Sports Betting 101 How to Bet NFL and NBA Parlays

You like to bet sports. We’re making that assumption, since you’re reading this page.And somewhere along the way, particularly if you like to put your opinion to work, you’re going to want a payout that represents a little something extra.

And you can find that, in the wagers that are referred to as “exotics.”

We are going to explore one of those – the “parlay.”

What is a parlay wager?

Simply put, it is a bet that involves more than one different event or possible outcome, in which all of the components of that wager have to win for you to get paid.

You could have as few as two parts to a parlays. They can also go as high as 10, 15 or even more. Again, all of the entities that are part of your parlay bet have to win.

Obviously the more parts of the parlay wager, the higher the prospective payout.

And it can be quite high. A typical two-team parlay will pay out at 2.6-to-1. At five teams, it’s 22-to-1. And a “ten teamer” is 720-to-1. We probably don’t have to tell you this, but winning just one game is hard enough. Two games is a chore. Ten games in one parlay bet is a very rare occurrence.

As far as the NFL or NBA is concerned, the propositions involved in the wager can be either a “total” (the total number of points that are scored) or a “pointspread,” which probably requires some explanation.

What is the point spread?

It is a “handicap” posted between two teams where there is a favorite and an underdog, in which points are given to the underdog. This establishes a measure that will determine the winner (and loser) on any given proposition.

In a simple example, let’s say that the Dallas Cowboys are a 3.5-point favorite over the New York Giants. In order for people betting on the Cowboys to win, the team must win by more than 3.5 points; i.e., by four points or more. if anything other than that happens, those wagering on the Giants win. Unless it is otherwise specified, all wagers on pointspreads pay off at 10-to-11 odds. To simplify, you’re laying -110 on these parts of the parlay wager (totals work the same way when it comes to the -110).

As we have said, parlays work in a similar way in the NBA and NFL. And the exact payout can vary from one sportsbook to another, though only slightly. But one thing you should know, and this is inescapable – is that the odds that are paid off in a parlay are not the “true” odds of the teams winning. In fact, to say that the house edge is bigger than it is with the “conventional” bets is an understatement. For parlays, the “hold percentage” (what the house will hold onto after all the winners are paid out) is around six times that of the regular bets. That goes for both football and basketball.

It’s human nature that the prospect of a big payout – the “get rich quick” plan – is very attractive. Generally speaking, sportsbooks really don’t partake in storybook endings.

So you should come into this aware that parlays do not represent the most solid investment. And it’s not something that the most educated bettors (the “sharps,” if you will) attribute a whole lot of attention to.

But if you consider yourself a recreational bettor, you can have some fun with it. And maybe the “value,” or lack of same, that you find in a parlay wager is less important than the excitement that is associated with it, as long as you are responsible with your own money.

So what is the best recommended sportsbook for parlay betting?

Acknowledging that parlay payouts are somewhat standard, and that huge differences between one sportsbook and others don’t usually exist, the best answer to this question may involve the sportsbook(s) that have different kinds of parlays available to their players.

One of those that is reliable is BetOnline, which, some time ago, introduced something called “Odds Boosters.” These offer larger-than-usual payouts on parlays that customers can wager on every day. The caveat is that they pre-select the parlay FOR you.

What these amount to are very interesting propositions they are presenting to the player, in which two or more things must occur. For instance, on a recent evening the sportsbook offered Odds Boosters in the NBA such as:

Klay Thompson and Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors both making five or more three-pointers, with a price of +385, where otherwise it would have been +340;

Jrue Holiday (Milwaukee), Ben Simmons (Brooklyn) and Ja Morant (Memphis) each logging eight or more assists. That three-way parlay pays off at odds of +650 (6.5-to-1), where it would usually be +575.

There was even a “cross sport” booster, which paid +365 (“boosted” from +325) if both the Houston Rockets won their game straight-up and college basketball’s Houston Cougars (who had been #1 in the nation) covered a 9.5-point spread.

Such creativity gives you a chance to make something more out of your parlay.

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