One of the best articles ever written about avoiding parlays:
Originally posted in Wager Street back in 2016..
It is pretty obvious to even the casual sports betting fan why the parlay bet is so intriguing: risk a little, win a lot. The potential for a big time payout is in play with every single wager regardless of the amount of money that is being risked. However, the parlay bet can also be very dangerous since several results need to fall in line in order to hit on a winner. Here is a look at why sports bettors should consider always avoiding parlays.
House Has Larger Edge
Parlays are usually the most popular during football season when bettors will often string together a double-digit number of games with the hope of hitting it big. Selecting 12 teams on an NFL Sunday and risking $10 can produce a substantial payout and that number goes even higher when the risk amount jumps to $50 and $100. The fact that sportsbooks publish the big winners makes the prospect of parlay betting that much more attractive to players as they discuss the winners much more often than they discuss the losers. It’s important to understand that the house has a much larger edge with parlays than straight bets. As more and more bets are included in the parlay, the juice continues to rise. The majority of sportsbooks don’t offer the true odds as they simply use a system to determine what the payout should be based on the number of teams rather than simply calculating what the individual odds should be. At a Las Vegas sportsbook, an eight-team parlay pays out at 150/1 but the odds for the individual bets that make up these parlays should actually be greater than what they are.
Do The Math
The numbers simply don’t lie when it comes to parlays as sportsbooks have made a fortune over the years off of parlays. According to the Nevada Gaming Control Board Gaming Revenue Reports, sportsbooks in Nevada boasted a nearly 30% hold on parlays between 1984 and 2015. In comparison, every other major sports bet has a hold below 5%. Parlay bettors are essentially risking more with a lower probability of collecting. That’s why doing some simple math suggests that managing your money and bet individual games is the ideal strategy. It’s not sexy but players would be wiser to avoid the parlays and stick with the straight bets.
Entertaining Doesn’t Always Equal Winning
It only makes sense that the majority of casual sports bettors would be enticed by the prospect of the substantial payouts that come with parlay wagers. Straight bets might require more time to build up a substantial winnings based on the fact that you don’t get the same level of immediate payout as the parlays. The reality is that you are that much more likely to win the straight bets than the parlays anyways.
But this is the way that we all live life: people play lottery tickets, take fat-burning pills and all sorts of other shortcuts to get to the result faster. While there are few things more exciting than hitting a big parlay and showing your buddies how much you won, it’s not the way most people are successful.