Welcome to the first installment of a series investigating and building Same Game Parlays. My name is Alex Pendergrass (@Alex88 on Discord, @ajp88 on Twitter), and I’ll be providing these articles for our subscribers each week.
Who am I, and why should you care?
I’ve provided freelance work for One Week Season for the past two years, primarily as a researcher supporting their weekly, in-depth matchups column called the NFL Edge. I’ve also contributed best ball content there, centered around how to play intelligently on the DraftKings platform as opposed to Underdog, as well as looking at best ball contest selection across the industry landscape, and a few tools and general data analysis work as requested. (I work as a digital data analyst in my day job.)
I’ve been a winning sports bettor since it became legalized in the state of Michigan (just prior to the 2020 Season Super Bowl, KC vs. TB). Much of my success comes from balancing basic, single-wager prop bets with entering Same Game Parlay tickets for swings at outsized returns.
Why Same Game Parlays?
Well, not for nothing, but they’re so much fun to sweat! Moreover, balancing your bets with wagers considered more recreational can help to keep sportsbooks from flagging your account. For someone with a mortgage and a toddler like myself, my bankroll can’t support the heavy volume needed to make substantial profit (in real dollar terms) from simple single bet wagers. Same Game Parlays allow for outsized returns on investment. In most cases, we can use correlation to our advantage. If our notion on how the game plays out is correct, then these things most likely happen. We’re giving ourselves fewer things we have to get right, as JMToWin always preaches. If, for instance, we’re correct that Houston’s offensive line is overmatched, then it’s likely that taking under lines on multiple members of their team will be a winning strategy. And lastly, they’re beatable when played correctly. More on that in a moment.
For those unfamiliar, a Same Game Parlay (called various things by different sportsbooks, but we’ll shorten it to SGP) is a type of bet in which multiple wagers (legs) from the same sporting event are combined into one overall wager. Miss a single leg of the parlay and the entire bet is lost.
For example, let’s take this FanDuel ticket of mine from last season’s Week 4 matchup with Seattle visiting Detroit:
This SGP had seven legs, which I would term to be aggressive (a style I’m comfortable with), all of which had to be achieved in order for the bet to be a winner. It just so happened that I was assigned this game in my research responsibilities for OWS (a common theme in my winning tickets).
These teams had met in Week 17 the prior year for an 80-point bonanza, Detroit was exhibiting extreme aggression in the first few weeks of 2022, Seattle’s pass rate over expectation was turning heads, and both teams were above average in tempo. With injuries to both Amon-Ra St. Brown and D’Andre Swift, one might expect a down game. But both defenses were atrocious, and I thought the likelihood for a shootout was worth exploration. As you can see, the only player who didn’t obliterate their line was a backup WR for Detroit.
I’ve moved more and more of my DFS allocation over to SGPs because my winnings have nothing to do with ownership or roster construction. If my inclination on a possible game flow outcome occurs, I can win. And that’s how I play them, by examining the data and following down the possible story paths that present themselves.
Sometimes I tell some intricate tales…
Sometimes they’re heartbreakers…
(Combining a SGP with additional wagers from other events is called a SGP+ on FanDuel, SGPx on DraftKings; I’ll stick with SGP+ should I recommend one here.)
Often, what I like to do is tell multiple versions of the same story, so that if my base interpretation of a game is correct, I can profit and fund bigger swings:
The point is, we will have some fun together this season. We won’t always win, but I can promise each slip will be well-reasoned. And when we do win, and each of the stories is told, the return will be great.
SGPs should be wagered responsibly, using disciplined and intelligent single wagers to help bankroll our swings and endure variance (not unlike playing GPPs). Sprinkle these in alongside the excellent wagers from the betting team here at Fantasy Points. Hopefully, as we take this journey together, you’ll learn to construct your own well-made SGPs that can give you strong shots at outsize returns too.
Now let’s get to the goods.
DETROIT LIONS @ KANSAS CITY CHIEFS - KC -4.5 - O/U 53 [DK]
My beloved Lions were given the honor to open the 2023 NFL Season, and they seem poised to deliver yet another barnburner. Travis Kelce’s injury uncertainty, and Kadarius Toney’s potential injury return, have severely diminished the options available to us as sportsbooks have pulled many of the lines for KC’s tertiary offensive pieces. On DK and Caesar’s, currently only MVS, Skyy Moore, and Jerick McKinnon are available for receiving totals. On FD, just MVS and Skyy. I’d have liked to explore options (particularly unders) for players like Toney, Rashee Rice, Richie James, and Justyn Ross. But we must take what they give us.
The Lions possess one of the league’s best offensive lines, returning all four starters plus Vaitai, who would have started were he not injured last season. Meanwhile, KC’s Chris Jones is holding out for a more lucrative deal. Per CBS Sports, with Jones on the field, KC’s pressure rate ranks as the fourth-best team. Without him, they rank as the fourth worst. Opponents average 4.3 yards per carry with Jones on the field. That number jumps to 5.8 YPC with him off the field, per The Action Network. That’s a perfect recipe for allowing this aggressive offense to thrive on the big stage.
One fairly conservative option could be something like this on DK:
The Lions lean into their trench advantage, utilizing both backs and target-hog Amon-Ra. Meanwhile, Mahomes does what he does best, Skyy Moore sees increased opportunity, and the game can cruise to an over on a lower alternative total.
It’s important to line shop, particularly when it comes to SGPs. Typically, DK has some of the worst odds for individual lines, but they offer more options with multiple alternatives for over and under legs for many players across the statistical categories. FD often gives the best odds, but their line options are limited. Caesar’s is a bit of a mix, and all three have enticing promotions from time to time (as you probably noticed in many of my earlier slips).
For example, a nearly identical ticket on FD produced better odds with two lower legs and one slightly higher one.
Meanwhile, on Caesar’s, alternate lines for Amon-Ra and game totals are unavailable, and the legs are quite juiced. The Mahomes leg is -550 there, whereas it’s -320 on FD, and -240 on DK. Doing my best to recreate the spirit of this story, here’s the slip I came up with:
Way better odds for us, but we also need the game to hit the over on its actual game total. Still, I don’t hate it.
In terms of offers, FD has available a 50% profit boost for any wager on this game (including SGPs). DK is offering a No Sweat token for each game day of Week 1 (Thursday, Sunday, & Monday) which, when applied, will credit back up to $10 as a bonus bet if you wager loses (including SGPs). And Caesar’s has a 50% profit boost for SGPs in this game only (minimum odds +400).
All three promos seem like decent fits for these stories, although my preference is to use boosts on more conservative tickets and risk-free tokens or free bets on aggressive tickets.
As an example of an aggressive ticket, consider the possibility that Mahomes is the reigning MVP, Super Bowl Champion and MVP, and quite possibly the greatest QB in the history of the sport coached by arguably the finest offensive mind. Consider also that Dan Campbell’s Lions laugh at fourth downs, were one of the most efficient offenses in the league last year and are returning, or have improved upon, all of their key pieces. What if we get the show that this game has a chance to become? Remember the last time Goff and Mahomes played?
Or more simply:
Or if we really want to get loose:
(Can you see what I mean about FD having the best odds?)
(Caesar’s won’t allow two legs from Mahomes on the same wager.)
Those are all examples of what I think are perfectly reasonable, high-upside stories that tonight’s game could tell. I’ll certainly be playing versions of them all in some way. But for our official tracking purposes, here are the tickets I’m rolling with.
Basic ticket (1 unit because the NFL is back):
I’ve switched to Gibbs receiving yardage here. KC’s defense was routinely exploited by RB receptions (probably a consequence of teams dumping it off). During the regular season, RBs saw 7.9 targets per game (2nd most) for 46.8 receiving yards (4th most). I think Ben Johnson will look to exploit that weakness with their new asset. I’m also applying the boost here.
Aggressive ticket (.25 units):
This simply mixes some reasonable, higher alternative legs with the lower ones. I toyed with including TD scorers, but we’ll leave that off for tonight’s game.
Good luck tonight, and enjoy the game!