The parlay involves betting a combination of two or more teams or Totals together. In order to cash, all must win, with the payoffs depending on the number and type of the propositions involved. Generally speaking, the odds and payoffs in Las Vegas sportsbooks are fairly consistent. The table below lists the various factors.
|# of teams or Totals||Payoff||True Odds|
As you can see from this chart, the parlay payoffs do not match the actual odds, making parlays an especially attractive bet for the house. A word of caution for those who find themselves regularly enticed by the large payoffs for a small investment: those in the business will often tell you how difficult it is to win a single game.
To win two is much more rewarding but exponentially more difficult. Many are the losing tickets scattered in a sportsbook on a given weekend that have 4 out of 5 winners, or 2 out of 3. Bet straight, you'd be a winner. This is not to thoroughly discourage betting parlays. They are enormously popular.
If you prefer to bet multiple games, one suggestion is to make your straight bets, and then have what you might consider to be a lottery ticket with a smaller amount of money. This is your parlay. Like a lottery ticket, you don't really expect it to win, but if it comes through, it would be a wonderful thing. And your straight bets insure that if you do win 4 out of 5, or 2 out of 3, you still are a winner for the day.