Betting Talk

Parlays: Pros and Cons?

RightAngleRightAngle Admin
edited June 2007 in Sports Betting
I'm going to write a short article on this subject, but wanted to get the thoughts of the board members first.

What are the pros and cons of parlays?



  • BradyBrady Banned
    edited June 2007
    There are certain opportunities that I'll take advantage of as it pertains to moneylines and parlays.

    1. I will limit this to only Baseball, and NFL Football. (moneylines)
    Never NBA

    2. For instance yesterday I took two teams off a loss with their ace on the mound at over -200 each..Cleveland and Oakland.
    The payout was about 1.1 to 1 so The risk to me was definately worth it.

    3. I will never try to strike gold with a huge parlay. This is not a good idea

    4. Also, one of the most underutilized parlays is to parlay the opposite of all your plays in one day. This was if you go 0 for 3 or 0 for 6 or whatever, (and we all know these days can happen!) at least you hit the parlay to gain some of it back. I do this everyday.
  • SunBelterSunBelter Senior Member
    edited June 2007
    I agree with what Brady said about baseball parlays. About the only ones I ever do is to hook up two large favorites. I dont like laying $2 or more on a baseball game, and Im not crazy about run line wagers, so parlays work for me in these cases.
  • edwardnedwardn Senior Member
    edited June 2007
    I got real Lucky I think when I won a 8 Team Parlay at Bodog which paid
    8, 864.00. I play one now almost everyday now for $25.00 because that is my limit. most of the time one or two teams always kill me. For instance last night I had the Cardinals game under 9.5 and it went over. I had the over on the Seattle Mariners and it went under. Baseball parlays seem to give you the best odds because of the plus money when you include dogs and Run Lines.

    They are very hard to hit , but the payoff dollars look good. I always back myself up with straight bets.

    Lots of fun trying to hit the big one, I get lots of good information from this site to help me in making my selections. My buddy tell me you're crazy trying to pick 8 Teams.

  • OrlandoMagOrlandoMag Senior Member
    edited June 2007
    Mathematically, parlays effectively have the same return as straight bets, assuming you get the right price (13/5, 6/1 on 2 and 3 gamers). The main difference is the variance. (Watch the 4 gamers and higher against the spread...usually a rip off unless they are calculating it to the true money line....i.e the 10-1 4 gamer, a pure ripoff)

    Take a 3 team parlay (same applies for money lines) against the spread for $100. Effectively, all you are doing is taking the initial bet, cashing it, and putting $191 on the next ticket, cashing that and playing those total proceeds on the last leg of the parlay. Parlay pays $700 ($100 wager returned) vs $696 straight as above. Basically the same, except you don't get to shop for numbers inbetween games.

    If you want to play parlays, you are clearly better off playing the first leg, cashing it, and shopping for the best number on leg 2 and 3. Of course, if the games go at the same time, that rules that out.

    Because of the increase in variance in parlays, they are usually not a good play, mainly because people overbet them as a percentage of bankroll, which will lead to bust more often than not.

    Correlated parlays are a different story, but many books will block those plays (i.e. Heavy money line favorite in the NHL to the over, or higher still, dog+the puckline to the under). Also finding that one game you feel a huge edge in to various other games in 2 gamers lets you get more on that game.
  • jaanisjaanis Senior Member
    edited June 2007
    I don't see how parlays are ever advantageous unless you play each of the games by themselves as well.
  • OrlandoMagOrlandoMag Senior Member
    edited June 2007
    Only if you can get down on correlated parlays, then you have a huge advantage. But, many of those that are clearly correlated are blocked as the books realize this as well. There are spots in bases where you can find some weaker correlated plays that you can place and pick up an additional edge, but beyond these types of plays, properly sized straight bets are almost always the better play.

    That said, in the day (the day being more internet shops open), you could find an occasional 6.5-1 3 gamer, which gives you a big edge (drops your effective breakeven rate from 52.4% to 51.5%) or the 14/5 2 gamer. There may be a promo once in awhile in Vegas like this, but generally speaking, these opp's are gone until we return to the good old days, if we do!
  • vseadervseader Senior Member
    edited June 2007
    worked in sports book in Vegas for about 9 months....lots of small
    players tried 8 team parlays...guess what...I never cashed one ticket
  • OrlandoMagOrlandoMag Senior Member
    edited June 2007
    Not surprising you wouldn't see many (or any) considering odds at 50/50 are 256-1. And, of course, the payout is horrendous one 8 teams, esp against the spread. At least on a 8 team moneyliner, you are getting accurate odds, per the price of each game. Still, an 8 gamer is fools gold 99.9% of the time.
  • peacemakerpeacemaker Senior Member
    edited June 2007
    I only use parlays on baseball. I bet larger units on football and basketball and employ a more disciplined money management approach in those sports. Since I have a spectator's, not gambler's, interest / insight with MLB, a $10 4 to 6 teamer keeps me interested without any (or much) risk. I rely heavily on the consensus opinions of the talented cappers on this board.

    It may not be for everyone, but for $10 a day the ESPN ticker is a lot more interesting. On the $$ side, if I hit one every two or three weeks I'm ahead. Last year the "hobby" provided the starting nut for NCAA football.
  • DuckgawdDuckgawd Senior Member
    edited June 2007
    Im sure it is safe to say Parlays are like the Lotto or Slot machine, Sucker Bets, and we can say Parlays are the Sucker Bet in Sports Betting. Parlays are stacked in the favor of the house over any other bet, The payout are far less then what they should be based on the diffuculty of hitting one. Like the slot machine and lotto, small betters can risk little to win a lot but in the long run lose way more then they thought they would. Also for those who hit a parlay early in the sports betting career, they get hooked because they feel they can beat the odds maker not only on one game but multiple games at 1 time! I dont think there is much positive on parlays other then the big potential payouts!
  • StricknineStricknine Senior Member
    edited June 2007
    There are only two instances where I think parlays have good value, and one of them you have to have a dumb local.

    1. If your local is dumb enough to let you corellate parlays(betting the total and side of the same game). Generally you will go with the dog and the under or the favorite and the over in cbb, or bet the road team and the over in baseball. SIA used to let you do this, but they will quickly cut you off if you show the ability to hit them on a consistent basis.

    2. The sport where I feel I have an actual edge is college basketball. I will look for two home dogs that I feel have a great shot at winning and parlay the two dogs on the moneyline.

    I really dont see many pros in betting parlays because you are getting ripped off on the odds big time. The odds of hitting a two team straight parlay is about 3:1 and the odds generally offered are 2.5:1. The odds for bigger parlays get progressively worse. I wouldnt reccommend playing a lot of longshot parlays, but I have seen a few people do really well with them. The ones that do well usually stick to the NFL and buy a couple of points on each team. The idea is that if you can pick the right side and buy a couple of points your chances of cashing a longshot go up but the price the parlay pays drops dramatically.

    You see how so much has to go right just to cash one fucking bet. I would like to hear Ed's thoughts on when he sees a +ev on parlays.
  • DragonswirlDragonswirl Senior Member
    edited June 2007
    I play parlays exclusively (other than hedges). I am a very small time bettor and the parlay allows me to play for smaller amounts.

    Baseball season is toughest, because lines are day-by-day, although I am having modest success currently with 3 team Round Robins(1 3 teamer and 3 2-teamers). I can bet 1/4 unit, and if 3-0 roughly pays 4-1, 2-1 break-even.

    Best time of year is mid-August through late April/Early May. I work on a plan where my last bet in a parlay is 3-7 days away. In football I use a lot of teasers, yet will buy points as well in parlays. I use MNF and/or European Soccer as final level(s) in the parlays. Then early in the week I will take 1/2 plays as levels 1/2 of a 4-6 team parlay. I can make $5/$10 parlays (minimal risk). Also, I don't worry about hedging until the last 2/3 levels, when I have equity in the parlay, and I can guarantee a profit.

    Another thing I like about parlays, which I think was mentioned above, is that I can/do often use heavy lays (-200 up to -280). I have been known to have the final 2 of a 5/6 team parlay with say, Lyon -350 & Real Madrid/Barclona in -400 to-450 range. While those odds increase parlay payout, that also leaves me with hedge possibilities of the opposite +1, +1.5 or even +2.0 goals on the opponent, with the possibility of a middle.

    I also keep my parlay plays/levels in separate time segment (no two games being played simultaniously) , thus if there is a need to hedge, I can concentrate on one game at a time.

    I agree with many stating that going for 6/8/10 team parlays without a plan, throwing money away.

  • KeyElementKeyElement Banned
    edited June 2007
    With very few exceptions all parlays other than 2 teamers at 14-5 are a bad bet. Anyone contending moneyline parlays are paying true odds needs a refresher course in mathematics. The works of Miller and McCune, among others, are worthy of study. Bob McCune (RIP) was a crusty old fart, and I am not a fan of Millers handicapping, but in both cases the odds and mathematics are pure platinum.
  • OrlandoMagOrlandoMag Senior Member
    edited June 2007
    Depends how you define true odds? Effectively, playing a parlay, with say a -150 and -175 is the same as betting the first game at -150, and rolling the bet and profit onto the next ticket. True odds, at least in the sense of the -150 and -175, but not in the sense of each game (true odds on a -150 are probably close to -140, etc). A parlay doesn't change a -150 into what the actual no-vig price is.
  • DragonswirlDragonswirl Senior Member
    edited June 2007

    As OrlandoMag noted, parlays don't change the odds. At 10/11 a 2 team parlay should pay 2.64-1, a 3 team parlay should pay 5.60-1 (that can change a bit due to rounding).

    I put anything they will allow in a parlay, and rarely have only 10/11 plays in a parlay. I presume the true vig to be @9%.

  • HavanaHavana Senior Member
    edited June 2007
    Re-read three books on this stimulating subject.
    Gambling For a Living "Sklansky and Malmuth". 1997

    The Odds "Chad Milman" 2001

    Sharp Sports Betting "Stanford Wong" 2001 who has 15 pages on this subject.

    The details of these three books mostly leave me to think that straight bets are superior. However, the Stanford Wong (15 pages) covers parlays in such a way that I know I have no idea.

    Therefore, I will continue to do a 4 or 5 games parlay when at a particular book I am down to "my last yacht" and am hoping for a miracle.

    Perhaps the next stimulation could be "round robbins".
  • hawk17hawk17 Senior Member
    edited June 2007
    Pros: a way to get a lot of action for small wager, try to get rich quick , it's fun.

    Cons: difficult to win, but sometimes they hit :)

    Jun 22 9:01pm 4 Team Parlay - Winner 100.00 to win 580.49
    1. Baseball - Boston Red Sox - moneyline (-135)
    for the entire game held on Jun 22 at 9:05pm [winner]
    D Matsuzak -R must start and G Maddux -R must start for action
    2. Baseball - Cincinnati Reds - runline +1½ (-210)
    for the entire game held on Jun 22 at 9:05pm [winner]
    A Harang -R must start and R Feierabend -L must start for action
    3. Baseball - Los Angeles Angels - moneyline (-225)
    for the entire game held on Jun 22 at 9:05pm [winner]
    Z Duke -L must start and J Saunders - L must start for action
    4. Baseball - New York Yankees - moneyline (-120)
    for the entire game held on Jun 22 at 9:15pm [winner]
    K Igawa -L must start and M Cain -R must start for action
  • TopdagoTopdago Member
    edited June 2007
    I like Round Robins {3 two team parlays}esp. in football or Coll & NBA.And I usually play a 3 team parlay with the same 3 teams also.With a Round Robin at least if 2 out of the 3 come in you are always on the + side.
Sign In or Register to comment.