How to Bet Parlay Cards

This tutorial explains parlay card betting. Learn what a parlay card is, how to bet a parlay card, and how parlay card rules affect your payout. The ½ Point Parlay Card is the most popular parlay card. Some sportsbooks also offer “ties win” and “ties lose” parlay cards. Pick from the sportsbook’s preselected list of point spreads, totals, and prop bets. Always review your parlay card’s rules before placing a bet.

Important: A parlay card is different from a regular parlay bet, also called an “off the board parlay”. Our helpful tutorial further explains parlay betting in detail.

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What is a Parlay Card?

A sportsbook will create a list of point spreads, totals, or player props from one or more leagues. The list will be printed on paper for in-person betting or found on a sportsbook’s website for online betting.

Think of the parlay card like a restaurant menu. You choose which which games and lines you like best.

Sportsbooks commonly produce parlay cards for the NFL, NBA, college football, and college basketball. They will release a parlay card a few days before the first game begins. Most football parlay cards come out Tuesday or Wednesday.

How does the Parlay Card Bet Win or Lose?

Your parlay card wins if all your selections win. A tie selection counts as a win if you bet a “ties win” parlay card.

Your parlay card loses if any of your selections lose. It also loses if you bet a “ties lose” parlay card and one of your selections tied.

Like a standard parlay, a tie selection on a half-point card reduces your payout size by one. For example, if 1 of 4 selections ties, your payout will be reduced to the amount for 3 selections (4 – 1 tie = 3). Half-point parlay cards are the most common and popular type of parlay card.

When does the Parlay Card Bet Tie or Push?

A parlay card cannot tie or push. The entire card either wins or loses.

The parlay card’s rules determine what happens if an individual selection pushes. A “ties win” parlay card means a tie selection counts as a win. However a “ties lose” parlay card means a tie selection counts as a loss. One or more losing selections mean you lose your bet.

Rare – In the event of a misprint, unforeseen event, or multiple game postponements, the sportsbook may cancel and refund your parlay card.

How to Bet on a Parlay Card

Time needed: 1 minute

How to Bet on a Parlay Card

  1. Review the sportsbook’s parlay card

    Sportsbooks will publish and display parlay cards for in-person betting. Online bettors should refer to a sportsbook’s betting menu.

  2. Make your selections

    Make 3-12 selections. Parlay cards offer point spreads, total bets, and some prop bets. Carefully fill in the card.

  3. Parlay card lines do not change

    The lines assigned to the selections on your parlay card will not change. If you don’t like the lines, look for another parlay card or place an off the board parlay bet.

  4. Ties reduce payout by 1 selection on ½ point parlay cards

    Ties reduce payout by 1 selection on ½ point parlay cards. Tie selections are subject to parlay card rules.

  5. Collect your winnings

    Return to the sportsbook with your receipt or stub to collect your winnings. You can also collect your payout by mail.

What do Parlay Card Line Numbers Mean?

Your parlay card will have a betting line next to each selection. These lines will not change. Once you place your bet, the sportsbook must honor the lines they printed.

Occasionally, a sportsbook will release an updated parlay card and stop accepting an older version. You must bet on the new card unless you already submitted the old one.

The line will have different meanings depending on the selection.

Note that parlay cards do not list odds next to each line like a straight bet. Like a standard parlay, you determine your own wager amount. A winning payout depends on the number of selections you make and the parlay card’s rules.

Point Spread Lines

Decide whether the favorite or underdog will win given the sportsbook’s line. A bet on the favorite wins if the final score difference is greater than the spread. An underdog bet wins if the final score difference is less than the spread.

Over-Under Total Lines

Decide whether the game total will be over or under the sportsbook’s line. A bet on the over wins if the final point total is greater than the sportsbook’s line. A bet on the under wins if the final point total is less than the sportsbook’s line.

Prop Bet Lines

Decide whether the player’s final statistic value will be over or under the sportsbook’s line. Or, whether the final result will be “Yes” or “No”, or one of some other set of outcomes. Your prop selection wins if the final result matches your selection.

More about Reading Betting Odds

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

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How do Sportsbooks Grade Parlay Cards?

Your parlay card wins or loses according to the rules on the card. The number of selections you make will determine the winning payout.

The minimum bet for most parlay cards is $2. The maximum bet will bet will be subject to the sportsbook’s house rules. In general, most players bet less than $100 per card.

Maximum parlay card payouts range from $100,000 to $200,000. Like the minimum bet, maximum payouts are also subject to the sportsbook’s rules.

Example ½ Point Parlay Card

½ Point Parlay Card

The parlay card uses a number of symbols, shorthand, and abbreviations for each selection. The sportsbook used the following on the above card:

  1. A star indicates the home team.
  2. Bold text indicates a team name.
  3. The underdog point spread line is in bold.
  4. The favorite’s line would be the opposite of the underdog’s value.
  5. Light text indicates the over-under total line.
  6. No tie bets are possible because each line has ½ point increments.

How to Calculate a Parlay Card Payout?

Your payout is determined by the number of winning selections you made.

Suppose you bet $10 on a 4-selection parlay card. The winning payout is “13 for 1”.

Parlay Card “For 1” Payouts

First, subtract 1 from the larger value when you see “for 1”. In this case, 13 – 1 equals 12.

Next, multiply the difference times the bet amount. The product is your payout. In this case, 12 x $10 Bet = $120.

For 1 Formula
(For Value – 1) x Amount Wagered = Payout.

Parlay Card “To 1” Payouts

Calculating a “to 1” payout is easier than a “for 1” payout. Do not subtract 1 from the “to value”. Instead, simply multiply the “to value” times your bet amount. The product is your payout.

A successful 4-selection parlay “12 to 1” payout would be 12 x $10 Bet = $120.

To 1 Formula
(To Value) x Amount Wagered = Payout.

Common Half Point Parlay Prices

The following table contains common half-point parlay prices. Exact payout values may vary depending on each sportsbook’s parlay card rules.

Half Point Parlay Card Payouts
WinPayoutWinPayout
3 for 36.5 for 18 for 8190 for 1
4 for 413 for 19 for 9400 for 1
5 for 525 for 110 for 10825 for 1
6 for 650 for 111 for 111500 for 1
7 for 7100 for 112 for 123000 for 1

½ Point Parlay Card Rules

  1. Tickets must have a minimum of 3 player propositions (4 if applicable) in action or the wager is void and the wager amount will be refunded. Ties are considered “no action” and reduce to the number of propositions with action. Tickets with less than 3 propositions in action are void and the wager amount will be refunded.
  2. Payoffs will be made on the wagering ticket generated from the stub portion of this card only.
  3. Printed point spreads at the time the wager is accepted are used in the determination of winners, losers and ties. This card will have no ties as ½ points are used.

Ties Win Rules

  1. Games not played on date specified or invalid selections are considered no action and card will be reduced to next lowest number of plays.
  2. Cards must have three team minimum otherwise wager is void and money will be returned.
  3. Only this card’s point spreads will be used in determination of the winners.

Ties Lose Rules

  1. Games not played on date specified or invalid selections are considered “No Action” and reduces card to next lower number of plays.
  2. Tickets must have a minimum of three valid propositions in action or wager is void and money will be returned.
  3. Printed point spreads at the time the wager is accepted are used in the determination of winners and losers.

Pros And Cons

Pros

  • Winning parlay card payouts are much higher than separate straight bets.
  • Parlay cards are conveniently found at most Las Vegas sportsbooks. Smaller outfits may offer better payouts than popular tourist destinations.
  • Mail winning ticket stubs to the sportsbook to collect payment by mail. Online sportsbooks will credit your account with the winning payout.
  • Small minimum bets are ideal for novice bettors.

Cons

  • Parlay cards are subject to more risk and variance than separate straight bets. One losing selection ruins the entire card. 5 or more winning selections isn’t common.
  • You might get better odds closer to game time on an “off the board” parlay. Parlay cards are printed before sharp money comes in.
  • You must retain the parlay card stub or receipt in order to collect your winnings. Registered mail fees will cut into a modest parlay card payout.
  • Parlay cards are generally considered a losing bet with rare exceptions. “Ties Win” and “Ties Lose” cards are the least advantageous. Some sportsbooks offer a reduced payout even if one selection loses. Player must make at least 10 selections to qualify (9 of 10 Special).

Tips

Compare Integer Spread Lines to Parlay Spread Lines

Compare integer NFL spreads to ½ point parlay card lines. Look for key numbers 3 and 7.

Suppose the New York Giants are 3 pt favorites vs. the Chicago Bears. See if the ½ point is added or subtracted from the integer spread. If the parlay card has a 2.5 spread line take the favored Giants. If the card has a 3.5 spread line take the underdog Bears.

Make 5 or Less Selections

Keep parlay cards to 5 selections or less. Like a standard parlay, it’s rare to win a parlay card bet with 6 or more selections.

Research Team Performance ATS

Research football and basketball ATS (against the spread) trends before making parlay card selections.

Carefully Fill Out the Card

Carefully bubble in your card before submitting it. Each invalid selection will reduce the total selections by 1. A small mistake could substantially reduce your potential winnings. Don’t waste other gamblers’ time hastily scribbling out a card at the ticket window.

$200 Betting Limit

Most sportsbooks limit parlay cards to $200 bet maximums. Anything more than $100 will attract unwanted attention from management. Keep bet size reasonable especially if you’re on a hot steak.

Bets to Try

  1. ½ Point Parlay Card against integer spreads – Find 3 or more integer spreads. Compare these to lines on a ½ point parlay card. Bet the favorite on the card if the ½ point is subtracted from spread. Take the underdog on the card if the ½ point is added.
  2. Bet 3 or more integer spreads on a “Ties Win” Parlay Card – 3 straight bet ties would result in 3 refunds. But winning a 3 selection “Ties Win” parlay card would pay 6 for 1.
  3. Super Bowl and March Madness Parlay Card Props – Select player propositions on your parlay card for major sporting events. These selections are commonly found on “Ties Lose” parlay cards. Combine spreads and totals if possible.

Parlay Card Betting History

Parlay card betting preceded modern parlay sports betting. These cards began surfacing in the USA during the late 1800s as sporting leagues organized. They were commonly found at early baseball games and bars adjacent to ballfields.

The Progressive Movement of the early 1900s initially stunted the spread of parlay card betting. But the arrival of the roaring 1920s, professional football, and better organized gambling syndicates brought them back.

Nevada was the first state to fully legalize casino gambling in 1931. Despite this change, sports betting remained in the shadows. Most bets were booked illegally. Eventually it became better regulated, but not before many legal operators left the market due to a 1951 tax.

In October 1974 this tax was decreased. Legal sports betting operations became profitable once again.

Other Names

  • Parlay Card Bet

Similar Bets

Tables and Reference

Half Point Parlay Card Payouts

Half Point Parlay Card Payouts
WinPayoutWinPayout
3 for 36.5 for 18 for 8190 for 1
4 for 413 for 19 for 9400 for 1
5 for 525 for 110 for 10825 for 1
6 for 650 for 111 for 111500 for 1
7 for 7100 for 112 for 123000 for 1

Ties Win Parlay Card Payouts

Ties Win Parlay Card Payouts
WinPayoutWinPayout
3 for 36 for 17 for 775 for 1
4 for 410 for 18 for 8150 for 1
5 for 520 for 19 for 9275 for 1
6 for 640 for 110 for 10600 for 1

Ties Lose Parlay Card Payouts

Ties Lose Parlay Card Payouts
WinPayoutWinPayout
3 for 36 for 17 for 780 for 1
4 for 411 for 18 for 8150 for 1
5 for 520 for 19 for 9300 for 1
6 for 640 for 110 for 10600 for 1
9 for 1020 for 1

Sample William Hill ½ Point Parlay Card Payouts and Rules

½ Point Parlay Card Rules

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 Parlay Cards

What is a parlay card?

A sportsbook will create a list of point spreads, totals, or player props from one or more leagues. The list will be printed on paper for in-person betting or found on a sportsbook’s website for online betting.

What is the difference between a parlay card and an “Off the board” parlay bet?

A parlay card is printed on paper and contains a preselected list of point spread, total, or prop bet betting lines. A parlay bet or “Off the board parlay” is composed of your own selections made from a sportsbook’s wagering menu.

How does a parlay card win or lose?

Your parlay card wins if all your selections are correct. A tie selection counts as a win on a “Ties win” parlay card. The card loses if any selection loses.

What is the minimum number of parlay card selections?

Sportsbooks commonly require at least 3 selections per card.

What if the game’s closing line is different than the parlay card’s line?

The parlay card’s line always prevail, even if the point spread changes after the card’s publication date.

What types of parlay cards are available in Las Vegas?

The most common parlay card is the 1/2 point parlay card. Other cards include the “Ties Win” and “Ties Lose” parlay cards.

How can I collect parlay card winnings after I’ve left the state?

Parlay card winnings can be collected by mail. The sportsbook’s mailing address will be provided on the back of the card.

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


thoughtco.com/beating-football-parlay-tickets-537015
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parlay_(gambling)
books.google.com/books?id=N-RMAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA429#v=onepage&q&f=false
lasvegasadvisor.com/question/sports-betting-history/