Sports betting has grown into a multi-billion-dollar industry in a relatively short period of time mainly because of the expansion of offshore sportsbooks and their online betting sites. The NFL is still king when it comes to the betting action booked at these online betting venues with diversity being the name of the game.
The casual NFL bettor will usually stick to straight bets on the pointspread and total line for each week’s games, but for anyone seeking a higher return on the money wagered, the parlay remains a very attractive option if you know how and when to play them.
A parlay is basically grouping a number of individual games into one single bet. You can group together as few as two teams to form a parlay all the way up to 11 separate plays. Some online books will take action on parlays up to 15 teams. A parlay can also be formed by grouping multiple plays on the total line or the money line.
To win a parlay bet, you need to be correct with all of your picks. The only exception is if one of your picks ends as a PUSH (tie with the spread) while still winning the rest of your games. For example, if you bet a three-team parlay and won two games with the other ending as a PUSH, you would earn the payout odds for a two-team play.
The reason why the parlay has become such an attractive bet for NFL games is the more favorable return you can earn on a winning play. For example, if you bet $110 to win $100 on two individual games and win them both, you would walk away with $200. If you would have grouped those two picks into a two-team parlay for the same $110 bet, the return on investment would have been $260 based on the two-team payout odds of 2.6 to 1.
The more teams you add to a parlay bet, the bigger return based on a book’s payout odds. However, the parlay is the ultimate risk/reward scenario given the increased degree of difficulty with each team you add. Bettors need to keep in mind that once you move past a three-team parlay, the actual odds start to move heavily in favor of the sportsbook.
Most professional sports gamblers stay away from betting parlays because they understand that the actual odds are not in their favor as opposed to cashing a winning ticket on each straight bet they got right. If the average bettor struggles to win just 50 percent of all of their straight bets, what kind of winning percentage do you think you will have trying to win multiple games in a parlay bet?
There are some betting strategies you can employ to make a NFL parlay a bit more attractive. The first and most important one is to not get greedy. The payout odds on a five-team parlay are 20 to 1 and they move to 40 to 1 for six teams. The odds move to 450 to 1 for an 11-team parlay, but the actual odds that you make the right pick on 11 games is far more higher than the sportsbook’s payout odds.
As a general rule, you should limited yourself to a two-team parlay for that 2.6 to 1 payout or at the most a three-team parlay with a potential payout of 6 to 1. Betting parlays should be tied directly to your confidence level for each of your individual plays. If you have a high level of confidence in two of your picks, then grouping them in a parlay might make sense. Expanding that parlay beyond two teams should equate to a very high level of confidence in any additional games you do decide to add.