Most professional sports gamblers will be quick to rail against the virtue of betting parlays. For many of them, there is simply too much risk and loss of betting value when two or more teams are tied together in a single wager.

However, most of the sports bettors in the U.S. are not professional sports bettors. Most of them are recreational gamblers with a small bankroll. They want to win as much money as possible with the smallest financial investment possible. For them, the opportunity to win more money and create betting action across more games is worth the additional risk.


Bettors Are Fans First

Almost all sports bettors in America have one thing in common, they are sports fans first. While some might feel particularly loyal to a single sport or two, most are general sports fans. That makes them equal opportunity sports bettors who enjoy watching games or matches and betting as many as possible. For a lot of “equal opportunity” and recreational sports bettors, the action is just as important as the amount they can win.

As a case in point, NFL football fans love to bet on games they watch. While they might have fan loyalties to a particular team, they are really just fans of the NFL. That allegiance to the sport is what drives them to wager on as many games as possible. The only thing that tends to limit the wagering activities of a recreational sports bettor is the size of their bankroll. Enter the parlay.


Multiple Games

When sports fans can wager on more games across more sports, it escalates their engagement in watching sports. With smaller bets, they can create within themselves more gambling interest across more games.

Think of it this way. A professional sports bettor makes at least a portion of their monthly income from wagering on games. They work hard on handicapping techniques in the hopes they can find point spread or money line wagering value in a small group of games. They really don’t care about what is going on in games in which they have no betting interest.

The mindset of a recreational gambler is quite different. They want to be engaged in watching games first. They will often wager on games that they have an interest in watching as fans. That explains why recreational sports bettors will focus on rivalry games and major events like the Super Bowl or NCAA BB Final Four. They tend to use parlay wagering as a means to help direct their attention to the games they want to watch.


The Risk/Reward Factor

The odds on a sports event or casino game always point towards the risk/reward concept. Whether they know it or not, all gamblers will take certain risks based upon the perceived rewards they can get from making a bet. This is true for all gamblers. However, recreational sports gamblers will also take on additional risks if the reward includes increased enjoyment of multiple games.

We’ll go back to the NFL for an example of this notion. A sports fan who loves watching NFL games will often enjoy betting on three and four-team parleys. Why? It gives more meaning to more games in the eyes and heart of the sports bettor. If a recreational sports fan/bettor has a Sunday bankroll of only $50, they have two choices. First, they can wager all of it on one or two games, limiting their interest in the rest of the scheduled games. Second, They can bet five parlays at $10 each and cover “the board.” That increases their engagement because they now have action on all 15 games or so.

The bottom line is this. Professional sports gamblers care more about financial returns than they do about engagement. For the recreational sports bettor, winning is nice but the action and engagement drive their interest in watching sports and betting.