Upcoming Match-ups

parlays and teasers explained

Betting on single games is a great way to get started with sports betting, but there’s huge potential to make more money if you’re comfortable betting on more than one event at a single time.

Parlays and teasers allow you to combine bets of all kinds on a single stake. It’s harder to get all of your selections in a parlay or teaser correct, but if you do, the payoff can be immense.

This guide covers everything you need to know to begin constructing parlays of your own, and enjoying the massive windfall that comes with a hard-earned win.

What Are Parlays?

A parlay is a bet that connects the outcomes of multiple sporting events in a single wager. To win the parlay, you must correctly select the outcome of every event included. When you wager on two (or more) games at once, your chances of success get smaller, but your payouts get significantly bigger. 

With a parlay, you can add any type of bet (bets against the spread, moneyline bets, over/under betting, etc.).  If you make a parlay with four games, but only three of your picks win, your parlay loses and you surrender your wager. Parlay bets are sometimes referred to as multi bets or multiple bets. 

To win the parlay, you must correctly select the outcome of every event included. When you wager on two (or more) games at once, your chances of success get smaller, but your payouts get significantly bigger.

For example, if you think the Patriots will cover the spread against the Chiefs in Week 1 and also like the Packers to beat the Seahawks that same week, you can combine those two bets with a single parlay.

Each bookmaker has their own limit on how many games you can add to a single parlay. 

What Can’t You Parlay?

While building your own parlay bet gives you nearly unlimited betting freedom, most sportsbooks do have some restrictions.

Most  sportsbooks will not be allow you to parlay the moneyline and the spread of the same game. Doing so exposes sportsbooks to more potential financial loss than they are willing to take on. The logic behind this is that you can’t parlay events that are connected, as the moneyline and spread obviously are. 

Most sportsbooks will not allow you to parlay the moneyline and the spread of the same game. You can’t parlay event outcomes that are directly connected.

The same logic applies to parlays involving futures bets. If the outcome of one selection in your parlay is even partly connected to another, your sportsbook isn’t likely to allow you to parlay them. For example, if you’re betting on Winnipeg Jets to win their Western Conference Playoff Finals, you can’t parlay this bet with the Jets winning the Stanley Cup.

Lastly, it’s rare that sportsbook will let you parlay first half/first quarter sides or totals with full game sides or totals.

Of course, there is no definitive answer for what all online sportsbooks will or will not allow you to do when it comes to making parlay bets. Always be sure to read the terms and conditions of the sportsbook you’ve elected to bet with before proceeding with your parlay.

How Does a “Push” Affect Your Parlay?

There’s always the possibility of a “push,” or a tie in one element of your parlay.

For example, if you bet on the Raptors at -8 against the Nets and they won by a score of 108 -100, this would be a “push.” If your bet was part of your parlay, one leg would clearly be unsuccessful. One of two things is likely to happen in this scenario:

  • Your parlay could be deemed a loss and you would surrender the full amount of your wager
  • Your sportsbook could deem the entire parlay to be a “push” and return your original wager
  • On rare occasions, the sportsbook will simply remove the leg that “pushed” from your parlay and adjust the payout accordingly

The way a sportsbook handles a “push” in a parlay depends on their terms and conditions. Always read them before laying any cash down!

What Are Teasers in Betting?

Teasers are a type of parlay bet that can only include bets against the spread or on totals.

Teasers allow bettors to adjust spreads in their favor in exchange for a smaller potential payout. You may find a betting site that allows you to “tease” the spread of one game in either direction, but generally, teasers require you to make a parlay.

Teasers in Action

Let’s say you like both Atlanta and Pittsburgh in the example below, but are worried about them covering their respective spreads. Instead of taking your chances with a regular parlay, you should tease the spreads in your favor.

You’ll be given the option of teasing the spread by 6.0, 6.5, or 7.0 points. If we teased our spreads by 6.0 points, our new spreads would be Atlanta (-0.5) and Pittsburgh (-3).

Teasers and parlays example: Falcons vs Bears

-105 and -115 spread example

To get a return on your money, Atlanta would just need to win the game, and Pittsburgh would need to win by more than three.

Of course, your winnings will be diminished with favorable spreads, requiring you to risk more to collect a decent payout.

Are Parlays Worth the Extra Effort and Risk?

There’s no denying that parlays and teasers are a bit more complicated than single-game bets. That said, they offer an incredible return on investment if you’re confident in a number of different picks.  Don’t get turned off by the mechanics of constructing the parlay itself. We have a tool that can help with that…

Use SBD’s Parlay Calculator to Build Winning Combos

Depending on the number of events you’re tying together, constructing a parlay by pen and paper can get messy fast. Make it easy on yourself.

SBD’s Parlay Calculator does the hard work for you, displaying the best lines available across all sports so that you can parlay them easily and quickly. Experiment with the tool and see what you can do!

Build A Winning Parlay Here

Searching for more pointers, or seeking out more information about how betting works? Take the time to explore the rest of our betting 101 guides.