Table of Contents

Parlays and Matched Betting

Level: Advanced
Updated: Jun 11, 2024
6 min read

Key Takeaways
  • Parlays combine multiple bets into one
  • Larger payout, but lower chance of winning
  • Every bet within a parlay need to win for the parlay to win

What is a Parlay?

A parlay is betting on the outcome of two or more events. Each bet within a parlay is referred to as a leg (2, 3, and 4 leg parlays are quite common, but sometimes there are crazy 20 leg parlays!). For your bet to win, every leg needs to win. The image below shows a parlay on the Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions moneyline; for this bet to win, both the Lions and the Falcons need to win. If either team loses, the bet loses, even if the other team wins.

Screenshot of a parlay Screenshot of a parlay

In this scenario, there are four possible outcomes, only one of which results in a winning bet.

  1. Lions win, Falcons win: Parlay wins
  2. Lions win, Falcons lose: Parlay loses
  3. Lions lose, Falcons win: Parlay loses
  4. Lions lose, Falcons lose: Parlay loses

Since parlays require multiple outcomes to happen, the payout on a winning parlay is higher than the payout on any of the individual legs (Hence why hedging parlays can get complicated in a hurry!) First, convert the odds to decimal odds to determine the final odds on a parlay. Then, multiply the odds for each leg together. This will give you the final odds for a parlay.

Same Game Parlays

Same Game Parlays (SGP) are where every leg is a bet within the same game. The example below shows the Chiefs moneyline and Travis Kelce to score a touchdown.

Screenshot of a same game parlay Screenshot of a same game parlay

Just like a regular two-leg parlay, there are four possible outcomes, only one of which results in a winning bet.

  1. Chiefs win, Kelce TD: Parlay wins
  2. Chiefs win, Kelce no TD: Parlay loses
  3. Chiefs lose, Kelce TD: Parlay loses
  4. Chiefs lose, Kelce no TD: Parlay loses

A significant difference between regular parlays and SGPs is that there is correlation involved in SGPs. Correlation in a SGP is when the outcome of one leg influences the likelihood of the outcome of the other legs. In the example above, if Kelce scores a touchdown, the odds of the Chiefs winning the game increase because Kelce plays for the Chiefs. A regular two-leg parlay with odds of -178 and -160 would have final odds of +154. However, due to the correlation between Kelce scoring a touchdown and the Chiefs winning, the odds for this SGP are only +136. That is a ~13% lower payout due to correlation.

Calculating Parlay Odds

If the odds are not already in decimal format you need to convert them. Next you multiply the odds for each leg of the parlay together. The sum of the legs multiplied together is the final odds.

Calculating Parlay Odds Example

  • Leg 1 Odds: 2.2
  • Leg 2 Odds: 1.5
  • Leg 3 Odds: 3.1

Leg 1 * Leg 2 * Leg 3 = 2.2 * 1.5 * 3.1 = 10.23

In this example the final odds of the parlay is 10.23, or +923 in American Odds.

Parlay Promotions

Due to the number of possible outcomes in a parlay hedging them can be difficult, but it can be done depending on the circumstances. Learn more in our Parlay Promotions guide.

© 2022 Dark Horse Odds. All right reserved.
Some of the links on DarkHorse Odds are affiliate links.
Gambling Problem?
Call 1-800-GAMBLER CO, DC, IL, KS, KY, LA, MD, MS, NJ, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV, WY Call 877-8-HOPENY or text HOPENY (467369) (NY), Call 1-800-327-5050 (MA) 21+ to wager unless specified. Please gamble responsibly. Call 1-800-NEXT-STEP (AZ), 1-800-522-4700 (NV), Call 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA), 1-800-270-7117 for confidential help (MI), 1-800-981-0023 (PR). 19+. Gambling can be addictive. Please play responsibly (Ontario).