NFL Parlay Betting

Sports bettors absolutely love parlays, despite their longshot odds. The appeal of a huge return off of a tiny bet can be incredibly enticing. But hitting that massive 16-legger in which you pick the entire slate of games rarely comes to fruition.

So why are NFL parlays so popular? Do you really have a chance to hit one? How do you put a strong NFL parlay together? We have the answers to those questions and many more below.

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Parlays are available at all top Michigan sportsbooks. You can build out multi-leg wagers with ease, as the platforms are slick and the betting slips are easy to use. All you have to do is click on the odds for your choices to begin building out your ticket.

draftkings app michiganThat said, there are some restrictions to keep in mind, and we’ll cover everything you need there in a bit. For now, here’s what the top sportsbooks in Michigan have to offer NFL bettors who want to place parlays.

  • DraftKings MI Sportsbook: You can build out parlays with ease, and there’s also a dedicated tab for pre-built player parlays. Additionally, DraftKings has betting pools for those looking to make multiple picks in a contest setting.
  • BetMGM MI Sportsbook: BetMGM allows multi-game parlay wagers, and there are also dedicated links for “one-game” parlay options. Once you click on the tab, you’ll see some recommended options and others that you can build.
  • Caesars MI Sportsbook: It’s the same story with Caesars. Standard parlays are welcome, and there’s a dedicated tab for “same game parlay” that features some popular options to explore.
  • BetRivers MI Sportsbook: Over at BetRivers Michigan, parlays are a thing as well. Once you click through on the main game listing, there’s even a link for “game combos” to be found in the mix with the available props.
  • FanDuel MI Sportsbook: FanDuel has spearheaded the popularization of the “same game parlay” option. You’ll find a dedicated tab on each game, and you can also build out the standard parlays of your choice.

Additionally, keep your eyes out for special parlay promos at the top sportsbooks. They’ll occasionally put together some unique combos with enhanced betting odds for users to consider, such as a winning side and a top player prop.

Warning: Parlays are high-risk

Let’s get this out of the way. You have to understand going in that parlays are high-risk wagers. Ask yourself: Why are sportsbooks willing to pay out huge multiples of your stake if you win your sports parlay bet?

Answer: Because your odds of winning are comparatively astronomical. Sure, a bettor or two may get lucky, but that luck is often more than offset by the losing parlay tickets week after week. Parlays are one of the biggest sources of hold for legal online sportsbooks.

The “hold” refers to the amount that sportsbooks are able to keep after paying out winning bets. For the average NFL slate, tons of parlay tickets flow in. They dwarf the amounts that are actually paid out.

Additionally, consider the fact that it’s challenging enough to build up consistency while wagering on single-game spreads and totals bets. That being the case, continually building out winning parlay tickets just isn’t a realistic proposition.

If you’re constantly scouring the internet for parlay tickets and then lighting your money on fire, knock it off. Your bankroll will thank you later. If you want to play parlays, anyway, treat them like entertaining, small lottery tickets. Here’s some info that can help you on that road.

What is an NFL parlay?

A parlay is a wager in which you include multiple selections on the same betting slip. You need to include at least two choices for a bet to be considered a parlay. Many sportsbooks will cap the number of entries you can include, but some will allow as many as 16 picks.

For each selection that you add to the ticket, the potential return rises. However, the betting odds of actually winning are worse for you overall. In order to win a parlay bet, you have to be correct on all of your selections.

If you miss just one single pick, you lose.

In that regard, parlays can be considered wagers that fall into the category of high-risk, high-reward. The returns may be fantastic if you actually manage to win, but the chances of doing so decrease as the size of the parlay grows.

NFL 3-leg parlays

The 3-leg NFL parlay is a common wager. Bettors put together three of their favorite picks in hopes of nailing all of them for enhanced returns. You can craft a parlay with a mix of outcomes, such as a spread, total and prop, or make one with all of the same bet types.

Lions Falcons NFL Week 16 Odds December 2021As an example, let’s say that picking outright winners on the money line is your thing. You decide to put together a parlay with your two top favorites and an underdog selection in hopes that all will go well.

  • Kansas City Chiefs -290 over Washington Football Team
  • Dallas Cowboys -165 over New England Patriots
  • Detroit Lions +155 over Cincinnati Bengals
  • Total odds for 3-leg parlay: +450

If you place a $10 bet on the above and go on to win, you’ll win $45. That’s a fantastic return. But remember: One wrong choice means that the entire bet is a loser. There’s a lot of risks involved with parlays, regardless of the number of selections you include.

That said, you have a better chance of being right on a small parlay of two or three legs than you would with a massive 10- or 15-leg ticket. For each choice that you add to the slip, the risk and the odds rise exponentially.

NFL 4-leg parlays

The 4-leg parlay can be put together in the same fashion. You can do a mix of different wager types, or keep them all the same. For example, you could zero in on four spread picks for a Sunday slate of NFL games.

  • Los Angeles Rams -10 over New York Giants (-110)
  • Baltimore Ravens -2.5 over Los Angeles Chargers (-115)
  • Detroit Lions +3.5 over Minnesota Vikings (-110)
  • Denver Broncos -4.5 over Las Vegas Raiders (-105
  • Total odds for 4-leg parlay: +1230

As you can see, just by adding on one more choice, the NFL parlay odds rise tremendously. That same $10 winning wager would return $123 dollars at odds of +1230. Although that would be awesome and all, one missed pick means you’re out of luck.

NFL 5+-leg parlays

When you put together an NFL parlay ticket with five or more selections, you have a lot of moving pieces going on. All of them have to break just right, which is asking for a lot. Using Over/Under bets as an example, here’s what the odds for a 5-legger might look like.

  • Over 50.5 (-110)
  • Under 44.5 (-110)
  • Over 42.5 (-110)
  • Over 54.0 (-110)
  • Under 44.5 (-110)
  • Total odds for 5-leg parlay: +2435

If you managed to be correct on all of them, then there’s a good chance that you’d be really happy with the return. For really large parlays, the chances of winning are even slimmer, so keep that in mind and wager responsibly with nominal funds that you can afford to lose.

NFL parlay insurance

Legal Michigan sportsbooks offer up various sports betting bonus offers for new and existing players to take advantage of. Included on the list is parlay insurance, an offer that will return your stake if you lose out on a parlay bet.

Detroit Lions Betting History September 2021
(Paul Sancya/AP file photo)

Naturally, terms and conditions apply, and there are also often wagering limits. For the vast majority of parlay insurance offers, it applies only if you miss a single leg of a multi-leg bet, such as being right on three choices out of a four-game parlay.

The amount of the return will generally be capped at a fixed amount, such as $25. There are also usually odds parameters that have to be met, such as all selections having odds of at least -200 or greater.

Restrictions aside, this is a solid offer to keep in mind if parlays are up your alley. The security of getting at least some of your stake back for just a single miss can be a real benefit, as opposed to the alternative of losing entirely.

Early cashout for NFL parlay bets

Picture it: You’ve amazingly managed to hit 15 legs out of a 16-team NFL parlay. To win, all you need is for the Detroit Lions to win on Monday Night Football. Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a way to secure your profits before going bust?

The above scenario actually happened early in the 2021 NFL season. Even more incredible, the bettor was using a $25 promotional wager from BetMGM Sportsbook as part of the run for the ages. Based on the astronomical odds of being right on everything, the total profit potential was $726,959.

Normally, a sportsbook wouldn’t offer an early cash-out option on a promo bet, but the book made an exception and offered the bettor a $133,000 cash-out option before game time. Thankfully, the bettor took it, as the Lions went on to lose by 18 points.

For parlay bettors who hit a few legs early, keep your eyes out for cashout offers from a sportsbook. They’ll be listed right by the wager in the open bets section on the websites or apps. To accept, you just click the offer and it’ll be settled immediately.

Sportsbooks will offer the cashout option when it looks like they’re going to take a loss, anyway. As an example, if you’ve hit four of five legs and only have one big favorite to go, there’s a good chance that you’ll see an early cashout offer.

The choice of accepting or not is ultimately yours, but do yourself a favor and remember how tough it is to win a parlay with lots of legs. It can often be better to lock in some profits as opposed to hoping that nothing goes wrong on the final leg.

NFL in-game parlays

These are parlays that you can build out as the games are playing out on the field in the live sports betting market. Live betting is a featured offering from the top legal online Michigan sportsbooks, and things move fast.

Once the games get underway, you’ll see updated odds on the game result, spread and totals, as well as various proposition wagers. You can put together a parlay with your selections, but it can be challenging to get it to go through, as the market moves so quickly.

The odds and offerings are constantly updating throughout the game with live betting. If you really want to put a parlay in when the game gets underway, just plan on keeping it small and manageable. Be careful not to get swept away in the excitement.

NFL same-game parlays

For years, talk of NFL parlays revolved around tickets that involved outcomes from multiple games. In recent times, there has been a rise in what is known as same-game or single-game parlays.

These are bets where you can tie together multiple selections from the same game into a single parlay. For example, you could make a moneyline pick on the Detroit Lions to win, pair it up with the game to go over 50 points, and add on a touchdown prop for D’Andre Swift.

It works just like a multi-game parlay: The more choices you make, the potential return and odds rise. Same-game parlays can be fun and entertaining, but the same principles apply. Don’t be disappointed when that 8-leg option that you crafted fails to hit.

Correlated NFL parlays

A correlated parlay ties together two outcomes that are related. In theory, if one of them happens, then the other is likely to follow. An example includes the favorite or underdog covering the first half and the game as a whole.

Detroit Lions Prop Bets Week 15 NFL December 2021This is where things can get tricky on what is or isn’t allowed. Each sportsbook has its own set of house rules, but there tends to be a pretty good deal of uniformity across the industry. If you try to put together a parlay that isn’t allowed, then the bet won’t go through.

For an alternative, look towards the single-game parlays mentioned above. These bets let you tie together multiple choices from the same game on one ticket, but correlated parlays are generally frowned upon by sportsbooks.

NFL round robins & teasers

NFL round robins and teasers share common traits with parlays, but they are their own distinct bet types. For the round-robin, you’re making multiple combinations out of several choices, such as four different combos from three game picks.

The teaser bet allows bettors to move the spread on two or more games. For the NFL, teaser betting most commonly revolve around the key numbers of three and seven. The teaser has to be applied to both outcomes, such as shifting a spread by six points on two games.

If your teaser call is right on all of the selections, you win, but a single wrong choice makes it a loser. In a nutshell, it’s kind of like a parlay that gives you some more control over spreads and totals. Meanwhile, round robins let you cover several different combos on one NFL parlay card.

You’ll find these bet types available at the top Michigan online sportsbooks. As for whether you should use them or not, it comes down to your risk tolerance and comfort level. Just remember that there are no sure things, no matter how good you think your strategy is.

Are parlays even worth playing?

Because of the potential returns, many NFL bettors view parlays as a risk worth taking. For the average bettor, the choices on what to wager on should come down to this: What’s your comfort level with the bet, and how much can you afford to lose without issue?

There are absolutely no guarantees when it comes to sports betting. That sentiment applies to any wager that you place, and it’s even more pronounced when we’re talking about parlays. Sportsbooks are paying out much less than they’re taking in on parlays.

If you find parlays to be entertaining and are able to keep your expectations in check, then it can be worth it for fun, provided you wager responsibly with nominal amounts that you can afford to lose. For those who can’t stick to those parameters, parlays are a losing proposition.

That said, how do I put together a good NFL parlay ticket?

For those who are committed to betting on NFL parlays no matter what, the best advice is to keep your wagering amounts small. You should be wagering responsibly with only the funds that you can afford to lose, similar to what you’d spend on another form of entertainment.

If you can hit those notes while keeping your expectations in check, then you might have some fun with NFL parlays. For those who bet too much and assume that they’re often going to win, parlays will quickly become much less appealing.

As with any other style of wagering, it’s helpful to stay in your lane and stick to your comfort level. For example, if you’ve had a tough time making headway with NFL spreads or totals, then there’s nothing to suggest that parlaying those wager types will work out well.

On the other hand, if you can reasonably pick out a few winners on the moneyline each week, then that should be your focus for parlays. The same applies if there are specific props that you have shown a knack for.

As a quick example, let’s say that you approach each NFL week looking for a pair of moneyline favorites with reasonably priced odds that you really like. In addition, you like trying to find the upsets and zero in on a call week in and week out.

Once you’ve made your single-game wagers on those games, you could also tie all three of them together on a single slip at a lesser dollar amount. If you’re right on all of them, that’s great news, but keep in mind that your favorite picks won’t always be winners.

As for spreads and totals bets, those who find success with these bets can do something similar. But remember that these bets are often tricky enough to win individually. Once you tie several moving pieces together, you need a lot of things to go right to win.

Last but not least, the amount you wager on parlays should be a small portion of your overall bankroll. You’re going to lose a lot, and it can add up quickly. For some benchmarks, a conservative approach calls for 1-2% of your bankroll for parlays. A value of 3% or more would be aggressive.

Should I hedge an NFL parlay?

Ok, so you think you’ve had a breakthrough. What if you just make multiple parlay combos in which you swap out picks for the same number of games? You’re gonna hit and come out ahead, right? Not necessarily.

Michigan sports betting February
(AP Photo/Steve Luciano)

To demonstrate, let’s consider a simple exercise with two NFL games and the spreads listed at legal Michigan betting apps.

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers -6.5 at Philadelphia Eagles
  • Cincinnati Bengals -3.5 at Detroit Lions

To cover all of the possible bases, you’d have to make the following combinations.

  • Buccaneers and Bengals cover
  • Buccaneers and Lions cover
  • Eagles and Bengals cover
  • Eagles and Lions cover

In other words, you’d have to make four separate parlay bets to cover all of the possible spread outcomes for these two games. At the vast majority of sportsbooks, odds of -110 is the starting point for spread bets. Here’s how the odds work for two bets at those odds.

  • Bet 1: -110
  • Bet 2: -110
  • 2-leg parlay odds: +264

If you bet $1 at odds of +264 and win, your total return will be $3.64. To cover all of the combinations at the same stakes, you’d have to wager $4. At the end of the day, you’ve actually lost $0.36

In short, you’re not going to outsmart the sportsbook by putting together multiple combos. Hedging isn’t a failsafe for parlays, but if you want to give it a shot in an attempt to preserve your stake, the choice is yours.

To actually come out ahead, you’d need to not only make a bunch of different combos, but also have the odds work in your favor, as in the right combination of positive and negative odds. Let’s just say that it would be incredibly time-consuming, to say the least, and often with a greatly diminished return.

NFL parlays vs NFL survivor pools

NFL survivor pools continue to grow in popularity, and you’ll find variations of the contests at legal online sportsbooks. The concept is simple: Make a single pick, and advance if you win. If you lose, you’re eliminated.

Many contests run over the course of the NFL season, beginning in Week 1. But there are also contests that get underway as the season moves along. Beyond being right on all of your picks, there’s the added wrinkle of only being able to select a team once.

From the perspective of being right on all of your picks for a chance to win, survivor pools share something in common with parlays. However, they’re different, because you only have to make one survivor pool pick per week, as opposed to multiple selections with a parlay.

Just like parlays, NFL survivor pools can be entertaining, but they’re also challenging to win. Anything can happen on the field of play, so your favorite pick of the week can always go awry. The same thought applies when making multiple NFL parlay picks.

Sportsbooks rules for NFL parlays

All legal sportsbooks have specific house rules that need to be adhered to. Although some shops have a dedicated section for the rules of the road, others will include them in the help or FAQ section. It’s the responsibility of the bettor to know and understand them.

For NFL parlays, there are a couple of important points to keep in mind.

  • Operators may cap the total number of selections allowed on one betting slip, as well as the winnings from any one single wager.
  • If you put in a multi-leg parlay and one of the options winds up being canceled, then the parlay will be settled based on the results of the other legs.
  • You can’t take opposite sides of a game on the same slip, such as both the Lions and Vikings to win on the moneyline when they’re playing each other.

If you put together a parlay combo that isn’t allowed, you’ll see a notification on the bet slip, or you simply won’t see an option for placing a parlay with all of the choices together. For those who come across that situation, adjust the selections on the betting slip so that they fall within the rules of what’s allowed by the sportsbook.

NFL picks and parlays

As interest in legal online sports betting continues to grow, so too does the amount of coverage provided by various outlets. You won’t have to look far on the web or social media to find NFL picks, including for parlays.

Parlay picks articles that can make for interesting reads, but they’re not going to get you any closer to success. That’s not said to disparage the efforts of those who are composing the content, many of whom are quite talented. It’s merely another reminder that parlays are tough.

There are also NFL picks services that legitimately attempt to do the best for their clients, but the positive aspects are offset by the fact that there are lots of charlatans who prey on unsuspecting bettors. In short, do your research before ever even considering buying picks.

Research is part of the fun with NFL betting, so by all means, soak in some knowledge from sources that you trust. However, don’t expect to stumble across golden tickets while doing so.

NFL parlay calculators

Before you place your bets at a legal Michigan online sportsbook, you’ll see the potential return for your wager before you click “submit.” As you add selections to the betting slip, you’ll see the total parlay odds change right in front of you.

You can make adjustments as needed prior to placing the bet. If you’re just doing research on the possibilities, there are a number of online handicapping calculators that will let you plug in the odds for parlay bets to see the potential return.

After you gain some seasoning with betting on NFL parlays, you’ll start to get a feel for the range of odds based on your selections and their current numbers. You can always lean on adding choices to the betting slip for various scenarios. Just don’t submit before you’re ready.

NFL parlay systems

Along with NFL picks and predictions, there’s a good chance that you’ll come across some parlay systems in your travels. They can range from the very simple (such as taking all of the huge favorites, to the more complex (like an Over/Under parlay when trends align).

Just like we discussed with picks, there’s no magic bullet to be found here. Think about it: If there was a system that worked every time, wouldn’t it be common knowledge by now? By extension, the sportsbooks also would’ve adapted their approach.

All that said, if you like playing parlays, there’s nothing wrong with trying to come up with a system that can help point you to some potentially optimal selections. Just don’t fool yourself into thinking that it’s going to be foolproof.

Famous NFL parlays that paid out

It’s not all bad news when it comes to NFL parlays. Every once in a while, the stars can align just right for a fortunate bettor. As a result, there have been some absolutely astronomical payouts made through the years.

Back in 2020, a bettor at a sportsbook in Las Vegas put together a seven-leg parlay across multiple college football and NF games. The $4,000 bet turned out to be a solid choice. The bettor was right on all seven picks and had a winning ticket worth $442,643.40.

Famous NFL parlay at WH Sportsbook

In 2017, another Las Vegas bettor managed to hit a five-leg $8,500 parlay to win $250,000. Perhaps even more impressively, the Lions were one of the winning selections. The remainder of the picks were on favorites from the weekly slate.

Those major wins came from bettors who were playing at very high stakes, but there have also been some smaller ones that have hit. There have also been some of the smaller variety that came excruciatingly close.

Famous NFL parlays that just missed

As mentioned earlier, there are plenty of stories about the parlay bets that got away. Any bettor who plays parlays regularly will have at least one or two to share, and the losses can certainly sting.

In some really extreme cases, you’d have to imagine that the emotions went much deeper than that. Two of the more notable examples include an $0.89 cent parlay that went 19 of 20 and a 14 out of 15 that went awry on the last leg.

For the former, a victory by Washington over Chicago would’ve turned 89 cents into $500k. The Bears won the game. On the latter, the Patriots’ failure to cover the spread prevented that bettor from turning $5 into $100k.

There’s just no way to sugarcoat a loss of that magnitude, but it also serves as an additional reality check for the average bettor. To win those massive multi-leg paydays, everything has to break right.

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