Gambling Tips

Gentle Reminder: If it’s Bad for the Casino, You Probably Can’t Do It

I received an email from a listener recently. We were discussing whether a certain bet  is allowed in sportsbooks. Here’s the original question:

“…I thought of something, though, that either I’m missing something simple, or, the sportsbooks simply don’t even ALLOW this, but here’s a scenario.  Let’s say you’ve got an underdog, getting +2.5 pts on the spread and +150 on the money line.  Let’s say you like this underdog and want to bet them at +150.  Can you, i.e., is it even possible, to parlay both the money line +150 AND the +2.5 points (assuming -110), to boost your payout?  If the team wins outright, then, clearly they ALSO win with the +2.5.  To me it seems like a basic way to get higher than the +150. Thoughts?”

This would be a great strategy if the books allowed it. Unfortunately, they don’t. They’re called correlated parlays. Because one outcome greatly increases the likelihood of another (in this case, directly), the books could lose quite a bit of money on them. I had this thought years ago when I first started sports betting. I also thought I was missing something obvious. We aren’t. They’d be an incredibly smart play if allowed.

Here’s a good example from About Sports:

“An example would be if you wanted to parlay a first half over bet to the game going over the total. Most, if not all, sportsbooks will not allow this type of wager because if you win your first half bet, the odds are greater that you will win your total wager for the game, as well.”

This serves as a good reminder that, when playing games in the casino, it’s important to be aware of your ability to make decisions. By and large, the more options you have, the better it is for you. The same can be said for the house. It’s an easy way, beyond looking at the payout, to determine if a blackjack table is playable. The more options you have, like doubling down, splitting, and the like, the better the game is for the player. Or if you really can’t, you could play on an online casino that serves as an alternative entry to your gambling needs.

If you’re looking for more sports betting tips, don’t ask me. I mean, you can, but my knowledge is limited. For a more robust answer, head to The Vegas Parlay.

Best of luck out there!

Feature photo: “sportsbook” by Jim via CC by 2.0

About the author


Host of the Vegas Fanboy podcast. A reluctant Millennial. An amateur human.