For gamblers, lottery tickets are a great paradox. We know that the odds are long, but we also know, usually from past experience, that long odds sometimes lead to be a big payoff. That internal trigger that comes along with the anticipation and the unknown can certainly be addictive. Instead of scratch-offs and glass domes full of numbered balls, why not put together some lottery tickets that you actually have some control over? Parlays don’t have the same long odds as the lotto, but they are opportunities to put a little bit of gamble in your jangle and get some nice payouts. When it comes to betting Major League Baseball, they can be a good way for punters with a smaller bankroll to be involved on some of those big favorites. Certainly, you can bet underdog parlays and take your shot on two teams pulling off upsets, but a lot of times, parlays are a more palatable way to bet on heavy favorites that would cost a lot to be on individually.

Baseball Parlay Strategy

Let’s say that you really like the Indians over the Royals, but that -200 price tag is a lot. After all, it would take a $200 bet to win $100. To compound your hesitation, you’re also liking the Red Sox at -225 against the Blue Jays. You don’t have it in your bankroll to put $425 at risk to win $200. So, what do you do? You parlay those two favorites.
Instead of betting $425 to win $200, you can bet $100 to win $116. Both teams need to win for you to cash your ticket, but both teams have a good chance at winning.
  • A -200 favorite had an implied probability of winning 66.67 percent of the time.
  • A -225 favorite has an implied probability of winning 69.23 percent of the time.

Why Aren’t Parlays More Popular?

Because parlays can be hard to win.
  • You have two independent events with an expected win rate of 66.67 percent and 69.23 percent.
  • The odds of BOTH events happening is 46.16 percent.
  • You’re taking two bets with a likelihood of 66.67 percent and 69.23 percent and turning them into a ticket that loses more often than it will win!
That doesn’t mean that MLB parlays don’t have a place in your handicapping repertoire. It just means that you have to understand the consequences of playing them as a tandem as opposed to playing them straight. For those that do have smaller bankrolls, though, these can be a good way of getting involved and playing your edges without risking a large percentage of the funds that you have available.

Final thoughts on betting MLB parlays

This is the most likely application of parlays when it comes to baseball. You can bet the more traditional parlays like putting together sides and totals in hopes of hitting them all and getting that big payout, but parlays, as a general rule, are not positive expected value (+EV) bets. As long as you keep the right frame of mind with parlays and use them in a way that makes sense for your bankroll, parlays are a good tool to deploy every now and then. Don’t fall in love with them or the big payout possibilities because they truly are hard to hit when you start getting past two or three games. Money line parlays on large favorites do have a place, though, especially for those that are trying to get a bankroll established.