What is a Parlay Bet? Complete Guide to Betting on Parlays for Texas Bettors

Fact Checked by Jeremy Botter

If you use social media and follow sports betting accounts, you probably have seen a winning parlay bet on your feed. While there is a lot of allure to a parlay payout of $5 to win $5,000, there is a way to optimize betting them. Let's dive into parlay bets to discuss what is a parlay bet and how to make the most of them in the Texas sports betting space. 

What is a Parlay Bet?

Parlay bets are a way to bet on sports that combines multiple bets into a single wager. The catch is you need to hit every leg for the parlay to cash. The odds of the parlay bet are calculated based on the odds of every single bet incorporated into the parlay. Any bet that combines at least two individual bets becomes a parlay so that you can create a three-team parlay bet or a four-team parlay bet, a 10-team parlay bet, etc. You can also build a cross-sports parlay bet that includes point spread bets from NFL games and a moneyline bet from an NBA game.

Types of Texas Parlay Bets

Parlay bets can include various betting markets (moneylines, spreads, totals, props, same game parlays) offered by sportsbooks. Here are some examples of common types of parlays you can place on all Texas sports betting apps

Point Spread Parlays

One way to build a parlay bet would be by combining multiple individual point spread bets into a single bet. For example, if you want to develop an NFL-based point spread parlay, the bet would include two or more NFL teams against the spread. The potential payout of the parlay bet would be equal to the combined odds of the individual wagers in the parlay bet. Since the vig on point spreads range from +100 to -120, the odds on point spread parlays depend more on how many legs are in the parlay.

Moneyline Parlays

If you do not want to deal with adding or subtracting points from a team's final score, you can place a moneyline parlay. If you add two or more MLB bets to a single bet slip, you can make a parlay bet of which teams you think will win that day. For the parlay to win, every team in the parlay needs to win. If one team loses, the entire parlay bet loses. You'll often place this type of bet when you're using a Texas sports betting promo

Totals Parlays

Another way to create a parlay could be to focus on the totals offered by sports books. Total parlays are more similar to point spread parlays since the vig on a total generally range from +100 to -120. As a total bettor, if there are three bets in the NBA you want to parlay, you can combine them to create a traditional parlay focusing on totals.

Mix-and-Match Parlays

Another way to create a parlay could be to focus on the totals offered by sports books. Total parlays are more similar to point spread parlays since the vig on a total generally range from +100 to -120. As a total bettor, if there are three bets in the NBA you want to parlay, you can combine them to create a traditional parlay focusing on totals.

Advantages of Parlay Betting

If you plan on placing more parlay bets, here are a few ways to maximize betting on parlays as casual bettors.

Higher Potential Payouts

Combining multiple bets into one parlay bet will give you a greater payout on your wager. However, every bet in the parlay needs to win, or the parlay bet losses, so while there is higher payout potential, parlays are more difficult to win.

Increased Excitement

By having a lot of legs on in a parlay, you can have a bet with a very high potential payout. This can make watching the games you bet on more exciting and allow for more fun while watching your bets transpire. Considering the allure of bigger payouts by betting parlays, there is joy in watching each bet unfold.

Smaller Investments

Since parlays combine the odds of an individual wager and a higher payout is involved, you do not need to risk as much money upfront to win more money. Of course, by combining bets into one bet hitting the parlay becomes much more difficult. If you are looking for a sweat with a higher payout and a limited risk, you may want to consider betting parlays.

Disadvantages of Parlay Betting

While betting parlays seem great, there are a few drawbacks. Causal bettors should be aware of these drawbacks considering one loss means an entire parlay loses.

Lower probability of winning

By combining multiple bets into one, you are decreasing your chances of winning each bet. The juice associated with every bet equates to an implied probability of a bet hitting, so now you need to beat the odds of a single bet winning and hit another bet to win in the first place. There are not many cases where parlay bets have a positive expected value.

No partial wins

If one leg of a parlay bet loses, the entire parlay loses. There are no partial wins in parlay betting. If you bet a two-team parlay and one of the teams loses, the parlay loses. If you bet a 10-team parlay and nine legs hit, but one loses, the bet loses.

Limited flexibility

In order to win parlay bets, all legs need to hit. Parlay odds are calculated based on the individual bets inside it, and once you place a parlay, you are locked into it. Parlay odds look great, which is why they are so popular, but it is harder to hedge a parlay unless you are on the last leg. So there is no flexibility to hedge or lock in profit unless you are down to a standalone last leg.

Popular Sports to Parlay

Betting parlays are popular, and as expected, all major US sports can be used to create parlays. These sports are the most popular to place a parlay bet on, from cross-sports parlays to same-game parlays.

NFL Parlays

The NFL is the most popular sport to bet on in the US, so it is not a shock to see so many parlays come in on the NFL as well. When Week 1 kicks off, you can create a parlay bet consisting of moneylines, spreads, totals, and prop bets. Another popular NFL parlay is called a teaser. A teaser bet is a wager where you add or subtract points to the existing point spreads for a fixed payout. For example, a two-team six-point teaser bet parlays have a fixed payout of -120. You can create a teaser parlay of the Jets +9 and the Bills -1 if the real spreads were Jets +3 and Bills -7.

NBA Parlays

Teasers also exist in the NBA, but there is no positive expected value in teasing NBA games. The best way to create an NBA parlay would be to stick to a more traditional parlay or a same-game parlay. For example, if you have multiple individual bets you like, you can combine them for a longshot NBA parlay. Or, if you have one game you have a good read on, you can create a singular NBA same-game parlay bet.

MLB Parlays

There are no teasers with baseball, and the run line is just 1.5 runs. If you want to bet on MLB parlays, stick to traditional bet times like spreads, moneylines, or totals, or build a same-game parlay. A single-game bet in the MLB could consist of players getting hits and pitchers recording strikeouts.

NHL Parlays

Just like with baseball, there are no teasers in NHL betting. The two best ways to create parlays in the NFL would be to parlay multiple puck lines, totals, or moneyline bets or to create a same game parlay on a game you like the most. Also, you can parlay prop bets without any other bet type, so your bet wins if all the prop bets you added to it wins.

Five Expert Parlay Betting Strategies

Winning parlay bets are hard. Here are some ways to maximize your chances of cashing out if you are betting parlays.

Stick to two or three-team parlays

Once you start including more than three teams in a single parlay, while the odds and payout probably shoot up, the probability of winning decreases immensely. There is no "safe" way to bet on sports, but using just two-three legs in a parlay will increase your chances of winning. It isn't easy to get +EV by adding more than three legs to a parlay.

Select correlated bets

A strategy for betting on parlays is to bet on correlated plays. For example, if you are building a same-game parlay for the Chiefs and Raiders game, and you like the Chiefs to win, you should construct the parlay to focus on the Chief's players doing better and the Raider's players doing worse. With this being said, sportsbooks have a built-in tax on the odds of correlated same-game parlays, meaning the parlay odds will not be true to the odds of each individual bet.

Avoid longshot parlays

Seeing a parlay with a massive payout looks fun, but it is just a way to leak your bankroll. Yes, there is a slight chance it wins, but the odds are so slight that they are not worth betting. Sports betting is hard enough. Betting hail mary longshots as an attempt to make money is -EV and will result in many more losses.

Capitalize on bonus offers

Sportsbooks offer generous bonuses for signing up for the brand, and if you use a brand often, they frequently give out other bonuses, such as parlay boosts or free bets. Taking advantage of these offers is imperative. These bonus offers can lead to free bets, which you can use on longer shot parlays or odds boosts to make the odds +EV parlays even more enticing.

Do your research

If you are going to create a parlay, make sure you are set on the legs you are including. If all three legs in the parlay go off simultaneously, you have no chance to hedge. So, it would be best to put together the best-researched parlay possible before placing the wager.

Get started with Parlay Betting

There is a lot of allure in betting parlays. Having to put up a small amount of money for a larger payout can be a great way to bet when done properly. Considering you can parlay prop bets, moneylines, spreads, totals, and more across all sports, parlay betting is easily one of the best ways to bet for entertainment. With that being said, there are a lot of drawbacks to parlay betting as well, so to maximize parlay betting, make sure to keep these bets short, do your research, and don't overextend your bankroll.

Texas Parlay Bets FAQ


Eric Pauly

Eric Pauly focuses his time on reviewing the top sportsbooks and casinos in the world to ensure gamers and bettors know exactly what they are getting when they sign up to a new site or download a new betting app. Eric also loves sports betting and considers himself an avid sports bettor, despite handicapping not being his core focus.

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