Question: What are parlays and how do they work?
Answer: In our last article, we covered what teasers are. Prior to that, we covered prop bets, “against the spread”, “moneyline”, -110/+110/even money, and over/under. The listed odds will govern a winning payout by a sportsbook. Moneylines will always list the odds for a given contest. To know how much a winning bet pays, look at the line; often it is -110, +110, or even money. Even money doubles a winning bet, -110 wins 90% of the bet, and +110 wins 110% of the bet. A wager placed against the spread may not always list the odds. Over/under looks at the combined total of points, or goals, scored by the participating teams. Prop bets are wagers that do not affect the outcome of the sporting event. Finally, teasers allow the bettor to change the point spread in exchange for a reduced payout.
Courtesy of our friends over at Sportsbook.ag, we’ll provide an example.
Parlays allow the individual to make more money, but with added risk. An individual can wager on as many games as he or she wants on a parlay, subject to sportsbook limitations. Some sportsbooks will even allow parlays involving more than one sport. Regardless, the premise of a parlay is simple – in order for a wager to be a winning one, all bets on the ticket must be winning games. A game that is postponed, cancelled, or results in a push, is treated as if that game never happened, lowering the payout for the bettor.
Remember that in basketball a normal payout was -110, that is, an $11.00 wager results in $10.00, for a total of $21.00. It’s a bit different in baseball, as many bettors stick with the moneyline, rather than the run line. Still, the proportions are the same.
For an example, lets use games played on April 10, 2012. The Blue Jays and Red Sox met in Toronto, while the Yankees and Orioles met in Baltimore. In order for the bet to be a winning one, you would have had to bet the Blue Jays and the Yankees. Note that a single game bet of $5.00 on the Yankees would have won $3.57, for a total of $8.57, while a single game bet of $5.00 on the Blue Jays would have won $5.70, for a total of $10.57. The two single games combined would have brought in $19.14. So why the difference if they are on the same ticket? BOTH the Yankees and Blue Jays needed to win for the bet to be successful. Note that parlays of the Yankees and Red Sox, Blue Jays and Orioles, and Orioles and Red Sox were losing bets. If the Yankee game would have been cancelled, that game would have been eliminated from the ticket, with the ticket being treated as a single game bet.
Not all betting establishments offer parlays, check to make sure. A “push”, or no action” on any event means that line is eliminated from the parlay, thus lowering the payout.
Other notes related to teasers:
- How do I place a parlay in Las Vegas?: If you were placing a parlay in Las Vegas, the proper way to place the bet is by the identifying number. You do NOT approach the bookmaker and say “Parlay with Blue Jays and Yankees”; instead, say “parlay with 966 and 967”, remembering that 966 is the unique identifier for the Blue Jays and 967 for the Yankees. Two things: (1) The unique identifier may be different from sportsbook-to-sportsbook, do NOT assume that they are the same; (2) The minimum sports bet at Las Vegas casinos varies, from $5-$10 a contest. Consult your sportsbook for exact minimums and maximums. Not all contests will have a moneyline available. Most contests where the spread is high, a sportsbook will not allow a moneyline wager.
- When can I collect my winnings?: Depending on the sportsbook, contests are collectable once a final result is posted. If you are placing a sports wager, other than online, you may be able to mail in a winning ticket. Consult the sportsbook of your choice as to whether that method is available.
- What if the game goes into overtime?: Remember that a contest generally includes overtime. So if the team you bet on wins, in overtime, you win. If that team loses, you lose. Note that over/under wagers generally include overtime. Consult the sportsbook of your choice for their rules.
- When does a contest go final?: It depends on the sportsbook and what sport you are wagering on. In baseball, a contest is considered final once a team wins, obviously. If however, the game needs to be shortened, it is considered final after at least five completed innings have been played, and where one of the teams is leading. Where an inning has not been completed or where the score is tied, in the case of baseball, the event will be suspended (picked up where it was left off) or cancelled (the event will start over from the beginning, but wagers placed on the original contest will be refunded). Consult the sportsbook of your choice for their rules.
- The moneyline changed since I placed by wager, what happens?: NOTE: Whatever your ticket says is the moneyline for the contest matters! Do NOT refer to a different moneyline.Generally, you may not cancel and re-bet in order to gain the benefit of the more favorable spread. By contrast, a less favorable line that occurs after the placing of a wager does not affect your wager.
- I want to wager on a game, but I don’t see it as being available: Not all games will be available to bet on. Sportsbooks pick the contests that are likely to have the most action. Note that some sportsbooks will not accept bets on certain teams (The Palms will not accept bets on the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, because the Maloof family, owner of The Palms, owns the Kings; Harrah’s casinos will not accept bets on the NBA’s Boston Celtics because Harrah’s has an ownership interest in the Celtics).
- The game I wagered on says “refund” or is no longer on the board, what happens now?: Sometimes a sportsbook will remove a game which they had previously allowed bets on. This may occur due to an injury or some other concern. When this happens, sportsbooks will refund the amount wagered, and a new bet can be placed once the new odds are posted. Occasionally, a sportsbook will still honor the original bet; consult the sportsbook of your choice for their policy.
- I saw that The Palms Las Vegas had one set of odds listed, but Flamingo Las Vegas has a different set listed, will the Flamingo Las Vegas honor the odds listed at The Palms Las Vegas?: Sportsbooks may have various odds for a given game. Note that whatever sportsbook you place a wager at, those odds (which are listed on your ticket) govern the game. Generally, you cannot request different odds other than the ones that are posted.
Other questions related to “parlays” or another Sports Wagering question? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.