NFL parlay betting is a guilty pleasure for football fans each Sunday, with bettors trying to win a lot by risking a little.
Parlay betting requires multiple bets to be strung together under one wager with the promise of a sizable payout. The challenge is that each of those parlay picks must be correct for the parlay to be a winner, and just one wrong selection will blow up your parlay bet.
Parlay betting football odds is riskier than single wagers, but while some consider them sucker bets, there is some NFL parlay betting strategy and tips to follow to help cash in those accumulators.
How does football parlay betting work?
A football parlay bet requires two or more picks and allows the bettor to place a single wager on those selections.
For the overall parlay bet to win, all the picks involved must win – and that’s where the risk lies. The more selections added to your NFL parlay, the greater the potential payout and the greater the risk.
A single bet on the spread or total typically carries odds of -110 (win $1 for every $1.10 wagered) with an implied probability of 52.38 percent.
In contrast, a standard two-pick parlay involving an NFL point spread or Over/Under pays out at +260 odds (win $2.60 for every $1 wagered). A two-pick parlay has an implied probability of just 27.78 percent because it needs both picks to be correct to win.
As the parlay grows in size, the payout and risk grow hand-in-hand. A three-team NFL parlay bet has odds of +600 ($6 for every $1 wagered) with a probability of only 14.29 percent. A four-team football parlay pays out at +1,100 ($11 for every $1 wagered) but has an 8.33 percent chance of winning.
It’s this promise of big winnings on small bets that makes betting NFL parlays one of the most popular options among casual football bettors. But that high risk is also why parlays are the most profitable markets for sportsbooks.
NFL parlay bet example
NFL betting has exploded in the past decade with multiple odds markets available. And that opens the doors for various football parlays bets as well.
NFL moneyline parlays
An NFL moneyline parlay is pretty straightforward since it involves moneyline odd – or odds to win the game outright. In the example below, this bettor has made a three-team moneyline parlay involving three moneyline favorites.
These picks would roughly win $67, $32, and $37 on three $100 single wagers as individual bets. However, tied together in a three-team parlay, they would pay out at +202 odds ($2.02 for every $1 wagered) for $202 in potential profits.
NFL point spread parlays
A parlay involving NFL point spreads still requires all parlay picks involved to be correct but needs those bets to cover the spread to win. In the example below, this bettor has placed a three-team spread NFL parlay involving three point-spread favorites.
For this parlay to win, the bettor needs Tampa Bay to win by eight or more, Kansas City to win by seven or more, and Green Bay to win by four or more. Three single $100 bets on each of these spread favorites at -110 odds would win $91 each. However, one $100 wager on all three in an NFL point spread parlay gives odds of +600, and a potential $600 payout in all three teams cover the spread on a single $100 wager.
NFL Over/Under parlays
NFL Over/Under parlays are set up much like point spread parlays, with the standard Over/Under line set at -110. Over/Under or total bets require the bettor to wager on whether the final combined score of the game will go Over or Under the projected point total. In the example below, this bettor has placed a three-team Over/Under NFL parlay pick.
For the parlay to win, Dallas and Tampa Bay must combine for Over 51.5 points, Cleveland and Kansas City must score Over 53 points, and Green Bay and New Orleans must score Under 50 points. A three-team Over/Under football parlay bet offers odds at +600 and a potential payout of $600 on a $100 single bet.
Can you parlay different football bet types?
Yes, sportsbooks will allow you to parlay different football bet types, including moneylines, point spreads, and Over/Under totals. Some sportsbooks will also allow you to include team and player props, derivative lines, and alternative odds in your NFL parlay picks.
In the example below, this bettor has placed a three-team parlay involving a spread, moneyline, and total. They would need Dallas to lose by seven points or less/win outright (-110), Green Bay to win outright (-150), and Cleveland and Kansas City to score Under 50 points (-110). A single $100 wager could win $507 at +507 odds for this football parlay bet.
Football parlay betting calculator
Before placing your NFL parlay betting picks, use our easy football parlay calculator to see the potential payout on parlays as big as 15 different picks.
NFL parlay betting strategies
Parlay betting is tricky – there’s no sugar-coating it. However, some NFL parlay betting systems and strategies can help you find parlay profits this football season.
Keep them small
An eight-team parlay holds a payout of +18,000 for a reason: an implied probability of just 0.55 percent.
If you’re betting football parlay odds, keep those accumulators small and your expectations realistic. Two and three-team parlays are hard enough to hit most football Sundays.
One of the smartest NFL parlay betting strategies is creating correlated parlays where the bets involved are somewhat connected and dependant on each other.
For example, a high-scoring team may be a 10.5-point favorite and will require a lot of points to cover that spread. Knowing this, adding the Over 48.5 to a parlay with the -7.5 favorite makes sense if you think the favorite will cover that pile of chalk.
Dive into what makes teams tick and what they need to do to win or cover, then find related bets to add to your football parlay picks.
Frequently parlay bets come down to one final game. Suppose you’ve won all the earlier games on your ticket and are staring at a potential payout heading into the last leg of the parlay. In that case, you may want to consider hedging your parlay pick with a bet on the opposite side to guarantee a profit.
One basic NFL parlay betting system for hedging is to risk half of your potential winnings on the other side. For example, there’s one remaining game on a $100 four-team parlay paying at +1,100 odds – a possible win of $1,100. This final parlay pick has the underdog at +3.5 (-110).
You could take $550 (half of those potential parlay winnings) and bet on the -3.5 favorite (-110) to win $500. That way, even if the parlay loses, you would still be up $400 in profit overall ($500 - $100 original parlay wager). If the parlay wins, you would be up $550 in profits ($1,100 - $550 hedge wager).
NFL betting tips and strategies
Make smarter NFL bets with Covers. These guides dive into other ways you can bet on NFL action:
NFL parlay betting FAQs
What does parlay mean in football betting?
Parlay means connecting two or more bets to increase the potential payout on a single wager but needing all involved bets to be correct for the overall parlay to win. One wrong pick, and the parlay loses.
How does a two-team parlay work for NFL betting?
A two-team parlay involved two different bets placed under one wager. If both bets are correct, the two-team parlay wins. But if one or more of the bets lose, the overall parlay loses as well.
How do you bet parlays online?
Online sportsbooks will allow you to build parlays by selecting multiple bet types on their odds board. Once the bet ticket is complete, you can choose the parlay option, view your parlay betting odds, and enter the amount you wish to wager.