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Parlay Wagers

The most popular bet in Las Vegas. You can lay small money to win big money. The allure of such big payoffs is tempting for the most experienced gambler. I'll admit I play them, but I don't bet the farm on one. Parlays are introduced in several ways and payoffs vary from sports book to sports book. During the football season we are flooded with parlay cards. Beware of ties lose parlay cards. These cards contain an extra element for you to lose and you will see a lot of key numbers on these cards.

There are ties win cards out there and there are cards that in case of a tie push down to the next level of payoffs. There are teaser cards out there, but if your playing one of these, check the board and what the lines would be compared to the card. Teasers off the board are available in 6, 6.5, and 7 points. You may get a better deal off the board. The one thing I like about the cards are that the line is locked in.

In order to take advantage of the locked in lines you need to have at least 3 teams and be ready to bet on Thursday when the cards come out. Usually by Friday when the injury report comes out, the moves will be made on the board and the sports book will protect it's self by taking the game  or games off the card. If you bet it prior to when they removed the game from action then you have action. You can also take advantage of mixing money lines and point spreads off the board up to eight teams.


You have to play at least two teams to form a teaser. Most teasers allow you to subtract or add 6, 6.5, and 7 points off the current line on the board. Your return is slightly higher on college football teasers compared to pro football teasers. In comparison to payoffs, a regular two team parlay would pay 13-5 or 2.6 to 1 and a two team teaser for college would be even money and the pro would be 5 to 6. In monetary terms, a regular twenty dollar 2 team parlay bet wins 52 dollars, college 6 point teaser 20 dollars, 6.5 point teaser 18 dollars, 7 point teaser  16 dollars. Eight team teasers range from 9-1 to 12 to 1 on pro and college football. Again, beware of ties lose cards.

In Las Vegas, you have several ways to bet. You can straight bet and generally lay 11 to win 10 against the point spread. This means you would take a team plus or minus the points and lay a 10% vigorish or juice. I have several players that just lay 10 or 20 dollars on a game, but the vigorish is taken out first to determine what you will get back. Laying 22 to win 20 will get you back 42 if you win. Laying 20 will get you back 38.20 if you win.  So if your betting 20 on a game, your actually betting 18 plus 1.80 in vigorish totaling 19.80

I don't recommend betting into lines that are -120 or higher as it increases your win  percentage to just break even. You must be able to pick 60% winners with a -120 line just to stay even.

Money Line Wagers

The popularity of money line wager is growing. The payoffs can be rewarding for underdogs that win outright. Take Denver in last season's Super Bowl. They opened at +230. This means for every 100 you wager, you get back 230 plus your 100 back. That is a great return. Try getting that in a bank or stock market in a 3.5 hour period. A lot of players choose to play favorites in parlays on the money line. The money line will cut your payoff odds down from a normal parlay or a straight bet.

  A team favored and -300 on the money line would require you to lay 300 to win 100 and your total return would be 400. A lot of these wagers look easy, but beware of upsets as one loss would require you to win 3 of these wagers to break even. When parlaying favorites on the money line your risk becomes greater because the return is much lower and the more teams you play, the greater the possibility of snaring an upset in one or two of the games.

Round Robins

Round robin parlays can be money makers. It takes a little cash to sustain this bet if you don't hit one for a while. I generally start with a 3 team round robin which consists of 1, 3-team parlay and 3, 2-team parlays. Your outlay is 4 units. It is somewhat forgiving if you miss one game. I'll start with a unit of $50.00 and our total investment is $200.00. If we win all three games, the payout is $300.00 for the 3-teamer and $390.00 for the two teamers generating a profit of $690.00 plus your $200.00 back.

If you lose one game, you will win one 2-team parlay for $130.00 plus your $50.00 back for a total of $180.00 dollars. Since your outlay was $200.00 you would lose $20.00. That's not bad considering you had a chance to win $690.00. The hurt comes when you lose two or three games and then your $200.00 investment is gone.

Now just imagine if you had 3 money line dogs in this round robin and hit all three. This could be a huge payday using this method. You can round robin parlay up to 8 games off the board and you can get a multitude of combinations. You could play 8 teams and have 28 2-teamers, 56 3-teamers, 70 4-teamers, 56 5-teamers, and 28 6-teamers and you can use them all or just one or two combinations. There is a $5.00 minimum bet, so to include every combination in this monster bet would cost $1190.00 and if you were lucky enough to win all 8 games, you would take home $16,744.00 dollars.

That's a little over 14-1, so risk vs. reward doesn't always add up. If your picking 8 teams, and you could probably lose one or two without getting hurt too bad, but if you have 5 solid teams, you could get 20-1 on a 5-team parlay and don't have to worry about the other three teams. Just some food for thought.

Round Robin  Combinations

3 teams = 4 bets, three 2-team parlays and option for one 3-team parlay

4 teams = 11 bets, six 2-team parlays, four 3 team parlays, and option for one 4 team parlay

5 teams = 26 bets, ten 2-team parlays, ten 3-team parlays, five 4-team parlays, and option for one 5-team parlay

6 teams= 57 bets, fifteen 2-team parlays, twenty 3-team parlays, fifteen 4-team parlays, six 5 team parlays, one 6-team parlay.

Key Parlays

A key parlay is nothing more than playing several 2-team parlays with one team remaining the same in each parlay. If you have a team that you feel has a very high percentage to win, then you would use this team as your key. An example of what your ticket might look like goes like this:

key - Panthers-2.5


Raiders ML Even

Bills ML+135




This ticket would give you six two team parlays and you would have the Panthers in each parlay. If they were to lose, all your bets would be dead. If they win then all 6 of your two teamers are alive. The money line dog combinations will pay more than your spread combinations. This is where your strategy comes in. If you like a lot of underdogs in a specific week, you may want to key the underdog on the money line to boost your payoff if it hits.

I've seen tickets with all money line dogs hit and you can make a nice pay day with one of these tickets. Still the biggest risk is hitting the key team. It can also blow your Sunday if your key team is an early game.  To prevent this, you may want to pick the Sunday night or Monday night game as your key. If your other teams are early, you will know how many combinations are alive and may be able to hedge back against the key to protect some of your investment.