For savvy sports bettors, the parlay ticket is a sure sign of inexperience when making wagers, and a surefire way to part ways with a bankroll.
And in the precision field of betting on National Football League games, linking even two games together in a parlay ticket can reduce one’s expected value from right around 50/50 to longshot status. Simply put, in the age of perpetual parity, it’s difficult enough to nail a single NFL game correctly. Nailing two or more is just asking for trouble with odds against that are too steep to overcome.
So when news broke out of Nevada about a lucky bettor landing a 15-game parlay ticket, turning a $5 bill into more than $85,000 in the process, the story was sure to be passed around betting parlors throughout the country. Sure enough, ESPN Chalk writer David Payne Purdum tweeted out an image of the winning 15-legger on Tuesday, November 22 – less than 24 hours after the Monday Night Football final made things official.
The improbable string of correct picks occurred during Week 11 action, as part of the William Hill Sportsbook’s “Pro Football Progressive Parlay Contest.” Available within any William Hill-operated sportsbook or sports betting kiosk – dozens of which can be found throughout Las Vegas and the state of Nevada – the Pro Football Progressive Parlay Contest requires players to select 15 picks from the week’s slate of NFL action.
The entry fee is just $5, and players are permitted to enter as many tickets as they’d like in hopes of landing the progressive jackpot, which is seeded at $10,000 and rolls over each week that goes by without a winner. As for the picks, they are made straight up rather than against the spread.
In this case, with four teams (Atlanta, Denver, New York Jets, San Diego) enjoying their bye over Week 11, that left 13 games on the schedule from which to pick. In order to meet the 15-pick threshold, William Hill’s rules stipulate that selected Over/Under totals will be included to compensate.
As a result, the winning ticket held 13 game picks and two Total picks heading into Week 11’s Thursday action:
When they could, the winning bettor played things close to the vest, selecting favorites like the Patriots and Steelers to down overmatched doormats in the 49ers and Browns, respectively. But for the most part, Week 11 offered a balanced set of games pitting evenly matched teams against one another, and the winner correctly chose every one.
In terms of major upsets, the winning ticket correctly called the Buccaneers beating the Chiefs and the Redskins rolling over the Packers.
When it came to big sweats, the winner needed a 10-point fourth quarter burst from the Lions to nip the Jaguars, and 13 points coupled with a shutout in the second half from the Giants to beat the Bears.
The coup de grace was delivered by the Dolphins though, a team that managed to convert zero first downs while getting shutout over three-plus quarters versus the Rams. Down 10-0 with just six minutes left, quarterback Ryan Tannehill expertly directed two touchdown drives to save the winning ticket – and $85,095 for one fortunate bettor.