Harnessing the Power of Parlays for Bigger Wins in Sports Betting

Have you ever heard about parlays in sports betting? They're a common play, but if you're new to sports betting, you might not have any experience with them. Parlays offer an enticing opportunity to bettors who are looking for bigger wins.
Power of Parlays for Bigger Wins in Sports Betting

They’re not always the best bet; in fact, many sports bettors stay away from them because the odds can get insane — for the house.

Simply put, a parlay is a single bet that combines two or more individual bets.  

In order to win your parlay bet, you have to correctly predict the outcome of all the individual bets that make up the parlay. It’s easy to see how this can lead to bigger payouts, as the more individual bets you add to your parlay, the higher the potential return. That’s because the odds are stacked against you.

As with any bets — moneylines, roulette, lottery tickets, stock market, CDs, etc — the more risk, the more reward.

What is There to Like About Parlays?

Some bettors love parlays. I’ve played many over the years, but it’s only after hours of research.

The primary benefit of parlays is that they allow you to turn a small bet into a big payout. 

For example, let’s say you’re betting on three games, and your individual bets are $10 each. If you place a parlay bet for $30, and all three of your bets win, you could potentially win $100 or more, depending on the odds of each individual bet.

Some will say parlays are diversifying your bets, but in reality, it’s consolidating your bets and stacking the odds against you.  

The Odds Go From Bad to Worse

All sportsbooks will calculate the odds and payout for you if you’re willing to place a parlay bet. However, you should probably have an idea of how those odds are calculated.

  • Convert the Odds: American odds need to be converted into European/decimal odds. For instance, if you have American odds of +200, you convert these into European odds by dividing 200 by 100 and adding 1, which gives you 3.0.
  • Multiply the Odds: Once all odds are converted into decimal form, you multiply these odds together. Let’s say you have three bets in your parlay, and their decimal odds are 3.0, 2.0, and 1.5. You would multiply these together (3.0 * 2.0 * 1.5), which gives you a combined odds of 9.0.
  • Calculate Potential Winnings: To calculate potential winnings, you multiply the combined odds by your stake. If you were to bet $10, you would multiply 9.0 (the combined odds) by $10 (your stake), which would give a potential payout of $90. If you would’ve bet $10 on the 1.5 odds, you would win only $15.

It’s pretty simple, but you can see how if you have more bets on the parlay, the payout can skyrocket. They’re not safe bets, but you can win a lot of money.

What to Consider Before Placing a Parlay Bet

Before you place a parlay bet, it’s important to take into account the potential risks. 

Because all of your bets have to win to cash in on a parlay bet, your chances of winning decrease as you add more individual bets. For this reason, it’s important to be selective with the individual bets you choose to include in your parlay.

Another thing to take into account is the odds. Because the payout on parlays is based on the combined odds of the individual bets, it’s important to find the right balance between high odds and a reasonable likelihood of winning the individual bets.

Sure, you can pick three underdogs, each with the odds stacked against them. The payday would probably be astronomical, but your chances of winning are slim.

Tips for Betting on Parlays

If you want to try your hand at betting on parlays, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Be selective about which individual bets you choose to include in your parlay. It’s better to choose a few high-confidence bets than to add more lower-confidence bets just to increase your potential payout.
  • Pay attention to the odds. You want to find a balance between high odds and a reasonable likelihood of winning the individual bets.
  • Set a budget for your parlay bets and stick to it. It’s easy to get carried away with the potential of a big payout, but it’s important to keep your betting within your means. You will probably lose parlays, so be ready for that and factor that into your budget.
  • Consider using a parlay calculator to help you determine the potential payout and make more informed decisions about which individual bets to include.

Even when you follow these, keep in mind that parlays are still a risky bet. They’re not for the faint of heart but for those who love to take risks and enjoy the thrill of chasing bigger wins in sports betting. So, it’s important to approach them with caution and only include them in your betting strategy when you have done thorough research and feel confident about your selection of individual bets.

Examples of Parlay Bets

Let’s say you have three NFL games coming up, and you want to place a parlay bet for a potentially bigger payout. You choose three games that you have a high level of confidence in. You get the initial odds from your sportsbook of choice, such as DraftKings or PointsBet, and start calculating your winnings.

Bet American Odds Decimal Odds Potential Payout
ATL Falcons over TB Buccaneers +120 2.2 $22
DET Lions over BAL Ravens +124 2.24 $22.4
NY Giants over WAS Commanders +124 2.24 $22.4
Parlay of Falcons & Lions +244 4.94 $49.4
Parlay of Falcons & Giants +244 4.94 $49.4
Parlay of Lions & Giants +248 5.02 $50.2
Parlay of Falcons, Lions, & Giants +368 13.36 $133.6

That three-game parlay can pay out quite a bit, but you’ll want to ensure your confidence in those individual bets is well-placed. You can also include other types of bets in a parlay, such as moneylines or over/under bets.

Think You Can Win Big With Parlays?

Parlays can be a fun and potentially rewarding way to bet on sports, but they come with their own set of risks and rewards. 

To get the most out of your parlay bets, be selective about the individual bets you include, pay attention to the odds, and set a budget for your bets. 

We always recommend that only seasoned bettors place parlays, but if you’re new to sports betting and want to try your hand at them, make sure to do your research and approach them with caution. With the right strategy and a bit of luck, you could potentially turn a small bet into a big payout with parlays. 

Matt Brown


Head of Sports Betting and DFS

Matt’s love for sports betting and daily fantasy sports, coupled with a deep understanding of football, hockey, and baseball, shapes his innovative thoughts on Hello Rookie. He has a B.S. in Aeronautical Computer Science and a M.S. in Project Management.