Baseball ideal for parlays

Jul 14, 2009 5:01 PM
by GT Staff |

The parlay has become a staple of sports bettors, even though well-heeled, self-proclaimed high-stakes bettors treat it as some kind of communicable disease.

For the rest of us, of course, parlays do offer the choice of taking a higher risk for a bigger payoff. Your initial bet is re-bet in a parlay (two teams), thus the so-called "doubling" effect – the hidden bet. You are asking that the outcome of at least two separate events (sides, totals, etc.) happen your way – consecutive winners.

But there’s a cost involved, the house "vigorish" or hold percent, usually 10 percent. Thus, instead of getting true 7-1 odds for hitting a three-team parlay, for instance, the sports book pays only 6-1.

The odds are used for point-spread games, but it’s a different story for parlaying money-line games, such as baseball games.

With baseball, you get the actual parlay odds, based on the money-line payoffs. And those can increase exponentially when you’re betting on underdogs, whose odds to win are greater than even money (1-1), like they are in point-spread games.

Ah, lovely baseball is a money-line event — strictly odds, which are the equalizer. All baseball favorites are "odds-on," paying less than $1 on a $1 bet. But, at least you get those odds in a parlay, and the bookie can’t throw a higher vig prop at you!

Baseball favorites often win in the 60 percent range. So, it’s no big deal for a player to get, say, 63 percent winners if he doesn’t mind laying the price. Shown below, is probably the "worst-case" payoff schedule on the favorites a bookie will pay. It depends on how he rounds off his pennies.

Baseball (Favorite Payoff to $1)

This schedule makes it a snap to figure out the return of parlays using any number of teams. The reason we don’t list dogs is because they pay the same as their plus quote on the dollar.

All you do is add one to the payoffs, multiply them together, and subtract one from the answer for your parlay payoff odds (2 to $1).

So, if you parlay a –1.45 favorite to a –1.15 favorite, that’s 1.69 times 1.87, or a $3.16 return for each $1 bet. Subtract your dollar and you have a 2.16 to 1 odds parlay.

The same principle works for three or more teams, whatever the bookies will let you get down. You can mix in dogs, too, but remember to add $1 to their payoff price. Let’s take a three team, –2.00 favorite to a –1.60 favorite to a +1.20 dog. That’s 1.5 x 1.62 x 2.20 or about a $5.35 return, including your $1 bet. For a $20 bet, you get back about $107, ($87 profit).

Be aware though, that because underdog parlays can be very lucrative, many sports books limit the number you can put on a ticket. I saw one guy try to stuff four dogs in a four-teamer, and the bookie said "I wouldn’t take that bet from my own mother!" He added that two underdogs was the maximum.

There are two shops in town that don’t put the leash on dogs: Station Casinos and the Palms. As far as I know, other joints will limit the number of underdogs on a parlay.

In any case, baseball parlays aren’t that shabby when you’re hitting over 60 percent winners. If you’re catching 63 percent winners, you’ll connect on 40 percent of your two-teamers and 25 percent of three-teamers.

Not a bad payday as we anxiously wait for football season.

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