Progressive Parlays And When North Carolina Sports Bettors Can Make Them

The parlay bet has attracted customers to sports wagering who otherwise may have never downloaded a North Carolina sportsbook. Parlays, same-game parlays, the parlay builder, “teasers,” and parlay calculators are popular with sports bettors as the legal sportsbook industry blooms in the United States.

Now, progressive parlays could shake things up, adding a new way for bettors to craft larger bets with longer odds, leading to potentially bigger payoffs.

In November, DraftKings announced plans to launch progressive parlays on its sports betting app and platform in the near future. The product offers an exciting way for sports fans to make even larger bets, and to win despite not being “perfect.”

North Carolina online sports betting will launch in the first half of 2024, and when it does, bettors can expect that progressive parlays will be offered at DraftKings.

How a progressive parlay works

The progressive parlay is a lot like a regular parlay in structure: you build it the same way. Select your bets (also called the legs) for the parlay, and submit your ticket. Your odds for the overall parlay will be attached to that ticket.

But, unlike the traditional parlay, you can win a progressive parlay even if you fail to succeed on each leg.

Traditional ParlayProgressive Parlay
Number of Legs2+3-12
Must Win All LegsYesNo*
Get Longer Odds the Bigger the ParlayYesYes
Bundle Several Bets TogetherYesYes
Same-Game OptionYesYes
Available from All SportsbooksYesNo**

*In the DraftKings example, a 3-6-leg parlay still pays out if you miss one leg. A 7-10-leg parlay still pays out even if you miss two legs. And an 11- or 12-leg parlay will pay even if you miss on three legs.

Odds on a progressive parlay would slide down the more legs you fail to win. For example, your overall parlay of 7 legs may have big odds of +2500, but if you miss two legs, it might slip to +800, and even lower if you miss a third leg. Those are simply examples, the real odds would depend on the individual legs and the odds offered by the sportsbook for that event.

**DraftKings Sportsbook is the only sports betting operator to announce plans for the progressive parlay bet.

Progressive Parlays compared to prop-style fantasy games

A shrewd observer may see a similarity between the progressive parlay and some prop-style fantasy games offered by Underdog, PrizePicks, and others.

Underdog has a featured product that allows users to bundle picks similar to prop bets. Those bundles resemble a parlay, and Underdog will pay out prizes even if the user does not correctly predict the outcome for each bundled pick. In a few states like New York, the Underdog app has been banned because of these “prop-style parlay” offerings that seem to cross into sports betting territory.

PrizePicks, available in North Carolina, has a product called “Entry Builder,” which is nearly identical to progressive parlays. With Entry Builder, players select multiple players from a sport and choose whether they will meet criteria, such as scoring a touchdown or making a certain number of rebounds, etc. The player can choose 4+ picks, and their prize payout is determined by how many entries they guess correctly. For example, if they get four entries correct, PrizePicks pays 0.4x payout, five correct and they receive 2x payout, and six correct leads to 25x payout.

Perhaps DraftKings NC is targeting fantasy contest competitors like Underdog and PrizePicks with its progressive parlay product.

DraftKings has its own fantasy mobile app, and is among the leaders in that market. The new product offering could attract fantasy players to the DraftKings sportsbook who would otherwise not have created such an account.

About the Author

Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes writes about sports betting, sports media, and sports betting legislative matters. He's the author of three books, and previously reported for Major League Baseball, as well as the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.