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

Time needed: 1 minute

How to Place a Progressive Parlay Bet

  1. Make your selections

    Select 4-10 point spreads, totals or combinations of both. Progressive parlays are typically limited to NFL football only.

  2. Place your bet

    Choose how much you’d like to risk on your parlay bet. Note the sportsbook’s house rules and maximum payout limits, if applicable.

  3. Note the maximum number of selections

    Note the maximum number of losing selections allowed. Review your sportsbook’s progressive parlay rules.

  4. A tie is graded as a loss

    Sportsbooks grade tie selections as losses.

  5. Your progressive parlay bet wins if the number of losing selections doesn’t exceed the limit

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

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.

5 Selection Progressive Parlay Payout
TeamsAll Win1 Loss2 Loss3 Loss
5 Teams10 to 12 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.

Progressive Parlay Payouts vs Other Bets
BetCalculationProfit & 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

Example Progressive Parlay Payout Table
TeamsAll Win1 Loss2 Loss3 Loss
4 Teams4 to 1even
5 Teams10 to 12 to 1
6 Teams24 to 13 to 1
7 Teams42 to 13 to 1push
8 Teams60 to 16 to 1even
9 Teams120 to 110 to 12 to 1
10 Teams150 to 112 to 12 to 1even

Sample Progressive Parlay Rules

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

House Edge on Standard Parlays

Parlay Bet Payouts and House Edge
SelectionsActual OddsUsual PayoutHouse Edge
23/12.6/110.00%
37/16/112.50%
415/110/131.25%
531/120/134.38%
663/140/135.94%
7127/175/140.63%
8255/1150/141.02%
9511/1300/141.21%
101027/1700/131.54%

Fixed Odds Parlay Table

Fixed Odds Parlay Payouts
# SelectionsLas Vegas PayoutOnline Payout
213/513/5
36/16/1
410/112.28/1
520/124.35/1
640/147.41/1
775/191.42/1
8150/1175.44/1

FAQs on Progressive Parlay Bets

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”.

How does the progressive parlay bet win?

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

What happens if a progressive parlay selection ties?

Sportsbooks grade tie selections as losses. Each loss reduces your payout until the number of losses exceeds those allowed.

How do sportsbooks grade progressive parlay bets?

Your bet wins if all selections are correct. Your payout is less if any selections lose up to the allowed number. Your progressive parlay loses if more selections lose than allowed.

How much does a 5 selection progressive parlay pay with 1 loss?

A 5 selection progressive parlay bet with 1 losing selection commonly pays 2 to 1.

Sports Betting Resources

  • How to Read Sports Betting Odds – Our helpful tutorial explains what the numbers mean for point spread, moneyline, total, and Asian Handicap bets.
  • Sports Betting Questions and Answers – Common sports betting questions and answers, a simple quick reference for beginners.
  • Sports Betting vs Casino Gambling – Learn how sportsbooks and casinos make money, and the important differences between each business model.
  • How to Read NFL Odds – Short and sweet guide to NFL point spreads, totals, and moneylines. We’ve got live example bets from upcoming NFL matchups.
  • Point Spread Bet – Understanding the point spread is key to betting on football and basketball. Learn how the point spread bet works with our tutorial video and text.
  • Over-Under Total Bet – Bet over or under the sportsbook’s line. We explain how to place this bet with easy examples, a video, and text explainer.
  • Moneyline Bet – Whether it’s a 2-way or 3-way moneyline, we’ve got you covered. Moneylines are available for almost every major sport league, including football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, tennis, and combat sports.
  • Teaser Bet – A teaser is a modified parlay that lets you buy points to shift point spread and total lines in your favor. Our fun tutorial video and detailed text article explain how to place this bet.
  • If Bet Win-Only – Sequence multiple bets together in an if-then sequence. Your next bet only sees action if the previous one wins. Ideal for bettors with small bankrolls.
  • Futures Bet – We explain what a futures bet is, how it works, and when to bet on a future sporting event. Common futures bets include the winners of the Super Bowl, Final Four, Stanley Cup, World Series, and NBA Finals.
  • Parlay Bet – Combine multiple selections into one bet that returns a huge payout if all your selections were correct. We explain how parlay bets work and provide common parlay payout tables.
  • Progressive Parlay Bet – Also known as a “Close Call Parlay”, this parlay variant can win even if one or more of selections lose. Our article describes this bet in detail.
  • Parlay Card Betting – Parlay cards are issued by major sportsbooks midweek, allowing bettors to make multiple point spread, total, and prop bet selections that can return big payouts. Not to be confused with an “off the board” parlay!
  • Prop Bets – We explain what a prop bet is, how to place a prop bet, and provide an expansive list of sports leagues with plenty of props to bet on right now.

References


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