Off-the-Board Parlay Betting
You’re stuck in a line at the window that never seems to move. Bettors in front of you with number-filled sheets are rattling off endless combinations. The customer at the window is blankly staring at the board, searching for one additional game. The ticket writer waits patiently for him to find that last special team. These are parlay bettors.
Nothing can back up a window like a couple of parlay bettors with a full board to choose from. In general, they’re a royal pain to deal with, but the sports books just love ‘em. Parlay bettors buck a big house advantage, whether they bet off the board or on the pre-printed cards. House advantages can range from just a few percentage points to hefty double digits.
Much of what happens in a sports book appears to
be done out of convenience. The pay charts for teasers and parlays use rounded numbers that seemingly make things easy to grasp and easy to work with. A novice looking at these charts might conclude that changing the number of teams in their parlay results in an adjusted payoff that’s fairly consistent with the others on the list. But that’s rarely the case, and in many instances, adding that one additional team jacks the house edge up many times over what the previous (or next) one on the list offers. If you’re a parlay bettor, it pays to know how to make your bets and how many teams to use to minimize the house edge against you.
The list below shows the standard pays for off-the-board parlays at many of the sports books in Las Vegas (“ML” stands for money line).