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How Do Parlay Bets Compare To Straight Bets? (Pros and Cons)

When it comes to sports betting, many different wagering options are available to choose from. Two of the most commonly used types of bets are Parlay bets and Straight bets. Parlay bets involve placing multiple bets on a single betting slip, while Straight bets are simply placing a single wager on one team to win.

Deciding between the two can be a challenging task, so it’s important to understand the differences between the two types of bets. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of Parlay bets versus Straight bets, helping you to make an informed decision the next time you’re selecting your sports wagers.


Definition of Parlay Bets

Parlay bets are wagers that involve two or more individual propositions within a single bet. Each individual proposition must win for the overall parlay to be successful. Parlay bets are inherently riskier than traditional straight bets since any single loss will result in the entire wager being lost. Parlay bets usually offer higher payouts than straight bets, which makes them an attractive option for bettors looking for a big payoff.

The risk associated with parlay bets means that they are often used for lower-stakes bets or fun bets rather than for serious gambling. A parlay bet can be placed on any sports event where multiple outcomes are possible, including football, basketball, baseball, and hockey.

Some sportsbooks also offer parlays on non-sporting events such as political outcomes or entertainment contests like the Oscars. Parlay bets are popular among sports gamblers due to their potential for high payouts, but they require a significant amount of skill and knowledge to be successful.

Definition of Straight Bets

Straight bets are one of the most popular types of sports wagers placed by gamblers. These bets are also known as single bets, and they are the most straightforward way to wager on a sporting event. Straight bets are wagers placed on a single outcome of a game, and they offer one of the simplest ways to bet on sports.

For example, if a bettor places a straight bet on the New York Yankees to win a baseball game, then they win the bet if the Yankees win the game. The amount of money a bettor can win or lose on a straight bet depends on the odds of the event they are betting on. Straight bets are a popular choice among bettors because they are easy to place, have a lower risk, and the payout is typically straightforward and easy to understand.

Differences between Parlay Bets and Straight Bets

Number of Bets

In terms of the total number of bets available, straight bets and parlay bets differ significantly. As their name suggests, straight bets involve a single bet on a single outcome. On the other hand, parlay bets allow one to place multiple bets on different outcomes, with the payouts for these different bets being combined or “parlayed” into a single bet that is contingent on all of the individual bets in the parlay being won.

As a result, while a straight bet only has one potential outcome for a payout, parlay bets have many potential outcomes, and the number of bets available can quickly escalate as one adds more individual outcomes to the parlay. For example, a two-team parlay would involve two individual bets, a three-team parlay would involve three individual bets, and so on.

However, it is important to remember that while the potential payouts for parlay bets can be higher than those for straight bets, the risk of losing is also much higher, as losing even a single bet in the parlay will result in the entire bet being lost.


One of the most important factors to consider when deciding between parlay bets and straight bets is the potential payout. Straight bets tend to have lower payout odds because the risk involved is lower, while parlay bets offer higher payout odds but are significantly riskier. It is important to note that the payout for a parlay bet is contingent upon the number of bets included in the parlay, whereas the payout for a straight bet remains constant regardless of other factors.

When it comes to straight bets, the payout odds are generally straightforward and easy to calculate. For example, if you bet $100 on a -110 favorite and win, your payout would be $190 – which includes $100 in winnings and the return of your $100 stake. But with parlay bets, the potential payout can vary significantly depending on the number of bets included in the parlay. Generally speaking, the more bets included in a parlay, the higher the potential payout.

For example, let’s say you bet $100 on a 3-team parlay with odds of +600 for each team. If all three teams win, your payout would be $700 – which includes $600 in winnings and the return of your $100 stake.

However, if you had placed those same bets as three separate straight bets, your total payout would only be $540 – assuming each bet had the same -110 odds and you bet $100 on each. This means that while the parlay provides a higher potential payout, it also carries a significantly higher risk due to the need for all bets to hit in order for the bettor to win.

In summary, when it comes to choosing between parlay bets and straight bets, understanding the potential payout is crucial. Straight bets offer lower potential payouts but carry less risk, while parlay bets provide higher potential payouts but carry significantly greater risk.


When it comes to sports betting, the level of risk is an essential aspect to consider. Betting on a straight bet comes with less risk compared to a parlay bet. This is because in a straight bet, a bettor is only risking their money on a single game. If they accurately predict the outcome of the game, they win.

On the other hand, in a parlay bet, a bettor has to accurately predict the outcome of two or more games. The more games they add to the parlay, the higher the potential payout. However, the risk also increases with each game added to the parlay. If one of the games in the parlay does not go as predicted, the entire bet is lost.

This means that bettors who take the chance and place a parlay bet stand to win more money than those who place straight bets, but they also have a higher risk of losing their entire bet. It is crucial to have a clear understanding of the risks and potential rewards associated with both types of bets to make informed decisions.


In sports betting, understanding odds is a fundamental aspect that bettors need to be well-versed in. Odds represent the probability of a specific outcome occurring and are essential in calculating potential payouts. For both straight bets and parlay bets, odds play a critical role in determining the potential return on investment. In a straight bet, odds typically take a standard form, such as -110, which means a $110 bet is required to win $100.

In contrast, parlay bets involve the multiplication of odds, which can result in much higher potential payouts. The odds of each bet in a parlay are multiplied, and the potential profit is determined by multiplying the initial wager by the total odds. Overall, understanding odds is essential in the decision-making process for both types of bets and should be analyzed carefully to make intelligent betting choices.

Advantages of Parlay Bets

Higher Payouts

Parlay bets are a popular choice for many gamblers due to the potential for higher payouts than straight bets. These wagers allow bettors to combine multiple bets into one and win bigger payouts. The payouts for parlay bets are based on the odds of each bet, with the potential to win exponentially more money compared to betting on each event individually. However, with this higher payout potential comes increased risk.

Since parlay bets require multiple events to be successful, any one losing outcome will result in a loss for the entire bet. Additionally, since the odds of multiple events must come together perfectly, the likelihood of winning a parlay bet is generally lower than that of winning a straight bet. Despite these risks, many gamblers enjoy the excitement and potential for big wins that come with parlay bets.

Lower Risk

For sports bettors who prioritize minimizing their risk when placing bets, straight bets are often the safer choice compared to parlay bets. Straight bets allow bettors to place a wager on one single outcome, increasing the likelihood of winning and reducing the risk of losing everything on one sports game. Straight bets are straightforward, and the odds are based on a moneyline, point spread, or total.

In contrast, parlay bets entail staking multiple bets on varying games, and all of the bets must win to receive a payout. The odds for parlay bets are higher, but so is the accompanying risk. A losing bet implies the entire wager is lost. Thus, straight bets are lower risk and more attractive to conservative bettors.

Additionally, sportsbooks offer better odds to entice bettors into taking on higher risk wagers such as parlays. While the odds can vary at different sportsbooks, parlays frequently offer odds that can range from -260 to +600, depending on the number of games and amount of spread.

Because betting on multiple games is more complex than placing a straight bet, parlays typically offer higher payouts as compensation for the added complexity and risk.

This said, it’s essential to recognize that making a pick on a straight bet does not guarantee a win. However, compared to parlays, if the player’s prediction is accurate, straight bets bring a lower possibility of losing the wager entirely, diminishing the player’s need to ‘beat the odds.’

For newbies to sports betting, straight bets may be their preferred way to get started before making more complex bets. However, seasoned bettors may opt for parlays if they want to make more money, but it comes with the added risk of losing the entire wager.

As a result, straight bets are the choice for interested gamblers who prioritize lower risk over higher payouts. While parlays offer a potentially enticing payout for winning multiple wagers, the added complexity and risk make them less attractive to some bettors and less sensible in certain situations.

Entertainment Value

When it comes to sports betting, entertainment value is a significant factor for many bettors. Parlay bets and straight bets provide different levels of entertainment value, depending on the bettor’s preference. Straight bets are simpler, but parlay bets offer the potential for more significant payouts with a higher level of risk.

Some bettors find the process of selecting multiple bets and combining them in a parlay more exciting than placing a single straight bet. The anticipation of each game’s outcome and the possibility of winning a substantial payout can add to the excitement and entertainment value of parlay bets.

Additionally, parlay bets allow for more creative and personalized betting strategies, which can enhance the overall experience for some bettors. Overall, the entertainment value of parlay bets versus straight bets comes down to personal preference and the level of risk a bettor is willing to take on in order to maximize their potential payout.

Advantages of Straight Bets

Higher Winning Percentage

One of the main advantages of straight bets over parlay bets is the higher winning percentage. Straight bets are more likely to result in winning payouts because they only require the correct prediction of one outcome. On the other hand, parlay bets require multiple correct predictions, making them more challenging to win.

In a straight bet, the focus is on one game or event, and the bettor can study and analyze the teams or players involved to make informed predictions. Parlay bets, however, require the bettor to correctly predict the outcomes of multiple games or events, which drastically lowers the probability of winning.

The greater the number of events in a parlay, the lower the chances of winning. This is because any incorrect prediction results in the entire parlay bet losing, whereas with straight bets, losses can be minimized by only betting on games with favorable odds.

Furthermore, in straight bets, it is possible for the bettor to win even if their pick loses the game but still covers the point spread. This is known as a push, and it results in a draw in the eyes of the sportsbook. This means the original bet is refunded, and the bettor still has a chance to win in their next bet. Parlay bets do not offer this option as they depend on the correct outcome of all games to be won.

In summary, for bettors who seek a higher probability of winning, straight bets are the better choice as they offer higher winning percentages compared to parlay bets. By focusing on one game or event and analyzing the teams or players involved, bettors can make smart predictions, lower their risk of losses, and increase their chances of winning payouts.

Lower Variance

Parlay bets are often seen as riskier than straight bets, as a single loss in a parlay can result in losing the entire bet. On the other hand, straight bets have a lower variance since they only involve betting on one outcome. This means that even if the bettor loses, they can still recover some of their bet amount if they pick an outcome with good odds.

Furthermore, since straight bets do not involve multiple outcomes, they are easier to manage for bettors who want to carefully monitor their bankroll. By sticking to an established betting strategy, bettors can mitigate their risk and increase their chances of long-term success.

While the potential payout for a straight bet may not be as high as a parlay bet, the lower variance makes it a more sustainable option for bettors who want to minimize their risk and increase their chances of winning. In short, straight bets can be an effective way to maintain a higher winning percentage and keep a more stable bankroll.

Easier to Manage Bankroll

When it comes to sports betting, bankroll management is key. It is important to stay within your means and avoid going beyond your budget. Straight bets allow for better bankroll management as they are easier to manage than parlay bets. With parlay bets, the risk of losing the entire stake is higher as all the bets have to be won for a payout to happen. This increases the chances of losing the entire stake in one go.

With straight bets, you can manage your bankroll better as you can bet smaller amounts and still make a profit. This helps to reduce the risk of losing your entire stake at once. Additionally, the payout on straight bets is more predictable, which means that you can plan your spending and better manage your bankroll. Straight bets offer better control over your bankroll compared to parlay bets.

Disadvantages of Parlay Bets

Lower Winning Percentage

When comparing Parlay bets vs. Straight bets, it is essential to consider the lower winning percentage associated with Parlay bets. Unlike Straight bets, Parlay bets involve betting on multiple outcomes, and all outcomes must win to produce a winning bet.

This can lead to a lower overall winning percentage as the number of outcomes included in a Parlay bet increases. Therefore, a straight bet may be a safer option for those looking to increase their winning percentage. However, it is worth noting that the potential payout for Parlay bets is typically higher than that of a Straight bet due to the increased risk.

Higher Variance

Parlay bets have a much higher variance than straight bets, which means bettors have a higher potential to win big, but also a higher potential to lose big. This is because parlay bets combine multiple wagers into one, and a bettor must win all of their wagers in order to cash in on their parlay.

This means that a bettor could potentially win a multi-leg parlay and receive a massive payout, but one loss would result in the entire parlay being a bust. Additionally, bettors can place parlays on a wide variety of games, whereas straight bets are typically limited to one game or event. This opens up more opportunities for big payouts, but also increases the likelihood of losing all of your bets in one fell swoop.

The higher variance of parlay bets makes them a popular choice for more experienced and adventurous bettors who are willing to take higher risks for the possibility of higher rewards.

However, more conservative bettors may prefer straight bets due to their lower variance and higher likelihood of winning. Ultimately, bettors must assess their risk tolerance and betting strategy when deciding between parlay bets and straight bets.

Difficult to Manage Bankroll

One of the biggest challenges associated with parlay bets is that they can be difficult to manage from a bankroll perspective. When betting on single games with straight bets, bettors can easily keep track of their wins and losses and adjust their betting accordingly. However, with parlay bets, the risk of losing the entire bet is much higher since all the individual bets must win in order to realize a profit.

As a result, bettors can quickly lose their entire bankroll with a few unlucky bets. Additionally, since parlay bets tend to have higher odds, bettors may be tempted to bet more money than they can afford in order to realize a larger payout. This can be especially problematic for bettors with smaller bankrolls who may not have enough money to weather an unlucky losing streak. Overall, while parlay bets can be an exciting way to potentially earn a larger payout, they also require a great deal of discipline and caution in order to successfully manage one’s bankroll.

Disadvantages of Straight Bets

Lower Payouts

Lower Payouts:Parlay bets often offer higher payouts than straight bets. However, it’s important to note that higher payouts come at a higher risk. For those who prefer a more conservative approach, straight bets may be a better option. These bets typically have lower payouts, but they offer a higher probability of success.

One advantage of straight bets is that they allow bettors to focus on one specific event or outcome, instead of relying on multiple events to align for a parlay bet to pay out. It’s also important to consider the odds of each individual bet within a parlay, as even one incorrect pick will result in a loss.

While the appeal of a potentially large payout can be enticing, bettors should consider their risk tolerance and overall betting strategy when deciding between parlay bets and straight bets. Ultimately, the decision comes down to prioritizing either the potential for a big payout or a higher probability of success.

Higher Risk

One of the main arguments against parlay bets is that they come with higher risk than straight bets. A parlay bet combines multiple individual wagers into a single bet, with the expectation that all the individual wagers must win in order for the bettor to receive a payout.

This means that the entire parlay bet is lost if even one of the individual wagers loses, resulting in a higher degree of risk compared to a straight bet. Parlay bets offer potentially larger payouts than straight bets, but their high-risk nature makes them a less attractive option for many bettors.

Less Entertainment Value

One of the primary reasons why some bettors are not particularly fond of parlay bets is that they provide less entertainment value compared to straight bets.

With straight bets, bettors are fully invested in a single outcome, making the entire process much more exciting. In contrast, parlay bets tend to have several outcomes that need to go a certain way, which can be frustrating for bettors if one or more of those outcomes does not end up working in their favor.

Moreover, the lower payouts associated with parlay bets can also take away from the entertainment factor. Betting enthusiasts love the rush that comes with a sizable payout, and this is simply not as likely to happen with a parlay bet as opposed to a straight bet. In essence, the lower the payout potential, the lower the excitement and entertainment that comes with a bet.

Despite these drawbacks, parlay bets certainly have their place in the world of sports betting. They appeal to bettors who are particularly confident about the outcomes of several games and who are willing to take on the higher risk. Additionally, some bettors might actually prefer the lower entertainment value of parlay bets; they may be looking to place lower-stakes bets that are more focused on strategy and less focused on thrills.

Nonetheless, it’s important for bettors to be aware of the potential downsides of parlay bets. Those who are seeking an adrenaline-packed experience that comes with the chance of a large payout will likely want to stick with straight bets. On the other hand, bettors who are willing to accept the trade-off of lower entertainment value for the possibility of multiple wins may find that parlay bets are more up their alley.


Which Bet Type is Better?

It can be challenging to determine which type of bet is better, parlay bets or straight bets, as it ultimately depends on various factors and personal preferences. On the one hand, parlay bets offer the potential for higher payouts, as they involve multiple wagers combined into a single bet.

This means that if all bets within the parlay win, the payout can be much larger compared to placing individual straight bets on each event. However, the downside of parlay bets is that the risk is also higher, as if even one of the events within the parlay loses, the entire bet is lost.

On the other hand, straight bets are more straightforward and less risky, as they involve placing a single wager on a single event. While the potential payout is lower compared to parlay bets, the risk of losing the entire bet is also reduced, as only one event needs to be correct for the bet to win. Additionally, straight bets offer more flexibility in terms of adjusting the wager amount, as each event can be bet on individually with varying bet sizes to ensure a more personalized betting strategy.

Ultimately, the decision on whether to place parlay bets or straight bets will depend on the bettor’s risk tolerance, overall betting strategy, and goals. For those who prefer higher payouts and are willing to take on more risk, parlay bets may be the better option. However, for those who prioritize lower risk and more flexibility in their betting strategy, straight bets may be the preferred choice.

Factors to Consider

When deciding between parlay bets and straight bets, there are several factors to consider that can help bettors make informed decisions. One important factor is the potential payout. Parlay bets offer higher payouts than straight bets because they involve betting on multiple outcomes. However, this also means that the likelihood of winning decreases with the more outcomes that are included in the parlay.

Another factor to consider is the level of risk. Straight bets are generally less risky because they only involve betting on a single outcome, whereas parlay bets involve multiple outcomes and therefore carry a greater level of risk. Additionally, bettors should consider their overall betting strategy and goals. If they are looking for a chance to win big, a parlay bet may be more attractive. However, if they are focused on consistent, smaller wins, a straight bet may be the better option. Bettors should also consider their knowledge and expertise in the sport or event they are betting on.

If they are confident in their ability to predict multiple outcomes, a parlay bet may be a good choice. However, if their knowledge is limited, a straight bet may be a safer option. Finally, bettors should consider the available odds and lines, as these can vary between straight and parlay bets. Overall, when evaluating the factors involved in parlay bets and straight bets, it is important for bettors to consider their personal goals, risk tolerance, knowledge, and the specific odds and lines available for the event in question.

Parlay Bets vs. Straight Bets-FAQs

1. What is the difference between Parlay Bets and Straight Bets?

Parlay bets involve multiple bets in a single wager, with all bets needing to win for a payout, while straight bets are individual bets on a single outcome. Straight bets offer lower risk and lower payouts, while parlay bets have higher risk and potentially higher payouts.

2. Can I make a Parlay Bet with different sports?

Yes, it is possible to make a Parlay Bet with different sports as long as all of the bets are related to different events.

3. What is the benefit of making a Straight Bet over a Parlay Bet?

The benefit of making a Straight Bet over a Parlay Bet is lower risk. Straight Bets are individual bets on a single outcome, while Parlay Bets involve multiple bets combined into a single wager with all bets needing to win for a payout.

4. What is the payout like for a Parlay Bet?

The payout for a Parlay Bet is potentially higher than a Straight Bet because the bets are combined into a single wager.

5. Is there a limit to the number of bets I can make in a Parlay Bet?

The number of bets you can make in a Parlay Bet is not limited, but it is important to note that the more bets you add, the higher your risk of not winning the wager.

6. How do I know if a Parlay Bet is worth the risk?

To determine if a Parlay Bet is worth the risk, assess the likelihood of winning each individual bet and calculate the potential payout. If the potential payout outweighs the risk, then the Parlay Bet might be worth it.

Also Read: Learn How To Place InPlay Bets To Make A Profit

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