A parlay is the simplest and most popular of what are called the exotic bets

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Parlays

A parlay is the simplest and most popular of what are called the “exotic” bets. In a parlay, you are placing one wager to win two or more individual bets (either point spread or total bets can work in a parlay). If I make a two-team parlay, taking New England to cover the spread and go over 47 points, and New England wins 45-17, then I win my parlay wager. If either bet misses, then I lose my wager. Sports books will allow a large number of bets to be parlayed together (at most places, up-to-12).

In a parlay bet, the book applies the vig by paying out less than the true odds of successfully completing the wager. As an example, the odds of successfully picking the winner of two wagers is 3:1 against (you can go W-W, W-L, L-W or L-L). A typical parlay bet pays out 2.6:1 you wager $100 to win $260. This provides a 13.3% vig to the house. The more wagers are added in a parlay, the bigger of a sucker bet the parlay becomes. As an example, here are three different sets of parlay odds. Book #1 is an online book notorious for offering bad odds, Book #2 is known for “good” odds, and a third from a set of “special value” odds:

Book #1 (Bad) Book #2 (Good) Book “Special” Parlay Size Actual Odds Offered Odds Vig % Offered Odds Vig % Offered Odds Vig % 2-Bet 3:1 2.6:1 13.3% 2.6:1 13.3% 2.8:1 6.7% 3-Bet 7:1 6:1 14.3% 6:1 14.3% 6.4:1 8.6% 4-Bet 15:1 12:1 20% 12:1 20% 13.5:1 10% 5-Bet 31:1 25:1 19.3% 25:1 19.3% 27:1 12.9% 6-Bet 63:1 35:1 44.4% 40:1 36.5% 54:1 14.3% 7-Bet 127:1 75:1 40.9% 75:1 40.9% 107:1 15.7% 8-Bet 255:1 100:1 60.8% 150:1 41.2% 210:1 17.6% 9-Bet 511:1 150:1 70.6% 300:1 41.3% 411:1 19.6% 10-Bet 1023:1 300:1 70.6% 700:1 31.6% 804:1 21.4% 11-Bet 2047:1 450:1 78.0% 1100:1 46.3% 1570:1 23.3% 12-Bet 4195:1 600:1 85.7% 1800:1 57.1% 3066:1 26.9% Note that with a couple of exceptions in the “special” column, no parlay offers you less than the 10% vig you are paying on a standard wager.


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