From Novice to Pro: Learn How to Calculate Parlays

Parlays are an exciting and potentially lucrative betting option that allows you to combine multiple wagers into a single bet. If you’re new to sports betting or looking to level up your betting game, understanding how to calculate parlays is a must. In this article, we will guide you through the process of going from a novice bettor to a pro in parlay betting. We’ll explain what parlays are, how they work, and provide you with essential tips and strategies to maximize your chances of success. So, let’s dive in and unlock the secrets of calculating parlays.

What Are Parlays?

At its core, a parlay is a single bet that combines two or more individual wagers into one. Instead of placing separate bets on each outcome, you can bundle them together and create a higher-risk, higher-reward betting option. Parlays are commonly used in sports betting, allowing you to bet on multiple games or events simultaneously. They offer the potential for significant payouts if all your chosen selections win, but the catch is that if any of the selections lose, the entire parlay bet is lost.

How Do Parlays Work?

To understand how parlays work, let’s consider a hypothetical scenario. Suppose you want to bet on three different NFL games happening on a Sunday. Instead of placing three separate bets, you decide to create a parlay by combining the three outcomes into a single bet. If all three teams you selected win their respective games, your parlay bet wins. However, if even one of the teams loses or the game ends in a tie, your entire parlay bet is lost.

Parlays offer the potential for more substantial winnings compared to individual bets because the odds of each selection are multiplied together. However, it’s important to note that parlays come with higher risk due to the requirement of all selections being correct for the bet to win.

Calculating Parlay Odds

Calculating parlay odds may seem complex at first, but it follows a straightforward formula. To determine the potential payout for a parlay bet, you multiply the odds of each selection together and then multiply the result by your original wager. For example, if you have a three-team parlay with odds of +200, -150, and +300, the calculation would be as follows:

(2.00 x 1.50 x 3.00) x Wager = Potential Payout

It’s important to keep in mind that odds format can vary, and understanding the different formats, such as American odds, decimal odds, or fractional odds, is essential in calculating parlay odds accurately.

Parlay Strategies for Beginners

As a beginner, it’s crucial to approach parlay betting with a solid strategy. Here are a few strategies to consider:

  1. Start with smaller parlays: Begin by experimenting with smaller parlays with two or three selections. This allows you to get familiar with the concept and manage your risk effectively.
  2. Focus on one sport or event: By specializing in a particular sport or event, you can gain more knowledge and make more informed selections for your parlays.
  3. Research and analyze: Take the time to research the teams, players, and any other factors that can influence the outcome of your selections. Analyze statistics, recent performance, and other relevant information before making your choices.
  4. Avoid adding too many selections: While adding more selections increases the potential payout, it also significantly lowers the chances of winning. Be cautious and focus on quality over quantity.

Bankroll Management for Parlays

Effective bankroll management is crucial when it comes to parlay betting. Here are some tips to help you manage your funds:

  1. Set a budget: Determine a specific amount of money you are willing to risk on parlays. Stick to this budget and avoid exceeding it, even if you experience a losing streak.
  2. Divide your bankroll: Allocate a portion of your bankroll specifically for parlays. It’s advisable to keep this portion smaller than your overall bankroll to minimize risks.
  3. Avoid chasing losses: If you experience a loss, resist the temptation to increase your wager on the next parlay to recover the losses. Stick to your bankroll management plan and make calculated decisions.

Advanced Parlay Strategies

Once you’ve gained experience and confidence in parlay betting, you can explore more advanced strategies to enhance your chances of success. Some advanced strategies to consider include:

  1. Teasers and pleasers: Teasers and pleasers are variations of parlays that allow you to adjust the point spread or total score in your favor. These strategies can be used to improve your odds and potential payouts.
  2. Hedging: Hedging involves placing additional bets to reduce your potential losses or guarantee a profit, regardless of the outcome of your original parlay bet. This strategy requires careful consideration and analysis.
  3. Line shopping: Line shopping involves comparing the odds offered by different sportsbooks to find the best possible value for your selections. This strategy is particularly important in parlays, as even small variations in odds can significantly impact your potential payout.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

To improve your parlay betting game, it’s essential to steer clear of common mistakes that can lead to unnecessary losses. Here are a few mistakes to avoid:

  1. Overestimating odds: Don’t get carried away by the allure of high odds. Assess the true probability of your selections winning and make informed decisions.
  2. Ignoring bankroll management: Neglecting proper bankroll management can quickly deplete your funds and hinder your long-term success. Stick to your predetermined budget and avoid reckless betting.
  3. Chasing big payouts: While the allure of a massive payout is enticing, don’t let it cloud your judgment. Focus on realistic and well-researched selections rather than blindly chasing huge payouts.


Parlay betting can be an exciting and potentially profitable way to engage in sports betting. By understanding what parlays are, how they work, and employing effective strategies, you can increase your chances of success. Remember to calculate parlay odds accurately, manage your bankroll wisely, and avoid common mistakes. With dedication, research, and a disciplined approach, you can go from a novice bettor to a pro in calculating parlays.