What is a Parlay Calculator (or Betting Calculator)?

Parlay wagers come in two forms: parlay cards and off-the-board parlays. Lines on traditional parlay cards at Las Vegas sportsbooks are predetermined and offered at the following fixed odds:

  • Two-team parlays pay out at 13/5
  • Three-team parlays pay out at 6/1
  • Four-team parlays pay out at 10/1
  • Five-team parlays pay out at 20/1
  • Six-team parlays pay out at 40/1
  • Seven-team parlays pay out at 75/1
  • Eight-team parlays pay out at 150/1
  • Nine-team parlays pay out at 300/1
  • Ten-team parlays pay out at 700/1

Off-the-board parlays, on the other hand, are offered at “true odds,” meaning the bettor can handpick any sides, totals or moneylines to include in the wager and calculate the payout using a parlay calculator.¬†Moneylines are always offered on a sliding-odds scale in correlation to the point spread.

In respect to sides and totals, as opposed to standard -110 odds offered on parlay cards, the prices on off-the-board sides and totals may vary depending on the amount of action on a particular line.

Bookmakers are usually hesitant to move a line off a key number like 3 or 7, as that’s when their liability begins to grow. So before moving off a key number, they will adjust the price (or “juice”) at which a bettor can buy that number. For example, if Team X is a 3-point favorite over Team Y, and Team X is getting a lot of action, bookmakers will push the juice on Team X from -105 to -110 to -120 etc. If the line continues to get hit, they will then move it to -3.5. With the additional half-point (known as “the hook”) added to the line, bookmakers will accordingly readjust the juice to make the higher number more enticing. So a -3 line that was priced at -120 before the move will reappear at even money or +105 at “3 and the hook.”

How does this affect true-odds payouts on parlays? Quite a bit. For example, a two-team parlay with -120 juice on each line will pay out at less than 2.5-to-1. When the juice on those numbers gets flipped to +105, however, that two-team parlay becomes a 3.2-to-1 payout. The caveat being that the lines with the better juice are going to be shaded, usually toward the favorite. Integral to constructing a solid parlay is determining which legs can withstand an adjusted line so as to lock in the good juice, and which legs need to be played safe (and thus be accordingly paid for).

This is where a parlay calculator enters the scenario. With numbers and prices always moving, a parlay calculator allows a bettor to know exactly what the payout will be on a given wager. Using the ParlayCity calculator, bettors can enter up to eight legs of a prospective parlay and watch as the true odds are immediately calculated.