Sports Betting: Common Sucker Bets

Published:4 September 2020

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Sucker Bet Parlays
Imagine sitting at a blackjack table with one single $100 chip, we suggested. You bet, and you win. You now have two ($200) chips, go all in again, win, and get $400. You repeat the six-time successful process of going all in and have $6,400. Since your starting stake was $100, you'll make a profit of $6,300.

Now imagine doing the same betting series on point spread wagers with a bookmaker, each time at odds of -110. With six consecutive bets, and winning each, you will end up with a profit of around $4,740.

Interestingly, 6-team parlays have much smaller payouts at most sports betting platforms, using only point spreads and percentages priced at -110. They can be as +4,500 but as low as +3,500. Your return on a $100 stake will "just" be $4,500 even at the highest odds, of +4,500. It will be $3,500 at +3,500.

That means placing a successful parlay would yield payouts that were far less impressive than they might have been. You would be far better off betting on individual games and then rolling your payouts on to subsequent wagers. However, betting sites get away with reducing their parlay payouts efficiently because most casual bettors are suckers and know no better.

We must point out that first we will never suggest betting on parlays. Very rarely, if ever, are they giving any interest. However, many bettors like to place them, and often on games which start at the same time. For games beginning concurrently, there is no way to wager on them separately and carry the payouts forward as well. That implies there is only one solution.

Make sure your parlays include "true odds."

Several betting platforms make their parlays give fairer odds. They could offer 6-team parlays that payout at 47.4, for example. In such cases, a parlay would not be the bet of a sucker.

Yet that doesn't automatically mean they're good wagers. True odds are something of a contradiction in the context above. The odds you'll get are not true odds in the sense they accurately reflect winning chances. They return the same amount as if you bet all in successfully, six times in a row, at -110.

Sucker Bet Pleasers
In general, pleaser bets are sucker bets no matter which teams are picked.

A typical example that we frequently see on betting forums is a pick where two small underdogs were satisfied with the poster by taking two point-spreads +3.5 and rewarding them to -2.5. The absurdity here is that most football underdogs with 3.5 points have a Moneyline of about +170. If you parlay +170 and +170 moneylines together, the payoff is 6.29 to 1. In the end, the pleaser charges just 6 to 1 (less), and you have to compensate -2.5, while in the other scenario, you've just got to win.

A Wager Made Without Shopping
Most recreational betters stick to one side of betting. If you do so, then we advise you to change your habits. You eventually make sucker bets by not shopping around for the best odds and lines.

Remember: Choosing the lesser option is for suckers when there's another way to bet the same thing at better odds.

How would you be backing a favourite at +6 if a different place had the same team at +7? Why would you put a wager at +150 if another site offered the same bet at +165? These questions don't receive valid answers. It hardly takes any time to shop around, but it can make a massive difference to your bottom line.