How Often Do Parlays Hit?

by | Mar 3, 2022

Parlay bets in sports are becoming more popular these days as gambling grows worldwide. Many are intrigued by the big paydays of a parlay when everything goes correctly.

These bets seem very enticing, but how often do parlays hit in the first place? A lot of it depends on just how big the parlay is. By understanding the odds of actually winning, some might feel like parlays are still worth the gamble. Others feel like they want to win more often and have a slow and steady approach, making them shy away from parlay bets.

How Often Do Parlays Hit?

That all depends on the odds all teams are getting that are involved. If the parlay involves all underdogs, even a 2-team parlay can be north of 5/1 odds or worse. If two teams are favorites, a 2-team parlay could balance out to 1/1 odds.

Parlay bets involving pick’em or coinflip games have the following odds of hitting:

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2-team parlay – 3/1
3-team parlay – 7/1
4-team parlay – 15/1
5-team parlay – 31/1
6-team parlay – 63/1
7-team parlay – 127/1
8-team parlay – 255/1
9-team parlay – 511/1
10-team parlay – 1023/1
11-team parlay – 2047/1
12-team parlay – 4095/1

Of course, the odds of them hitting are greater than the payouts indicate. That’s due to the sportsbooks always ensuring they get their cut. Known as the vig, sportsbooks try to earn roughly 10% (regardless of the winner).

Are Parlay Payouts Worth The Risk?

Parlay bets are a lot like any other options out there that a person must hit on the equivalent of more than 50% of the bets. By calculating those odds at 50% as they are above, it shows that the parlay percentage doesn’t have to be quite as high. However, there are some added variables to parlay betting that make some wonder if it’s actually worth the risk.

Some of the biggest reasons to stay away are below. It’s not all necessarily doom and gloom,

Where Does the Payout Usually Sit?

Most people need to hit on close to 54%-55% of the time to turn a profit. That would mean, for example, having 2.3/1 payout odds on a 2-team parlay, 5/1 payout odds on a 3-team parlay, and 394/1 payout odds on a 10-team parlay. Gamblers are still only winning a certain amount of the time, but it equates to a higher winning percentage on a game-by-game basis.

The best parlay payouts are going to be the 2-team and 3-team options. When it gets to a 4-team parlay, it’s one of the worst payouts from a numbers perspective. Even though people only have a chance to win one out of 15 times with 50% pick’em options, the payout is 10/1. It gets progressively worse with more teams added.

That’s why it’s not recommended to try betting too much on huge parlays. There’s no reason to anyway, because even a small bet can yield hundreds if not thousands of dollars if it hits.

Handling Longer Dry Spells With Parlay Bets

Maybe the most challenging thing about getting into parlay betting is that there are quite a few dry spells people will have to deal with. That means mismanagement early on will make it very challenging to have an operable bankroll.

It is crucial to only have roughly 3% to 5% of the bankroll involved in a parlay bet. Cold spells have the chance of depleting a bankroll with single bets, and it’s even more difficult with parlay bets.

Bigger Paydays Mean Less Winning

If winning consistently is a major focus, parlay betting is probably not going to satisfy the average person. That’s because there are a lot more highs and lows with this type of gambling because of how much is winnable on a single bet.

Those concentrating on parlay bets can go weeks or even months without winning big at all. This can be very frustrating, leading people to second-guess every single wager they make.

Calculating the Odds on Different Parlay Bets

Every parlay bet includes a different set of odds, so it’s impossible to correctly predict exactly how it will all play out. That said, one common bet involved with parlays is a pointspread bet.

With many pointspreads, the point of the spread in the first place is to even out the odds on both sides. The money line usually is displayed as -110, which indicates that the matchup could go either way.

That’s when it becomes a true pick’em game. Odds earlier on in the article look specifically at those odds. It provides a nice base for people to look at when getting an idea of the odds and payouts of other scenarios.

What are the Safest Parlay Bets to Make?

Most people will say that the best overall value for a parlay bet is if they go with a 3-team option. The majority of sportsbooks don’t add any additional vig, so the payout is pretty solid. Not only that, but handling a 3-team parlay isn’t too demanding for even beginners. They can properly manage the games in one tight window if they wish.

The opposite of safe for parlay bets is the huge longshots. Not only are they next to impossible to win, but the odds don’t line up with the payout. A person should be winning close to double the amount of the payout for taking a chance on such a longshot.

Do All Sportsbooks Offer Parlay Betting?

One of the biggest keys to having success with parlay betting is to look around different sportsbooks and see who offers the best odds. Not every sportsbook offers the same odds, so there might be a chance to get something at a better payout.

Any little type of edge can make a difference when trying to win long-term. Too many people make the mistake of sticking to one sportsbook, and that means only working with their set of odds. By spreading things around, it helps take the sportsbook advantage away a bit.

Where some sportsbooks differ is that they also offer more variety with parlay betting. Going across sports, or even going into entertainment or politics is possible. Intriguing options always exist to bring in new gamblers wanting to put a little money on the action.

The majority of sportsbooks offer parlay betting so that people can stay as involved as they want. It’s pretty easy to build a parlay bet, and people can start to feel confident placing them right before the first contest.

Advice for New Gamblers on Parlay Bets

Start with small units, and 2-team and 3-team options. They will pay out the best overall. They are also easier to get the hang of. At the same time, stick with more traditional bets as well to start building up a bankroll. A lot of people will divide their bankroll up for single-game bets and parlay bets.

The best advice for gamblers looking at new parlay bets is to go in optimistically, but also with knowledge. Parlay bets are a lot of fun to put together, and they can lead to huge paydays. You just won’t hear a lot of seasoned sports gamblers who do this for a living relying solely on these bets.


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