The majority of the sports betting world would tell you that parlay bets are for suckers. That’s because, in most cases, the bettor gets worse odds than what the true odds should be. This is clearly evident in football and basketball three-team parlays. The pay off on a three-team parlay in those sports is 6-to-1, while the actual odds of winning one are 7-to-1. That’s because there are seven different outcomes that can take place.
While parlays are certainly sucker bets in basketball and football, they aren’t necessarily sucker bets in baseball. In football and basketball, the spread is mostly used in parlays. A better parlay bet for basketball and football, with the best odds, would be to use the money lines. That’s why baseball parlays have much more favorable odds than the other two sports because money lines are involved.
A parlay is defined as a bet on multiple teams. Let’s just stick with a two-team parlay and say that you want to bet $50 on the Tigers and Angels. No, both teams would have to win, otherwise your bet would lose. The Tigers are -200 over the White Sox with Justin Verlander on the mound, while the Angels are +110 against the Rangers with JC Ramirez on the mound.
The payout is figured by taking the $50 and placing it on the Tigers. If Detroit wins, the $50 becomes $75 since the bettor profited $25. Then, the $75 goes on the Angels at +110, and if they win you would get back $157.50. The order of the teams when calculating the parlay makes no difference as you will come out with the same outcome either way.
For those of you that like to calculate the odds in your head, just divide 100 by the odds on a certain team. If you like the Nationals at -165 and want to make a two-team parlay with the Cardinals at -135, the first thing you would do is divide the odds by 100. That will give you a decimal figure, at which point you would add one.
In this case, you would do 100/165, which would be 0.61, and then add one, which comes to 1.61. That’s your number for the Nationals. The Cardinals would be 100/135 plus one which calculates to 1.74. The reason for adding one is because if you went to a sportsbook, the payout would factor in your original wager. If you simply bet the Astros at +110 for $100 you would get back $210, not $110.
Now that we have our 1.74 and 1.61 numbers figured out, it’s time to multiply the size of the parlay wager by the two decimal figures to calculate the payout. A $30 parlay wager would be calculated like this: 30 X 1.61 comes out to $48.30. Next, you would multiply 48.30 X 1.74 which comes out to $84.22. That would be the money you would receive if both the Nationals and Cardinals won. If either or both lost, your $30 would be gone.
This is the most popular baseball parlay. It makes sense, too. This is where you have two big favorites you really like, but don’t want to lay big juice to bet each team individually. Let’s say that you believe both the Yankees -200 and Red Sox -200 are going to win on today. Instead of paying $100 to win $50 on each, which would be risking $200 to get $100, it would be a much smarter move to just parlay these two together. It cuts down your risk greatly and the return is actually better than most would think.
You would bet $100 to win $125 on this two-team parlay. That means you’re either going to profit $125 or lose $100. That’s much better odds than potentially losing $400 or $100 by betting both the Yankees -200 and Red Sox -200 individually. The only downside is that you would win $200 if both the Yankees and Red Sox came through. I would much rather limit my risk by taking the two-team parlay.
Every day is different. There will be certain days where you only like favorites and other days where you only like underdogs. However, there will be a time that arises when you find a heavy favorite that you know is going to win and a couple of underdogs that are undervalued. This makes for an excellent parlay opportunity.
Let’s say you have a -200 favorite and two +150 underdogs. What you want to do is place a two-team parlay on the -200 favorite with each +150 underdog. Each parlay would profit you $275 with a successful wager. If just one parlay hits, you would lose $100 on the other parlay. That means you’d win $275 and lose $100, netting you a $175 profit on the day.
This is a popular bet for many professionals that feel strongly about a home team or a road team. Let me try to make sense of that for you. If you believe a home team is going to win the game, then there is likely one-half inning that is not going to be played. So parlaying a home team and the under makes sense since there will only be 8.5 innings played instead of the full nine. If you like a road team then it’s likely that the full 9 innings will be played. That’s because the road team will be ahead in the 9th inning, giving the home team a chance to bat and score an extra run or two to get the over.