Betting on NFL Parlays
A popular option when it comes to betting on NFL games is to group two or more of these bets into a single wager that in known as a parlay. Hitting parlays, especially when they involve more than two or three games can be very lucrative, but you always have to keep in mind that this type of betting option comes with a high risk/reward quotient.
The reason why parlays are so popular is the potential payout the sportsbooks offer. If you bet $100 on two separate games and hit on both you would earn $200. If you would have grouped those same two picks into a two-team parlay and hit them both the payout would have jumped to $260. The odds really go up when start adding additional games to the bet. If you hit a three-team parlay you would earn a 6/1 return on your bet and the potential return increase all the way to a 150/1 on an eight-team parlay bet.
The downside to cashing-in on any parlay bet is the simple rule that every one of your picks must be correct for that wager to actually payoff. Once one game is lost so is the entire parlay bet. The only exception would be if one of the games ends as a tie or PUSH with the betting spread. In this scenario your entire parlay is reduced by one game.
Anyone who bets on the NFL on a regular basis knows just how hard it can be to pick one game right let alone two or three. Even the top NFL handicappers in the sports betting business are only right two thirds of the time. The sportsbooks are well aware of this fact and while the payout on a parlay appears to be favorable, the odds still remain very much in their favor especially when the parlay is expanded to more than three teams.
Using the standard payouts on parlays in Las Vegas, the following chart shows just how much parlay odds favors the house verse the bettor:
Two-Team Payout: 13/5 Actual Odds: 3/1
Three-Team Payout: 6/1 Actual Odds: 7/1
Four-Team Payout: 10/1 Actual Odds: 15/1
Five-Team Payout: 20/1 Actual Odds: 31/1
Six-Team Payout: 40/1 Actual Odds: 63/1
Seven-Team Payout: 80/1 Actual Odds: 127/1
As you can see, the advantage really swings towards the sportsbook the more teams you add, so you should always keep in mind when betting NFL parlays.
This is not to say that playing NFL parlays should be avoided altogether, but you need to understand exactly what you are up against when betting them. Playing parlays really comes down to the level of confidence you have in your individual picks. If you have done your homework to come up with two solid picks, then you might want to bet both of those games individually and then hedge your bet with a smaller play on a two-team parlay. In a rare instance you might want to expand this betting strategy to three games, but beyond that it will most likely turn into a losing proposition.
Another betting strategy is to bet parlays just like you would play the daily number. You go into that bet knowing that the odds of winning are stacked against you, so it becomes more of a game of chance than a carefully calculated wager. In this scenario you might want to pick four or five games for the minimum amount allowed. The advantage still favors the sportsbook; however just like playing the lottery you still have a chance to win.