Parlay Betting Guide - Strategy, Odds and Payouts

New to parlay betting? Wanting to hone your parlay-building skills? Our team of experts has compiled this parlay betting guide to get you on the right track and guide you to a better parlay betting experience.

What is Parlay Betting?

BetPicks Best BetsWhether you are a sports betting newbie or an old hand at the game, you’ll have heard of parlay betting by now. So what is it, you ask? A parlay is a combined bet that lets you join your picks into one multi-legged bet with fantastic multiplied odds.

Each leg bet can include a different betting option like an over/under, spread or moneyline bet, and the odds of these individual legs are multiplied to give you your total odds for the whole bet.

Sounds great, right, but what’s the catch? For your parlay to pay, each bet within it needs to hit, or the entire parlay fails.

If you were to place your bet picks individually, you’d have a better chance of one hitting and paying out at its given odds whether the others won or not. Since a parlay relies on all of the legs winning, the greater reward of multiplied odds also comes with a greater risk of losing.

Types of Parlays

BetPicks Best BetsParlays don’t come in just one shape and size; online parlay betting sites offer a multitude of different parlay betting options. You can build parlays on a single game, across multiple games, in a round-robin or even using teasers. You can also mix the types of bets in your parlay.

The number of legs you choose to include is up to you, bearing in mind that the more legs you have, the more likely you might pick a loser and tank your parlay. Let’s look at some of the types of parlays you can make.

Moneyline Parlays

Moneyline parlays are made up of bet picks on the outright winners of any game. For moneylines to be lucrative for you, you’ll need extensive knowledge of the teams and their performance to pick winners consistently.

A moneyline parlay would look something like this on your betting slip:

BetBet TypeOdds
Team AMoneyline1.5
Team BMoneyline2.1
Team CMoneyline1.4
Parlay Odds4.41
Total StakeCA$100.00
Est. Total ProfitCA$441.00

Overs/Unders Parlays

For an overs/unders parlay, your bets are placed on whether the final points total of a match will be over or under a predefined score. This is a popular type of bet to include in a parlay as you don’t need to pick the winner outright; just know the likelihood of the final score being over or under your chosen benchmark. Here’s an example:

GamesBet TypeOdds
Over 2.5
(Team A vs. Team B)
Over 3
(Team C vs. Team D)
Over 2
(Team E vs. Team F)
Total Odds5.79
Total StakeCA$100
Est. Total ProfitCA$578.88

Spread Parlays

A spread parlay relies on you correctly predicting the winning margin of the game and betting on that for a win. This type of betting also requires some in-depth knowledge of the game and the teams. Here’s what a spread bet looks like:

GamesBet TypeOdds
Team ASpread1.87
Team BSpread2.5
Team ASpread5.0
Total Odds23.38
Total StakeCA$100
Est. Total ProfitCA$2,337.50

How To Build A Parlay

BetPicks Best BetsBuilding a solid, successful parlay isn’t an easy task; it takes skill and knowledge to make three or more correct predictions in a row. It’s vital to make informed decisions and factor in team statistics and information to create a parlay betting strategy and improve your chances of winning.

When we look at building a parlay, there are many technical factors to take into account. The size of the parlay plays an important role; too small, and the odds may not seem worth it, too big, and the risk of failure becomes too high. You can use an online parlay betting calculator to help you figure out what your odds and payout will be.

The type of bets to include is also a defining factor in a parlay. Combining bets simply because they have high odds is a surefire way to tank your bet. We like to combine bet types with varied odds and risk profiles to improve the chances of picking winners.

Our team of experts have years of experience in sports betting and spend hours combing through stats to bring you the best NFL Free Picks, NBA Free Picks, NHL Free Picks and more to help you build the best parlays.

Myths and Truths of Parlays

BetPicks Best BetsThere are always those urban legends of that big hit, the fantastic win or the major haul that made someone’s uncle fabulously rich off some underdog bet. But the truth is, there are no shortcuts when it comes to parlays; you’ll need to do the work to get the reward. Here are a few myths and truths about parlays.

  • The greater the risk, the greater the reward – While this may sound good, in reality, it doesn’t hold water. You can’t realistically add multiple risky bets with huge odds together and expect each to hit and pay you out big. The reality is that those bets have enormous odds because of how improbable they are.
  • Betting on the underdog will pay better – While the odds you can get on an underdog are generally higher, there’s a reason they’re the underdog, and bookmakers can afford to offer those odds. Unless you are betting on a sport like the NHL, where upsets are common, the only consistent thing you’ll get from backing the underdog is consistent losses.
  • Bookies have inside information on how the game will turn out – This one is a myth. Bookmakers have teams of experts studying games, teams, statistics, and performance to work out the odds they offer. These teams also provide the tips and free picks that are often provided to help you make your best World cup parlays, EPL Parlays or MLS parlays, for example.


Why should I make parlay bets?

Parlay bets can be more lucrative than placing multiple single bets because of the increased odds. If properly researched and mathematically probable, the risk of placing a parlay bet can be mitigated by the reward.

How do I win a parlay?

The short answer is to build your parlay using individual bets that are surefire wins to make up your parlay selection. Of course, the only way to pick those surefire winners is to do the research and find the most probable winners.

How many legs can I include in my parlay?

Some bookies allow up to 10 or even 12 legs to be added to a parlay, but too many legs are risky. We recommend sticking between two and four legs to keep the bet more manageable.

What type of bets are best for a parlay?

The bets that you choose for your parlay should be based on your knowledge of the game and how sure you are of the outcome. If you know you can pick a moneyline winner, then make that bet; you can always add some simpler bets like overs/unders to make up the rest of your parlay.

Can I make a parlay bet over just one game?

Yes, parlay betting in Canada now allows you to place a single game parlay built using betting options within that game. For example, you could do this by combining an over/under with a moneyline and a spread bet.