Safely Betting on Sports & A a Series on How to Make Smart Decisions Based on Mathematical Analysis: Part 2; The Explanation of Parlays

Let’s begin this with me apologizing to anybody taking the under on the Houston at Cincinnati game. I’m very sorry that I thought Houston would put up a fight against the Bearcats but after today’s game I was very obviously wrong.

Now, before we get into analysis we need to continue to explore options for “betting safely.”

We’ll first examine parlay bets. & Essentially paylays are a combination of bets. So let’s say for example, you took 2 games, let’s say you were to look at a game between then Yankees & Red Sox & you decided to bet the Yankees to win straight up. & also saw that you could bet on an arm wrestling match between my friend Nathan and myself. So you’d obviously want to pick me. So you have the option of either making 2 separate bets, or one bet on both events. That would be a parlay. In order to win a parlay, both outcomes have to occur in order for you to win the bet. Which, in turn, would win you more money.

Statistics show that the average individual bet on a game provides roughly 4 percent profit, whereas betting a parlay provides roughly 26 percent return…. That is of course…. If you win. Which is why it’s riskier because you’re then relying on every prediction you made to be accurate as opposed to “hedging your bets” and potentially breaking even if you lose one and win another (obviously in this scenario we’d be talking about the Yankees losing and Aaron beating Nathan in arm wrestling).

Here is an example showing the difference in payout in betting on games individually vs. parlays. This doesn’t show the averages of payout of individual games but simply an example of payout.

Figure 1:

In part 3 of this series, we will be examining prop bets and various examples.


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