Are Parlays a Good Bet During the NBA Playoffs?

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Parlays are among the most popular types of sports bets, if not THE most popular. Simply put, one will wager on multiple outcomes all tied to one another.  The more bets in the parlay, the higher the payout.  But if one of those bets is a loser, you are also a loser.

It's not just sides that can be included in a parlay.

For example, the Heat, Grizzlies and Suns are all favored to win Tuesday night.  A moneyline parlay on these favorites won't offer the best odds.  Betting each of these teams to cover the spread pays better but is even harder to achieve.

A three-leg ladder parlay like this one offered by FlashPicks demonstrates how much can be won from a small initial wager: De'Andre Hunter Over 14.5 Points combined with Desmond Bane 20+ Points and Brandon Ingram 25+ Points. 

The payout? 

As much as $440 for every $100 bet.

Parlay opportunities are plentiful even during the NBA Finals when there are just two teams playing through the inclusion of players.

Cross Sport Parlays offer an opportunity to place bets with legs across at least two different sports. A two-sport, three-leg Cross Sport Parlay carried with odds of +625 and $100 bet might pay as much as $725 if all three teams won.

Parlays are such a widely accepted bet that Canada had only offered this form of sports betting up until last month after Canada legalized single bet sports gambling.  The state of Delaware did the same prior to the US Supreme Court striking down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act back in 2018.

Unless you study each side, total or prop that will be part of the parlay, gamblers tend to be at a pretty significant disadvantage.  It's great referring to sports handicapping sites for this very reason as experts have time to mull over stats more thoroughly. 

Prior to the start of the 2021 NFL season, the state of New Jersey had held at 17.8 percent on parlays.  More than half the state's profits from sports betting came from parlays.  Compare that number with typical single bet hold percentages across various sports.

Other 5.3%
Baseball 4.2%
Basketball 3.9%
Football 3.2%

Here was the breakdown from New Jersey's year-to-date profits through October 2021.

Parlay $335,232,531
Other $105,343,521
Basketball $75,282,173
Baseball $53,555,836
Football $38,600,964

It's interesting to note that parlay bets/risks tend to be smaller than the typical side wager.  That's because, through the use of a parlay calculator, one can sometimes turn $10 into a few hundred.

The Delaware and Canadian Parlay Model

Both the state of Delaware and Canada offered parlay cards through their own lotteries prior to a full embrace of sports betting.

Basically, when you think "lottery" we are talking long odds and less frequent payouts.

In Delaware, these parlay cards were quite unimaginative (i.e. no player props or cross sports wagering).

Available at a few hundred locations such as convenience stores, the Delaware Lottery offered five different types of parlay cards: 1/2 point, teaser, super teaser, reverse teaser and a $100,000 parlay card.

The Half-Point Parlay Card remains the most popular type of card in Las Vegas and online, offering payoffs ranging from 6.5 for 1 on a 3-selection parlay to 2,500 for 1 on a 12-selection parlay. All point spreads use half points, eliminating the possibility of a tie.

Teasers are also quite popular.

In a teaser bet, the bettor has the opportunity to change the point spread for a game, making the bet easier to win.  Consider how many times you place a bet only to have it lose by a half a point.

But as one might expect, the payout odds are less favorable. 

The most common teaser is a two-team, six-point football teaser.

What Certain Parlay Bets Pay Out

Number of Bets in Parlay Fair Payout (-110 Odds ) Fair Payout on a $10 Bet.

The following is an example of the typical parlay bet payout with the bet being $10:

2 Team Parlay $36.45

3 Team Parlay $69.58

4 Team Parlay $132.83

5 Team Parlay $253.59

- Payton O'Brien, Gambling911.com

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