Sports gambling is massively popular right now. Let's be honest - it always has been - but it's been done mostly off the books unless you were to visit places like Las Vegas or Atlantic City. But now sports gambling has gone mainstream. States are passing legislation that makes it legal and apps like FanDuel and Draft Kings have sponsorships with professional leagues. Everyone is getting in on the action. And it's easy to understand why. Sports gambling can be fun, thrilling and exciting. It differs from traditional casino gambling because there's no house edge. You don't have to worry about RTP or volatility. All you have to do is pick a team and hope they win. Of course, there's more to it than that. You need to know the types of teams, understand matchups, the favorites, the underdogs. But at the end of the day, sports gambling brings excitement to millions of players worldwide.

And one of the best things about sports gambling is that you have dozens of options of bets you can place on a single game. Spread, money line, over/under, props, the list is seemingly endless. And one of the most popular betting options is the parlay. Today, we're going to explore what parlays are, how players can build one and the advantages - and disadvantages - they offer. Let's get into it!

What is a parlay

Parlays are one of the most popular betting options for sports gambling. They are 2 or more bets on the same ticket. They are so popular because their payouts are bigger when compared to a single bet. That's because you need EVERY bet on your parlay to hit. Even just losing one will make your entire parlay a loser.

What makes parlays so attractive to players is that the combinations are pretty much endless. You can pick and choose what you want to include and the number of bets. If you like one football game, a basketball game and a baseball player to hit a homerun? That's a parlay. Or you could do three football games. Or 5 basketball games. And you don't even have to pick spread or money lines. You have have one bet be a spread bet, another bet be a money line and a third bet be an over/under bet. All of these options will keep you invested in multiple games at once and have you riding high if you hit them all!

There are also Same Game Parlays in which you can select multiple bets all from one game. This can be bets on individual players playing in that particular game as well as over/under, spread and money line bets.

Advantages of parlays

Players love parlays because they payout big - if you hit them. Let's take football for example. Say you like a favorite in Game A. Well, since they're the favorite they won't pay out that much if they win. So you could look around for another football game - remember, it doesn't have to be football, but for our example we're sticking with all football bets. Let's say you find an underdog in Game B that you like. You put them and your favorite from Game A in a parlay and your odds just went up and so did your potential payout.

You could search around and pick multiple favorites from different games and place them in a parlay as well, giving you a better payout than just placing single bets on those same favorites.

Another advantage parlays offer is that they allow small bets to payout big. This is great for players with smaller bankrolls who are looking to extend sessions. You can place a 5 leg parlay for $5 and it could pay out over $100. Parlays are a great way to potentially boost your bankroll and get you back in the game.

Disadvantages of parlays

Parlays are great. They can pay out big. They're exciting and thrilling. But they also come with a catch. In order for your parlay to cash out you need EVERY bet to hit. If only one bet loses then your ENTIRE parlay loses. That explains why parlays have high payouts - they're tough to hit! Especially if you're placing a lot of bets. The odds of hitting a 9 leg or 12 leg parlay is really, really, REALLY small.

How to build a parlay

When building a parlay the number one thing you should remember is that moderation is key. It's easy to get carried away by seeing the potential payouts of a 15 leg parlay - it would be thousands of dollars - but as we mentioned above, the odds of hitting that are so extremely small that you'd just be throwing money away.

Try to keep your parlays limited to 2-5 legs. And remember, they don't all have to be the same type of bet or even from the same sport. You can mix and match. By keeping your parlays smaller, you have better chances of hitting them. And even a nice 5 leg parlay will pay out nicely even on a smaller bet size.

Don't think by picking all the favorites of every game that you're in for a pay day. Sure, each game has a favorite but sports are random. Crazy things happen all the time and underdogs routinely win games they oddsmakers thought they had no chance to win. Just because you pick all favorites to win doesn't mean they will. And another thing, your parlay payout won't be as big as you think. Yes, it will be bigger than single bets on those same favorites, but a parlay of all favorites will be considerably smaller than one with a few underdogs thrown in.

Don't blindly pick games just to fill out a parlay. Look for matchups. Look for trends. Mix and match. A favorite here, an underdog there. By doing just a small amount of research you could turn your parlay into a winner.


There we have it! Our look at parlays and why they're so fun - and tough - to play. So the next time you're ready to place some bets, try your hand at a parlay and see if you can't hit it big!