A parlay wager has a storied and much-debated place in the history of sports gambling.
It is typically a single wager (there are progressive and if-bet parlays, but that’s for another day) that links together at least two separate games and requires all outcomes chosen to succeed to cash in. If you fail to bat 1.000 on your picks in a parlay, you lose.
The debate around parlays within the gambling community originates from the house take and true odds on strung-together outcomes. Looking at just a two-game parlay at even-money odds, the true probability of outcome is 3:1. And yet parlay payout is only 2.6:1. This equates to a much higher house take than a traditional straight or single bet. Traditionalists and purists will argue parlays are bad bets—every sportsbook offers them and encourages them because of this increased house take, and you’re a sucker if you play them. Twitter personalities, ESPN and sportsbooks of all sorts actively promote when a gambler hits a 10-teamer because it encourages so many others to dive in and throw money away on their own 10-teamers.
There is some truth to this sentiment. But what got us into gambling in the first place? Was it grinding out at 54% on straight bets exclusively, always betting 1-3% of our bankroll and never more than 10% a day? I doubt it. We started because we liked the thrill of a score—because we wanted to win not just enough money to buy a beer, but to buy the whole bar a round of beer. If you are able to pick winners consistently at a 55% rate, not only will you make incredible amounts of money on straight bets, but you can make substantially more money on parlays.
History often determines whether a decision was right or wrong. If you hit a life-changing parlay for 100k on an NFL Sunday, who am I to tell you it was a poor decision, just because the math said you weren’t getting fair odds? The truth is, it ended up being a great decision, because variance and luck was in your favor that day. Parlays may not be wise bets, but they’re definitely more fun (and profitable) when you win.
You can make parlays or straight bets on all kinds of sports action every day at BetAmerica!