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By Adam Thompson | | 7 mins

What is a Teaser Bet & How Do They Work?

What is a Teaser Bet & How Do They Work?

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Those who enjoy sports betting likely understand what a parlay bet entails, but what about the teaser bet? On the surface, teaser wagers may appear confusing, but they can be an effective part of a winning sports betting system.

Read below to find out exactly what teasers are, how they work and how they can help you win big while also limiting loss potential.

What is a Teaser Bet?

A lesser-known, safer cousin of parlay betting, the teaser is set up similar to the multi-team parlay in which the bettor chooses two or more games to combine into one bet. For each type of bet, all plays must hit for the ticket to be a winner.

The big difference between teasers and a parlay bet is for teasers, lines are altered in the bettors’ favor. For games with point spreads, bettors get extra points on their side to improve their chances of winning. The tradeoff is the payout odds are lowered.

How Do Teaser Bets Work?

Teasers deal with altering point spreads, so football and basketball are the two main sports used in teaser bets. Teasers can be played at most of the top online sportsbooks for NFL, NBA, NCAA Football and NCAA Basketball.

Learning teasers is easier when shown than explained, so here’s an NFL betting example. Let’s say it’s Week 1 of the season, and there are three games you’ve pinpointed, each with sportsbook odds at the standard -110:

  • Houston Texans (+10) at Kansas City Chiefs (-10)
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (-4) at New York Giants (+4)
  • New York Jets (+6.5) at Buffalo Bills (-6.5)

Let’s say you like the underdogs in each game. A three-team, six-point NFL teaser on the underdogs would change the point spreads to:

  • Houston Texans (+16) at Kansas City Chiefs
  • Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants (+10)
  • New York Jets (+12.5) at Buffalo Bills

On a six-point teaser backing the original favorites would change the lines to this:

  • Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs (-4)
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (+2) at New York Giants
  • New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (-0.5)

A bettor doesn’t have to pick only favorites or underdogs on teaser bets. They can mix it up, with the only rule in this instance that each line moves six points in the sports bettor's favor.

A football teaser is typically available at 6, 6.5 or 7 points. For a basketball teaser, lines are moved 4, 4.5 or 5 points.

Payouts from Teaser Bets

A three-team parlay, regardless of side, will pay roughly +600 (6/1) with a winning wager (at -110 odds). A three-team teaser payout, however, is a different story. That’s because the updated spreads have greatly improved your sides of hitting.

Sportsbooks differ in payout, but there is a standard payout for teaser betting based on number of teams in the teaser and the amount of points used.

Football2 teams3 teams4 teams
6 Points-110 (10/11)+180 (9/5)+300 (3/1)
6.5 Points-120 (5/6)+160 (8/5)+250 (5/2)
7 Points-130 (10/13)+140 (7/5)+200 (2/1)

The more teams you use in your teaser, the higher the odds get. A seven-game bet using six-point teasers, for example, pushes the odds to +1000 or 10/1.

Basketball2 teams3 teams4 teams
4 Points+100 (1/1)+180 (9/5)+300 (3/1)
4.5 Points-110 (10/11)+160 (8/5)+250 (5/2)
5 Points-120 (5/6)+150 (3/2)+200 (2/1)

Advantages of Teaser Bets

The obvious advantage of playing teasers is it clearly adds to your probability of hitting your individual bets. If you’re really liking the Packers, Patriots and Eagles as a parlay bet and can add six points to the point spread in their favor, what’s not to like?

Like parlay betting, teaser betting offer one play at plus odds, keeping the cost low with bigger payout potential.

Speaking of odds, comparing them at the sportsbooks can provide a huge boost. Some online sportsbooks will offer two-team, six-point teasers at +100, offering a major boost to profitability potential. Others may post the same bet at -120, limiting any bankroll boost and making it much harder for a sports bettor to make gains in the long term.

For those looking to have fun, betting teasers is indeed fun. It may be harder to win big, but you can still win. They can be especially effective in games you really want to include but are hard to predict. You’ll be glad you did when the teaser hits in a game you would have lost at the original line.

Use Our Parlay Calculator To Forecast Potential Payouts

Drawbacks to Teaser Bets

If you’re seeking the big payout, parlays are better than teasers. Also, the house edge increases with each team added to a teaser and is well higher than the typical spread bed.

On a standard one-game bet at -110 odds, the house has an edge of 4.5%. On a six-point teaser with three games, the house edge is more than 20%. For five teams, it rises to nearly 35%. While a six-team parlay may pay out at better than +4000 (40/1), a six-team teaser may be closer to +600 (6/1).

For football specifically, studies have shown that adding seven points hasn’t been worth it, actually offering a negative return of investment in the long run.

There is also the notion that NFL teaser bets are modestly useful if you’re confident as to which team is going to win. The team that covers the spread wins the game roughly 80% of the time. Another good rule of thumb is to never tease from -3 to +3 or vice versa. With roughly 90% of games decided by three points or more, you’re not getting much value by pushing the line in this way.

CHECK OUT: The Importance of Bankroll Management in Sports Betting

Teaser Bet Tie or Push

If you make a wager against the spread of an NFL game and the final score hits exactly on the spread, the bet is a push and you get the initial wager back.

For teasers, that may not be the case. Sportsbooks handle these types of picks differently, and some books handle it different than others.

In most cases, a push on one leg will alter, but not eliminate, your teaser bet. If you have a four-team teaser, it will drop the push and turn your bet into a three-teamer. That alters the teaser odds as well. But be aware, some bookmakers treat a push is as a loss. Be sure you know how your sportsbook handles teasers before laying down your hard-earned bankroll.

When Does a Teaser Bet Make the Most Sense?

Football is king of teaser bets, and there is evidence to support the practice can be very successful especially when the original spread is at a certain number.

In NFL games over the last decade, 15% ended in a three-point margin, and a whopping 35% were decided by seven points or less. If you like the Jets at +2.5 but can get them at +8.5, that’s a major boost to your chances.

It’s critical to push through the key numbers to make the most of your teaser wagers. If you don’t, you’re limiting the effectiveness. The most-common margins of victory in the NFL over the last two decades are, in order, 3, 7, 10, 4, 6, 14 and 1.

When betting on NBA games, there is a lot to consider, from officials to motivation, and late free throws that can turn even well-reasoned picks into losers.

But like the NFL, the NBA has certain thresholds that can push good picks against the spread into great ones. In 2018-19, only three teams had an average scoring margin higher than +4.6 (the Bucks at +8.9, Raptors at +5.9 and Warriors at +5.8). Only five had a scoring margin worse than -3.0. The average margin of victory is close to nine points per game.

For football and basketball, if your own research gives one team the edge but perhaps not enough to place a wager on the posted point spread, adding points to the side can turn a good bet into a great bet. That’s especially true if you’re leapfrogging some of the key numbers in each sport.

Be sure to bookmark for advice on how to bet, where to bet and what to bet from Bookies’ All-Star team of veteran gamblers and sports betting experts who know exactly what makes for a quality betting experience.

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