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What Are Teaser Bets and Odds?

Written by: Richard Janvrin
8 min read

When you bet the point spread or over/under total in football and basketball there’s a really exciting bet you can make called a teaser.

Teaser bets let you combine wagers on two or more games and shift the point spread or over/under line in your favor.

The catch is that you have to win all the games for your teaser bet to win, kind of like betting parlays. The second thing to remember is that since you’re shifting the spread in your favor, the sportsbook charges a premium in the form of a slightly worse payout on your bet.

The more you move the spread, the bigger the premium.

In this guide we explain all the different types of teaser bets in detail and we’ll also break down how the odds work when you tease a bet, the pros, and cons of teasers and some clear examples of teasers in the NFL and NBA. Finally, we’ll give you a crash course in the best teaser betting tips and strategies.

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What Are Teaser Bets?

Making a teaser bet requires combining two or more games into one ticket and choosing how many points you want to move the point spread or over/under (total) lines in favor of the teams you’re betting on to win.

The main benefit of teasers bets is that a better point spread makes it easier to win your bets. The downside is that you have to win all your games to win the teaser bet, and you have to pay an extra premium depending on how many points you tease (move) the line by.

Teaser bets in football let add or subtract 6, 6.5, or 7 points from the point spread or the over/under totals line.

With the point spread tease, the line can shift in one of two ways:

  • Subtracted from the favorite – the favorite has to win by up to seven points less than the original spread. For example, if a team is a -8 favorite and you have them in a 7-point teaser, they now only need to win by more than 1 to cover the spread on your teaser bet.
  • Added to the underdog – the underdog can lose by even more than the original spread. For example, if the original spread has the underdog at +4.5, having them in a 7-point teaser means the new spread is +11.5 and they can now lose by up to eleven points.
  • Totals – You can also tease a score by moving the over/under line up or down.

The tradeoff for better spreads and totals is that the payout is reduced on a winning ticket. That is because you are increasing the likelihood of a win and therefore lowering the payout odds.

Also important to remember and distinguish; there are two types of teaser bets:

  • Vegas teaser or two-team teaser: This “normal” version of a teaser bet is for only two games and lines are generally moved by 6, 6.5, or 7 points up or down, and ties on any part of the bet usual refunds the whole ticket.
  • Larger teaser bets with more than two games are often called a super teaser, special teaser, big teaser, or monster teaser and they combine three, four or five games into one ticket..

Nowadays teasers for football and basketball come in many shapes, names and sizes. Sometimes teasers will even allow the punter to combine NBA games with NFL games in the same teaser.

There are so many varieties of teasers that you need to make sure you read through each sportsbook’s terms and conditions to see their specific rules. For now, as long as you understand the basic concept of how a teaser works you’ll be able to make sense of any variation you see on a site.

Can You Push a Teaser Bet?

It’s really important to understand each sportsbook’s rules for pushes within a teaser. A push is a special sports betting term for a tie bet.

In most cases, a two-team teaser where one bet wins and one bet pushes will be refunded while a loss/push results in a full loss. Exceptions will be stated and you might see “ties win” teasers offered where if one game is a push and the other is a win, the ticket wins.

  • With teasers of more than two games, a push with the rest of the legs winning will act as a parlay bet does and eliminate the push bet from the wager and take the smaller parlay as its own bet.
  • In some rare cases, a book will have different rules and a tie/push on any of your combined games will refund your whole ticket.

What Are Teaser Odds?

The basic concept with a teaser is that you are accepting better chances of winning each bet in exchange for a slightly smaller overall potential payout.

The smaller potential payout comes in the form of worse odds depending on how many points you tease your bet by. In teaser bets, the odds are shown in American odds, sometimes called money line odds. To brush up on the basics of those, check out our easy guide to reading odds and sports betting lines and then head back here.

Here are the most common teaser odds you’ll see for NFL bets:

  • The odds on a 7-point tease is usually -140. That means a correct $140 teaser would pay out $100 in profit. Sometimes you’ll see discounted 7-point teasers at -130 or even -120.
  • Moving the line 6.5 points will usually cost you -130. That means it would take a $130 wager to win $100 in profit.
  • The best line for a 6-point tease on a regular two team teaser bet is around -120, meaning you win $100 profit for every $120 you bet.
  • These are standard odds but some sportsbooks do offer better payouts. Do your best to shop around for the best lines and odds. It’ll pay off big in the long run.

When you’re betting teasers you have to remember two main things. First, you are accepting the risk that your entire ticket needs to win for the teaser bet to win, just like in parlays. Speaking of parlays, check out our best NFL parlay picks this week.

The second thing to consider is that oddsmakers set point spreads with the intention of predicting as accurately as possible what the final scoring differential will be. Moving the line by such a big amount takes some of the control away from the house and makes a massive difference in your chances of winning. The sportsbook combats this by giving you a worse payout.

Are you getting the value that you should for the amount of score movement you are paying for? Keep reading to understand how to work out if the teaser odds are in your favor.

Interesting Teaser Facts

Without delving too deep into the math, here are a few interesting stats and concepts to help you wrap your head around teaser bets.

  • A two-team 6-point teaser that pays -110 is exactly the same, mathematically, as having a regular parlay ticket where both teams are -262 favorites.
  • A three-team 6-point teaser used to pay +180 which is equivalent to a regular parlay of three -244 favorites.
  • As you will notice in the next section, a 3-team 6-point teaser now pays +160 at most sportsbooks. The reason we compared it to +180 in the last bullet is because that is what most casinos used to offer before taking big losses on the bet and adjusting the odds. This distinction is important because it shows how teasers can be very lucrative for gamblers who are willing to do the work and find good bets.

Teaser Bets in NFL Football

The NFL is by far the most common place to find teasers and in this section, we’ll run down some of the most important concepts to understand for betting teasers in football.

First we’ll look at teasing the point spread for the underdog and favorite and then we’ll explore how to tease point totals and over/unders in the NFL. We’ll also explain the role of key numbers when you’re deciding how many points to shift the line by.

Tips for Teasing the Underdog

In football, since scoring is primarily done in scores of 3 (field goal) and 7 (touchdown), these numbers are really important to the final score and the scoring differential between two teams. The numbers are so important they have a special name: Key numbers.

  • Statistically, the most common end-of-game point differential in the NFL is 3 points. Nearly 15% of all games finish with exactly that point difference.
  • The next most common are 7 points (10%), 6 points (5%), and 4 points (5%), respectively.

Knowing that 3 and 7 are important key numbers, there are ways to tease an underdog such that they fall precisely below these values and give you a winning edge.

Essentially you are looking to find spots to tease an underdog up over 7 whenever possible. If the team you are looking at is between +0.5 to +2.5, you want to get them teased up over 7.5.

Also, pay close attention to the game’s over/under line. Games that have an expected point total higher than 7 touchdowns (49.5 or higher), tend to have more uncertainty in terms of teams covering the spread. Teasers on games expected to have 49 or fewer points fare much better historically.

  • Look to tease underdogs, home or away, if the totals line is below 49.5
  • Look to tease the underdog 6 or 6.5 points up (to more than 7) when they are originally listed at +1, +1.5, +2, or +2.5
  • Moving underdogs from +4 up +5 up to +10.5 and +11.5 have 75% win rate.
  • More than ten years of data shows that underdogs who are +4.5 or +5.5 do very well (more than 73%) when teased six points in terms of ROI. This has held even more true for road underdogs than home dogs.

Teasing the Favorite

In the last section we explained why it’s so important to look for key numbers when adding points to the underdog’s point spread. But what if you want to bet on the favorite and move the spread in their favor?

It’s essentially the same thing in reverse. The idea is to decrease the number of points that the favorite has to win by in order to cover the spread. If you can move the spread past key numbers like three and seven, it can pay off big.

Here are the most important rules for teasing the favorite:

  • Teasing the favorites when they have a spread ofof -7.5 or -8.5 by 6 points up to -1.5 or -2.5 has shown to be profitable historically.
  • Tease -3 favorites to +3.5 for a 75% historical win rate.
  • Ideally, stick to moving the line by 6.5 points if it moves you past important key numbers.

Odds for Teasers With More Than Two Games

Some sportsbooks will allow teasers of up to 15 teams and may also offer even larger point shifting amounts like 10.5 or 13.5 points in football.

Generally speaking, the more bets you combine, the harder it will be to win the overall bet. The upside is that since the risk is higher, so is the potential payout.

Below we will show odds in teasers up to 7 games. Remember that each sportsbook is unique so it is important to check their rules and terms so you fully know what your ticket is depending on.

As you will notice within each list, the more teams combined, the bigger the possible win. As well, if you compare lists, the more points you take on your tease the smaller the potential payouts.

The following are the typical odds payouts for NFL teasers that move the line up or down 6.0 points:

6 Points 6.5 Points 7 Points
# of Bets/Odds
  • 2/-120
  • 3/+160
  • 4/+260
  • 5/+450
  • 6/+700
  • 7/+1000
# of Bets/Odds
  • 2/-130
  • 3/+140
  • 4/+240
  • 5/+400
  • 6/+600
  • 7/+900
# of Bets/Odds
  • 2/-140
  • 3/+120
  • 4/+200
  • 5/+350
  • 6/+500
  • 7/+700

The reason the payouts tend to be similar across sportsbooks when making these teaser bets is two-fold. First, the basic premise is that the point spread from the oddsmakers is already attempting to predict a 50/50 likelihood outcome so, mathematically, moving the line by a set amount of points for all games of a teaser leads to the same odds differential (roughly) every time.

The second reason sportsbooks now have such closely matched odds payouts is because of punters who took great advantage of erroneous misjudgments of payouts in the earlier part of this century when teasers gained in popularity. This trend was mainly caused by a book by Stanford Wong called Sharp Sports Betting.

Back then, for example, punters were getting +180 on a 3-game 6-point teaser instead of the commonly laid +160 odds given now. That’s a big difference and casinos had to adjust because they were losing so much money.

Teaser Bets in Basketball

Typically you are going to see basketball teasers between 4 and 6 points. You can get larger amounts, like 8 or even 10 points, often called sweetheart teasers, but keep in mind, the farther you go from the norm, the more the edge tends to lean in the house’s favor.

The key numbers to look out for in basketball are 5 and 7. Any time you have an opportunity to move a line past these numbers it’s a good thing.

Follow these basic rules for teasing basketball odds:

  • Lean heavily on big road favorites expected to win by 9 or more points. Shifting the line down to 4 or 5 points will pay off in the long run.
  • Look for opportunities to move home underdog spreads past the numbers 5 and 7. For example, tease an underdog spread of +2.5 by 5 points up to +7.5.

Just like in the football teasers we covered earlier, moving the spread in basketball also comes at the cost of worse payouts. The exact odds depend on the sportsbook you’re betting with but expect odds between -110 and -140 on two-game teasers, depending on how many points you want to move the line.

Advantages of Teasing Odds

In the gambling world you will often here critics say that teasers and parlays are always either suckers bets or wagers that only experienced professionals should attempt.

We disagree but there are some things you have to know to make profitable teaser bets. We think there is value and even beginners can take advantage of it if they know what to look for. it all comes down to value and finding the best bang for your buck, or in this case the best point spreads and odds for your buck.

One of the best things about teaser bets is that you can get the same excitement of needing one big ticket to hit on more than one game while also having a cushion of extra points to protect you from losing. This cushion is what separates the good value teasers from the ones others would define as a sucker’s bet.

Let’s look at some important factors that separate the good opportunities from the bad:

Pay Attention to Key Numbers

In football there’s a big difference between moving a line to -7.5 or -6.5. When you can move the spread past key numbers like 3 and 7 in the NFL, your teaser becomes way more profitable.

In basketball, try to move the line past 5 or 7 to get more value on your bets.

Smaller Moves Equal Bigger Payouts

Try to move the spread past key numbers by teasing the fewest possible points, like 4 in basketball or 6 in football. Since the sportsbook offers worse odds the more points you tease, it’s inherently valuable to use the fewest points possible.

The issue, of course, is that sportsbooks are aware of these key numbers and make it challenges to find these opportunities by changing the point spread on the games.

If you can find these opportunities and are willing to shop lines across sites, you can definitely use teasing to your advantage.

Disadvantages of Teasing

Making money with this kind of bet has become increasingly more difficult over the past few years. Sportsbooks have made it more challenging to win big on a tease by being really careful not to offer spreads that can be teased past key numbers for a low premium.

  • For example, they can move a line by half a point just to make sure punters who want to tease the game have to buy that extra point to move past a key number and subsequently get a lower odds payout.
  • Essentially, the odds move so dramatically with each full or half point that it becomes less profitable really fast. For example, it would take a correct 6-game teaser at 6.5 points to achieve the same odds payout as a regular 3-game parlay. That’s a lot of things that have to go right for you to win the same amount.

Another difficult part of teaser betting is that even if you identify one top quality line tease that looks perfect, you still need to match it with at least one more game with the same line shift and it must hit. This makes winning with good value even more of a challenge with this kind of bet.

Teaser Bet Tips and Strategies

Teasers are fun because you get to combine the excitement of a parlay with the increased chance of winning that comes from shifting the lines in your favor. The challenge is making sure that when you do win a teaser bet your reward is equal to or better than the initial risk. In other words, are you making sure you’re getting good value?

These tips will get you started on your quest for profitable teaser opportunities.

  • Locate key number lines and see how many points are needed to move past them (ie 5 and 7 in basketball, 3, 7 and 10 in football).
  • In football, tease any favorite of between -7.5 and -8.5 down 6-points to between -1.5 and -2.5.
  • In football, tease any underdog of +1.5 to +2.5 up 6-points to +7.5 to +8.5.
  • Wait until 30 minutes before kickoff to bet. This is a rule of thumb that all experienced punters use because it ensures the most accurate line for the games at hand that include public interest on the game.
  • Look for weeks with three games that have underdogs at +1.5 to +2.5 or favorites at -7.5 to -8.5. Playing a 3-team teaser with 6-points on each is mathematically positive expected value at a payout of +180, although those odds are harder to find than they used to be.
  • Research different lines across different sites. This is important because different sites will not only lay different teaser odds, they will also offer different point amounts to buy as well as have different rules for push bets.
  • Know the push rules. Many sites will have the same rules for a push on a teaser as they do on a parlay but be sure to read the rules on the sportsbook you’re using.
  • Avoid teasing full game point totals. Statistically, the numbers show that teasing an over/under line is not going to be worth the odds paid out so it is best to avoid if possible for basketball and football.

Start Making Teasers Work For You

These bets can be a blast, especially if you’re already a fan of parlay betting. That said if you ask people for their opinion of teasers you’re likely to get a split crowd who either love them or consider them all suckers bets. The truth is, especially before sportsbooks started to change their odds structure, teasers were a very lucrative means of building a big bankroll.

They still can be, but you have to know what you’re doing. The main points to remember are moving lines past key numbers, determining how each team plays at home or away and in relation to being favored or a dog, and most important of all, getting the right odds for your dollar.

If you’re currently residing in a state where online gambling is already in full swing, we highly recommend you check out our comprehensive sportsbook review pages to find a site that best suit your needs.

If you’re in a state that hasn’t introduced legal sports betting yet, that might change soon.

Check out our comprehensive US legal sports betting guide for up to date information on every single state’s sports gambling status.

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Richard Janvrin

575 Articles

After graduating from the University of New Hampshire with a BA in Journalism, Richard Janvrin has been covering iGaming and sports betting since December 2018. Richard has covered betting at Bleacher Report, Gambling.com, The Game Day, Forbes, and more.

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