Sports

Profitable correlated parlay strategies

Parlay betting is one of the most profitable products that bookmakers can offer to their customers. When bettors make a straight bet, the theoretical retention of the house is 4.5%. In parlay bets, this markup is effectively multiplied by the number of bets, or legs, included in the parlay. So in a two-team parlay, the bookmaker could expect to win 9% of all money wagered. Given the math, it’s easy to see why it would be in the best interest of sportsbooks to entice customers to place these types of bets.

Although parlays are generally money-making machines for sportsbooks, there is one big exception to the rule: correlated parlays. A parlay is considered correlated when the outcome of one of the parlay bets would have a considerable influence on the outcome of another parlay bet.

To illustrate this point, I’ll use an obvious example from the NFL using AFC direct bets and Super Bowl direct bets. If you bet on the New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl, then obviously they must have won the AFC championship to get to the Super Bowl, so the AFC is 100% correlated to the Super Bowl. Combining these bets is such an obvious winning strategy that no bookmaker will allow you to place them.

Now let’s take a look at some less correlated parlays that sportsbooks and local sportsbooks will allow you to do. Consider an NCAA football game in which USC has 35.5 favorite points to beat Fresno State, and the game’s over-under is 47. For USC to cover the 35.5-point margin, they would have to score at least 36 points. . If they are successful at doing so, you should seriously consider betting that the game is over 47 points as well, as USC coverage would effectively give you a 36 point lead towards the end of the game. In fact, if Fresno manages to get a single touchdown, it would automatically win the higher bet if USC covered the margin.

The example above is a popular type of parlay correlated between betting on the favorite and betting on the total. Any equally strong correlation exists by betting on the underdog and betting that the total falls below. Negative correlations have been shown to exist if you try to combine the favorite and the bottom, or the bottom and the top in a parlay. I highly recommend staying away from these “anti-correlated parlays” unless losing money as fast as possible is your strategy!

The higher the proportion of the total in the spread, the higher the correlation. The general rule of thumb is that if you divide the spread by the total and get a number greater than 0.35, you could blindly bet on these correlated parlays and win money in the long run.

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