This is our guilty pleasure. The one parlay we’ll play each week in the name of responsible betting and bankroll management. It just happened to win in Week 1.
The big cash went out the window early when the 49ers ran over the Steelers in the first half and a controversial ruling hurt the Titans‘ chances of victory and a medium win for us. But the Lions, Buccaneers, and Raiders scored upsets to net about a unit and a half. You can’t go broke turning a profit – and a 4-1 ATS record helps – so we’re back for more underdog fun.
How it works
We parlay five underdogs together – which we also bet against the spread – in 10 different three-team parlays. Using every combination of a three-team parlay is called a round robin, so we’ll use a total of 1.1 units to make 11 different bets: 10 three-team parlays and one five-team parlay, each for .1 units. You’ll likely double your money if three teams pull off the upset. If four teams win, you’re connecting on four separate parlays and will be very pleased with the return. If all five teams win, you’ll be diving into a gold doubloon silo like a young Scrooge McDuck.
Who to play
Ravens (+160) over Bengals
You can blame it on the rain all you want, but there shouldn’t be any excuses for the Bengals‘ offense averaging a league-low 2.6 yards per play in Week 1. Like many other star quarterbacks, Joe Burrow didn’t play in the preseason, but unlike his peers, he had to miss practice time with an injury to his calf. One week – plus a location change and the opponent – may put all the pieces back into place. But let’s bet on the Ravens – despite a suboptimal injury report – since they’re clicking at a higher frequency and still have enough on defense to replicate their effort in last season’s wild-card round when they held the Bengals to 4.2 YPP.
Titans (+140) over Chargers
Ryan Tannehill played poorly in New Orleans, but the Titans almost won anyway. Not only did he skip preseason action, but he also missed much of the end of last season. The Chargers‘ defense might be catching a break because it got roasted by a scary Dolphins offense, but the Titans will attack the inside and outside of that unit at home in Nashville. Tennessee came up short last week, but Mike Vrabel’s record as an underdog is impeccable, improving to 61.5%. The Titans are more than live this week.
Raiders (+325) over Bills
It sure didn’t look like Zach Wilson was much of a threat in relief of Aaron Rodgers on Monday night, but the Bills gave up a massive run and a couple of chunk plays to the Jets‘ tailbacks in the passing game. New York was 5-for-5 when it threw to its top receiver. Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams can have the same success but at a higher volume. Given the short week, Josh Allen’s proclivity for turning the ball over won’t get fixed, which creates the possibility of a surprising result.
Cardinals (+200) over Giants
The Week 1 numbers weren’t pretty for the Cardinals on offense. They recorded 3.6 yards per play in Washington, but having watched every play, the effort was there. That effort was on clearer display in their defense, as it was more than a little frisky in causing problems for Sam Howell. They also gave up just 3.3 yards per carry.
The Giants tied the Bengals for yards per play futility in Week 1, so the Cardinals can hold up against their run game, forcing Daniel Jones into being pass-heavy and reliant on the protection of his offensive line. Meanwhile, another week of reps for Joshua Dobbs – with a better idea of what worked for the offense last week – might even get the Cardinals closer to functional offensively, which might be enough for a win.
Commanders (+167) over Broncos
If the Broncos can lose at home to the Raiders, they can fall to the Commanders. That’s hard to do without giving up much of anything on the ground to last year’s leading rusher, Josh Jacobs (48 yards on 19 carries). For all the hoopla over Sean Payton, the Broncos managed just 4.5 yards per play against a Raiders defense no one thought that highly of. Now they’ve got to deal with the Commanders’ defensive line, which all but won them their opener.
How the odds look this week:
Who are your five underdogs for a football betting lottery ticket?
Matt Russell is the lead betting analyst for theScore. If there’s a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on social media @mrussauthentic.
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Week 2 round-robin underdog parlay: Target locked on vulnerable Bills