House Edge on Parlays

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One of the most popular bets by sports fans is the parlay. However, you have to think more about the house edge rather than the huge possible payouts if you want to get this habit into check and make the most money off of your sports betting.

First off, what is a parlay? A parlay is a way of betting on multiple events with the hopes of a big payoff if every single bet wins. If you lose a single wager then it’s just the same as losing them all because you get nothing in return. If you tie a game, then that game is disregarded and you get paid according to the amount of games you did win, again assuming that you didn’t lose a single one.

Here are the payouts and house edge:

Three teams pay 6 to 1, with a house edge of 12.50%

Four teams pay 10 to 1, with a 31.25% casino advantage

Five teams pay 20 to 1, with a house edge of 34.38%.

As you can see there is a pretty heavy price to be paid when parlaying your wagers. A better way to play a four or five team parlay is to bet your first game as a straight bet, then let the winnings ride to the next game, then the next, then the next. Except for winning three separate sporting events, where the house edge is slightly less than on a parlay card, it’s the smarter way to play a group of games, one at a time, then parlaying your winnings. The house edge is reduced for four games to 16.98%, and 20.75% for five games, but for three-team straight play, the casino advantage is slightly higher at 13.03% versus 12.50%.

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