Moneyline parlays don’t pay off at fixed odds, because the odds of winning may vary greatly from team to team. While a parlay made against the pointspread assumes a 50-50 chance for each team to win, moneyline parlays don’t. The chances of a -160 favorite winning a game are greater than 50% and as a result, these bets are figured differently. A two-team parlay on a pair of -200 moneyline favorites pays less than a two-team parlay that uses a pair of -130 moneyline favorites.
In simple terms, moneyline parlays take the amount of your bet and place all the money on one team; if that team wins, your bet amount is recalculated to place the new entire wager on second team. If you bet more than two teams in your parlay, the process keeps repeating until you lose one game or win all the games in your parlay.
For example, you like the Los Angeles Angels +160 and the Chicago White Sox -130 in a two-team parlay. If you make a $10 wager, you’ll have a $10 bet on the Angels +160, which would return $26 should the Angels win. Then you’ll have a $26 bet on the White Sox -130 . Should the White Sox also win, you’ve turned a $10 wager into $46. Contrast the $36 profit with the $26 profit a bettor winning a $10 point spread parlay on two teams would make. The difference in the payoff is because the Angels were an underdog and not given very good odds of winning.
Calculating moneyline parlay payouts is a fairly easy task, but does require a little basic math.
The first thing you need to do is convert the odds of each selection in your parlay into a decimal number. If you’re taking a favorite in your parlay, simply divide 1 by the odds. If you are using a -170 favorite in your parlay, you will have 1/1.70, which then becomes .5882. Because you receive the amount of your wager back on a winning bet, the number used for calculation purposes will be 1.5882.
Therefore, a bettor taking two -170 favorites will calculate the payoff by multiplying 1.5882 by 1.5882, which equals 2.522, so a $10 parlay will return a total of $25.22. Out of that $25.22, $10 is simply the return of your wager, meaning your winnings on the bet total $15.22.
When you have underdogs in your parlay, it’s much easier to calculate, as you simply add 1 to the payout. A +150 underdog is calculated as 2.50, where 1.5/1 = 1.5 and the addition of 1 gives you 2.50. If you make a $10 parlay on a -170 favorite and a +150 underdog, your payout is calculated by multiplying 1.5882 by 2.50, which equals 3.970, so you’d receive $39.71, of which $29.71 is profit.
Three-team and upwards parlays are calculated exactly the same, but now you multiply by the number of teams used in your parlay. Make a parlay of three -170 favorites, you’ll multiply 1.5882 by 1.5882 by 1.5882, which equals 4.06, meaning a $10 bet would return $40.06 for a profit of $30.06.