At Plays That Pay, we know that betting on sports is a risky proposition, but there's a way to minimize risk and maximize reward by joining or creating a betting parlay. A parlay bet is a single bet that links together two or more individual wagers for a higher payout. However, this also means that if any of the linked bets lose, the entire parlay loses. The beauty of a parlay is that you only need to hit one bet to win the whole thing.
Let's say you're betting on three games: the Patriots are -7 against the Jets, the Warriors are -5 against the Spurs, and the Dodgers are -1.5 against the Giants. You could put all three bets together into a three-team parlay and if you hit all three, you would stand to win a lot of money. Of course, the flip side is that if you lose even one bet, you lose the whole thing. That's why it's important to be strategic when placing your sports bets.
So how do you give yourself the best chance to win?
Here are three tips to help you win more sports betting parlays:
1) Do your homework
The first step to winning any bet, let alone a parlay, is doing your homework. You need to know everything there is to know about the teams involved in your bet. That means research their strengths and weaknesses, their recent history, and any relevant news that could impact the outcome of the game. The more information you have at your disposal, the better your chances of making a winning bet. You have to look at things that others don’t, including bookies. Did the team have any issues with their travel? Hotel arrangements? Arriving to the game venue? Always remember that the smallest details can be the BIGGEST impact on the result of a game.
2) Bet on underdogs
The key to winning any bet is finding value, and there's often more value in betting on an underdog than there is in betting on a favorite. When it comes to parlays specifically, betting on underdogs can also help increase your potential payout because you're essentially taking on more risk. Just be sure that you're comfortable with that risk before placing your bet. Make sure to look at every angle possible for the underdog bets. For example, they might be underdogs, but maybe their defense or offense has been steadily improving and they had one more rest day and/or no travel than their opponent. You can also consider the motivation for the underdogs. For a lot of team, just being the “underdog” is all the motivation they need to perform at their best and show others why they should not have been perceived as the underdog to begin.
3) Be strategic about which games you include
When putting together a parlay, it's important to be strategic about which games you include. You don't want to automatically include every game just because you like all of the teams involved. Instead, try to find games where you think one team has a clear advantage over another. For example, if two teams are evenly matched but one is playing at home while the other is on the road, that home team is likely to have the edge. Similarly, if two teams have identical records but one has been playing much better lately than the other, that's another good game to include in your parlay.
4) Shop around for the best odds
The first step to winning more parlays is to shop around for the best odds. Different sportsbooks will offer different odds on the same bets, so it pays to compare lines before placing your wager. Remember, even a small difference in odds can make a big difference in your potential winnings. For example, let's say you're looking at two different sportsbooks and they both offer +110 odds on a particular team to win their game. That may not seem like much of a difference, but it actually gives one sportsbook an 8.3% edge over the other. So make sure you're always getting the best bang for your buck by shopping around for the most favorable odds before placing your bets.
5) Focus on two-team parlays
The simplest form of a parlay bet is a two-teamer, which as the name implies, links together two separate bets. Two-team parlays typically have higher payout ratios than three-team or larger parlays, so they offer a good balance between risk and reward. Of course, this also means they're harder to win, but your chances are still better than if you were going for the jackpot with a larger parlay. When choosing teams for your two-team parlay, it's generally best to stick with favorites since they have a higher probability of winning. However, picking two heavy favorites will result in very low payouts since their individual odds will be low as well. A good rule of thumb is to mix one favorite with one underdog—that way you're giving yourself a chance to hit it big without putting your entire bet at risk.
6) Avoid highly correlated games
When picking teams for your parlays, avoid selecting games that are highly correlated with each other. What this means is that you don't want to choose two teams that are likely to have similar outcomes. For example, let's say you're looking at two games: one between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento Kings, and another between the Kings and the Golden State Warriors. Since the Warriors are common opponents for both teams, there's a good chance that if one team wins then so will the other—and vice versa. This would be considered high correlation, and it's something you want to avoid when placing parlays since it significantly increases the risk of losing your entire bet. Instead, look for games with low correlation where one team winning or losing doesn't necessarily mean that the other team will have the same outcome.
7) Pay attention to team chemistry, travel time, rest days, etc.
As I mentioned earlier, the smallest things can make the greatest difference. Make the extra effort to take everything into consideration and look at all the data that is available. Try to find information that others don’t make the effort to find. You would be surprised how much “insider information” you can find if you search hard enough. Look at the team’s social media accounts, try to find out who their sports agents are, what hotel they’re staying at, what time they arrived to the game venue (any delays?), any personal or health issues that players might be experiencing, etc.
Sports betting parlays can be a great way to potentially win big with a small wager—but they're not easy money. In order to make consistent profits from betting on sports, you need to approach it like any other investment; with caution and due diligence. By following these tips and doing your homework, however, you can put yourself in a good position to start winning often.
Parlay betting offers sports bettors an opportunity to win big by linkage together multiple individual wagers into one single bet. However, because all it takes is one losing bet to lose the entire thing, parlays are considered high-risk/high-reward wagers. If you're looking to give yourself the best chance of coming out ahead on your next parlay bet, make sure you follow these simple tips: shop around for favorable odds; focus on two-teamers; and avoid correlated games. Good luck!
And if all of this sounds like too much work that you don’t have time for, try us out for a day by getting our Day Pass, which includes all our sports picks, parlays and play of the day.
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