NCAA Basketball and Parlay Challenges

How the Parlay Works and Does Not Work

Many sports bettors enjoy playing the occasional parlay, while some try to live by it. NCAA Basketball parlays are certainly a way to add excitement to your wagering. But parlays, even the simplest, are difficult to hit.

How the Parlay Works

The parlay, which is considered an exotic, involves combining two or more bets on one ticket. In order for the parlay to payoff, all wagers must be won. The allure of the parlay is in the payout as a two-team parlay pays 13/5 and a three-team parlay offers 6/1 odds.  From there on, the more bets you make the hire the payout. Play and win a 15-team parlay and you’ll get 1500/1. That’s $15,000 on a $10 bet.

Payout Odds

Below are the odds for parlays ranging from two to 15 teams.


# of Teams Odds # of Teams Odds
2 13 to 5 9 150 to 1
3 6 to 1 10 300 to 1
4 10 to 1 11 450 to 1
5 20 to 1 12 600 to 1
6 40 to 1 13 750 to 1
7 75 to 1 14 900 to 1
8 100 to 1 15 1500 to 1


It’s hard not to play a parlay when you consider that a $10 bet on a three-team ticket earns you $60, while three $10 individual wagers on the same teams will get you $30.  But here’s the rub—you get nothing if you miss one game on the parlay, but if you miss one of your single bets, you’re up $10.

What Parlays to Play

If you’re wagering on NCAA Basketball should you play the parlay? It’s fine to engage in parlay betting up to a point, but you do want to be careful. Here are some guidelines for playing the college basketball parlay.

  • Don’t make it your mainstay. Play it occasionally.
  • Play it when you are ahead.
  • Don’t use it as a desperation bet to make up for loses.
  • Play two to- three-team parlays.
  • Do not play parlays that mix sports or types of bets, such as point spread and over/unders. These are more difficult to win than one-sport, point spread bets.

The major thing to do is to keep it simple. A bet pays 100/1 because it is very hard to hit and other bets offer 1/1 odds because they are much easier to get right. The parlay is about the bit hit, but professional sports betting is about making quality wagers and sound money management. Remember that when playing the NCAA Basketball parlay.