Many NFL fans love parlays as they present you with the tantalizing opportunity to turn a relatively small sum of money into a massive payout. An NFL parlay allows you to roll multiple selections into one wager in a bid to strike it rich. You occasionally hear of bettors earning life-changing sums by correctly predicting the outcomes of a number of ball games. For instance, Tayla Polia beat odds of 20,000/1 in the 2015 NFL season, when she called the spreads in 15 different games. She staked just $5 and walked off with a cool $100,000 in profit when she cashed in her ticket.
Another bettor earned $284,905 from a 12-leg parlay costing $95 in 2016, covering both NFL and college football. One sports fan cashed a $25 parlay and earned $62,475 after picking 12 pro and college football games against the spread in December 2017. There are many more examples of these phenomenal paydays, and we have created this guide to help you join in the fun.
An NFL parlay allows football fans to combine multiple selections into one single wager in order to generate higher odds. For example, you might think the Seattle Seahawks, the San Francisco 49ers and the Atlanta Falcons should all have enough to beat their opponents on a particular weekend. If you have a bankroll of $30, you could bet $10 on each of those teams winning. The alternative would be to roll them all into a $30 parlay.
You can combine multiple money line selections into a parlay, or select a number of teams to cover the spread. Alternatively you could choose a number of total points bets and combine them for a parlay. You can even mix it up: you might bet on the Cowboys to cover the spread against the Jets, over on total points as the Titans take on the Broncos, under on total points for the Redskins’ game against the Dolphins and pick the Chiefs to beat the Texans on the money line, all in a single parlay bet.
NFL parlays allow you to rack up higher odds than you would gain if you were simply placing single bets. However, these bets come with a greater risk. If just one selection lets you down, your bet is busted. If you believe Seattle, San Francisco and Atlanta can all cover the spread on a particular weekend, you could bet $10 on each outcome at odds of -110. If your selections are all correct, you would earn a profit of $27.30. But, if you combined them all into a $30 parlay, you would earn a profit of $178.74. That is a much greater profit, which explains why parlays are so enticing to NFL bettors. The more legs you add to your parlay, the greater the potential profit you stand to make. However, your bet fails if just one result goes against you.
The best way to calculate the potential payout you stand to make on a parlay is to convert the odds on each selection into decimal format. Most sportsbooks offer odds of -110 on either team covering the spread, or on either over or under when speculating on total points. Odds of -110 are 1.91 rendered in decimal format.
Some sportsbooks offer reduced juice and offer odds of -105, which is 1.95 in decimal format, while +100 is equivalent to 2.00 and +200 is equivalent to 3.00. Once you have converted the odds into decimal format, you simply multiply them together. If you have made five selections at 1.91 (-110), that would be 1.91 × 1.91 × 1.91 × 1.91 × 1.91 = 25.42. That tells you that you will earn a profit of $25.42 for every $1 you wager. A $10 parlay would therefore result in a payout of $254.20.
Here is another example using money line odds. You might like the look of these four selections on a particular Sunday:
You would then multiply 1.6 × 2.4 × 2.7 × 1.75 = 18.14. That tells you that every $1 you wager would result in a profit of $18.14. That explains how NFL parlays are calculated, but you shouldn’t have to work it out for yourself. Good legal sportsbooks will tell you the potential payout you stand to make from a parlay on your betslip before you place your wager.
Parlays offer the bettor potential to earn huge returns, but of course with big returns come big risks and there’s a reason those odds are so long! That said, the savvy punter can often find value in a cleverly constructed parlay so it’s worth playing around with a few selections to determine what you think gives you the best chance of a return.
The more picks, the more risk there is of one selection letting you down, so sticking ten outcomes in one parlay might sound appealing given the big returns offered, but of course there’s significantly greater likelihood of just three picks going the way you want them. Here are some tips to help you compile a successful parlay: