Sports Betting Lesson From NFL Week 10: The Risk Of Parlaying Huge Favorites

Written By Matt Perrault on November 13, 2019

Just in case you didn’t know already, betting on football can make zero sense sometimes and there is nothing any of us can do about it.

In Week 10 of the NFL, there were three games where the point spreads were over double digits. Two of them had a huge impact on the Sunday numbers:

  • The Dolphins were on the road catching 10.5 points against the Colts. Miami had one win in eight tries going into the game while the Colts are in the middle of a massive fight for their division. Indianapolis. Miami won the game outright to earn its second win of the season.
  • The New Orleans Saints were at home facing a one-win Atlanta Falcons squad. This looked like a layup Saints victory; there wasn’t a game with a bigger line than the Falcons catching 14.5 points against their divisional rival. In the biggest surprise result of the season so far, Atlanta beat the Saints outright 26-9.

Big favorites = bigger disappointment

NFL home favorites are now 37-57-3 ATS this season, a stat that was widely reported on Monday following the Sunday games. That’s incredible given that teams get three points on average for playing in front of their fans because the thought is that there is an advantage to playing at home. Not so much this season when you factor in the point spreads.

I’m highlighting those two games specifically because they were the outcomes that broke up the most moneyline parlays and teaser bets at sportsbooks across the country on Sunday. It was another massive weekend for the books because shocking outcomes often equals a profitable day for their side of the counter.

While I do like teasing NFL lines in select situations, parlays are still a practice that I don’t believe is profitable in the long term. The Saints loss was the biggest decision of the year for some books because of how many bettors used that game either for straight bets, teasers, or parlays. When you start combining games in order to reduce the size of your wager and increase the potential payout, the odds get longer and longer against you cashing the ticket. In other words, it’s harder and harder to win when you do that.

Also, books love to advertise when a bettor hits on a Hail Mary play. A bettor in New Jersey placed a $5 six-team parlay at Sugarhouse Sportsbook in New Jersey on Sunday and hit for $1,400. That gambler had the Dolphins and Falcons money line as part of their card. That’s not sports betting; that’s playing the lottery. I get why it’s fun but it’s just not a smart way to bet each week.

When the unpredictable happens in the NFL, you have to be able to absorb the hit. If you are parlaying and teasing every weekend, you are setting yourself up for failure far more often than not.

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