How Parlay Bets Work

A parlay bet is a single wager where more than one correct outcome is required to win your bet.  The odds for each selection are multiplied together to generate your “parlay odds”, which are the odds for the entire parlay.

For example, if you place a parlay bet on the Leafs, Red Wings and Jets to win their games on a Saturday night, the parlay odds would be each of their odds to win multiplied together.  You would then find your potential payout by multiplying the parlay odds by your wager.  The teams on the parlay bet must all win in order for your parlay bet to pay out.  If just one of those three teams lose then your parlay wager is no longer a winner.

Parlay Betting Example

Here’s an example continuing with the scenario I laid out above.

To find the parlay odds you simply multiply the odds for each individual outcome together.  The odds are then multiplied by the wager amount to find your potential payout.

In this example the odds for each of the three teams were multiplied together (1.714 x 1.833 x 2.15) to find the parlay odds for the three outcomes (6.75).  You can see the parlay odds on the above ticket by following the arrow.

The parlay odds (6.757) can then by multiplied by the wager amount (20 x 6.757) to find the payout of $135.14.  In the above example Bodog shows the potential winnings instead of the potential payout, which can be found by subtracting the risk amount.  I go into more detail on all of this decimal odds information on our betting odds page.

In the simplest of terms, a parlay bet is basically re-wagering the money you win on one selection, back on to the next selection in the parlay and so on.

In the above example, if you win a $20 bet on the Jets at odds of 1.714 you would be paid out $34.28.  You could then wager that back on the Maple Leafs at odds of 1.833 and be paid out $62.84, which you can then wager on the Wings at odds of 2.15 and be paid out the $135.14.  Some people find this way of thinking about the parlay odds easier to understand.

Pushes

If a bet pushes then it will be voided from your parlay wager and the parlay bet will proceed with one less selection.

A push is when a selection is neither a winner or a loser.  For example, if you take the Bills -3 as one of your selections and then they win their game by exactly 3 points, that selection would be considered a push.  Because you’re neither right or wrong the Bills -3 selection would simply be removed from your parlay bet and the wager would continue with one fewer selections and the odds would be adjusted accordingly.

Parlay Betting Popularity In Canada

Parlay bets are especially popular among Canadians.  I believe this is a result of all of the government run sports lotteries (Proline, Sport Select, etc) only legally being allowed to offer parlay bets with 3 or more selections.  Because most people in Canada get started betting through one of these state run betting platforms, parlay betting is almost considered the norm among Canadians.