Progressive Parlays 101

When we finally see North Carolina online sports betting, customers will have the opportunity to fill out a betting slip with a progressive parlay. This new-to-the-U.S. type of wager is an exciting way to make your favorite sporting event more thrilling.

The progressive parlay will be available exclusively from DraftKings Sportsbook NC. However, similar products will likely be forthcoming from other major sportsbooks.

What is a progressive parlay?

As defined by DraftKings, the progressive parlay must fall within this framework:

– A progressive parlay must have between 3 to 12 different bets, or “legs.”

– Customers can win once the parlay hits a certain number of legs.

– The bettor is not required to win all the legs to win the wager.

– The PP can currently only have as many as 3 legs per sporting event.

– A single player can only be selected once per PP.

How is a progressive parlay different than a parlay?

In a regular parlay, the bettor must be successful on ALL of the legs of the bet. For example:

Traditional parlay:

  • Leg One: Player A to score a touchdown
  • Leg Two: Player B to throw for over 200 Yards
  • Leg Three: Player C to record Over 1.5 Sacks
  • Leg Four: Player D to score final touchdown of regulation

This would be a four-leg parlay. Let’s assume odds of +4000. If the customer bet $100 and was successful on each leg within the parlay, they would be paid $4,000 in winnings.

Progressive parlay:

  • Leg One: player A to have over 50 receiving yards
  • Leg Two: player B to throw for over 200 Yards
  • Leg Three: player C to run for under 80 yards
  • Leg Four: player D to score over 18 points
  • Leg Five: Player E to have under 3 assists
  • Leg Six: Player F to have over 6 rebounds
  • Leg Seven: Player G to have under 11 points

This would be a seven-leg parlay, and in this case, we’ll assume it’s a progressive parlay.

A lot is going on with this parlay, and it carries +4000 odds. A winning bet of $100 would earn $4,00 on this parlay, if all of the legs hit.

However, since the above example is a progressive parlay, the customer would only need to hit on a certain number of the legs, not all of them to get paid out. On a seven-leg parlay, only five legs are required to hit for a player to get paid out. The odds would shift down in that scenario.

Is a Progressive parlay a high-risk wager?

The short answer is yes, progressive parlays are a high-risk type of wager. All parlays are higher risk when compared to a single bet, such as a moneyline bet. That’s because you’re bundling many bets together.

But unlike a traditional parlay, in a progressive parlay, the consumer is not required to win every leg of the bet. Even if you go 4-for-6 or 10-for-12, you’ll win something, even if it’s just your money back.

How to place a progressive parlay bet online

Once we have online North Carolina sportsbooks, the DraftKings NC mobile app will offer progressive parlays.

  1. Download DraftKings NC from the App Store or Apple Store.
  2. Register and verify your identity, age and location within NC.
  3. Make your first deposit.
  4. Opt-in to any NC sports betting promotional offers.
  5. Navigate to the SPORT home page and locate the Progressive Parlays tab.
  6. Build a progressive parlay (at least three legs) and mark it as “progressive” – you may select legs from as many as three sports.

As you build a progressive parlay, you’ll see the odds from DraftKings for winning the entire bet or a portion of it. For example, your four-leg parlay may have odds of +400, but if you win three of the four legs, it will drop to -200.

NB: Progressive parlays are only available on the DraftKings Sportsbook mobile app.

Can I place a progressive parlay wager in North Carolina?

When legal sports betting launches in North Carolina on March 11, you will be permitted to place a progressive parlay wager via DraftKings. That sportsbook is currently the only operator offering progressive parlays.

It’s expected that progressive parlays will be available in NC for college basketball, the NBA, NHL, and NFL. But we may see them for MLB once that season starts.

Last November, DraftKings explained that its progressive parlay product would be available in North Carolina.

Best number of legs for a progressive parlay

The sweet spot for a progressive parlay is 3-4 legs. Sportsbooks will require at least three legs, but the more legs you add, the lower the odds for your overall parlay are compared to the “true” odds of all those legs. However, a larger progressive parlay of 5+ legs will offer big odds. It’s just that your chances of winning go down the more legs you add, even with the progressive payout option.

What are the odds of winning a progressive parlay?

The odds for winning a progressive parlay will depend on how many legs you have in the bet, and how many legs YOU CAN LOSE and still win a portion of that wager.

Number of PP selectionsMax amount of selections you can lose
3-5 legsone
6-8 legsup to two
9-10 legsup to three
11-12 legsup to four

For example, a 3-leg progressive parlay where you can win even if you lose one leg, is easier to win than a nine-leg parlay, where you are required to win at least eight legs. And so on.

This is the full breakdown of progressive parlay odds from the DraftKings website.

How much does a progressive parlay pay out?

A progressive parlay can offer you large, attractive odds. For example, it could be possible to craft a progressive parlay of 7+ legs that gets you odds above +10000. Even higher. And if (like Captain Ahab) you lose a leg here and there, you’ll still have a “lifeline” for winning something, depending on the number of legs you can lose for that progressive parlay.

Is a progressive parlay a smart wager?

First of all, we suggest always reading carefully the rules of your wager. With a progressive parlay, your betting slip will clearly show you the odds on the overall parlay and odds if you fail to win X number of legs.

Why you SHOULD bet the progressive parlay

If you enjoy betting on sports and frequently place parlay bets, the progressive parlay is probably for you. That’s because it gives you wiggle room on parlay bets that would traditionally be losers. Your “batting average” (or should we say “betting average”) can be lower with the progressive parlay. Miss one leg in your 6-leg parlay? No problem: you can still win SOMETHING with a progressive parlay for “being close.”

Why you SHOULD NOT bet the progressive parlay

Parlay bets by nature are high-risk, long-odds wagers. That’s because so many things have to go right for the consumer to win. It’s somewhat like a lottery ticket for sports fans.

Which sports can I bet a progressive parlay?

The NBA, NFL and College Basketball are the only sports currently available for progressive parlays. You can combine bets among those sports into your DraftKings progressive parlay.

Best sports for a progressive parlay?

NFL betting and progressive parlays

Betting on the NFL is the most popular form of sports wagering in the U.S. The NFL is great for progressive parlays because each weekend there are 14-16 games to build your bets. The following markets are available for progressive parlays:

– Passing yards.

– Receiving yards.

– Rushing yards.

NBA progressive parlay betting

The NBA has a long season when including the playoffs–from October to June. The NBA Finals is one of the most watched sporting events each year. It also occurs during a relatively slow period in the sporting year.

NBA betting fans have an opportunity to build progressive parlays with NBA games in the following categories:

– Points.

– Rebounds.

– Assists.

College basketball progressive parlays

The college basketball season culminates in the biggest sports betting period in the US: March Madness. Fans of college basketball betting have the following options to choose in making a progressive parlay:

– Points.

– Rebounds.

– Assists.

NB: Progressive parlays on college sports are contingent on state-level regulations concerning collegiate props betting. North Carolina allows this form of betting, but collegiate player prop betting has received criticism from the NCAA and could be overturned. Stay tuned.

Progressive parlay frequently asked questions

Can I purchase parlay insurance for a progressive parlay?

There is no insurance option for a progressive parlay.

Which sportsbooks offer the progressive parlay?

Only the DraftKings sportsbook mobile app offers the progressive parlay.

What are the basic rules for a progressive parlay?

  • Choose multiple bets from one game or many sporting events.
  • Wrap those bets into one parlay, and indicate that you wish to make it a “progressive parlay” bet.
  • Get the odds for winning ALL legs of the parlay, and also receive odds for winning certain legs (10 out of 12, for example)

Can I cash out my progressive parlay early?

As the progressive parlay is being presented by DraftKings, you cannot cash your bet in early. You get the odds for the ENTIRE parlay, and also lesser odds for winning X number of legs.

How is a progressive parlay different than a same-game parlay?

A same-game parlay is a parlay wager built with bets all associated with one sporting event. A progressive parlay is a type of wager that offers you odds on winning all OR part of a parlay. A progressive parlay can be a same-game parlay, but not all same-game parlays are necessarily a progressive parlay.

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.