In our guide on the different bet types in American football, we introduced parlay betting, which means betting on more than one selection as part of one wager. While there is a greater risk of your bet losing with a parlay, the potential rewards are higher.
If you were to stake the same amount on a parlay instead of a single wager, your potential winnings would normally be higher – unless the single you are looking at has very long odds. For example, if you bet $10 on the New York Jets +6.5 on the point spread @ the Buffalo Bills with 888Sport, and then $10 on the Seattle Seahawks -1 on the point spread @ the Atlanta Falcons, both are odds of -110.
That means you would stake $20 in total and make $38.18 in total – including your stake. But if you bet both those selections as a two-team parlay, you would get odds of +265, so a $10 bet would win you more: $36.50 including your stake back.
Whether you bet casually or on a more serious level, parlays are commonplace within NFL betting and are far from a sucker bet. With the right research, parlays can be smart plays – while they can also be a heap of fun if your betting is more casual.
Read on for BetCompare’s best tips for parlay betting on the NFL.
Before we look deeper into NFL parlay strategy, it’s first worth noting how a push affects your betting. In a parlay, a push is when one of the selections is removed from your bet – but the rest of your wager is still in play.
Example: Caesars Sports is offering Houston Texans +10 on the point spread @ Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins +6.5 on the point spread @ New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns +8.5 on the point spread @ Baltimore Ravens.
If your bets on the Dolphins and the Browns won, but the Texans won by exactly 10 points, the Texans part of the bet would count as a push and you would be paid out as though you placed a two-team parlay. Note that if there is a push but one of your other selections loses, your bet loses, as all selections must win in a parlay (unless they are a push).
The overall point of a parlay is to turn more than one single into a bet that will generate higher returns. But, when betting on NFL parlays, it’s crucial not to be dictated by the odds themselves.
In our guide on how to bet on American football, we looked into the various different factors to research if you want to win your bet. In the NFL, injuries, weather, form and many other influences can affect your bet.
That doesn’t change just because you are betting a parlay. If adding one money line underdog to your parlay boosts your odds from +200 to +800, it doesn’t make that the right bet to choose. Ask yourself why the odds are so high? Whether you are betting for profit or entertainment, a losing parlay remains just that, regardless of how long the odds are.
So make sure each of your selections is carefully thought through. If you are stuck with a 50/50 choice between two different picks, consider which one is likelier to win; it’s not always about which bet has the higher odds.
On a similar note, most betting strategists advise sticking to two or three-team parlays when betting on the NFL. If you are looking for a fun, one-off parlay, the more teams you bet on, the more exciting. But if you are looking at a long-term strategy, or genuinely hopeful of winning your parlay, it’s best to limit your selections.
In NFL betting, two-team parlays are the most common. Generally, it’s considered going beyond a three-team parlay will significantly switch the odds in the sportsbook’s favour. So if you have your eye on a multi-team parlay, take a second to think about whether it’s truly worth adding that extra risk.
There are no sure bets in sports: that’s what makes betting so fun. But, in NFL parlay betting, it is generally advised to wager more on the big money line favourites than in other sports.
Typically, two-team parlays can pay out at +260, so betting two -200 money line favourites in a parlay makes a lot of sense from an odds perspective. Three-team parlays generally pay out at odds of +600.
But, on the flip side, this doesn’t mean exclusively relying on favourites is the right way to go. After all, odds offer the probability of a particular outcome and never a guarantee. NFL betting is full of underdog stories and upsets. If betting on a favourite every time was a sure thing, there’d be no point in betting on football at all.
While parlays can be fun, allow you to have skin in the game for more than one match and collect larger winnings if your wager is successful, it’s wise to have a money management system to fall back on if you are regularly betting parlays. Sportsbooks are more than happy to risk longer odds on parlays that require a lot more outcomes to go right for the player. From a value perspective, it’s more difficult to find an edge betting parlays than singles.
That’s why having a system in place to ensure you don’t lose too much with your parlays is a basic tip that can go a long way towards benefitting your NFL betting. There are many examples of money management systems out there, or maybe you want to create a personalized one as simple as only betting a certain stake on a parlay and only betting parlays once a week (for example).
This will also help you gamble responsibly and enjoy your betting. For the best parlay odds and offers, always compare before you bet.