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Before you can learn how to make parlay cards, you need to have a good understanding of what a parlay is and how it works. I cover parlay bets, especially football parlays, in detail in the beginning of this post.

For example let’s say you want to bet Patriots -7, Packers -3, Rams -3, and Saints +3 in a parlay all four teams would have to cover the spread for you to win your parlay wager. However, the good news is that your returns from a $100 wager would be around $1,200 if each leg is the standard odds around -110. Finally – a coffee shop for people like us! Parlay Cafe is the perfect environment to relax, work, or meet with others. Our full-service espresso bar is open to the public, or pamper yourself in our Members Lounge with a Day Pass or Monthly Membership! We also have several private conference rooms available to accommodate up to 9 people, as.

I offer advice about how to actually make the parlay cards later in this post, too.

(By the way, parlays are also often called accumulator or combination bets, but parlay is the most common term used in American sports betting.)

What Is a Parlay Card and How Do Parlay Bets Work?

A parlay bet is a single bet on multiple outcomes. It’s basically a combination of bets, and the parlay only wins if all the outcomes win. Those bets are listed on a parlay card.

Having multiple bets in play at one time provides you with a bigger payout, but you also have a smaller probability of winning.

I like to think of things in terms of casino bets, so I think of a parlay as being like a bet that you’ll win black twice in a row on the roulette table. If you win, you might get paid off at 3 to 1 instead of the usual even money action. But your probability of winning 2 bets in a row is obviously much lower.

But parlays are usually thought of in terms of sports. And most sports parlays consist of 2 to 10 different bets on the same card.

For example, you might choose 4 football teams to win their games this Sunday:

  1. Dallas Cowboys
  2. New Orleans Saints
  3. New England Patriots
  4. Tennessee Titans

You COULD just place a single bet on each of those games, and that would be fun.

But if you place a bet on all 4 of them on a parlay, you’ll win more than you would even if you won the 4 individual bets.

And you only win the parlay bet if you’re right about all 4 teams. If even one team on your parlay loses, you’ve lost the bet.

You could also face a situation where one of the games tie. That’s called a “push.” If that happens, you don’t lose your parlay, but you’re only paid off as if you’d placed a smaller parlay—it’s as if that game didn’t exist on your card.

In the example above, where you’re betting on 4 games at the same time, if one of the games resulted in a tie, you’d get paid off as if you’d bet on a 3-game parlay. It’s a smaller payoff, but that’s better than a loss.

Parlay Odds, Probability, and Payouts

It should go without saying that the more games on the parlay card, the lower your odds of winning are. That’s because the odds of multiple things happening get multiplied by each other.

Let’s say that each of the teams on your 4-game parlay above have a 50% probability of winning. The probability that all 4 of them will win is:

50% X 50% X 50% X 50%, or 6.25%. That’s the same thing as 16 to 1 odds.

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A 4-team parlay bet usually pays off at 13 to 1. If you bet $100 on that parlay and won, you’d win $1300.

The payouts are correspondingly higher, too.

Notice the discrepancy between the odds on the payout and the odds of winning. That difference is the vigorish, or “vig,” which is where the sports book makes its money.

Here’s how that amounts to a profit for the book:

  • Take 17 parlays with those odds. The book collects $100 X 17 bets, or $1700.
  • Since the odds are 16 to 1, they only expect to pay off a player once, for $1300.
  • The other $400 is profit. Divide that $400 by 17 bets, and the book makes an average profit of $23.52.

That’s not a bad profit margin.

In most gambling businesses, the company makes its money by offering payout odds that are lower than the odds of winning. If you think of the odds as being similar to a fraction, you’ll understand why 1 in 16 is smaller than 1 in 13, even though 13 is smaller than 16. (It’s the same thing as saying 1/14 or 1/17.)

A 10-team parlay can make for a huge payout, by the way. A payout of 825 to 1 wouldn’t be unusual for such a bet, but the probability of winning that bet are bigger than that—1023 to 1.

Bet $100 on a 10-parlay, and you’re looking at winnings of $82,500.
This is a profitable parlay for the sportsbook, too, if you look at it statistically:

They bring in $102,400 and only pay out $82,500, for a profit of $19,900. That’s an average profit of $19.43 per bet.

The book makes a smaller percentage profit, but on that kind of action, they can afford a smaller percentage profit.

If you think of it in terms of “the house edge,” like you would a casino game, you’re talking about a house edge that’s still 19.43%.

If you’re good at picking winners, you could theoretically make a profitable bet on a parlay. If, for example, you’re right 55% of the time instead of 50% of the time, your probability of winning the 4-game parlay skyrockets:

55% X 55% X 55% X 55% is 9.15%, or about 11 to 1.

With a 13 to 1 payout, it’s easy to see how a bettor comes out ahead, statistically.

You place 12 bets, and you win 1 of them. You have $1200 invested, but on the one bet you win, you win $1300. That’s a profit of $100 over 12 bets, or $8.33 per bet.

Getting an edge of 8.33% when you’re gambling is huge, by the way. You can’t get an edge like that even if you’re counting cards professionally (unless you’re also doing things like shuffle tracking, edge sorting, and/or hole carding, but that’s an entirely different blog post.)

What Kind of Parlay Cards Can You Make?

So far, the only examples I’ve used have been for bets on who’s going to win a football game. Parlay cards aren’t limited to the most basic bets, though. You can also place any of the following parlays at various sportsbooks:

  1. Moneyline
  2. Over/under
  3. Pleasers
  4. Point spread
  5. Teasers

A moneyline bet is one that doesn’t account for the point spread. You bet on who’s going to win, regardless of the strength of the teams. The payouts for bets on the favorite in a moneyline bet are smaller—sometimes MUCH smaller.

But if you can find an underdog or 2 that are going to pull off an upset, you can get a big payout on a parlay made up of moneyline bets.

An over/under bet is a bet on the total points scored in a game. The over/under is set by the handicappers at the sportsbooks, who project the final scores of each game. To get the total, you just add the scores for both teams together.

If the handicappers expect a high scoring game, the over/under will be a higher number than if they expect a low scoring game. Theoretically, the over/under number is set in such a way to give you a 50/50 probability of winning.

Combining multiple bets on the over/under can be a fun way to place a parlay bet.

A pleaser is a point spread bet where you’re given the opportunity to move the point spread to make it more likely that the book will win. You get a higher payout if you win, though.

A point spread bet is a bet on who’s going to win the game, but the strength of the teams are accounted for by giving the underdog points. This is the most common way to place a football bet, and if you’re making a single wager, you get an even money payout.

The point spread is set (theoretically) so that you get a 50/50 probability of winning.

A teaser is like a pleaser, only instead of moving the point spread to favor the book, you get to move the point spread to favor you. You get a lower payout if you win, though.

Teasers and pleasers are also available for over/under bets.

How to Make and Print Your Own Parlay Cards

You can find various websites where you can create your own parlay cards and print them. It would be best to print them on cardstock if you go this route.

Some of these sites even offer you parlay cards that already have all the numbers on them, but you can also choose to create your own numbers with their software.

ParlayCardsNow.com is one site which offers either option. You just input how you want the header to read, the name and date you want printed on the card, and your organization’s logo.

Then you have multiple lines where you can input the favorite and the underdog for each game in the parlay. You can also include the line (the point spread) and the over/under. Finally, you would include a section for the rules of the parlay and the payouts for the winners.

The parlay cards come out as PDF’s when you use the software on this site to create your parlay cards. They suggest that you uncheck the box that reads “fit to printable area,” as different printers have different parameters.

For their standard cards, this site uses Vegas odds, and the payoffs are as follows:

Of course, websites like this are in business to make money. They charge fees to access these cards, which can be bought on a weekly, 4-week, or season basis for $20, $60, or $140, respectively.

Another option would be to just find someone who has a little knowledge of how to create printable forms in Excel and have them design printable parlay cards for you. You’d probably need to give them an example to work from, but it wouldn’t be hard for them to create something you could use and re-use.

You’d be responsible for finding the point spreads for the games on the parlay card, though. This might be more trouble than you want to go to, but if you’re doing a lot of business taking action on parlays—maybe you’re getting your own bookmaking operation going—it’s probably worth the investment.

Conclusion

A parlay bet is one of the most entertaining bets a sports bettor can make, so if you’re running a bookmaking operation—even on a small basis—it’s probably worth offering these. It’s a combination bet that only pays off if the bettors gets all the bets in the combination right.

The trick is to design a payout structure that gives you a positive expectation. All professional sportsbook operations do this without much effort. That’s what their handicappers are for.

If you’re an individual sports bettor, you don’t have to worry about printing your parlay cards. The bookie you’re doing business with should be able to provide you with them. The trick is to beat the odds and win the payout. How many teams are in march madness bracket.

The easiest way to make parlay cards is to use a subscription-based site that offers such functionality. Failing that, you just need to find a spreadsheet guru who can create fillable forms for you to use.

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