How to Succeed with Parlay Bets

BETMGM at MGM National Harbor. Shannon Finney/Getty Images for MGM National Harbor/AFP

Parlays offer you the tantalizing opportunity to earn a vast payout from a relatively small wager. It is easy to see why they are popular, but parlays are also fiendishly difficult. The house edge increases with every selection you add to a parlay, so your chances of success diminish as your wager becomes more ambitious.

Parlays are highly profitable for sportsbooks. For example, operators in Illinois held just 2% of all NFL wagers placed during October, but the hold on parlays shot up to 13%. In Nevada, sportsbooks’ hold was 2.5% on hockey, 3.5% on baseball, and 4.1% on football in October, yet it increased to 37.3% on parlays.

That means bettors lost more than a third of their money when placing parlay bets. What can you do to boost your chances of success?

Find a Sportsbook with Parlay Insurance

Parlay insurance ensures you get a refund if just one leg of your parlay lets you down. It is, therefore, a valuable promotion. You generally need to add at least three or four legs to your parlay to qualify, and there are minimum odds requirements.

Your refund typically takes the form of free bet credit, with a 1x playthrough requirement. FanDuel, BetMGM, PointsBet, and MaximBet all offer some form of parlay insurance. Some sportsbooks also offer boosted payouts on winning parlays, which can help you generate an overall profit in the long-term if you place lots of them over the course of a season.

Conduct Thorough Research

Many bettors fall into the trap of chucking selections they have not researched into the parlay. For example, you might have three plays you really like, and then decide to throw in one more just to boost the overall payout.

Make sure you have studied a game and come up with a compelling reason for including a pick within your parlay before adding it. You can find a wealth of statistical data on big football, basketball, baseball, and hockey games at OddsTrader, helping you make astute wagering decisions.

Consider a Variety of Betting Options

Many bettors stick to point spreads when placing parlays. However, that seriously limits your options. Remember that you can add all sorts of wagering types to parlays – totals, alternate lines, money lines, props, and so on.

You can also consider placing a teaser instead of a parlay. It is similar to a parlay, but you move the point spread on each selection to boost your chances of success (in return for a lower potential payout).

Same game parlays can also be very effective if you stick to just a couple of options. For example, if you like a soccer team to win a game, but the odds are not particularly compelling, you can combine the money line with over 1.5 goals or under 4.5 goals to earn greater odds.

Avoid Long Shots

There is no real need to add a long odds money line selection to a parlay. If you really think that team will win, you can place a straight bet on it, as there is a reason why it is a large underdog, and it has the potential to bust your parlay.

Consider Whether a Favorite Deserves That Status

It is equally important to avoid adding heavy money line favorites to your parlay. They do not increase your potential payout much, and there is still the chance that the favorite can have an off day and bring your parlay crashing down.

Many bettors simply throw a few moneyline favorites together and expect a parlay to land, but it rarely works out like that. Try to work out which money line favorites really deserve that status, and which ones look like trouble.