Week 5 looks to be another wild week in the NFL with another Monday Night Football doubleheader due to rescheduling. To make your viewing experience even more enjoyable for Week 5, consider making a parlay bet. Parlay bets combine the outcome of multiple events to increase the potential payout to bettors.
A parlay is a single bet that links together two or more individual wagers for a high payout. A 2 team parlay might pay 13/5, a three team parlay might pay 6/1, a four team parlay might pay 10/1, and so forth with the payouts getting higher with more teams or totals selected. For a single bet, 2 to 8 teams or totals can be selected. How much does a 15 team parlay pay? A 15 team parlay will pay out over +16,000. I just tested this out and a $1 15 team NFL parlay at -110 odds will payout $16,306. Good luck hitting on that! True Odds Parlays. 1 Earlier, I mentioned fixed odds are only given when all selections are 50/50 propositions. Your payout, if every bet in this parlay hits, would be $723.68 – your original $80 comes back along with your winnings of $643.68. If there’s a PUSH, that bet is removed from your ticket as if it never happened. $5 four-team parlay at odds of +1230 offers total potential return of $66.52. $10 four-team parlay at odds of +1230 offers total potential return of $133.04. $20 four-team parlay at odds of +1230 offers total potential return of $266.08. The payout is re-calculated based on the reduced number of teams. With the exception of pushes, all wagers must win for the parlay to be considered a win. If one wager loses, the entire parlay loses. There are no partial payouts. You cannot include baseball five inning lines (5inn.) in parlays. You cannot include same game props in a.
Below, we will be creating a 5-bet NFL parlay for Week 5. This bet includes a few favorites and a few underdogs to increase the odds. Let’s take a look at our top Week 5 parlay.
Odds via BetMGM; access USA TODAY Sports’ betting odds for a full list. Lines last updated Friday at 12:20 p.m. ET.
Any good parlay starts off with a surprising long-shot pick. This week, I like the Dolphins to upset the 49ers. Miami has one of the most improved defenses in the NFL and is extremely well-coached. With the Dolphins getting CB Byron Jones back into the lineup, they match up well with the 49ers’ young receivers.
Look for QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to make enough plays to keep them in this game and pull off a massive upset Sunday afternoon.
Arguably the most interesting game of the week features two unlikely 3-1 teams in the Indianapolis Colts and Cleveland Browns. With Cleveland being at home and Indianapolis suffering a few injuries to its linebacker corps, don’t be surprised if the Browns have a ton of success on the ground once again.
This looks like a game in which the Browns will need QB Baker Mayfield to create a few plays down the field, and he certainly has the weapons to do so. Look for this to be a back-and-forth contest with Cleveland ultimately covering the 1-point spread and winning outright at home.
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The Falcons host the Panthers in Week 5 coming off a tough Week 4 road loss against the Green Bay Packers. Carolina has one of the worst defenses in the NFL and the Falcons should have no problem at all throwing on the Panthers.
While Falcons WR Julio Jones‘ status is up in the air, take the Falcons with confidence despite their 0-4 record. They are just a bad matchup for the young Panthers in Week 5.
To increase the odds of this parlay some more, we need to pick another underdog. That’s why I am suggesting you consider betting on the Eagles to upset the Steelers in Pittsburgh.
The Steelers are coming off an unplanned bye week and it wouldn’t be a shock if they came out a bit rusty in this contest. The Eagles have historically played well against the Steelers, winning 12 of their last 17 meetings. If they can protect QB Carson Wentz, don’t be surprised if he carves up this secondary. Expect this to be a close contest throughout as it will likely come down to the final possession.
If this parlay makes it to Monday Night Football, it wouldn’t be the worst idea to consider hedging considering the potential payout, but for the final leg of our parlay, we’ll be taking the Saints with the points against the Chargers.
The Saints have been incredible against AFC opponents, losing just once in their last 12 games. With this game scheduled to be played in New Orleans on primetime, expect both sides of the ball to show up for the Saints. It could prove to be too big of a stage for rookie QB Justin Herbert and that’s why it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Saints won this game by double digits.
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Before you can learn how to make parlay cards, you need to have a good understanding of what a parlay is and how it works. I cover parlay bets, especially football parlays, in detail in the beginning of this post.
I offer advice about how to actually make the parlay cards later in this post, too.
(By the way, parlays are also often called accumulator or combination bets, but parlay is the most common term used in American sports betting.)
A parlay bet is a single bet on multiple outcomes. It’s basically a combination of bets, and the parlay only wins if all the outcomes win. Those bets are listed on a parlay card.
Having multiple bets in play at one time provides you with a bigger payout, but you also have a smaller probability of winning.
I like to think of things in terms of casino bets, so I think of a parlay as being like a bet that you’ll win black twice in a row on the roulette table. If you win, you might get paid off at 3 to 1 instead of the usual even money action. But your probability of winning 2 bets in a row is obviously much lower.
But parlays are usually thought of in terms of sports. And most sports parlays consist of 2 to 10 different bets on the same card.
For example, you might choose 4 football teams to win their games this Sunday:
You COULD just place a single bet on each of those games, and that would be fun.
But if you place a bet on all 4 of them on a parlay, you’ll win more than you would even if you won the 4 individual bets.
And you only win the parlay bet if you’re right about all 4 teams. If even one team on your parlay loses, you’ve lost the bet.
You could also face a situation where one of the games tie. That’s called a “push.” If that happens, you don’t lose your parlay, but you’re only paid off as if you’d placed a smaller parlay—it’s as if that game didn’t exist on your card.
In the example above, where you’re betting on 4 games at the same time, if one of the games resulted in a tie, you’d get paid off as if you’d bet on a 3-game parlay. It’s a smaller payoff, but that’s better than a loss.
It should go without saying that the more games on the parlay card, the lower your odds of winning are. That’s because the odds of multiple things happening get multiplied by each other.
Let’s say that each of the teams on your 4-game parlay above have a 50% probability of winning. The probability that all 4 of them will win is:
50% X 50% X 50% X 50%, or 6.25%. That’s the same thing as 16 to 1 odds.
A 4-team parlay bet usually pays off at 13 to 1. Cards against humanity drinking game. If you bet $100 on that parlay and won, you’d win $1300.
The payouts are correspondingly higher, too.
Notice the discrepancy between the odds on the payout and the odds of winning. That difference is the vigorish, or “vig,” which is where the sports book makes its money.
Here’s how that amounts to a profit for the book:
That’s not a bad profit margin.
In most gambling businesses, the company makes its money by offering payout odds that are lower than the odds of winning. If you think of the odds as being similar to a fraction, you’ll understand why 1 in 16 is smaller than 1 in 13, even though 13 is smaller than 16. (It’s the same thing as saying 1/14 or 1/17.)
A 10-team parlay can make for a huge payout, by the way. A payout of 825 to 1 wouldn’t be unusual for such a bet, but the probability of winning that bet are bigger than that—1023 to 1.
Bet $100 on a 10-parlay, and you’re looking at winnings of $82,500.
This is a profitable parlay for the sportsbook, too, if you look at it statistically:
The book makes a smaller percentage profit, but on that kind of action, they can afford a smaller percentage profit.
If you think of it in terms of “the house edge,” like you would a casino game, you’re talking about a house edge that’s still 19.43%.
If you’re good at picking winners, you could theoretically make a profitable bet on a parlay. If, for example, you’re right 55% of the time instead of 50% of the time, your probability of winning the 4-game parlay skyrockets:
55% X 55% X 55% X 55% is 9.15%, or about 11 to 1.
With a 13 to 1 payout, it’s easy to see how a bettor comes out ahead, statistically.
You place 12 bets, and you win 1 of them. You have $1200 invested, but on the one bet you win, you win $1300. That’s a profit of $100 over 12 bets, or $8.33 per bet.
Getting an edge of 8.33% when you’re gambling is huge, by the way. You can’t get an edge like that even if you’re counting cards professionally (unless you’re also doing things like shuffle tracking, edge sorting, and/or hole carding, but that’s an entirely different blog post.)
So far, the only examples I’ve used have been for bets on who’s going to win a football game. Parlay cards aren’t limited to the most basic bets, though. You can also place any of the following parlays at various sportsbooks:
A moneyline bet is one that doesn’t account for the point spread. You bet on who’s going to win, regardless of the strength of the teams. The payouts for bets on the favorite in a moneyline bet are smaller—sometimes MUCH smaller.
But if you can find an underdog or 2 that are going to pull off an upset, you can get a big payout on a parlay made up of moneyline bets.
An over/under bet is a bet on the total points scored in a game. The over/under is set by the handicappers at the sportsbooks, who project the final scores of each game. To get the total, you just add the scores for both teams together.
If the handicappers expect a high scoring game, the over/under will be a higher number than if they expect a low scoring game. Theoretically, the over/under number is set in such a way to give you a 50/50 probability of winning.
Combining multiple bets on the over/under can be a fun way to place a parlay bet.
A pleaser is a point spread bet where you’re given the opportunity to move the point spread to make it more likely that the book will win. You get a higher payout if you win, though.
A point spread bet is a bet on who’s going to win the game, but the strength of the teams are accounted for by giving the underdog points. This is the most common way to place a football bet, and if you’re making a single wager, you get an even money payout.
The point spread is set (theoretically) so that you get a 50/50 probability of winning.
A teaser is like a pleaser, only instead of moving the point spread to favor the book, you get to move the point spread to favor you. You get a lower payout if you win, though.
Teasers and pleasers are also available for over/under bets.
You can find various websites where you can create your own parlay cards and print them. It would be best to print them on cardstock if you go this route.
Some of these sites even offer you parlay cards that already have all the numbers on them, but you can also choose to create your own numbers with their software.
ParlayCardsNow.com is one site which offers either option. You just input how you want the header to read, the name and date you want printed on the card, and your organization’s logo.
Then you have multiple lines where you can input the favorite and the underdog for each game in the parlay. You can also include the line (the point spread) and the over/under. Finally, you would include a section for the rules of the parlay and the payouts for the winners.
The parlay cards come out as PDF’s when you use the software on this site to create your parlay cards. They suggest that you uncheck the box that reads “fit to printable area,” as different printers have different parameters.
For their standard cards, this site uses Vegas odds, and the payoffs are as follows:
Of course, websites like this are in business to make money. They charge fees to access these cards, which can be bought on a weekly, 4-week, or season basis for $20, $60, or $140, respectively.
Another option would be to just find someone who has a little knowledge of how to create printable forms in Excel and have them design printable parlay cards for you. You’d probably need to give them an example to work from, but it wouldn’t be hard for them to create something you could use and re-use.
You’d be responsible for finding the point spreads for the games on the parlay card, though. This might be more trouble than you want to go to, but if you’re doing a lot of business taking action on parlays—maybe you’re getting your own bookmaking operation going—it’s probably worth the investment.
A parlay bet is one of the most entertaining bets a sports bettor can make, so if you’re running a bookmaking operation—even on a small basis—it’s probably worth offering these. It’s a combination bet that only pays off if the bettors gets all the bets in the combination right.
If you’re an individual sports bettor, you don’t have to worry about printing your parlay cards. The bookie you’re doing business with should be able to provide you with them. The trick is to beat the odds and win the payout.
The easiest way to make parlay cards is to use a subscription-based site that offers such functionality. Failing that, you just need to find a spreadsheet guru who can create fillable forms for you to use.