For NFL bettors, parlays are a lot liking smoking, eating too much and drinking too much. While there is advice everywhere telling you not to do these things, people still continue to despite risks.
Though no official numbers are available, long time bookies this author knows have told me in the last decade the number of parlays bets placed are up 40 to 50 percent, mostly with bettors under 35 years of age. One can only ascertain that those trying to beat the NFL odds in Las Vegas or with offshore accounts with increased freedom to pull the trigger on their own, raise the percentage even higher.
Much of this is generational, as they are used to playing video games where there are rewards and getting the quick fix. It is not our place to judge, instead, if you are going to bet parlays, give yourself the best chance to win.
Don't Chase Payouts, Chase Winners
Among the more common parlays you see bet these days are those involving at least four selections and more often six to 10 options. What those wagering follow is - the dream -, looking to hit a 40 to 1 shot or 600 to 1. This is viewed by these sports bettors as just one more wager and frankly they could care less about the added vigorish added or the "true odds", they figure it is worth the risk and if correct, they have a story for a lifetime.
The fact remains having a 4-2 record in the NFL is considered a very good week and those wagering at 11/10 odds at Bovada would have a profit of $180.00 on a standard $110 straight bets. Conversely, having the same record or even 5-1 mark would cost you what you wagered on your now worthless betting ticket despite the fact you actually had a winning percentage.
A potentially wiser methodology is to reduce risk and have parlays of two or three games on a single ticket. While this might not be thought of as much fun, the fact is betting money should be to win.
Consider the chances of you winning a 6-team parlay are about 63 to 1, which means if you bet weekly, you will nail one about every four seasons. Thus, betting $100 parlay wager a week over four seasons would cost you $6,800.00 and hitting it once would give you winnings of $4,000.00, leaving you with net loss of $2,800.00.
Let's juxtapose this against two-team parlay where your odds are 3 to 1 and the typical sportsbooks payout is 2.6 to 1.
Over the same four-year period of making $100 wagers, your losses would be more cut in half at $1,080 on two-teamers and you would have won approximately 22 times on your 68 bets placed based on normal averages.
One More Option on NFL Parlays
Because the spread odds are the great equalizer, if you are making NFL picks and want to bet parlays, money lines can be an option to improve your chances of winning. The house is still going to collect heavy vig and not give you true odds, but on any given Sunday you are sure Green Bay (-210), New England (-225) and Seattle (-170) are all but certain to at the very least win their games outright. A $100 bet with these money lines should payout $238 and change. While the payout is not massive, you do not have to worry about point spreads and just have your picks win the game.
In the end, parlays and teasers are partly why sportsbooks keep expanding in Nevada and why offshore books keep popping up, because this is what the people want. Our best advice is like all wagering, place the odds in your favor as much as possible, with the intent to win, not just play.