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

Fact Checked by Shannon Lane
Complete Guide to Betting on Parlays for Kentucky Bettors

Legalized Kentucky sports betting is coming this September! Kentucky sports betting will officially go live at retail racetracks on September 7, 2023, with Kentucky sportsbook mobile apps following online on September, 28, 2023, so now is a perfect time to learn everything there is to know about parlay betting.

A parlay bet is a combination of smaller bets that must all win for your overall bet to win. Parlays offer a fun way to wager on sports games and take advantage of very high odds. They're such a fun and popular form of betting that sportsbooks will likely offer special Kentucky sports betting promos just for parlay bets.

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Here's what you need to know in advance of the launch of legalized online sports betting in Kentucky.

Table of Contents

  • ✅ What is a Parlay Bet?
  • ✅ Types of Parlay Bets
  • ✅ How to Calculate Parlay Odds
  • ✅ The Advantages and Disadvantages of Parlay Betting
  • ✅ Five Expert Parlay Betting Strategies
  • ✅ Frequently Asked Questions about Parlays

What is a Parlay Bet?

Parlay bets are wagers that combine two or more individual bets. To have a winning parlay bet, each individual bet, or 'leg' of the parlay must win. The advantage of parlays is that since it is so difficult for them to win, they have very high odds—meaning you can wager a small amount of money and collect substantial winnings.

Terms apply for all bonuses. Must be 21+ to participate.  
Bonus Bets Expire in 7 Days. One New Customer Offer Only. Must be 21+ to participate & present in KY. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. Visit BetMGM.com for Terms & Conditions. US promotional offers not available in NY, NV, or Puerto Rico.

Types of Parlay Bets

The options for creating a parlay bet are virtually limitless. Some types of parlay bets are particularly common, and we have highlighted those below.

Point Spread Parlays

Point spread bets are one of the most popular sports betting options, and parlays combining spread bets are also common. Point spreads allow you to bet on either the underdog or favorite in a game with the same odds. Point spread parlays combine multiple such bets. 

For example, let's say you bet on the Kansas City Chiefs to cover the spread against the Texans on Sunday, the Bills to cover against the Patriots, and the 49ers to cover against the Dallas Cowboys. If the Chiefs, Bills, and 49ers all manage to cover, your three-team parlay will win.

Moneyline Parlays

A moneyline bet is the most simple wager in sports betting as it simply involves picking which team will win a game. Moneyline parlays are super common and easy to create, as you just have to combine multiple of these 'pick 'em' bets. Your entire parlay bet could include as few as two moneyline picks, or as many as your sportsbook allows. 

It is not uncommon for people to place moneyline parlays that include picks for all 15 of the week's NFL games. The more bets your parlay includes, the higher the odds will be—but remember: if just one of your moneyline bets misses, your entire parlay bet loses.

Totals Parlays

Totals are commonly called over/under bets and they refer to wagers placed on the total number of points that will be scored by both teams during a game. The sportsbooks set the "line," which for totals is the number of total points for the game, and you must decide whether you think the game will have more or fewer points than the provided total. 

Totals bet parlays combine multiple over/under bets from multiple different games.

Mix-and-Match Parlays

Your parlay does not have to include multiple of only the same bet type. You can also combine multiple bets of different types to create a parlay. One advantage of mix-and-match parlays are that you can place multiple bets on the same game. 

For example, in a game between the New York Giants and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, you could be on the Giants to win (moneyline bet) while also betting on Tampa to cover the spread (point spread bet).

Terms apply for all bonuses. Must be 21+ to participate.  
Must be 21+ and present in KY. Bonus issued in non-withdrawable bonus bets that expires after 30 days. Unique user identity verification required. Restrictions apply. See terms at sportsbook.fanduel.com. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER.

How to Calculate Parlay Odds

It's a good idea to know how to calculate your parlay odds so you can determine whether the line offered by the sportsbook is fair. Here's a step by step guide to calculating parlay odds:

  1. ✅ Convert American odds of each bet to decimal odds
  2. ✅ Multiply the decimal odds of each bet together
  3. ✅ Multiply this number by the amount of money you are betting
  4. ✅ Subtract your stake to see the parlay odds

Advantages of Parlay Betting

Parlay bets offer some unique advantages that separate them from individual wagers placed by sports bettors. Becuase of the higher odds, your parlay payout can be huge compared to your investment.

  • 📈 Higher Potential Payouts: When it comes down to it, sports betting is all about winning money. Because parlay odds tend to be so high, you can see huge payouts if all your individual bets win.
  • 📈 Increased Excitement: Sports betting can make watching games a lot more fun. Now imagine you've already hit on 3 legs of a 4-leg moneyline parlay bet and you are watching the final minutes of a close game on your last leg—now THAT'S excitement!
  • 📈 Smaller Investments: High odds bring two distinct benefits. Not only can you win higher payouts, but you also only need to invest a small bet to potentially win big. With a parlay that has high odds, you could see a parlay payout of thousands of dollars after a wager of only a few dollars!

Disadvantages of Parlay Betting

While parlays bring some unique advantages, they can also carry frustrations for sports bettors. The odds of your parlay wagers winning are low, and you can't always create your parlay bet exactly how you want it.

  • 📉 Lower Probability of Winning: High odds are great for winning stacks of cash without a huge investment, but they also mean that your bet will be more likely to lose. Creating a single bet out of multiple wagers drastically decreases your chances of winning your bet. While this is the name of the game with parlays, casual bettors and even veterans might get tired of watching their wagers lose time and time again.
  • 📉 No Partial Wins: Every parlay bettor knows the feeling of hitting on multiple individual bets, only to have their parlay lose because of one or two legs. There's no other type of sports betting where you can place multiple winning bets and still lose money. The fact that parlays do not offer partial wins can be a tough pill to swallow after those near-miss wagers.
  • 📉 Limited Flexibility: Unfortunately, sportsbooks to not allow bettors to combine any two or more bets to create a parlay. There will always be restrictions on what wagers can be combined together, so your creativity might be curbed slightly by the rulebook.
Terms apply for all bonuses. Must be 21+ to participate.  
Must be 21+ to participate and present in KY. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. T&C’s and restrictions apply.

Popular Sports To Parlay

You can place a parlay bet on any major league sport in the U.S., as well as other popular betting competitions such as horse racing. Individual wagers will look different from sport to sport, but the overall concept of a parlay bet is the same across the board.

Horse Racing Parlays

Kentucky is home to the biggest horse race in world, and thanks for sports betting fans, you can bet parlays on the Kentucky Derby and other horse racing events. Instead of wagering a large amount in a single bet on your favorite horse, you can create a parlay bet that combines picks from the day's races to increase the payout from horse racing betting

For example, let's say you choose the winner for three races. For your bet to win, all three of your picks must come out on top. If even one leg misses, your entire parlay loses.

NFL Parlays

The NFL is the most popular league for sports betting in America. The options for NFL parlay bets are virtually limitless, with player props combined with team props or traditional moneyline, over/under, and spread bets. Most betting platforms let you create same-game parlay bets from different props, or combine bets from various different games into one single bet. 

For example, you could place a same game parlay on the New York Giants game by predicting the over/under as well as who will score the first touchdown for the Giants. Or, you could place a three-leg parlay that simply predicts the over/under on three different games.

Parlay betting on Super Bowl odds is hugely popular, with plenty of specialty bets rolled out just for the Big Game.

NBA Parlays

NBA parlay bets offer plenty of options including same-game parlays and bets involving multiple different games. Since NBA games are so high-scoring, all the different statistical categories provide great opportunities to build unique parlay bets. 

For example, you could create a same-game parlay in a game between the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers, including predictions that Nikola Jokic will have a 30-point triple-double, Lebron James will have more than 10 rebounds, and the Lakers will cover the spread.

MLB Parlays

Baseball is a uniquely stat-driven sport, which means that you have a lot of options for props to use in your MLB parlay bets, in addition to the more traditional bet types. Your parlay picks for the MLB can include various bets based on the statistics of your favorite players. Your options are virtually limitless. 

Let's say you think Aaron Judge and the Yankees are due for a big game, so you bet that he will have two or more hits tonight, in addition to Anthony Rizzo hitting a home run and Gerrit Cole collecting a win. This single-game bet comes with big odds of 1850, meaning you could bet just $10 and win $185 if all three legs hit.

NHL Parlays

Hockey fans will be thrilled to find that all major sports betting platforms offer parlay odds for hockey. Just like other major league sports, you can combine moneyline, totals, or spread bets to create a multi-game parlay. Or, you can opt for a same-game parlay that involves multiple props within a single match. 

If you're a big hockey fan, you probably know your favorites for every game, so you could create a moneyline parlay with five different games on the same night to really stack up the odds.

Terms apply for all bonuses. Must be 21+ to participate.  
Must be 21+ and present in KY. Bonus issued in non-withdrawable bonus bets that expires after 30 days. Unique user identity verification required. Restrictions apply. See terms at sportsbook.fanduel.com. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER.

Five Expert Parlay Betting Strategies

Parlay bets offer the potential to win big without having to wager very much money. But with already high odds, the chances of winning parlays are generally slim. Follow the strategies below to make sure that you are doing everything you can to increase your odds of winning your parlays.

Stick to Two or Three-Team Parlays

As you build your parlay bets, it can be enticing to watch the odds stack up as you add more and more bets and teams. But any parlay bet offers enhanced odds, and it is important to remember that successful sports betting usually involves multiple small wins, rather than one or two big wins with lots of misses in between. We recommend sticking to two or three-team parlays to keep your chances of winning each bet reasonable. For example, comprise your parlay of three money line picks for this week's NFL games that you feel most confident about, rather than 10 picks including some that you feel might be close calls.

Select Correlated Bets

Correlated parlays refer to wagers in which two or more bets are tied together. If one bet hits, it increases the odds of another of your bets hitting. Of course, sportsbooks try to avoid offering correlated parlays because they offer an advantage to the bettor. But if you know what to look for, you may still be able to find some. For example, let's say you're able to build a parlay that includes Patrick Mahomes throwing for over 350 yards, as well as Travis Kelce going for over 100 yards and a touchdown. These bets are correlated since the chance of either player having a big game goes up when the other is doing well.

Avoid Longshot Parlays

Longshot parlays are enticing because the odds are so high. These are the parlays with several legs that you read about, with people sometimes cashing in on tens of thousands of dollars with just a wager of just a few dollars. But expert parlay bettors rarely place longshot parlays—instead, they work to find parlays with lower odds that they feel have a decent chance of cashing in. Let's say you want to pick 2023's NBA, MLB, and NFL champions. A smarter strategy would be to pick the favorite for each league and wager a bit more, rather than throw a few dollars toward longshot underdog teams with much higher odds.

Capitalize on Bonus Offers

All betting platforms strive to stay competitive by offering various promotions and bonuses that make their apps and websites more enticing. Bonus offers might include deposit matches, "risk-free" wagers, and other perks that offer increased value on the bets you place. Some promotions might be targeted specifically at parlay bets to offer increased odds or a higher potential payout should your next bet win.

Do Your Research

One thing all expert bettors have in common: they do their research. While sports betting is still gambling and the sportsbooks always tilt the odds in their favor, people who are knowledgeable about the competitions they bet on will have a major advantage over novice bettors. The bet-building process involved in parlays means you have some freedom to create a wager that has a great chance of cashing in. Make sure you do your research before betting on games, including comparing the point spread, moneyline, and totals, and understanding matchups and injury reports.

Terms apply for all bonuses. Must be 21+ to participate.  
Must be 21+ to participate. T&Cs Apply. Play Responsibly. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER

Get Started with Parlay Betting

Parlay bets offer an exciting way to wager on your favorite sports teams by combining multiple bets to create a single bet with high odds. The increased odds associated with parlays mean you could have the chance to cash in on a major payout without having to wager very much.

Parlays are super flexible, allowing you to bet on popular lines like totals, point spreads, and moneylines for multiple different games, or combine prop bets for a more specific parlay. With some research and smart strategy, parlays can be fun and profitable.

More Sports Betting Guides:

Terms apply for all bonuses. Must be 21+ to participate.  
Bonus Bets Expire in 7 Days. One New Customer Offer Only. Must be 21+ to participate & present in KY. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. Visit BetMGM.com for Terms & Conditions. US promotional offers not available in NY, NV, or Puerto Rico.

Parlay Betting FAQs

Author

Adam Wernham
Sports Betting Contributor

Adam Wernham has over eight years of professional copywriting experience. Growing up in the Bay Area, Adam developed strong ties to local teams including the Giants, Warriors, and 49ers. His passion for sports and writing make him a strong voice on all things sports betting and a great asset to the BetKentucky staff.

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