Teaser Bets Defined

The parlay bet is one of great popularity in America. No bettor can resist putting a major parlay bet together at least once in awhile. The excitement as each game goes by and the huge payout at the end are more than enough to take the chances at times.

The reason most bettors do not rely on these type of bets is because the odds of winning them are extremely slim, therefore they are not profitable over the long term. Depending on the type of parlay that you make, it would be similar to playing the lottery regularly and expecting to make money.

The more teams you add in, the more variables appear that just cannot be predicted. However, the inflated odds are still something sought after by all bettors. For this reason, new methods of creating parlay bets have popped up over time. We have already taken a look at round robin betting, which is one strategy bettors implement when doing parlays.

In this article we will discuss the nature of a teaser bet. This particular type of bet has been one of the most successful  since its start, even pushing some sportsbooks to take different measures to prevent them. We will discuss what they are, strategies for making good teaser bets and even look at some of the odds you can expect when using these types of bets. 

What is a Teaser Bet?

At the end of the day, a teaser bet is simply a parlay but with some tweaks made to the markets included. These are done to provide the bettor with a higher chance of winning each bet, and thus the entire parlay. To put a teaser bet together, you must first find two or more different markets that you would like to bet on.

Remember, that the more markets you include in this bet, the higher your payout will be but the lower your chances of winning are. Then comes the fun part. Teasers are done by buying points to avoid probably margins of victory. The most common sport that teasers are used in is football, both the NFL and College Football, so well will base our examples around this. 

In every sport there is a margin of victory that is more common than others. In baseball for example, teams win by odd numbers more often than even numbers but there is no number that is significantly higher than any other.

An MLB team will win by four 4.8% of the time (the lowest) and seven 11.3% of the time (the highest). This is a noticeable difference, but when you factor in that eight other numbers go in between them there is no real advantage for the bettor. 

NFL games however, are decided by three or seven points nearly 30% of the time. This is where the sharp bettor's mind begins to work. 

NFL games however, are decided by three or seven points nearly 30% of the time. This is where the sharp bettor's mind begins to work. 


This is where the sharp bettors mind begins to work. Due to the possibility at many sportsbooks to alter the spread while changing odds, the teaser bet was born. 

Now that the player has decided on which games he will bet, they will need to take a look at the market for either the spread or the totals. These will be the teasers offered by the bookmaker. The most common of these is the six point teaser.

This will either add or subtract six points from the already-set handicap. Some other popular teasers include 6.5 and seven point teasers. Depending on what kind of spread you are working with in the first place, this gives you the opportunity to completely bypass the most common margins of victory. 

For example, if you are wanting to bet on the New Orleans Saints who have a handicap of -8.5, then you would need the Saints to win the game by more than the stated handicap of 8.5 points.

So if the team plays the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday and wins by seven points, then you would lose your bet as the Saints did not cover the spread. However, adding a six-point teaser to this spread would bring the handicap to -2.5. 

This means that the Saints will only have to win by three or more points, but most importantly completely cuts out the most frequent margins of victory from the bets. This can be done the opposite way as well. If you wanted to bet on the underdogs the Cowboys instead, you could turn that +8.5 into +14.5.

Now, you are already avoiding the major point differences with the first handicap, but now the Saints will need to win by more than two touchdowns to beat your bet. Certainly a much more difficult task. Avoiding the point margins should be the first step however, and teasers on the underdog are most important when the spread sits at a number lower than +7.5. 

Keep in mind that simply two of those six numbers you cut out with the teaser represent almost 30% of all NFL victories.


The reality of using a teaser is that it gives a player a much better shot at winning the bet than they may originally think. Keep in mind that simply two of those six numbers you cut out with the teaser represent almost 30% of all NFL victories.

In addition, you will also be cutting out the difference of six points and four points. Each of these two represent five percent of all NFL victory margins. So now, with a six-point teaser on your bet, you are theoretically covering the spread on more than a third of possible differences. You are also covering four out of the five margins of victory that have the highest frequency.

How The Numbers Line Up

Therefore, by adding the teaser to this spread, the player has significantly increased his chances of winning the bet. The odds he will get though, will correlate directly with these chances, meaning that the odds will decrease as the chances of winning go up.

So by adding teasers to your parlay, you will be taking a much lower payout as well. This is a big reason why they are tied into parlays, because they would simply not be worth it on their own. Who is to say that they will be useful in parlay-style bets though?

Your margin for error will also decrease as the odds get lower. You will need to win more often with lower odds to make sure you are still gaining a profit over the long-term. And every bet, even teasers, have a chance to lose. 

Research on teaser bets was done by John Ferguson (AKA Stanford Wong) towards the end of his well-renowned book ‘Sharp Sports Betting’. Results and numbers from 27 years of NFL give us the win percentage each player would need to have using teasers in order to at least break even as well as the ROI given from 2100 NFL games.

The games included in the study fit the criteria of allowing the player the ability to cover the three and the seven on point spreads. 


In the first table the player can see the win percentage necessary for each single leg of the parlay bet, depending on the teaser amount.  

Teaser Amount

Win Percentage Needed to Break Even

Six Points 

72.3%

6.5 Points

73.8%

Seven Points

75.1%

Now we will show you the average return on investment (ROI) that each different basic teaser amount holds. We have also included the number of games used in the stay for each. 

Teaser Amount 

Average ROI 

Number of Games 

Six Points

3.1 Percent (%)

1,444

6.5 Points

5.6 Percent (%)

432

Seven Points 

-2.3 Percent (%)

166

Based on the results that we see, the player has the best advantage when using a 6.5 teaser. The returns here would net the player an average profit of 5.6%. Though the evidence would lead us to believe that when using teasers the player should just use the 6.5 variation every time to guarantee this profit. However, this cannot be concluded with absolute certainty.

The most shocking of revelations reveals that the spread only comes into play 20% of the time. This tells us that the teams which cover the spread would have won the game 80% of the time without it.

Meaning that your teaser is not vital enough to change the outcome of games enough to impact your overall profitability and offset the drop in odds that you will take. 

You will also fall below your necessary win percentage by teasing down teams that are favored when playing on the road. In the past seventeen seasons, away teams who were favored by 7.5 or more have only covered the spread 40% of the time.

So when teasing these teams down to try and even it out, experts have found this method to still fall short of expectations. Teasing favored away teams (at least +7.5) down by six points, 6.5 and seven points wielded a win only 60%,69% and 72% of the time.

When you take the average of all three break-even percentages, you get 73.7%, meaning that using any of those three teasers on favored road teams comes up short of the win percentage necessary to break even.  

The player must therefore contain his teasers to either favorites at home or underdogs playing away. The player will want to tease underdogs playing away at 1, 0.5, 2 or 2.5 additional. On the other hand, teasing home favorites down 7.5, 8, 8.5 or 9 points down will also help you to achieve maximum returns on your bets. 

Teaser Payout Chart 

We will take a look at two different charts with the average odds given for teasers. The first chart is tracking the potential payout of teasers with increasing number of teams. As you can see here, the odds jump drastically when the player jumps from a two-team teaser to a three-team teaser.

These, just like parlays, will remain slightly in the bettor’s favor. However, moving anywhere north of three-team teasers leads to odds that do not match the actual probability of the win. 

On this chart there are odds found for the basic teaser bets with varying teaser and point sizes:  

Teaser Size

6 points

6.5 points

7 points

Two-Team Teaser

-110

-120

-130

Three-Team Teaser

165

150

140

Four-Team Teaser

265

240

200

Five-Team Teaser

450

400

350

Six-Team Teaser

600

550

500

Here, we are looking at the average odds give for the basic teaser points with varying numbers of teams, using a different sports betting site: 

Teaser Size 

Six Points

6.5 Points

Seven Points

Two-Team Teaser

-110

-120

-130

Three-Team Teaser

180

160

140

Four-Team Teaser

300

250

200

Since the two charts boast similar numbers, we get a pretty good idea that when placing teasers on our own we will see odds not that far off at most sports betting sites. As you can see here, the odds jump drastically when the player jumps from a two-team teaser to a three-team teaser.

These, just like parlays, will remain slightly in the bettor’s favor. However, moving anywhere north of three-team teasers leads to odds that do not match the actual probability of the win and should be avoided under normal circumstances.

To find out the chance of winning you face with any odds, you can use an odds probability calculator like the one at https://www.aceodds.com/bet-calculator/odds-converter.html. 


Conclusion

Although parlays can be fun and could potentially bring the player a massive payout, there are other strategies which attempt to find a middle ground between them and straight bets. Sports betting is so much more than gambling, and professionals have dedicated loads of their time in order to find any way possible to beat the bookmaker on a consistent basis.

Teaser bets are the perfect example of this if done right. There are rules and situations that are best to use these kinds of bets, and with the points outlined in this article, you should walk away with a much better understanding of teaser bets and when to use them. As with any bet, the player first needs to understand the method behind the madness so to speak. Meaning that a player should first understand why teaser bets are effective in the first place.

Once this is clear, start adding some teasers to your bet slip to get applied practice. There are also teaser odds calculators available online that can help you stake the right amount of money for any situation. From there, you can find your own adjustments and strategies that work for you when putting teaser bets together.