Shop around for the best possible parlay odds. As with all gambling lines, you can often find that different sports books will have different odds on the games and different payouts and plays such as parlays. If two books are using the same lines on the games, but one is offering a 10 to 1 payout on your bet and the other an 11 to 1 payout, it is wise to bet with the second book.
Create two columns in a spreadsheet, with the top cell in the first column labeled "Teams" and the cell to the right of it labeling the second column as "Payout." This heading system works for a simple all-or-nothing parlay bet. If you are placing a graduated bet, in which partial payouts are given for missing only a small portion of the teams bet, skip to Step 4.
Enter the numbers 2 through 16 in the cells below the Teams heading (as there are 32 NFL teams, 16 teams is the maximum size of a one-week parlay) and the corresponding payout values in the cell next to the number of teams bet.
Label the top left cell in a new spreadsheet "Teams" and the cells next to it "0 Losses," "1 Loss," "2 Losses" and so on, up to the maximum number of bets that can be lost without losing your parlay bet according to the book of choice's payout system.
Label the cells below "Teams" 2 through 16, as in Step 3, then label the cells under the number of losses columns with the corresponding payouts. With smaller parlays, no additional payouts beyond a perfect parlay will be available. On larger parlays with a graduated payout, however, payout will be available in smaller amounts, even with one or more losses.
Adjust the size of the cells in the graduated parlay card if you intend to use tokens to mark your parlay progress. To mark progress, stack a number of tokens equal to one more than the teams bet on the cell under "0 Losses" next to the number of teams bet. Every time a game finishes that is in your parlay, remove one token, whether you picked it correct or not. Every time a team you picked loses, slide the stack of tokens one cell to the right. Wherever the final token rests after the games are done shows your payout.
Print out the sheets and keep them with you for quick reference on the odds available with your book of choice.