5 Tips to Win More Same Game Parlays
Same game parlays are quite popular among casual sports bettors these days. It’s fun to just throw a few picks together and have a bit of a solo fantasy football Sunday of your own. You get to cheer for a few things to happen and hope for a big payday.
If you take a look at the sportsbook revenues, though, you’ll see that these same game parlays actually generate a lot of money for the books. The books will tweet out the one player who won thousands from a dollar bet on a miraculous same game parlay. What they won’t tell you is how many other players were on the losing end of similar types of dart throws.
Sharp sports bettors mostly avoid them but are there times when these types of wagers can make sense? We’re taking a closer look at a few tricks to consider with same game parlays.
Add An “Easy” Selection
With NFL betting, there’s nothing easy. However, there are some selections you can make where logic and the odds are in your favor. That can sometimes help you out in a same game parlay.
If you’re sifting through the menu of what you can include in the SGP, you can often find something with odds of -5000 or greater. That might be an alternate total or spread. If the total for the game is sitting at 40, an alternate spread with a line of 55 will have a huge line on the under. Obviously, you’re getting an extra 15 points, so that gives you a much better opportunity of hitting that under. At the same time, you’ll have to pay for it.
Typically, the only reason you want to do these types of selections in a SGP is if want to trigger a bonus or promotion. For example, maybe a sportsbook has offered you a free $5 same game parlay but you have to have at least three legs in it. Maybe your first two are risky but for your third, you just want to make it easy (or easier) to improve your chances of winning. Yes, it’ll cost you on the payout but some sharp sports bettors will prefer a higher percentage chance of winning a smaller amount than a smaller percentage chance of hitting a big win. This gives you that opportunity.
If you want to trigger a bonus or promo, or if you just want to add a tiny bit of pop to your payout, you can try this method.
Look For Correlation
You might not know the full history of same game parlays but it’s worth a quick look back in time. Sports betting has been around for about a half century – at least the above the table version – and for almost all of that entire time, correlated parlays were a big no-no. That’s because the house felt that they were vulnerable if a better found a correlation and took advantage of a possible big payday in a parlay. An example of a correlation would be the Kansas City Chiefs to win and Patrick Mahomes to throw a touchdown. The correlation is that if Mahomes throws a touchdown, more likely to win. Or if the Chiefs win, it’s likely because Mahomes as thrown a touchdown. At any rate, sportsbooks almost universally barred anything that even looked like a correlation.
Right around 2020, we saw technological advances in sports betting that allowed same game parlays to be something that the books could offer. The payouts are somewhat muted and the parlay odds are not the same as they would be if you played a regular parlay, but now that the house is protected on that end, they can offer same game parlays to patrons. So all of that being said, now that you have the opportunity to bring in correlation, you want to use it.
Let’s say the Kansas City Chiefs are playing the Philadelphia Eagles. Some players will play a same game parlay that might look something like this:
- Kansas City Chiefs to win
- Jalen Hurts rushing touchdown
- No touchdown in the first quarter
In this case, you have three selections that really aren’t all that correlated. If the Chiefs win, maybe there’s a touchdown in the first quarter and maybe not. If they win, maybe Hurts scores and maybe he doesn’t. And the latter two aren’t really correlated either. None of these selections really “stack”, so you need three separate outcomes to hit and there’s no real connection.
An example of a same game parlay that has some correlation might look something like this:
- Kansas City Chiefs to win
- Patrick Mahomes over 0.5 passing touchdowns
- Travis Kelce anytime touchdown
In this same game parlay, the theme of is clearly that the Chiefs are going to have a good day. They’re going to win and their offensive stars will deliver. That sort of makes sense, though, doesn’t it? If the Chiefs win, it’s likely that Mahomes is leading the way. They’ll have to score points and they’re typically a pass-based offense. And Kelce is one of the best tight end and red zone weapons in the league.
Separately, there’s a direct correlation between the latter two props. If Kelce scores, it’s very likely that Mahomes goes over his 0.5 passing touchdowns. Sure, there’s a chance that Kelce runs a touchdown in or maybe recovers a fumble or maybe Mahomes gets knocked out for a few plays and the backup hits Kelce in the end zone. The more likely scenario is that if Kelce scores, he’s on the receiving end of a Mahomes pass.
At any rate, this parlay has clear correlation and follows a clear theme. That correlation is something you want to think about as it can assist you when playing these parlays.
Understand That House Jacks Up The Juice
We’re not going to get too nerdy with the math here but it is important to note that the juice on same game parlays is higher than normal. How the sportsbooks do the math is a bit of a black box but they essentially account for the correlations. That means that your payouts are lowered whenever there actually is a correlation or if they even perceive there to be one (and there isn’t). They don’t have to justify anything, so they’ll charge you whether you like it or not. If you’re good at math and understand the odds well, you can get an idea for how much they’re charging you by choosing the selections individually rather than in a parlay. For example, if the same game parlay was $100 on the Chiefs to win, Mahomes to throw a touchdown and Kelce to score a touchdown, you could do $100 on each individually and see where you’d end up.
The crown is yours @DavidFrankFair 👑
This bettor just turned $1K ➡️ $99K on this 3-leg MLB parlay! pic.twitter.com/9uWxy5PDHT
— DraftKings Sportsbook (@DKSportsbook) July 23, 2023
Almost every book will jack up the juice on same game parlays and you simply need to be aware of it. With the drop in odds, it usually means that these are not really worth your time. Many recreational bettors don’t care to look at the odds and will simply play these blindly. Sharp sports bettors will often avoid these.
Take Advantage Of “Questionable” Situations
Now that we know that the odds aren’t really in your favor in standard same game parlays, let’s look at one scenario where you can find an edge: when players are questionable. Sportsbooks know that they have to stay on top of the lines and adjust for injuries, but nowadays, bettors can beat them to the punch. What you want to do is watch for high usage players who are questionable and start planning out how their absence will impact the game.
A good example of this would be let’s say Saquon Barkley is questionable to play for the New York Giants this week. The star running back is dealing with a rib injury and is questionable. If he gets listed as Out, the sportsbooks will quickly move to adjust the spread, moneyline and total, but the player prop adjustments will take more time. That’s where you can jump in.
Let’s say Barkley gets 15 carries a game. If he’s out, it’s not as if the 15 carries just disappear; someone else will be running the ball. If you’re on top of the news, you can play a same game parlay and include the backup to go over yards and score a touchdown. If the book hasn’t reacted to the news yet, your payout will be far more generous than after they do.
Look for high usage players that are questionable to play. Then play out your parlay and see who will benefit. Then try to get a jump before the books adjust all of the lines.
Check The Odds For The Same Parlay At Different Books
The fastest approach to playing a same game parlay is to open whatever your favorite book is, punch in a few selections and lock it in. The smartest way to approach these parlays is to shop around. You’d be surprised as to how much the price can vary.
Many people associate line shopping with totals or moneylines or spreads, but parlays are critically important too. You’re already investing in something risky, you may as well get the best payout for it.
When you’ve completed your research and have your selections set for your same game parlay, make sure you go to a few other sportsbooks and punch in the same parlay. Is the payout comparable or are you getting shortchanged? The payouts can vary quite dramatically.
And remember that some sportsbooks incentivize same game parlays too. Maybe there’s a Sunday promo at DraftKings where you can get a 25% boost on your Same Game Parlay. Or maybe MGM is offering Same Game Parlay insurance. You want to take these things into account as they’ll give that book an edge over the competition. If you don’t shop around, though, you’re likely going to miss out.
Tread Carefully With Same Game Parlays
Same game parlays can be a sucker’s bet. Many casual bettors will just throw a Hail Mary up and hope for the best. That’s not a great strategy for making a profit with these, though. What you’d rather do is play a very calculated, correlated same game parlay. And you’d rather do it when you have an edge on the news or odds or something else to beat the books. Otherwise, just know that the odds aren’t really in your favor with this type of bet.