How To Calculate Sports Betting Payouts [Tutorial]

When it comes to sports betting, the main goal for anyone who wagers a
single dollar on any sporting event is to turn that dollar into two or
three or four or hundreds of dollars. It’s much easier said than done, and
that is why the betting industry is one of the hardest industries to break
into in a big way.

Those that do, however, generally stick to single-game wagers over the
course of the NFL/MLB/NHL/NBA seasons, and they enjoy the process of
grinding out nightly wins and boosting their bankroll that way. It also
helps to understand the risk vs. reward a little better when betting on
single games because NFL and NBA offer

spread betting

, which in turn is almost exclusively listed at -110. The bettor
understands this and because of that they can bet according to their

bankroll management plan


For those who don’t have the patience to bet one game per night and slowly
build up the bankroll, the parlay route is always the go-to way, and more
often than not it leads the bettor to bust his bankroll. Don’t get me
wrong, I too have dreamt about winning a 15-leg parlay on a Sunday
afternoon and cashing in five digits, but I am also realistic and know it’s
unlikely to happen.

If you still want to bet parlays, you must understand what they are and how
they work.

What is a Parlay

A parlay is a single bet that links together two or more individual wagers
for a high payout. A two-team parlay might pay 13/5, a three-team parlay
might pay 6/1, a four-team parlay might pay 10/1, and so forth with the
payouts getting higher with more teams or totals selected.

In order for the parlay bet to win, every one of the wagers must win. If
any of the selections lose, your wager loses, regardless of the outcome or
cancellation of the other games. If one or more selections is a tie,
postponed, incomplete, cancelled or rescheduled for another day, then the
wager reverts to the next lowest number. For example, if you place a
five-team parlay and have four winners and a tie, your wager pays out as a
four-team parlay.

If you place a two-team parlay and one team wins and one ties, the wager
becomes a straight bet. The resulting wager will have the same risk amount
with the win being calculated to reflect the odds of the remaining team
(Example: on a two-team $100 parlay with team A +110 and team B -110 ,if A
ties and B wins the resulting wager will be a straight play on B risking
$100 to win $90).

How to Calculate Payouts Quickly?

For the record, let it be stated that sportsbooks are in the business of
making money and as such will do anything in their power to turn as much of
a profit as they can. With that said, many sportsbooks offer up fixed
parlay odds that aren’t anywhere close to what the true odds of a parlay
should be.

For example, I came across the payout chart from 5Dimes that show what odds
are offered to bettors who play parlays on football and basketball. Keep in
mind, these payoff odds are based on all lines being -110.

As you can see, the fixed odds of a three-team parlay seem lower than the
true odds of a three-team parlay, which should be 6.96 (1.91 x 1.91 x
1.91). In order to determine how much your parlay would pay out, you would
then take that 6.96 odds and multiply it by the amount you wish to wager.
In order to see just profit, you would then subtract the wager amount form
that total. Example: 6.96 x $300 = $2090.10 – $300 = $1790.10.

As you can see from the chart above, 5Dimes will pay you $1800 for this
bet, which is better than true odds. Some sites will pay you at true odds
value, a little below, or a little above. It all depends on which
sportsbook you use.

If you were to put together a parlay with teams that offer up different
odds than -110, you would then do the exact same process. You would first
convert the American lines into decimals and multiply them all together.

For example, a parlay that consists of teams with odds of -110, -140, -110
and +210 would turn into a parlay that has odds of 1.91 x 1.71 x 3.10 x

The result of multiplying those odds together would give you odds of
19.338, and then you would multiply that by your wager amount, which in
this case would be $300 again.

So, 19.338 x $300 = $5801.55 – $300 (your wager) = $5501.55 of pure profit.

We cannot compare this number to the chart above as the chart is only if
all bets are -110. Since the bets are varying here, the odds must be
calculated or done using one of the calculators or the betting sites.

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