As you know, a parlay is – in its simplest terms – a payout based on the probability of 2 or more events happening. What a bookie does essentially is apply a factor to each game, then he can mix and match whatever games his customers want, and easily calculates the payouts.

Keep in mind that the parlay “factor” is not calculated in the same way for favorites versus underdogs. For favorites, the parlay factor equation is:

(money line + 100) money line.

For underdogs, the equation looks like this:

(money line + 100) / 100.

Say you want to place a bet on Cincinnati with Q starting at +120. Then the Cincinnati parlay factor would be (120+100) / 100, meaning 2.20.

Meaning sportsbooks – like the ones that we’ve recommended at the top of this page – offer up a parlay calculator that makes betting on parlays a no-brainer. You’d just enter in the lines and the amount of your bet, and the calculator will do the rest to calculate your winnings if your parlay were spot on.

If one of the games in your parlay becomes a push, then the parlay still exists on the remaining games or plays, they would just be downgraded one spot with corresponding payoff reductions – for example, a three play parlay becomes a two play parlay, and a two play parlay becomes a straight bet.

Ever wonder why you’d want to bet on a parlay rather than make several individual wagers? For one thing, parlay payouts are significantly higher than what you’d find for individual bets. Just remember, for parlays, it’s all or nothing – every individual play must win for you to win the parlay, which is why you’re given better odds since predicting the outcome of several games or plays is significantly more difficult than predicting the outcome of individual plays. A 2 team parlay may pay 13/5, whereas a 3 team parlay might payout 6/1, and a 4 team parlay might payout 10/1. The payouts get higher the more teams are thrown into the equation.