You have a good feeling about tonight’s game.
Your favorite team is going to cover the spread and score enough to obliterate the over almost on their own. Their star player is going to have a huge game, while their rival’s star is going to be shut down almost completely.
You’re so sure that you’ve decided to parlay all of these together using your preferred sportsbook’s same-game parlay feature and win a lot more money than making single bets on each would give you.
But are you getting the best odds on this amazing bet?
The best way for Michigan sports bettors to find that out is to check with as many books as possible to see where this bet would best pay out. Unfortunately, that takes a lot of work.
Good news: I tried to do some of that work for you, testing same-game parlays on five different sportsbooks to see if one consistently offered the best odds.
Bad news: While Caesars and FanDuel each had their moments, I didn’t find a true winner, so you still have to do the work, too.
How do same game parlays work?
With the rise of player props, in part fueled by familiarity with fantasy sports, sportsbooks adding same-game parlays to their offerings was a no-brainer.
If you bet on sports in Michigan, you are at least somewhat familiar with single-game parlays. Sportsbooks are pushing them big, constantly offering promotions.
Why? It’s a safe bet for them. BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt said the margins for its one-game parlay bets are more than 30%. Sportsbooks typically operate with margins of 10-12%.
The feature allows sports bettors to put together multiple bets from a single game and parlay them for longer odds and a bigger potential payout.
Sportsbooks have also made the process fairly simple for users. While the model (and in some cases, wording) varies, the user experience typically involves clicking onto a specific game and choosing the same-game parlay option.
The bets that can be included are all available there, and you pick at least two to create the parlay. Only comfortable with two? Perfectly fine. Want to include 26 different outcomes? Go ahead, but good luck.
Which Michigan sportsbook offers the best same game parlay odds?
I’m going to skip ahead to the conclusions first, because the data section is long.
The five sportsbooks I used in this exercise (DraftKings Sportsbook MI, BetMGM Michigan, Caesars Sportsbook MI, FanDuel Sportsbook MI and PointsBet Sportsbook MI) were often pretty close to one another with their same-game parlay odds.
For smaller parlays, odds variance was minimal, but on a couple of occasions Caesars did stand out. FanDuel, meanwhile, had the edge when the parlays grew.
Either way, if you have a same-game parlay you feel good about, it would be wise to run it through multiple sportsbooks to find the best odds. It will take some work, though, as lines can vary from sportsbook to sportsbook, and finding your sweet spot could require some digging.
One trend I did find, however, is that FanDuel seemed to be doing real math. The other four sportsbooks had all of their odds, no matter the size of the parlay I built, end in a 5 or 0. Pretty square numbers. FanDuel, meanwhile, only landed there once.
Another notable note about single-game parlays (or parlays in general): We don’t know the secret sauce for calculations. We’re at the mercy of the books, which probably isn’t a great place to be.
Finding the best same game parlay odds
A wise man once told me that it’s not worth going to Taco Bell if you don’t order at least three things. I decided to bring that amazing advice to this experiment, choosing at least three options in all of my parlays.
Below are the parlays I put together (I did not put actual money on any of them, thank goodness, because none of them hit), as well as the odds from each sportsbook and some notes.
I looked at all of these at the same time each day to try and eliminate as much variance as possible.
Monday, Jan. 24
Utah Jazz at Phoenix Suns: Suns -11.5, Over 220.5, Devin Booker O27.5 points
Caesars would not let me include Booker’s points, and I have no idea why. It was a disappointing start, but Caesars made up for it later.
Tuesday, Jan. 25
Denver Nuggets at Detroit Pistons: Pistons +7, Under 217, Nikola Jokic O26.5 points
- FanDuel: +799
- Caesars: +750
- DraftKings: (217.5 and 7.5) +700
- PointsBet: (Jokic 25.5) +700
- BetMGM: N/A
DraftKings was the only book adding the hook to the spread and total that night, which obviously affected the odds. The Pointsbet Jokic difference was my fault, and BetMGM gave me absolute fits for the first of two straight nights.
Wednesday, Jan. 26
Suns at Jazz: Suns -1, Over 223.5, Booker Under 28.5
- Caesars: +900
- Pointsbet: +900
- FanDuel: +778
- DraftKings: (-1.5) +900
- BetMGM: N/A
Again with the hook on DraftKings, and again with MGM giving me issues.
Thursday, Jan. 27
Minnesota Timberwolves at Golden State Warriors: Warriors -6.5, Under 229.5, Stephen Curry over 24.5 points
- BetMGM: +525
- DraftKings: +525
- FanDuel: +535
- PointsBet: +500
- Caesars: +675
For the first time, we have a significant outlier. Caesars was giving me +145 more than the nearest competitor on a fairly simple parlay. It would have lost, but still. The potential payout from a $20 bet would have been $155 at Caesars compared to $120 at PointsBet.
Friday, Jan. 28
Pistons at Magic: Pistons +3.5, Franz Wagner O16.5, Cade Cunningham O6.5 assists, Isaiah Stewart O7.5 rebounds, Mo Bamba 1+ 3s made
- FanDuel: +2123
- DraftKings: +1500
- BetMGM: +1500
- Caesars: +1500 (Cunningham O 5.5 assists)
- PointsBet: +1400
I decided I probably needed to add some more legs to test this, but I’ll be honest, the issues I ran into the first couple days had scared me off from getting too crazy. The only variance in the bets with this one was Caesars having Cade Cunningham’s assists at 5.5 rather than 6.5, which isn’t insignificant. There was also a difference in the Mo Bamba 3-pointer language, as some books listed it as 1+ and others as o/u 0.5. Either way, a single three from Bamba wins it.
The big thing here, though, is we see FanDuel giving much better odds. Cunningham’s assists would have pulled Caesars closer, but it’s hard to believe it would bump the odds by 600.
Sunday, Jan. 30
AFC title game: Bengals +7.5, Tyreek Hill anytime TD, Joe Burrow over 299.5/300+, Travis Kelce over receiving yards
- DraftKings: +950 (Kelce 74.5)
- FanDuel: +937 (Kelce 70+)
- BetMGM: +950 (Kelce 75+)
- Caesars: +1200 (Bengals +7, Burrow 291.5, Kelce 77.5)
- PointsBet: +1000 (Kelce 75.5)
A lot of variance in the numbers here, specifically in relation to Kelce’s receiving prop, but Caesars really stuck out for a couple of reasons. First, I couldn’t move the line to +7.5 to match the others, which is obviously a big deal. The alternate line slider actually would jump from 5.5 to 8.5. All of that is to say, yes, Caesars’ odds were better here, but that half point (which ultimately didn’t matter), certainly played a big part in the difference.
Wednesday, Feb. 2
Blazers at Lakers: Blazers +3.5, C.J. McCollum first basket, Jusuf Nurkic U16.5 points, O12.5 rebounds, McCollum O2.5 3s
- FanDuel: +9177 (+1205 without first basket)
- DraftKings: +4000 (+900 without first basket)
- BetMGM: +5000 (+875 without first basket)
- Caesars: +1400 (without first basket)
- PointsBet: +900 (without first basket)
Since there didn’t seem to be a clear winner through my first six days, I wanted to try one more this past Wednesday. Of course, that only muddied the waters.
As you can see, adding C.J. McCollum scoring the first basket made a massive impact on the odds. This was a bet I couldn’t add to my Caesars or Pointsbet parlays, so I removed it from the others to get an accurate comparison. Caesars had the best odds on the more simple parlay, while FanDuel’s odds were well ahead of MGM and DraftKings with the first basket added in.
A $20 bet on the whole thing at FanDuel would have returned $1,855.40, while DraftKings would have paid out $820.
McCollum to score the first basket was +750, so it would have made a pretty big difference for both Caesars and PointsBet if they would have allowed it to be added.
But what good is that if you can’t?