Seasoned bettors are likely familiar with the teaser bet. But some beginning bettors might not know what these unique and exotic sports wagers entail. We are here to explain everything about a teaser bet; what it is, how it works, and the best way to use this option in your overall sports betting strategy.
Like a parlay, a teaser is a wager that involves multiple games — two or more — and you must be correct in all of the games in order to cash your ticket and win the bet. Teaser bets are most common in football and basketball — the against the spread sports . What makes teasers unique, however, is that you get to adjust the odds in your favor. A typical NFL or college football teaser, for example, is six points. That means that you get to subtract six points the spread of a favorite and add six points to the spread of an underdog. For example, a -13 favorite would become -7 in a six-point teaser, while a +8 underdog would become +14.
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Teaser Sports Betting: Teaser Bet Explained
Online sportsbooks allow for up to 10-team teasers, or sometimes more, with odds greatly increasing, and some sportsbooks allow for up to 10-point to 13-point sweetheart teasers where a bettor drastically changes the line in exchange for drastically lower odds.
While football and basketball are the two main sports with which sportsbooks offer teaser bets, not all teasers are created equal. Just think about the numbers for a moment. The average NBA total is above 200 combined points for both teams. And the average NFL total is in the 40s. But the standard football teaser (at anywhere from -110 to -120 juice, depending on the sportsbook) allows you to move the spread six points for each matchup on the ticket, while a basketball teaser offers only 4.5 points at the same odds. There is obviously a lot more scoring in a basketball game, but you have to pay more for the extra points. That's why most sharp bettors stay away from basketball teasers and stick with six-point football teasers, which we will discuss in more detail later in this article.
How Does a Teaser Bet Work?
The payout in a teaser doesn't change because of the teams involved – the payout is at a fixed number depending on the number of teams and the number of points for each segment. Each sportsbook sets their own teaser odds, though, and they can vary widely from book to book. When you are placing a teaser bet, it's imperative to shop around to find the best payout odds for the number of teams you are betting. Some sportsbooks generally have better teaser payouts than others. Over the long run, a difference in payout can obviously make a big difference to the bottom line, so looking for the best deal is crucial. The odds you want for football teasers are -110 for a two-team, six-point teaser. However, many sportsbooks found that offering this juice opened them up to risk from sharp bettors, so many books raised their price to -115 or even -120 for this teaser bet variation.
Teaser Bet Tie or Push
This is the single biggest rule that you need to be aware of — how the book handles ties or a push. There are four different ways that a book can handle it if one of your games ends exactly on the number. Some books treat a tie as a win. Others reduce the number of teams in the teaser by one — if you bet a four-team teaser and have a tie and three wins, then it will pay off like a three-game teaser. Others will treat a teaser with a tie as no action — they'll return your bet — as long as you win your other bets. Finally, some books will treat a tie as a loss. Each of those is a very different situation and can affect your return significantly. You need to be aware of what the book offers and make sure that it fits your needs. There isn't necessarily one situation that is better than another, but you need to make sure that the potential return adequately reflects the risk you are taking.
NFL Betting Teaser with Example
Sharp bettors generally stay away from basketball teasers, as previously stated, and also normally avoid college football teasers in favor of NFL teasers. We already talked about the perils of hoops teasers, but for college football there are many more points scored in general than in professional football, removing the value out of the extra six points you get in a matchup. There are also more blowouts in college football. NFL betting lines are considered the sharpest in the sports betting industry, meaning the oddsmakers set the tightest lines on the games. So, therefore, getting the six points on a matchup creates great value for the bettor when many games end up close to the point spread. There are many NFL games where both sides of a teaser hit as well as both sides of the total. The following is an example:
Kansas City Chiefs -10 vs. Las Vegas Raiders, Total 52
Final Score: Chiefs 30, Raiders 21
The Four Possible Six-Point Teaser Options:
Chiefs -4, Raiders +16, Over 46, Under 58
In this example, all six-point teasers for this game were a winner.
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Best Teaser Bets NFL: Basic Strategy Teasers
A popular strategy implored by most casual bettors is to tease favorites down so that they are closer to a pick'em and to tease a total down and take the over. A smarter strategy used by professional bettors is to make the most of the allotted points in the teaser. In what is known as a Basic Strategy Teaser or a Wong Teaser , bettors use the six points in the teaser to move the line past the two main key numbers in professional football, which are three and seven. An example of this would be moving a favorite of -8 down to a favorite of -2, thereby moving past the three and the seven, and moving an underdog of +2 points to +8. So many NFL games fall on these two key numbers, so moving the points past these key numbers gives the bettor a nice chance for profit.
Unfortunately for bettors, most sportsbooks raised the juice for a two-team, six-point Basic Strategy Teaser because the sharp bettors were consistently winning. The Expected Value was too great for the bettor at -110 vig. Therefore, the sportsbooks increased their juice on these Wong teasers to -115 or even -120 in some cases, removing most of the value and potential for long-term profit.
Are Teaser Bets Worth It?
It depends. Most smart bettors avoid NBA, college hoops and NCAA football teasers altogether. But I do know some sharp guys who use teasers in these sports on a regular basis with success. Personally, I play only NFL teasers, and, unless in very rare circumstances, I play only the Basic Strategy Teaser variety. I have found that I hit a high enough percentage of these bets that I can achieve profit even at -115 or -120 juice.