How Do Parlay Bets Work?
What is a parlay bet? It's a combination of more than one individual wagers combined into one bet that requires all legs of the bet to win in order to earn a payout. The entire parlay must win to win money. This, of course, means that the combination of games into one parlay produces better, more favorable odds. However, it's also much more difficult to win a parlay than a single wager because it requires winning all the separate wagers, not just a majority of them.
An Arizona parlay bet can include several different types of bets such as spread bets, moneyline bets, game totals, team and player prop bets, and futures bets. It's one of the most creative aspects of betting, and the sites will offer unique sets of combinations to help you build out your parlay picks.
For example, let's build a five-team parlay NFL betting. Let's assume all point spreads in our example offer -110 odds. We take the Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bears, New England Patriots, Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks all to cover their respective point spread. Taken as straight bets, a bettor would place five $110 bets to win $100 on each game. Combined as a traditional parlay, however, bettors would receive +2435 odds, meaning they would win $2,345 on a $100 individual bet.
Of course, that would require all five teams to cover the spread, with none of those five teams losing. The more teams a bettor adds, the higher the odds go and the potential for a big payout (and the more difficult it becomes to win). One game goes wrong and the other four don't matter.
Building a Parlay in Arizona
Online operators have made it simple to build an Arizona parlay. A bet slip will populate when a bettor chooses his or her first game, but instead of placing a dollar amount on that one game, bettors can add a second bet to the betslip, and it will automatically create a parlay card. Bettors can add as many wagers as they'd like, and the bet slip will continue to show updated odds and parlay payout based on the combination of individual wagers chosen. You can always choose to make them individual bets as well.
Winning A Parlay
There really is only one way to win a traditional parlay bet in Arizona. Whether bettors have added two teams to a two-team parlay or are swinging for the fences and have 10 different bets in their card, a winning parlay is one in which all the individual parlay bets are winners. A 9-1 betting night is usually highly profitable, but that same record in a parlay is the same as if the bet had gone 0-10 (though some sites may offer parlay insurance that give such a parlay bet a payout).
Another exception is in the case of bettor forgiveness, where if the only loss a bettor took in a parlay bet happened on a controversial call or a wild ending, operators at times have credited back losing bettors in the form of free bets (bet credits). A round robin parlay also allows for bettors to break up their picks into multiple parlays. Most of the time, however, it's cut and dry: Check the odds, place your parlay bets and win them all or it results in a loss.
Understanding Parlay Odds
Not all parlay odds are the same. A three-team parlay does not always give the same potential payout, and a four-team parlay could have better odds than a two-team parlay. It's also important to compare odds because different sportsbooks can give different odds on parlays. We'll explain later why BetMGM Arizona may have slightly different odds than PointsBet Arizona .
You've likely seen a bookmaker like DraftKings Arizona post to social media a bettor who won a massive parlay with incredibly unlikely odds. While a parlay bet often has lucrative odds given the nature of every bet needing to be a winner, it's possible to build a parlay that still has shorter odds and a better chance of winning.
Consider a parlay that includes the Phoenix Suns as -470 favorites, the Clippers as -310 favorites, and the Lakers as -420 favorites. A three-team parlay that includes those teams to win would win $98.59 on a $100 bet, like a single +100 bet. Take two heavy favorites that each have -1000 odds to win and you're looking at a $21 payout on a $100 bet.
Types of Parlay Bets in Arizona
There are a handful of ways to bet parlays beyond the traditional parlay. We'll go over some of the most common forms of parlays, how to bet them and how to find the best Arizona sports odds within them.
A round robin parlay consists of miniature parlays within the games a bettor has selected. For example, in a three-team parlay scenario, a bettor handicapping games could choose the Lakers -4, the Suns -6 and the Clippers -9. A round robin bet would then create three different mini-parlays (Lakers and Suns; Suns and Clippers; Lakers and Clippers) that allow bettors to still win if one of their teams fails to cover. So, if the Lakers did not cover but the Suns and Clippers did, a bettor would still win the Suns-Clippers combo of the round robin.
Teaser bets are a type of parlay that involves buying a specific number of points for each of the separate bets within the parlay. For example, consider a three-team parlay that includes a four-point teaser. In that scenario, a bettor would receive four extra points on every point spread in which they selected the underdog or four fewer points on every point spread in which they selected the favorite. For example, with a four-point NFL teaser, the Cardinals -5.5 would become the Cardinals -1.5, the Dolphins +11 would become the Dolphins +15, and the Raiders -1 would become +3. You get better odds on each game in exchange for a lower payout with a teaser bet.
A parlay card is a way to create a parlay inside a physical sports betting shop. Bettors can take a parlay card for a specific game and punch holes next to the individual point spread bets or moneyline bets they want to combine. Online books offer these "parlay cards" in the form of betslips that populate automatically and can include different games, sports and leagues.
What Bets Can Go In Parlays?
There was a time when only certain kinds of bets could be included parlays. And while it's still not possible to put every kind of bet into a parlay, sportsbooks are offering plenty more options - and that list is only growing. Point spreads, moneylines and totals are always options for parlays, with sportsbooks starting to allow same-game parlays in which bettors can place multiple bets from the same game. Some Arizona sports betting sites will allow for player and team props to be included in parlays, while others also include futures bets.
Pros and Cons of Parlays
The pros and cons of playing parlays are simple. Parlay odds can be incredibly lucrative because of the difficulty in winning them, which is an obvious con. Another con from an experience standpoint is that if the first bet of your parlay loses, the rest of the legs are rendered meaningless (unless you're doing a round robin). This can mean a quick loss with little to show for it.
On the flip side, a pro of a parlay is that if all but the last of your legs have hit, bettors often can cash out early for a certain percentage of the full payout or hedge their bet by betting a certain portion of the would-be payout on the other side of the bet.
Should I Place Parlay Bets in Arizona?
Parlay betting is difficult. There really is no other way to put it. That's not to say you shouldn't place a parlay bet but understanding them is critical. Yes, a 12-team parlay creates ridiculous odds that could produce life-changing money, but the chances of hitting on it are slim-to-none. More calculated parlay bets with more realistic odds (three-team parlays at +1000, for example, rather than a nine-team parlay at +33500) make sense and can be profitable in the long run.
As is the case with most betting, do your research, shop for the best odds from legal sites, be realistic about what you stand to win and what you could potentially lose and understand what needs to happen to earn that potential payout.
Parlay Betting Tips
While most operators will automatically update odds as bettors build their parlay, using a parlay calculator can be helpful when planning to place your bet. It's also important to be realistic about what's attainable in a parlay. A 10-team parlay with +64200 odds could pay the mortgage if it hit, but it's likely not going to. Have fun by building out a ridiculously complex and unlikely parlay, but only toss a few dollars on it.
A round robin is a nice way to still give yourself some good odds without needing to win every leg of the parlay. It's also important to shop around to see which operators will offer the best odds, which may offer a parlay odds boost or if they're handing out free bets in the form of a parlay. Consider these options and you'll have an enjoyable experience with parlay betting.
Parlay Betting Arizona FAQ
A parlay bet is a combination of individual wagers that combine into one single bet. All legs of a parlay must win for the parlay to also win.
A +200 moneyline means that a bettor who places $100 down would win $200 (plus their original $100 bet back) if that +200 underdog wins the game or matchup outright.
A parlay bet pays out according to the specific singular odds of each leg. There are no set odds for a parlay, but sportsbooks will update the potential payout in real time as bettors build their parlay.
At most sportsbook apps in Arizona (as well as sites), parlay bets that push or tie are simply tossed out and the parlay is recalculated without it. So, if you push a game in a four-team parlay but win the other three, the sportsbook will calculate the odds on the winning three legs and pay out on that.
A three-leg parlay is a parlay that consists of three bets. To win the parlay, bettors must win each individual leg.
Mark Strotman writes about the NBA and sports betting for BetArizona.com. He is a veteran sports journalist who covered the Chicago Bulls and the NBA for NBC Sports Chicago for about 8 years. His work has also appeared on ESPN.com, FoxSports.com, The Chicago Tribune, Yahoo Sports and NBC Sports.