‘parlay. option. In order for you to win a parlay, each fold (leg or separate part of the wager) on the betting slip must win… no second chances here, fellas close isn’t good enough. However, it is worth noting that if one of the games on the ticket results in a push, that leg is removed from the parlay ticket and doesn’t lose the bet.

Example

Let’s take a look at a simple example of an NFL Sunday parlay betting ticket:

  • Los Angeles Rams to beat the Carolina Panthers | +200
  • Indianapolis Colts to beat the Los Angeles Chargers | +250
  • New England Patriots to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers | -400
  • Dallas Cowboys to beat the New York Giants | -500

As you can see, this is a parlay ticket betting on Moneyline odds for four different NFL teams. Every one of these picks must win to cash in.

Great, so you have your selections, but how do you calculate your payout based on this ticket?

Well, there are two types of odds to be aware of when betting parlays, ‘true odds’ & ‘fixed odds’.

  • Fixed odds (also known as Vegas odds): These are the lines that bookmakers offer up that are lower than what they should statistically be in order to turn a profit on the wager.
  • True Odds: When the term ‘true odds’ is used, the person is referring to the realistic odds of the event occurring as opposed to what’s on offer at the sportsbook.

True odds are a better indicator of the probability for any given event and we will show you how to calculate them. Having a strong understanding of true odds vs fixed odds is paramount when looking to embark on the parlay betting journey.

So, get ready to shift into some moderate book learning as we look into how to calculate true odds manually for a parlay ticket, rather than an automated parlay calculator.

How To Use True Parlay Odds Calculator

First thing’s first, we have to convert the American odds format into the decimal odds format. This is easy, especially with the parlay betting calculator on this page, but let’s learn how to do it on our own first to better understand parlay betting.

Now while the above American odds are either plus or minus odds, the decimal odds format is not, so we must convert our bets separately.

In order to convert underdog, (+ plus moneyline odds), we follow this simple formula:

  • (ODDS +100) / 100.

So the underdog legs  in our earlier example would look like this:

Los Angeles Rams to beat the Carolina Panthers | (200 + 100) / 100 = 3.0

Indianapolis Colts to beat the Los Angeles Chargers | (250 + 100) / 100 = 3.5

It’s a very similar idea with the favorite (- minus odds). To calculate these you need to follow this formula:

  • (ODDS + 100) / ODDS.

So, our newly converted decimal odds would look like this:

New England Patriots to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers | (400 + 100) / 400 = 1.25

Dallas Cowboys to beat the New York Giants | (500 + 100) / 500 = 1.2

The Next Parlay Calculator Step

Now that we have successfully converted our parlay betting odds from American to decimal formats we can now calculate the odds for our parlay:

Los Angeles Rams to beat the Carolina Panthers | 3.0

Indianapolis Colts to beat the Los Angeles Chargers | 3.5

New England Patriots to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers | 1.25

Dallas Cowboys to beat the New York Giants | 1.2

You simply multiply each of the odds with the value of the next all the way down the list. Our example would look like this:

3.0 x 3.5 x 1.25 x 1.2 = 15.75

Third Step

The third step is reverting this back to a more familiar American style odds. To do this, we just multiply by 100 and then subtract by 100:

  • (Odds x 100)-100

So our combined parlay odds would be:

  • (15.75 x 100) -100 = 1475

So, the final American odds for our parlay wager would be +1475

True Odds v Fixed Odds

Now let’s see what that same 4 team parlay would look like at a sportsbook or casino that uses fixed odds payouts for their sports betting parlays.

Number Of Teams In Parlay Fixed Odds Calculator

3 6-1

4 10-1

5 20-1

6 40-1

7 75-1

8 150-1

Going back to our previous example:

When we calculated it manually, our true odds came out to be +1475 for that parlay bet.

That same bet at a book using these fixed odds would only return 10-1, which is the equivalent of +1000. This works out to be a 38.38% decrease in your payout.

Forgive us for stating the obvious but do yourself a favor and hunt down a betting outlet that uses the true odds for their parlay betting needs as opposed to fixed or Vegas odds!

Parlay Variations & Calculator

There are two main variations on the parlay betting model, the teaser and the pleaser. These are some of the most powerful tools in a sports bettors pocket, along with the parlay calculator of course.

Teasers

These are fun and offer a big potential for profit. Teasers have been a wildly popular addition to betting cards since their introduction. The irresistible feature of a teaser is your ability to manipulate the point spread in a way that you deem most favorable. Unlike a traditional parlay, you sacrifice a larger payout to gain a higher win rate with a teaser.

An easy to understand example using the above games would be as follows:

  • Let’s assume the Dallas Cowboys are 6-point favorites at the New York Giants in Week 1.
  • We can either ‘tease’ the line 6 points to get the G-Men’s spread up to +12 point underdogs
  • Or we could tease Dallas down to pick’em odds.

Now, while all this comes at the cost of smaller payouts, you win more often!

You can also apply a teaser to points totals as well, sending a 54.5 point total soaring to 60.5 and giving you the edge if you’re betting the under.

Pleasers

Much like everything else in sports betting, every Yin (or teaser) has its Yang (pleaser). A pleaser is the opposite of a teaser in the regard that you are moving the line in the opposite direction. This makes it more akin to a traditional parlay bet.

This means upping your potential payout while reducing the chance of winning. If you are feeling really brave, you can tease an underdog line and really bust the bookie if your team ends up winning.

Parlay Betting Tips and Strategies

First off, like any other betting strategy across the board, beating parlays requires discipline and a well-constructed plan of attack. If you need help with this, our blog has a number of complementary articles in order to create a solid plan for profits.

Another easily overlooked piece of the puzzle is simply taking advantage of bonuses offered at any sportsbook you might be playing at. This is simple but effective for making the most out of each and every wager. Each sports betting site has a different welcome package, so shop around for the best bonuses while you are looking for the best lines.

For any high rollers out there, parlays can be a great way to wiggle around betting limits as well. For example – an online casino has a limit of $1,000 max bet on college football games. However, you have capped your ass off this week and have 3 locks that you want to exploit. If you put these all together into a parlay you can technically bet over the limits. But again this has a much higher rate of loss than just betting the games separately at the max.

Correlated Parlays

Correlated parlays are another way to play the system and can be a sportsbook’s biggestheadache. Let’s say, for example, a bookmaker offers:

  • A line for team A to be ahead in the third quarter
  • A line for team A to win the game.

A parlay on these two legs would be ideal because the team leading into the third is statistically more likely to hold onto the win.

Therefore, you greatly up your winning percentage and payout totals by betting both as either yes or both as no. Many bookies try their best to make the opportunities to correlate parlays very low, but keep your eyes open and strike when you see an opening, using a parlay calculator to work out the odds.

Another example would be a College basketball spread of 18.5 and a game total of 86, both teams are high scoring squads but team A is much better. It makes a world of sense to parlay the OVER with the favorite to win, as it’s likely to be a high scoring affair either way and if the favorite wins by that much, an over is a near lock. Now, this system isn’t perfect but it presents a lot of value compared to the time required to do the research on different games each week.

A good way to look at parlay betting is to think of them as buying tickets to a raffle with a great payout. Never view them as a go-to for any reason and never rely on them to win. Treat them as though they are more of a garnish as opposed to the main ingredient when cooking up the ideal sports betting system. So, on a less than exciting NFL Sunday, sprinkle a little parlay zest on top of that betting card and prepare to care about every game on The Red Zone today.

Also keep your stakes small, $10-$20 is really all you need to be playing regularly on a multi-leg parlay. If you win a 15-team parlay at fixed odds then you are looking at a payout over $150k from just a $10 wager, so play it like a Powerball Jackpot ticket. Pick your teams with as much information as possible and keep your fingers crossed that today might be the day that changes your life, but don’t count on it to pay your bills.

Never get carried away or chase losses as a big win can lead to excitement and you could get carried away. If you maintain discipline, manage your bankroll and do your research then it can be a great addition to any sports bettor’s arsenal.

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