Millions of bettors around the world will be
playing a parlay card for this week’s NFL games. Some of them will be doing it
as part of a government-sponsored lottery. Others will be hitting up their preferred
online sportsbooks. How can you join in?
First of all, I definitely
recommend the online route. Wherever you are in the world, the problem with
government sports lotteries is that they almost always give you lousy odds, and
they can throw some weird rules at you. Plus, your betting options are limited.
Forget that noise.
Parlay? Qu’est-ce que c’est?
If you’re new to the concept
of the parlay, fear not. It’s one of the least exotic items on the sports
betting menu, and a sharp approach will help you maximize your profits.
Here’s the gist: Instead of
betting on a single-game outcome, you bet on two outcomes or more, up to 12 on
a typical parlay card. For you to get your money, all the outcomes on your
parlay card have to come true – one slip, and you lose the whole ball of wax.
That’s the risk. The reward is
that your earnings get multiplied; for example, if you play a 2-team parlay and
both bets win, you get paid out at something like 2.6 to 1 (check your
preferred books for their payouts). That’s a pretty good chunk of change. Make
it a 3-team parlay, and you can get 6 to 1. Or if you’re feeling like an NFL
Nostradamus, you can go for the full 12-team parlay and a shot at the big
jackpot: 2340 to 1.
I Want That Money!
You and me both. Now I have to
go “good cop” on you. Nailing 12 out of 12 picks is really hard. Even I have
trouble doing it. There’s only so much homework you can put in to research 12
possible outcomes. Even if you’re an NFL handicapping god and you’re hitting 60
percent of your picks, your expected chances of success on that 12-team parlay
would be 0.6 to the power of 12, or about one-fifth of one percent.
Granted, that would
technically make the 2340-1 payout worth a shot, since you’re going to hit it
about once every 460 attempts. That’s 27 NFL seasons if you try it once a week.
Can I recommend something a little more, shall we say, efficient? I don’t want
to discount the entertainment value that comes with betting a 12-team parlay,
but when it comes to building a bankroll, you do want to get paid off more
quickly and more often. Especially if you’re hitting 60 percent of your picks,
Mr. The Greek.
The Power of Two
The sharp way to bet is to
manage your risks and your time. The 2-team parlay is easily the preferred
choice of savvy bettors, and the preferred way to do it is to parlay the
pointspread and the total on a single NFL game (or any other sport with a
spread and a total). That way, you’re concentrating your research on the two
teams in question, the stadium and weather, the betting market, and all the
other things you’d normally consider for a game.
There’s even a sharp way to do
this parlay. In theory, it’s more difficult for the favorite to cash in at the
same time as the UNDER, since it takes a certain amount of scoring to make the
former happen. The larger the spread, the more points have to go on the board
for the favorite to cover, which threatens the UNDER even more. So parlaying
the favorite with the OVER or the underdog with the UNDER has some virtue to
As always, pick and choose your spots
, but definitely
put the parlay in your betting arsenal. It will help you make more money. You
do like money, I assume. I know I do.