Should Sports Bettors Avoid Parlays

While we’ve all been told there’s no reward without risk, it seems everyone is drawn to the parlay bet in hopes of winning big. That’s because it’s desirable while remaining highly dangerous for bettors. The hope is to get a string of bets together, played perfectly, and receive a massive payout. The reality is often, the house wins.

So how do parlays work? The bettor in question strings together a bunch of single bets into a parlay. This betting can include a minimum of two bets but can increase from there. As the number of bets increases, so too does the payout. The idea is to take several singular bets that would offer a small payout and rope them into a larger single bet. If the individual is successful, the payout can be significant and substantial. If a wager is incorrect, the bettor loses it all. From the sportsbooks’ mentality, it’s a get-rich-quick mentality that often appeals to novice or inexperienced bettors. Parlay betting can be done through different sports, games, and betting types.

Parlays often increase in popularity during football season, when stringing together dozens of bets can give an exceptional payout. For the average person, parlays provide the house a more significant edge than straight bets do. After all, someone needs to hit every single bet perfectly, or they’ll lose it all.

Are there restrictions on parlay betting?

Simply put, yes. Each sportsbook company will have specific restrictions and regulations on how correlated parlay bets can be played. They will also determine how many wagers can be combined and the odds they bring to the table. Knowing these restrictions can help a bettor understand what can and can’t be done but should be determined by individual sportsbook locations.

Understanding the appeal of parlays

For more risk comes more reward, which is precisely the case with parlay betting. An individual stands to lose far more than they gain with this system, but having the knowledge to make informed decisions are critical to coming out ahead. Let’s assume that the average person makes a 5-team parlay. If your picks go on 4-1, you’ll lose the entire bet. While flat betting would have paid nearly three units for those wins, a parlay has you leaving down a unit. It may not be a financial disaster for minor betting, but larger wagers can seriously impact financial security.

Understanding Parlay Payouts

Let’s assume that a bettor decides to spend $100 on three Moneyline bets. Each of these teams is underdogs in their sport, with a collective spread of +450. The total winnings would be $450, plus the $100 back per team as individual bets. On the other hand, a parlay would take the same $100 bet on all three teams and compounds into $1,500, plus the $100 risk per team.

Long-term strategy or short-term payout

Just as the lottery has a continued buy-in despite incredibly low odds of winning, parlays bring a similar appeal to novice and experienced sports bettors. The promise of serious payouts can be a luring temptation, especially when contemplating a strategy with minimal winning potential. For those frequenting betting parlays, the substantial fluctuations in bankroll can destroy investment strategies.

Professional bettors understand that fluctuations in bankroll can lead to impulsive actions, whether that’s a higher dependence on parlay betting or the infamous chase betting (often after a substantial loss). While most professionals would instead place single bets for higher security, the influence of a big payout is often too big of an appeal for most.

Who Can Benefit from Parlay Bets?

If you’re a casual bettor or simply have the cash to burn, the appeal of parlays may be a perfect chance to hit big. After all, if you’re willing to lose the money entirely, it’s not problematic to bet using parlay systems. Besides, it’s not to say that parlays never work; a quick scan through social media will showcase multiple people who have hit the “sports betting lottery.” It’s not an impossible task when you’re willing to potentially take a loss if things don’t go your way.It is essential, however, to remember that the majority of bets made will not be profitable. It’s hard enough to become successful when simply betting singular bets. Compounding these bets into one large ticket increases the difficulty of winning. It’s not to say that it makes the odds impossible; it simply favors the house majority of the time. Just as the penny slot machine draws in hundreds of people with the promise of quick payouts, the odds always seemingly fall on the house.