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Old 03-22-2008, 09:02 PM   #1
OGGambler
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Question Parlays...bad bets?

I just read the sportsbetting FAQ and saw that it said that parlay bets are "generally" bad bets. But there was no clear explanation as to why parlay bets are not worthwhile. I thought they were good bets because you are risking less money to win the same amount you would have won if you bet individually. I just need clarification as to why they are so bad.
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Old 03-22-2008, 09:24 PM   #2
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Re: Parlays...bad bets?

Because almost no book will give you true odds. Most books will pay 13-5 on a two team parlay where both teams are lined at -110. That's a payout of $260 for a $100 bet. A few exceptions will pay 14-5 or a payout of $280. True odds on that bet would pay $290.90.
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Old 03-22-2008, 10:01 PM   #3
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Re: Parlays...bad bets?

So basically if you make two single bets for 1 unit each I will get more on my money?....But isn't the fact that you are risking more money bad and cover for the fact that you are getting a little less odds? Thanks so much for your time, help and patience!!
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Old 03-22-2008, 10:10 PM   #4
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Re: Parlays...bad bets?

Dont let them tell you ALL PARLAYS ARE BAD BETS. Thats just wrong.

Money line parlays can be great bets, just one example.
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Old 03-22-2008, 10:15 PM   #5
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Re: Parlays...bad bets?

I like them somewhat.

Online I can throw out $1-$10 ones and win something. I hit a $2 one for $35 in round one of NCAA tourney
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Old 03-22-2008, 10:28 PM   #6
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Re: Parlays...bad bets?

OG you bet one unit on a game. You win you take your initial bet plus the winnings and bet it on the next game. If you win that pays better than hitting a two team parlay.
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Old 03-22-2008, 10:58 PM   #7
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Re: Parlays...bad bets?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OGGambler View Post
So basically if you make two single bets for 1 unit each I will get more on my money?
Over time yes because you will be paid at the correct odds of 10/11 on each winning bet.

[/QUOTE]....But isn't the fact that you are risking more money bad and cover for the fact that you are getting a little less odds? Thanks so much for your time, help and patience!![/QUOTE]


Your additional risk is minimal when you consider that on the second leg of a parlay you have your original bet AND the first games winnings at stake. It's the same as if you'd bet a game, won, and then took your winnings and original stake and bet it on another game. Except it pays less as a parlay.

edit:I suck at multiquoting.
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Old 03-22-2008, 11:11 PM   #8
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Re: Parlays...bad bets?

Oh Man!!!! Now I get it. You guys hit the nail. Now that you explain it like that I see why parlays aren't worthwhile thanks for the help guys.
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Old 03-23-2008, 12:07 PM   #9
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Re: Parlays...bad bets?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OGGambler View Post
Oh Man!!!! Now I get it. You guys hit the nail. Now that you explain it like that I see why parlays aren't worthwhile thanks for the help guys.
The ONLY time parlays are better bets (from an expectation perspective) than regular bets is when they are correlated--i.e. when one happens the other is likely to happen.

For an extreme example, say there were two bets--the Lakers winning today, and Kobe scoring more than 50 points. Odds are, if Kobe goes for more than 50 points, the Lakers are probably going to win. So even if neither bet was +EV on its own, the odds of them BOTH happening simultaneously is more than the multiplied probability of each--P(A and B) > P(A)*P(B). In that case, if you're getting good enough odds on your parlay, it may have +EV.

The most common bet like this is an underdog spread bet with an under on the total or a favorite spread bet with an over, because if there are very few points scored the game is likely to be close, etc.

However, most online books know this and will not let you bet correlated parlays (namely, totals/spreads on the same game).

Quote:
Originally Posted by thebayareabeast View Post
Dont let them tell you ALL PARLAYS ARE BAD BETS. Thats just wrong.

Money line parlays can be great bets, just one example.
Unless you explain yourself, I'm going to assume you don't know what your talking about. Because it sounds like your rationale is "if you get good underdog odds and parlay them you can make more money!"
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Old 03-23-2008, 12:57 PM   #10
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Re: Parlays...bad bets?

Yea that makes sense. Thanks for the advice knicknut!!
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Old 03-23-2008, 11:53 PM   #11
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Re: Parlays...bad bets?

knicknut, for a while I was just crushing the books on CFB correlated parlays. I think it was 2006 college football season, several books were still allowing you to parlay huge faves with the over and huge dogs with the under. So basically if the line made up more than 25% of the total (for example -20 and 50 point total), then you parlay the favorite and the over, and also the dog and the under. It was a smashing success, but alas, SportsInteraction was one of the last to catch on and finally no longer allowed correlated parlays late in that season.
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Old 03-24-2008, 06:54 AM   #12
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Re: Parlays...bad bets?

Quote:
Originally Posted by knicknut View Post
The ONLY time parlays are better bets (from an expectation perspective) than regular bets is when they are correlated--i.e. when one happens the other is likely to happen.

What if the odds are better? some books offer parlay odds that are greater than the product of the component straight bet odds as a promotion. It's commonplace for the three team parlay to pay 6/1, which is a teensy bit promotional at a -110 shop, and several books offer better than 6/1. Naturally they don't like it if that's all you play.
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Old 03-24-2008, 07:18 AM   #13
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Re: Parlays...bad bets?

From a well respected moderator at another forum:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ganchrow
Parlays

Quote:
Parlays are sucker bets....period.
With all due respect to the poster, that statement is 100% incorrect. While it is indeed true that an unadvantaged gambler will on average lose more quickly betting parlays, for the value bettor, parlays can be an extremely valuable tool.

First let's look at an unadvantaged bettor betting at a -110 style shop paying 13/5 on 2-team parlays and 6/1 on 3-team parlays (fair parlays odds at a -110 shop are actually about 13.223/5 and 5.958/1 respectively -- but 13/5 and 6/1 are still pretty close). If the bettor's picks are no better than a coin flip then betting two or three teams straight, we of course know his expected profit or loss ("P&L") to be -4.545%. But what if instead the bettor bets a two team parlay? Well, (assuming that all bets are independent) we know his chances of winning the 2-team parlay are 25% (50% x 50%) and his chances of winning the 3-team parlay are 12.5% (50% x 50% x 50%). Which means his expected P&L on the 2-team:

= 25% x 13/5 - 75% x 1
= -10%

And his expected P&L on the 3-team

= 12.5% x 6 - 87.5% x 1
= -12.5%

Now that's pretty bad. Betting a 2-team parlay, the unadvantaged bettor lowers his expected P&L from -4.545% to -10%, and betting a 3-team parlay he lowers his P&L further down to -12.5%.

OK, so that about sums it up for your 50/50 bettor. Parlaying (independent) coin flip bets is always a bad idea from a pure expected P&L perspective (although for a risk-lover it could be a very good idea). But what about for the advantaged bettor, say a bettor who is able to pick 55% winners? The expected P&L for the 55% bettor:

= 55% x 100/110 + 45% x -110/110
= 5%

And for a 2-team parlay (of independent bets):

= 55% x 55% x 13/5 + (1 - 55% x 55%) x -1
= 8.9%

And for the a 3-team parlay (independent):

= 55% x 55% x 55% x 6 + (1 - 55% x 55% x 55%) x -1
= 16.463%

So that’s pretty dramatic. For a bettor able to consistently pick 55% winners, he can do much better on average betting 2-team parlays than straight bets and better still on 3-team parlays (And it gets even better the more teams one parlays -- assuming that the book pays true parlay odds. Note however, that a book offering a 4-team parlay at just a 10/1 payout is not offering true parlay odds. True parlay odds for a 4-teamer at a -110 book are about 12.283/1.)

The downside of betting parlays, however, is that one drastically increases one’s risk. To illustrate using a an extreme example you'll note that while betting a 25-team parlay at a -110 book paying the fair parlay odds of 10,487,336/1 will yield the 55% bettor an expected P&L of a whopping +238.64%, one mustn't neglect the fact that such an outcome only occurs about 0.0000323% of the time. Now that’s not what I’d call a particularly likely occurrence. Not a good bet for the sufficiently risk-averse.

Now you may have noticed that I keep emphasizing that the parlayed bets need to be independent for the above to hold true. Well, what happens if the bets aren’t independent (i.e., correlated)? Well the answer is actually that betting correlated parlays will further increase expected P&L for both advantaged bettors and (depending upon the degree of correlation) could even transform a parlay into a positive expectation bet for the unadvantaged bettor. But more on that to come soon. I have some messages piling up.
Short version: If you are good at what you do, you can earn more by playing parlays but have to accept more risk and variance.

If you are medicore or bad, non-correlated parlays will bury you.
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Old 03-24-2008, 03:44 PM   #14
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Re: Parlays...bad bets?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Psamtek View Post
From a well respected moderator at another forum:

Short version: If you are good at what you do, you can earn more by playing parlays but have to accept more risk and variance.

If you are medicore or bad, non-correlated parlays will bury you.
That is pretty interesting stuff, so basically if a capper who picks 55% winners has 4 plays on a single night, he should not only make 4 single bets, but also play every combo of 4,3, and 2 team parlays, so long as he has a huge bankroll and doesn't mind extra risk?

Only problem is true 55% cappers are so rare and even rarer still on message boards. People throw around 55% winners and even 60% winners like it is fairly easy to achieve, but if you're picking 55% winners for a few seasons and you have any semblance of money management, you should already have the bankroll to be betting the max on every play, and probably won't care about message boards by that point.
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Old 03-24-2008, 04:19 PM   #15
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Re: Parlays...bad bets?

Mega,

Usually its hard to get the best lines at every possible parlay price and it makes math even more complicated.
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Old 03-24-2008, 04:36 PM   #16
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Re: Parlays...bad bets?

I don't think you can calculate your best play that way - you should be using expected growth instead.

From a maximum growth standpoint (which basically has built into it the "risk and variance" blah blah), betting the parlay is incorrect. If you have two independent simultaneous events at -110, and you have a 55% win expectation, you should be betting 5.48% of your roll on each game, and nothing on the 2-team parlay (assuming payout of 13/5). If you put even 1% on the parlay, you'll have less expected growth; if you put the same 5.48% as you have on the individual events, you'll have negative expected growth. If you absolutely must put 1% on the parlay, then the optimal bet size on the individual games is 4.55% instead, and your expected growth takes a hit.
Short version: If you use "P&L" calculations shown above, you're not going to get the right bet size, or whether you should be taking a bet at all.
Remember, this isn't poker, it's sports betting - you're not looking for +EV, you're looking for +EG.

In contrast, if you can get 6/1 payout on a 3-teamer, you should be playing it - put 5.07% on each individual game, and 0.44% on the 3-team parlay. That's because, as already pointed out, 6/1 is a better payout than expected for -110.
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Old 03-24-2008, 09:28 PM   #17
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Re: Parlays...bad bets?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen H View Post
If you have two independent simultaneous events at -110...
You are ignoring correlated parlays, which given this win rate could swing a 13/5 two event parlay to a +EG play.
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Old 03-25-2008, 12:51 PM   #18
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Re: Parlays...bad bets?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NegativeZero View Post
You are ignoring correlated parlays, which given this win rate could swing a 13/5 two event parlay to a +EG play.
I was responding to the long quoted math post, which was also ignoring correlated parlays and was suggesting that playing uncorrelated 2-team parlays at 13/5 was correct for a 55% winning bettor vs -110 lines. The math was broken in a few ways (mostly the problem was it was focusing on EV, but also it was comparing a single game bet vs a 2-game parlay, not 2 single bets vs parlay vs 2 single game + parlay to determine the best outcome) and it came to what I think is an incorrect conclusion.

I think everyone in the thread agrees that correlated parlays are a good idea, although quantifying them exactly would be complicated. You can probably get close enough by just eyeballing it, though.
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Old 10-10-2018, 02:03 PM   #19
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Re: Parlays...bad bets?

Parlays are not for everybody. That's why they're bad bets. People who are successful with parlays are smart individuals or have been in the business for a long time. New people usually have a couple parlays in the beginning, then next thing you know that's all they do. And they'll never see their money again.
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Old 10-10-2018, 02:57 PM   #20
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Re: Parlays...bad bets?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonefishingmlb View Post
Parlays are not for everybody. That's why they're bad bets.
Wait, what? This comment makes no logical sense. The fact that, in general, Parlays are a slippery slope for bettors, is not a qualifier for being bad. Also I just realized you were replying to a comment that is 10.5 years old, which, in a sense, means I'm replying to a comment that's 10.5 years old. ))
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Old 10-10-2018, 02:58 PM   #21
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Re: Parlays...bad bets?

Parlays can offer decent hedge opportunities, which increase expected growth if done right.

Straight bets can also be hedged with scalps and middles. Both require some skill in getting favorable lines and/or anticipating favorable line moves.
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Old 10-10-2018, 03:59 PM   #22
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Re: Parlays...bad bets?

ROFL there was a troll before me brought this thread back up. I didn't look at the date OMG this is funny. You have to have certain knowledge and experiences to deal with parlays; If you don't, all your parlays are bad bets period. That's all I'm saying.
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Old 10-10-2018, 04:55 PM   #23
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Re: Parlays...bad bets?

There are many ways to make money in this game. Parlays is one of them.
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Old 10-10-2018, 06:27 PM   #24
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Re: Parlays...bad bets?

if you can "anticipate favorable line movements" you can make more money just betting it before the movement happens
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Old 10-10-2018, 07:16 PM   #25
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Re: Parlays...bad bets?

Much easier to make winning parlays than winning playing online poker nowadays
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