Progressive Parlay Bet Explained

This tutorial explains the Progressive Parlay bet. Learn how to place a progressive parlay bet and how progressive parlay bets win or lose. Progressive parlays are also called “Close Call Parlays”. Find out whether progressive parlay bets are better than separate straight bets.

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What is a Progressive Parlay Bet?

A progressive parlay is a variation of a standard parlay bet that wins even if one or more selections lose. This bet is also known as a “close call parlay”.

Progressive parlay payouts are lower than regular parlays. There’s much less risk with this bet because sportsbooks allow one or more selections to lose.

How Does the Progressive Parlay Bet Win or Lose?

Your progressive parlay wins if your number of losing selections doesn’t exceed the sportsbook’s limit, or if all your selections win.

Your progressive parlay bet loses if the number of losing selection exceeds the sportsbook’s limit.

When does the Progressive Parlay Bet Tie or Push?

Progressive parlay bets do not tie or push. The bet either wins or loses.

The sportsbook will grade tie progressive parlay selections as losses. For example, the sportsbook would count one losing selection and one tie selection as two losing selections. Similarly, two tie selections would also count as two losing selections.

How to Place a Progressive Parlay Bet

  1. Sportsbooks commonly limit progressive parlays to NFL Football.
  2. Select 4-10 point spreads, totals or combinations of both.
  3. Note the maximum number of losing selections allowed.
  4. Sportsbooks grade tie selections as losses.

Progressive Parlay Bet Example

Let’s place a $10 5-selection progressive parlay bet. We’ll assume -110 standard odds using a progressive parlay payout table. Remember, sportsbooks grade progressive parlay ties as losses.

  1. San Francisco 49ers -2.5 -110 Point Spread
  2. New Orleans Saints vs. Houston Texans 34.5 o -110 Total
  3. New York Giants -3 -110 Point Spread
  4. Las Vegas Raiders +7-110 Point Spread
  5. Arizona Cardinals vs. Seattle Seahawks 41.5 u -110 Total

Example Progressive Parlay Payout Table

Here are the payouts for a 5-selection NFL progressive parlay. See the bottom of this tutorial for a table listing payouts for 4-10 selections.

Sample Progressive Parlay Payouts
Teams All Win 1 Loss 2 Loss 3 Loss
5 Teams 10 to 1 2 to 1

If all selections win, the payout is our $10 bet x 10 to 1 = $100. The payout with 1 losing selection is $10 bet x 2 to 1 = $20. You can only have 1 losing selection with a 5-selection progressive parlay bet. That means the payout for 2 or more losing selections is $0.

Example Progressive Parlay Payout Results

Suppose the Las Vegas +7 selection loses. Our bet still wins because the sportsbook pays out 2 to 1 with one losing selection. We win $10 x 2 = $20 total.

Had we placed a standard parlay bet instead, this bet would have produced a -$10 loss.

Finally, suppose Las Vegas +7 tied the spread. Remember, sportsbooks grade tie progressive parlay selections as losses. As above, 1 losing selection means we win $10 x 2 = $20 total.

More about reading Betting Odds

SportsBetting3.com’s article “How to Read NFL Odds” discusses how to read betting odds in detail.

How Do Sportsbooks Grade Progressive Parlay Bets?

Each spread or total wins, loses, or ties according to each game’s outcome.

  1. Your progressive parlay bet wins if all selections win.
  2. The payout is less if any selections lose up to the allowed number (see the payout table).
  3. Your progressive parlay bet loses if more selections lose than allowed.

Common Progressive Parlay Tie Rules

  • Sportsbooks grade ties as losses.
  • Your payout will be determined from the remaining number of winning selections.

Case Study: Comparing Progressive Parlay Payouts to Other Bets

The following table compares the outcome of a 5-selection progressive parlay vs. 5 straight bets vs. a 5-selection standard parlay.

The results include payouts for 1 or more losing selections for each bet type. Separate straight bets or standard parlays are always best for winning bettors. They offer substantially higher profit potential.

$10 5-selection Progressive Parlay vs. Other Bets -110 Odds
Bet Calculation Profit & Loss
5 Separate Straight Bet Wins ($10 x .9091) x 5 $45.46
4 Straight Bet Wins, 1 Loss (($10 x .9091) x 4) – $10 $26.36
3 Straight Bet Wins, 2 Losses (($10 x .9091) x 3) – $20 $7.27
5 Selection Progressive Parlay, All Win $10 x 10 $100.00
5 Selection Progressive Parlay, 1 Loss $10 x 2 $20.00
5 Selection Standard Parlay, All Win $10 x 24.35 $243.50
5 Selection Standard Parlay, 1+ Losses -$10.00 $-10.00

Final payout amounts may vary with rounding.

Case Study Conclusions:

  1. 4 winning straight bets – 1 loss ($26.36) pays out more than a progressive parlay with 1 loss ($20).
  2. A winning standard parlay pays out more ($243.50) than a progressive parlay with no losing selections ($100).
  3. Straight bets are the most forgiving when up to 2 selections lose. But, losing 3+ straight bets produces more loss than losing a $10 progressive or standard parlay entirely.

Note: Some bets may be more or less profitable depending on the number of selections. Carefully compare profit and loss for different parlay sizes.

Pros And Cons

Pros

  • Progressive parlays payout even if 1 or more selections lose.
  • A winning progressive parlay with no losing selection pays more than separate winning straight bets – see case study above.
  • Progressive parlays are ideal for those with limited bankrolls or extra cash for fun bets.
  • A progressive parlay with less losing selections than the sportsbook’s limit still pays more than a losing standard parlay. Remember, one or more losses mean a standard parlay loses.

Cons

  • A 5-selection progressive parlay with 1 loss pays less than 4 winning and 1 losing straight bets. Winning bettors should stick to straight bets.
  • Progressive parlays carry more risk and variance than separate straight bets. Multiple losing selections ruin the entire bet. Separate straight bets allow more room for error and smaller percentage losses.
  • A winning standard parlay pays more than a Progressive Parlay of the same size with no losses.
  • Sportsbooks grade Progressive Parlay ties as losses, while ties reduce a standard parlay payout by 1 selection.

Tips

7 Selections or Less

Keep progressive parlays to 7 selections or less. Winning 8 or more selections is rare. Larger bets do not justify the risk.

For Limited Bankrolls

Like win-only if bets, reserve progressive parlays for a limited bankroll or a fun bet. They’re not ideal for long term profitmaking.

Review NFL ATS Trends

Analyze NFL ATS (against the spread) trends. Combine multiple winning teams into a Progressive Parlay.

Compare Expected Values

Compare the expected value of a progressive parlay vs. separate straight bets vs. a standard parlay. Winning bettors will make more with separate straight bets. Bettors on a strong win streak will make the most with a standard parlay.

Bets to Try

  1. Combine the opposite side of your daily straight bets into one large progressive parlay. If all straight bets lose, you’ll make money back on the winning progressive parlay bet.
  2. March Madness Progressive Parlay – Choose 8 or more Round 1 Matchups. Pick optimal spreads or totals. You can still profit even if 2 or more of your selections are wrong.
  3. College Football Progressive Parlay – Choose 6 or more spreads, totals or both. You can still profit even if 1 or more of your selections lose.

Progressive Parlay Bet History

Progressive parlays were likely invented in the early 1940s, about a decade after Las Vegas legalized gambling in 1931.

The term “Close Call Parlay” was coined in the past 20 years. It surfaced at VIP.com as another name for a Progressive Parlay. Offshore sportsbooks are responsible for popularizing this bet. They are not commonly available in modern Las Vegas brick and mortar sportsbooks.

References to “Progressive Parlay” betting date to 1947 when the concept was incorporated into roulette betting strategy. Sportsbooks later adopted the term to denote a parlay which paid out even if 1 or more selections lost.

Other Names

  • Close Call Parlay

Similar Bets

Tables and Reference

Sample Progressive Parlay Payout Table

Progressive Parlay Payouts
+ Taps out Payout on Mobile
Teams All Win 1 Loss 2 Loss 3 Loss
4 Teams 4 to 1 even
5 Teams 10 to 1 2 to 1
6 Teams 24 to 1 3 to 1
7 Teams 42 to 1 3 to 1 push
8 Teams 60 to 1 6 to 1 even
9 Teams 120 to 1 10 to 1 2 to 1
10 Teams 150 to 1 12 to 1 2 to 1 even

Sample Progressive Parlay Rules

  • NFL full game sides and totals only
  • A tie is graded as a loss

House Edge on Standard Parlays

House Edge on Standard Parlays
+ Taps out Payout on Mobile
Selections Actual Odds Usual Payout House Edge
2 3/1 2.6/1 10.00%
3 7/1 6/1 12.50%
4 15/1 10/1 31.25%
5 31/1 20/1 34.38%
6 63/1 40/1 35.94%
7 127/1 75/1 40.63%
8 255/1 150/1 41.02%
9 511/1 300/1 41.21%
10 1027/1 700/1 31.54%

Fixed Odds Parlay Table

Fixed Odds Parlay Table
# Selections Las Vegas Payout Offshore Payout
2 13/5 13/5
3 6/1 6/1
4 10/1 12.28/1
5 20/1 24.35/1
6 40/1 47.41/1
7 75/1 91.42/1
8 150/1 175.44/1

Required Reading

References


en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_parlay
content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,779476,00.html
lasvegasadvisor.com/question/sports-betting-history/