Yankee Bet

A yankee bet is a wager type that was first most popular in the sport of horse racing but now is a popular multi combination bet type used universally across most sports. It was rumoured to be given the name ‘yankee’ after an American soldier was stationed in the UK and placed a small combination bet which won him back hundreds of thousands of dollars due to the roll over mechanics of a yankee bet. 

Whether that story is myth or fact, we’ll never know, but what we do know is that a yankee bet is a common market option offered by sportsbooks and that it can look slightly complicated on first viewing. That is why we have created this guide on yankee bets, explaining exactly how they work and why you might consider placing one. 

What is a Yankee Bet? 

Originating from horse racing, a yankee bet is a combination of multi bets or parlays across 4 picks. There are 11 bets in total across a yankee, consisting of; 6x two-pick parlays, 4x three-pick parlays and 1x four-pick parlay.

Yankee Bet Explained

As outlined above a yankee bet consists of 11x individual bets (6x two-pick parlays, 4x three-pick parlays and 1x four-pick parlay) which covers every multi bet combination of the four picks you’ve selected. This essentially means that the only scenario you would not see any form of return on your yankee bet is if only one team out of the four picks were to win. If two were to win you’d at least win a two-pick parlay, if three were to win you’d win 3x two-pick parlays and 1x treble. If you were to land the full house and all 4 of your picks win, you will win all 11 bets within your yankee; 6x two-pick parlays, 4x three-pick parlays and 1x four-pick parlay. 

How to Place a Yankee Bet

The fact you are essentially placing 11x bets could make people think placing a yankee bet is hard work. But in actual fact most sportsbooks will offer this to you in your betslip once you have compiled your four picks and automatically separate it up into the 11x bet combinations. 

First of all you need to go onto your nominated sportsbook. You then click onto the sports section of your chosen sport you wish to place a yankee bet on, of course this can be done across multiple sports but for example sakes lets just say we want to place a yankee on four teams in the NFL.

I have gone onto my chosen sportsbook’s NFL section, which in this example is on Bet365. I wish to place a moneyline yankee bet, however it doesn’t have to just be a moneyline wager you can place a yankee bet on all the other popular bet types like spread and total. I think the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons and Cleveland Browns will all win their individual games in the moneyline. However, I know how hard it is to land a straight up parlay, so opt for a yankee to give myself greater protection in case one or more team(s) let me down.

I have selected all four of the teams on the NFL upcoming games section on Bet365. This will then group them into my betslip as you can see below:

It will of course be different from sportsbook to sportsbook, but for those operators that do offer yankees you will find the option somewhere on your bet slip. In this instance we need to click on the drop down next to ‘Show more parlay options’. 

Which now brings up our bet slip like the following:

We can now see we have the option to place a yankee bet. I’m willing to risk $11 in total but of course a yankee requires you to place 11x bets, so essentially I am placing 11 x $1 bets = $11 total yankee stake. 

Above we can see the breakdown of the odds of each of the bet combinations within my yankee. It’s worth noting that often if you only land a two-pick parlay within your yankee or potentially even a three-pick parlay, if your picks are short odds, you may return less than your initial risked yankee stake.

This is how much each of our yankee bet combinations would pay out from our total $11 staked:

Winning Combo Stake Odds Return
Team 1 / Team 2 $1 5.75 $5.75
Team 1 / Team 3 $1 5.29 $5.29
Team 1 / Team 4  $1 4.06 $4.06
Team 2 / Team 3  $1 5.75 $5.75
Team 2 / Team 4 $1 4.42 $4.42
Team 3 / Team 4 $1 4.06 $4.06
Team 1 / 2 / 3  $1 13.22 $13.22
Team 1 / 2 / 4  $1 10.17 $10.17
Team 1 / 3 / 4  $1 9.35 $9.35
Team 2 / 3 / 4  $1 10.17 $10.17
Team 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 $1 23.39 $23.39

Using the above example we can see that should only two teams out of our four picks win, we’d only return a maximum of $5.75, so we would actually make a loss against our initial stake. However, should three out of the four teams win you’d win 4x bets (3x two-pick parlays and 1x three-pick parlay), which would yield profit from your initial stake. 

If all four of your picks within your yankee bet were to win, you would win all 11 bets (6x two-pick parlays, 4x three-pick parlays and 1x four-pick parlay and would return a much greater sum of profit.

Why would I place a yankee bet?

You’d consider placing a yankee if you think four teams have a good chance of winning their games but acknowledge that often things don’t go by the form book and upsets happen on a regular basis, which might mean one or more of your teams could lose. Yankees work better when you have teams with (+) odds (underdogs) as you may only need to land a two-pick parlay of underdogs within your yankee to return a profit on your initial stake. 

You might also strongly like the chances of four strong teams (favorites) and are confident they will all win, but you are happy to take the risk knowing that if one team lets you down you might make a small loss against your initial stake. 

Why might I not place a yankee bet?

As touched upon above yankee bets and other combination multi bets work very well when you include teams which have (+) odds, as you know if only 2 or 3 of the 4 win you will almost certainly make a profit from your stake but if you were to include four teams with (-) odds you may only make profit if you land 3 out of 4 picks or in some rarer cases you may only make a profit if all four were to win, in which case you may as well just place a straight up parlay.

Yankee bets are also expensive. You are effectively placing 11x bets, so if you were wanting to place $5 a line on a yankee bet, you’d actually be staking a total of $55 ($5 x 11 bets = $55 total). Whereas if you were just to put $5 on a straight up parlay, you know your risk amount is lower and you would still stand to win a generous amount of money, but of course, you know with a parlay if just one team lets you down your whole bet will settle as a loser. 

Yankee Bet FAQs

A yankee bet is a combination of multi bets or parlays across 4 picks. There are 11 bets in total across a yankee, consisting of; 6x two-pick parlays, 4x three-pick parlays and 1x four-pick parlay.
Yankee bets are essentially a quick way of placing 11x individual combination bets across four picks which ensures if just two of your four picks win, you will be guaranteed a monetary return from the sportsbook. It may not always be profitable however and sometimes you need to win 3 out of 4 or 4 out of 4 legs/picks to ensure a profitable return from your yankee bet.
Although it’s most famously associated with horse racing betting, you can place a yankee bet on pretty much any sport, and you will see it offered on all of the most popular US sports including; NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MMA and MLS among others.

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