Parlay Bet: A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Parlay


Among football bettors, a common argument is what is a parlay. Football is one of the most followed sports on the planet, which is why there are many types of bets associated with this sport. We have seen football enthusiasts getting confused when it comes to a parlay bet.

This is why BetJoe is here with a detailed guide on what is a parlay.

What is a Parlay?

Simply put, a parlay is a type of sports bets in which you combine multiple bets, typically 2-10 bets into a single bet which is also known as a card. Interestingly, combining these bets give you worse odds to win, however, the reward gets much larger. The larger the amount you wager in a parlay bet, the larger is the payout.

Parlay bets are very popular with the online sportsbooks because to win such a bet you have to win each bet on the card. You can understand, how difficult it can be to interpret the winner of each individual bet. For instance, if you bet on the Patriots, the Ravens and the Texans all to win their games on a given day, if all the three teams win then you get a much larger payout compared to you would have won betting on them individually. However, if any of the teams lose, the entire card is lost.

We hope now you know what is a parlay bet. The only exception in this type of bet is the case of the “push”. It is a gambling term used for a tie. If any of the game on the card pushes, that wager is automatically removed from the parlay bet. If in the above case, the Patriots ended up with a tie, then our parlay becomes a 2 bet parlay. The payout also gets smaller than the original payout.

One might question why is it viable to wager on a parlay when the winning odds are relatively low. A parlay bet allows you to win potentially large reward by risking a small amount of money. For example, at 10 teams parlay bet purchased at $ 50 can pay out over $ 16,000 if you won every game.

Now it’s time to move over the basics of a parlay bet and take a closer look at what kinds of bets you should pair together to make a fortune.

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Types of Parlay Bets

Over/ Unders

Over/under bets are also known as the bet on the total wagers because they are based on the total amount of points that will be scored by both the teams in any given game. In this type of parlay, the sportsbook sets the “line”, which is the number you will be basing your wager on. You bet based on your calculation whether the total scores will be over or under that number (line).

Totals or over/under bets are very common in betting parlays as they allow you to make multiple bets on the same game. The most common strategy that bettors involve is to bet on the team they think will win and then parlay that bet with whether the game will go under or over.

So let’s assume that between a game between the Green Bay and the Browns, you are completely confident on the former to win. However, you also have inside information that Aaron Rogers has a secret shoulder injury that is most likely to affect the score of the team. Now if the line is set at 53.5, then your final bet can be that the Green Bay will win the game as well as a parlay on the under.

You might have noticed that ½ point is included in the line in the example above. In terms of sports betting, these points are called “the hook”. The sportsbooks use half points for most bets, especially over/under bets as it limits the opportunities for a push. The hook almost entirely eliminates the chance of bettors ending up with a push.

Point Spreads

Point Spreads or more popularly known as “the spread”, is one of the most interesting forms of parlay bet. The spread is what makes sports betting so uncertain and unpredictable. Without them, we will be betting on just the favoured team every week, and win a lot of money and break sportsbooks within a month.

A point spread evens the sports betting field by taking points from us favoured the team and giving it to the underdog. This balances the odds between the two teams and adds a certain fun to the betting. For instance, in a game where the Chiefs are playing against the Colts, it can be a very tightly contested game. Suppose, the Colts are favoured to win by a field goal, then on the sports betting site, you will see points indicated something like this “Colts -3” or “Chiefs +3.”

In simple words, this is how the points are adjusted to balance the wager. So, if you bet on the Colts -3, but they win by 2, then you lost with the bet by one point. However, if you bet the Chiefs, you won.

The number of points the underdog gets is also known as the size of the spread. This entirely depends on how mismatched the teams are. In sports like the NFL, rarely the spread goes beyond 13.5, but in sports like college football, you can routinely see teams have a 60-point spread.

There is no doubt that the point spreads add a degree of complication to the sports bet, but there are additional options that can even be more fun. They are called Teasers and Pleasers. Let’s know about these options in detail.


For a parlay bet, the Teaser is one of the greatest things. Many expert sports bettors think that teaser parlays are one of the best inventions since the online casino. A teaser bet is a kind of parlay in which you can move the point spread that we discussed above, in your favour. The bettor can typically move the point spread between 6 and 7.5 points. Your payout is lessened if you win a teaser parlay, however, it does improve your odds of winning.

If we reconsider the example of the Colts and the Chiefs above, the Colts are favoured by 3 points. If you “teased the line” six points then you will move the Colts spread from -3 to +3.

You add 6 points to the spread that is already given to you and now you can bet on a team that is already favoured and win whether they win outright as predicted or if they lose by less than 3. We say, your chances look pretty good!

You can also tease the total or over/under parlays as well. We know that the point spread parlay is interesting but over/under bets can also become better with teasers. So, if you were to tease the point spread of 53.5 in the example earlier, you will bring the line all the way down to 46.5 and then bet the over. Or you can also choose to move the over/under spread to 60.5 and bet the under.


In simple terms, a pleaser bet is exactly opposite of a teaser bet. Pleasers pay you much higher as compared to teasers because they move the point spread against you rather than for you.

In the above example, if you make a pleaser bet for the same numbers, the Colts will move from -3 to -10.5. Now to win the bet, you have to wager on the Colts to plead the Chiefs by at least 11 points. The pleaser parlay bets can only be done on parlay cards.


The last in the list of types of parlay is the Moneyline bet. These types of parlays entirely remove the point spread from the question. It is a bet based on straight-up winner or loser of the event. It is the simplest type of parlay in which you do not have to care about calculations and numbers. You just bet on which team is most likely to win, that’s it.

Moneyline bets can become very profitable if you are able to predict an upset. However, wagering on a favoured team Moneyline, the payout will be less. The more favoured the team is, the less it will be the payout.

You can mix a Moneyline bet with a point spread bet on a single parlay but you cannot do the same with teaser or pleaser bets. On such cards where one wager is teased/pleased, you must tease/please them all.


Now that we have answered, what is a parlay, we think it’s time for you to get out there and try your hands at it. Don’t forget to mix parlays to improve your chances of winning a bigger payout at better odds.

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