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Sports Parlay Cards

There’s one kind of bet that just about every sports bettor—from casual to the pro—knows—the parlay bet. The parlay bet is used in every major sport, baseball, basketball, football and hockey, but it’s used in football the most. The concept is simple, pick more than one team, put down a little money and if all your selections come in, you win a lot more money than you would have betting them straight up. So, just how hard is it to hit a parlay bet and what are the true odds? Furthermore, is the parlay bet a good one or is it designed to just take our hard earned money and run—perhaps a little of both is the true answer.

 

Let’s start of by looking at a traditional football parlay bet payoff schedule. In the following payoff schedule, I will show you the number of teams on the parlay card, which is the number of teams that must win, and a common payoff. Let’s imagine that I am a $10 parlay card bettor. After showing the payoff, I will show the mathematical average number of dollars that must be spent to hit the parlay card. I will go through two team parlays all the way up to eight team parlays.

 

Number of Teams: 2

Bet Amount: $10

Win Amount: $26

True Odds: 4 to 1

Investment: $40

Net Result: - $14

 

Number of Teams: 3

Bet Amount: $10

Win Amount: $60

True Odds: 8 to 1

Investment: $80

Net Result: - $20

 

Number of Teams: 4

Bet Amount: $10

Win Amount: $110

True Odds: 16 to 1

Investment: $160

Net Result: - $50

 

Number of Teams: 5

Bet Amount: $10

Win Amount: $200

True Odds: 32 to 1

Investment: $320

Net Result: - $120

 

Number of Teams: 6

Bet Amount: $10

Win Amount: $400

True Odds: 64 to 1

Investment: $640

Net Result: - $240

 

Number of Teams: 7

Bet Amount: $10

Win Amount: $750

True Odds: 128 to 1

Investment: $1,280

Net Result: - $530

 

Number of Teams: 8

Bet Amount: $10

Win Amount: $1,500

True Odds: 256 to 1

Investment: $2,560

Net Result: - $1,060

 

As you can clearly see, the higher up you go, the more net loss you accumulate. Your best value, according to this statistical layout, is the two-team parlay. However, the two-team parlay is really misleading. You would be better off betting each team straight up. Let’s take a look at the comparison between the two-team parlay and the straight up double bet to see why.

 

Let’s imagine that we are betting around $10 per play. If we bet the two-team parlay four times, we will, in theory, lose 3 times (-$30) and win once (+$16 profit after our $10 initial bet). The end result is a loss of $14, just as our data illustrates. However, what if we to bet each game straight up?

 

For our first example, we are going to assume that you got 1 out of 2 three times before hitting both teams. Each time you go one out of two, you lose your vig on the losing bet, which is $1. On the fourth try, you nail both teams and win $20. After the $3 loss is applied, you are ahead $17. If you went 0 for 2 one day, that would cost you $22 in action, therefore, your final tally would be a loss of $5—still less than playing a two-team parlay each day.

 

Once we lined up two possible scenarios, it became clear that the two-team parlay was not the best option, because it closely resembled playing the teams straight up and had no extra upside. The truth is, the three-team parlay is the best value, in my opinion. With the three-team parlay, you are not losing too much value and betting all three games straight up can end up being a huge mess—you would lose more money.

 

While parlay bets might not be the best value in the house, they can be fun. If you are betting on a regular basis, make the parlay bet like getting a special treat now and again. It should not be your main betting type. Very casual bettors should stick to the three-team parlay for maximum value and possibility. Keep these ideas and stats in mind the next time you hit the sports book.

 

Author: Jay Bird

Writer for SportsBookie.com

This is an original article by SportsBookie.com. Please seek permission if you wish to duplicate this content.

8.03.2006 15:59
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