Betting on Huge Parlays & Long Shots

There’s nothing like an enormous parlay ticket to get the gambling juices flowing. As you add games to your betting slip, the odds pile up.

Add enough legs and you have a potential payout of life-changing money. But unfortunately, parlays with many legs are the equivalent of a far-fetched fish tale in the angler’s world.

We’ve all heard the stories of close calls on 10-leg parlays, and maybe even one that has hit. But even if the rare one ends up winning, the odds of scoring on huge parlays are about the same as catching a blue whale with a homemade fishing rod.

Still, it can sometimes be fun to play the lottery ticket of sports betting, so let’s look at some of your options.

What are the biggest parlays you can place?

The option is yours if you want to string together all 16 games on an NFL Sunday for the slim possibility of a monster payout, but keep in mind that the odds of winning decrease drastically with each game you add.

For instance, using the common -110 odds for NFL point spread bets, your odds of winning a two-game parlay are approximately 27.47%. A five-game parlay drops to 3.94%, and a 10-leg parlay dips to 0.15%.

Which sports set up best for large parlays?

While the sport you pick for your parlay doesn’t matter that much, the type of bet you choose can play a significant role. Your best chance of winning parlays is to avoid the point spread and play the moneyline.

With a moneyline bet, you only need to worry about the winner and do not have to stress about covering a spread. Of course, the moneyline odds will be much different from the point spread, and they will be considerably lower if you stick to favorites.

What’s the best way to put together a huge parlay ticket?

It’s tempting to assemble a 10-leg point spread parlay and go for the big bucks. Using standard -110 odds, a $100 bet on a 10-game ticket would win you around $64,000. It’s fun to dream, but if you plan to shoot for the stars, your best bet would be to load up on some favorites.

If you mixed up your ticket with five point spread games and five moneyline “locks,” your odds of winning would dramatically increase. Of course, the chances will still be slim, but much better than a 10-game point spread ticket.

Correlated bets in parlays

A correlated bet is when you bet on two different aspects of the same game. For instance, picking the Green Bay Packers to cover a -14 point spread and parlaying it with Aaron Rodgers to throw for over 275 yards.

The strategy is that if the Packers are going to win by 14 points, there’s a good chance that Rodgers will have a good game. Sportsbooks didn’t offer these types of bets for a long time, but their approach has started to change in recent years. Most sportsbooks now offer single-game parlays that may allow you to make this kind of bet.

Of course, the sportsbooks are still not going to lose money. With these types of wagers, they will adjust the odds to be in their favor. While betting on Rodgers to throw for over 275 on a single bet might pay out at -110 normally, on a correlated parlay ticket, those odds will be more unfavorable for you, like -175.

What huge parlays have hit before? How much did they pay?

However unlikely it is to nail a massive parlay, it can happen occasionally. Here are three enormous parlays that hit in 2022.

A bettor named Marco Piemonte bet $30,000 on a five-leg parlay and won $1.2 million. The bet consisted of four moneylines and one alternate spread.

  • Georgia -145 @ Alabama
  • Cardinals +240 @ Cowboys
  • Broncos @ Chargers -351
  • Chiefs @ Bengals +330
  • Rams +9.5 (-375) @ Ravens (alternate spread)

FanDuel Sportsbook bettor used a $20 free bet and turned it into $579,020 by picking two correct NFL scores.

  • Bengals 27, Chiefs 24 +22000
  • Rams 20, 49ers 17 +13000

A PointsBet Sportsbook Massachusetts bettor turned $5,000 into over $161,000 by winning a four-leg NFL playoff ticket.

  • Bengals +170 @ Titans
  • 49ers +195 @ Packers
  • Rams +125 @ Buccaneers
  • Bills @ Chiefs -125

What is parlay insurance and cashing out early?

Some sportsbooks offer betting insurance of different varieties, including options for parlays. For instance, a sportsbook may offer a refund in free bet credits if all except one of your legs wins on your parlay ticket.

Another feature of some sportsbooks is an early cash-out. This is when you have won one or more legs of your parlay, but you still have one or more legs to go. Some books will allow you to cash out a percentage of your bet if you’d rather be assured of winning a smaller amount instead of waiting for your final leg to play out.

Are parlays responsible gambling?

It’s important to remember that the bigger the parlay, the bigger the chances of losing. They can be fun to play as long shots with a small bet or free bet, but consistently betting big money on multi-leg tickets is not a responsible gambling strategy.

What about other long shot bets?

Parlays aren’t the only long shot game in town. Another common bet to capitalize on big odds is picking a heavy underdog to win a championship as a futures bet before the season starts.

While rare, these types of bets will hit on occasion. In 2008, the Tampa Bay Rays were 125-1 to win the American League. They did just that and crushed many sportsbooks along the way. Picking a long shot MVP can also produce juicy odds before a season starts. Last year’s American League MVP, Shohei Ohtani, started the season at +3000 to win the award.

Are huge parlays worth it?

Your best strategy is to take a chance on gigantic parlays sparingly and only bet what you can afford to lose. This is because, in general, you will lose.

That’s not to say they can’t be fun. Occasionally using a free bet or placing a small wager for a chance at an enormous payday can be part of the fun of sports betting. As we’ve seen, people do occasionally win.

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