We touched briefly on the subject of parlay betting our comprehensive tutorial, How to Bet on Sports. Today we’ll cover the topic in more detail, with a few examples to drive the point.
A parlay bet is simply a single wager on multiple outcomes. The minimum is always 2 or 3 picks, but the maximum number of picks allowed depends the sportsbook. It could be 6, 8, 10, sometimes even 12. Just know that the more picks you make, the less likely you are to win, because every single pick must be correct. If just one of your selections doesn’t win, the entire bet is lost.
What Bets Can I Choose From?
Parlays are typically offered on straight win bets, point spread bets, and over/under totals. Proposition bets may also be offered as parlays, so long as the outcome is evenly matched. For instance, there’s a 50/50 chance on what team will win the coin toss before a football game.
If you are not already familiar with each of these sports bets, please take a moment to learn more about them before you continue. The links below open in a new window so you won’t lose your place here.
Sample Betting Slips
Here are a two examples of parlay bets, and what they might look like on a betting slip.
|Bet Slip #1
||Bet Slip #2
Each slip shows four bets placed on basketball games. On the first slip, the punter has made straight bets to win on four teams, where the odds are different for each. On the second slip, we see four bets on the same four teams, but this time, the punter has chosen point spread bets. As such, the odds are the same for each bet (1.90).
At the bottom of each slip, we see that the punter wants to risk $10 on these parlays. Bet slip 1 shows a total payout of $98.44 for a win. Bet slip 2 has a $100 payout potential. The difference here is explained in our next section, Calculating Parlay Payouts. But first, a quick word on the laws surrounding domestic and international sportsbooks…
Parlay Betting In and Outside Canada
I mentioned above that parlays are the only legal form of sports betting here in Canada. Each province offers some sort of sports lottery where punters can bet on up to 6 picks at a time. However, thanks to the internet, Canadians are free to explore their options outside the country, with no threat of legal recourse.
We are perfectly free to deposit and gamble at online sportsbooks hosted by offshore operators. These websites are licensed in jurisdictions where sports betting is not limited to parlays. If accumulators are the only type of bets you’re interested in, you may wish to restrict your bets to local provincial sports lotteries. However, it does pay to shop around. Not only might you find better parlay odds on internationally regulated sites, you can also participate in a wider variate of sports bets, including single-event wagers.