Parlay bets are a fun way to build your bankroll fast. However, the extra rewards come with extra risk — if you aren’t careful, parlays will burn through your bankroll faster than you can break even.
Fortunately, PointsBet offers users a $25 risk-free bet on their first NFL single-game parlay. So with nothing to lose (and bankroll to gain), how should you attack Thursday night’s action? For starters, expect to see me feature quite a few overs in this column. Since 2017, the over has hit in 60% of games played on Thursday; in 2020, it hit in 57.1% of the time. I suspect that’s due to a lack of adequate rest and preparation, both of which make life hard for defensive players.
I advise that you approach this column as a strong parlay that features a handful of smart straight bets. I’ll include recommended unit sizes for each play, along with a recommended parlay size.
Parlay YTD: 0-0-0 (+0u)
Straight Bets YTD: 0-0-0 (+0u)
Leg #1. Dak Prescott o39.5 Pass Attempts | -115 at PointsBet
Straight Bet Size: 1u
I love this play. First, the 8.5-point spread suggests that Dallas will get stuck playing from behind. If they do, Prescott will have to attempt a ton of passes to keep up. That’s what happened last season — Prescott was averaging 50.3 attempts per game before he went down in Week 5. He cashed the over in all but one game, a three-point loss to the Rams.
Next, the Cowboys will struggle to run the ball against the Buccaneers. Dallas won’t have star guard Zack Martin, and that’s a huge problem against a team like Tampa Bay. Last year, they ranked first in defensive efficiency against the run by a wide margin. They also gave up a league-low 3.6 adjusted line yards. Offseason departures aren’t an issue for them, either, as they’ll return all 11 defensive starters. Since Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard should get stuffed on the ground, the Cowboys will have to look to their passing game for offensive production.
Leg #2. CeeDee Lamb 50+ Receiving Yards | -200 at PointsBet
Straight Bet Size: 1u
Since I expect Prescott to heave up quite a few passes, it follows that I expect Lamb to get quite a few receiving yards. The sophomore wide receiver was averaging 77.3 receiving yards per game before Prescott’s injury, and he went over this total in all four matchups. Lamb’s 14.71 yards per reception through that span suggests that he’ll need just four passes to sail over this line, but Prescott may reduce his average depth of throw as he eases back into action.
The Cowboys left Lamb in the slot for 84.7% of his snaps last season, which means he’ll probably line up against slot corner Sean Murphy-Bunting. Although Murphy-Bunting nabbed three picks in the playoffs, he finished the regular season with a bad grade from ProFootballFocus (55.9), and ball-hawking heroics won’t keep Lamb from getting enough yards to sail over this line.
Leg #3. Tampa Bay 3-Way ML | -320 at PointsBet
Straight Bet Size: N/A
The Buccaneers will almost certainly win this game for the reasons I’ve outlined above. Of course, I expect them to win by a wider margin than a single point, but I don’t know if they’ll cover the standard 8.5-point spread. PointsBet offers an alternative spread of 3.5 points, but the parlay’s total juice with this moneyline (+196) isn’t far off from the value on that play (+215), so I’ll take the safer option.
Total Odds: +196 at PointsBet
Parlay Bet Size: 1u
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