What is a Teaser Bet? How Does a Teaser Bet Work?

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OddsJam StaffJune 1, 2022, 10:00 AM

What is a Teaser Bet?

Just like a parlay, a teaser is a singular bet with multiple legs that must all win for the bet to cash. With a teaser, the bettor gets less of a payout than a parlay, but does have the benefit of alternate point spreads or totals. The most common form of teaser is one in football where at around -120 odds (this can vary depending on the sportsbook) the bettor picks two spreads or totals and gets a positive line movement of six points for each bet (ex. moving from -10 to -3 or +10 to +16). Teasers are also common in basketball, where the odds and amount of point adjustment depends on how many legs are in the teaser. 

Example of a  Teaser Bet:

Here’s an example of a teaser bet from Week 15 of the 2021 NFL season. On Thursday Night Football, Kansas City was a three point favorite over the Los Angeles Chargers and the total was set at 54. If a bettor chose to place a teaser on the Chargers and the over, the bet would be around -120 odds. To win the bet, the Chargers have to cover the +9 point spread (moved six favorable points up from +3) and the game has to go over 48 points (moved six favorable points down from 54). 

Strategies for Betting Teasers:

We’ll discuss the profitability of teasers and specific numbers to target next, but for now here is a general strategy to think about when betting a teaser:

  • Wong Teaser Strategy
    • This strategy comes from Stanford Wong, who recommends playing a two team, six point teaser with just favorites of between -7.5 and -8.5, or underdogs between +1.5 and +2.5. 
    • This strategy has been so profitable that books have altered teaser odds and even tried to keep lines out of those point ranges.
    • According to Shawn Wronka, playing exclusively road teams in games with totals under 49 increases the rate that the Wong teaser wins.
  • Don’t Cross Zero when Teasing a Line
    • NFL games rarely end in ties, and no other league where teasers are common ever has a game ending in a tie. If a bettor places a standard teaser bet on a five point favorite, they get the benefit of six points moving the line to +1 from -5. Possible non-losing outcomes are winning by five, four, three, two, one, zero, and losing by one. Now since NFL games rarely end in a tie, the bettor is paying the house for one outcome that essentially will not happen out of the six potential scores where a teaser will make a difference. This virtually ensures that the bet will not be mathematically profitable. 

This leads us to numbers to target when placing a football teaser bet.

Importance of Point Spreads/Football Numbers:

Football scoring is unique in that certain point amounts and score differentials are more likely to happen since points are usually scored in increments of three or seven. Because of these point increments, games are decided by three or seven points more often than other differentials. So, a teaser makes the most since when the six point adjustment covers those two numbers. 

As mentioned above with the Wong teaser strategy, for the underdog teasing from +1.5 through +2.5 to +7.5 through +8.5 presents the best value because it covers those two key numbers of 3 and 7, and of course does not cross zero. It’s the reverse for favorites. Teasing a favorite from -8.5 through -7.5 down to -2.5 through -1.5 covers the two key numbers and avoids zero. While the numbers three and seven are most common, other “football numbers” to target include point differentials of 10, 14, 17, 21, etc. 

Should you Bet on Teasers?

Teasers are a fun way to have some action across the board or throughout the day, but like a parlay it’s not something bettors place a lot of units on or can expect to get rich off of. Additionally sharp sports bettors will only bet on teasers in certain optimal scenarios as outlined above.

Are Teasers Profitable Bets?

Teasers are generally not profitable, especially in college football and basketball where the outcomes are so volatile. Think about it, how often do two of your straight bets in a row both lose by less than six points? While it’s painful when a close loss does happen, the odds that a teaser hits does not match the -120 juice that the book charges. If a teaser does win easily, it could have been possible to place a parlay instead and increase your payout substantially.

Types of Teasers:

Just like a parlay, teasers are very customizable. The standard teaser is the six point NFL teaser, but as you add more and more teams sportsbooks generally give you more and more points, or a higher payout to stay at six points. There’s also a “pleaser” which is a reverse teaser where the bettor sells points to the sportsbook in exchange for odds with a bigger payout. 

How to Place Teaser Bets:

To place a teaser bet, select all base spreads or totals that you would like to include in the teaser. Once you have those in the betslip, there should be an option to parlay the picks, bet them straight, make a teaser, or even some other options like round robin.

Select teaser, and depending on the sportsbook it will allow you to customize the amount of points you want to tease, which will of course determine the odds and payout of the bet. 

After deciding on the point value, enter the amount of money you are willing to risk and it will show you what the bet will pay should it win. As always, double check that the bets are exactly as you want them and then submit the bet. 

What Happens if a Teaser Leg Pushes?

Just like a parlay, if a teaser leg pushes most sportsbooks reduce the teaser to not include the bet that pushed. A four team teaser would become a three team teaser at less of a payout, a three team would become a two team, and so on. However, not all sportsbooks treat it this way. If in a two team teaser one bet pushes and the rest win (or a three team and two push, etc.) the one remaining win will not be paid out. The entire bet will be graded as a push and the bettor will get the money refunded. Be sure to read the terms for teasers on your specific sportsbook before placing a teaser.