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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
Without delving too deep into the math, here are a few interesting stats and concepts to help you wrap your head around teaser bets.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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
||# of Bets/Odds
||# of Bets/Odds
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.More info on Richard Janvrin
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