The point spread and the moneyline represent the most popular betting options for sports bettors looking to get in on NFL betting action. But with the number of betting options continuing to grow in the rapidly expanded legal and regulated U.S. sports betting market, sports bettors can now take advantage of NFL betting opportunities that give them an extra edge when placing their wagers.
Among the fastest-growing bet types is the teaser. Before the next big game, you need to know everything about teasers.
A teaser bet comes from a combination of bets with adjusted points that are more favorable for the bettor at the expense of a reduced payout.
To understand how teaser bets work and their advantages, it is first essential to know how a parlay bet works. Parlay bets enable you to combine multiple bets on a single ticket, known as legs, with the payout boosted by enhanced odds. However, every leg of the parlay must win for your ticket to be a winner.
Teasers add an intriguing layer of complexity to parlays by enabling you to adjust the point spread on each leg of the bet, with the cost of this flexibility coming in the form of a reduced payout. Teaser bets can include as few as two legs and as many as 15 legs. But like with parlays, each leg of your teaser must win or push for the bet to be determined a winner.
The example above illustrates typical point spread bets (signified by the initial +/- values). In it, the Buffalo Bills are pegged as 5.5-point favorites against the Cowboys, and Buffalo and Dallas each sport -110 odds of covering (i.e., beating) the spread, meaning you must bet $110 to win $100. The Eagles are 3.5-point favorites versus New York.
Combining two of these picks (e.g., The Bills to cover the -5.5 spread and the Giants to cover the +3.5 spread, both individually priced at -110) in a parlay gives you an odds boost up to approximately +265 (because the chances of both happening are less than any one individual bet), which means a $100 bet will win $265 if both your picks win. You can also combine your picks for this game into a teaser, where you can adjust the line in your favor but with a lower payout.
In teaser bets, you can adjust the point spread by a fixed amount of points in your favor, usually 6, 6½, or 7 points.
The above example illustrates a two-leg, six-point teaser. In this case, the line on the Bills has been moved to +0.5 from its original position at -5.5, while the Giants have been faded to +9.5. This teaser would win if Buffalo and New York covered the adjusted spreads. However, as you can see, the odds are now set at a greatly diminished -134 (due to the increased chances of this bet being realized), meaning you must stake $134 to win $100.
The debate over whether a betting teasers strategy is profitable has raged for as long as the betting option has existed. But the simple answer to this question is; it depends. Given the massive control that teasers offer to sports bettors, a critical aspect in the debate over profitability is the handicapping skill of the sports bettor placing the wager.
For sports bettors who have done their homework and avoid chasing losses and making last-minute impulse wagers, a betting teasers strategy can provide a unique opportunity to diminish risk while still generating a payday. However, unlike straight-up point-spread bets and parlays, the odds attached to teaser bets are typically tilted well in favor of the house. For example, a typical point spread will offer -110 odds, which means you must win approximately 53% of the time to make a profit.
Since shorter moneyline odds accompany teasers, players must win more often to generate a profit using a betting teasers strategy. In the case of a two-leg, six-point teaser, you must win approximately 58% of your wagers to create a profit.
However, teasers place considerable control in the hands of the sports bettor, who can then decide how much risk she wants to be exposed to with her teasers betting strategy. Since the spread can be adjusted by as few as three points or as many as 15 points in sweetheart teasers, and can also feature as many as 15 legs, the sports bettor ultimately holds the power to determine the level of profitability that works best.
The growing popularity of teasers has been accompanied by an increasing number of teaser betting strategies, each claiming to give the sports bettor a critical edge in NFL games. Among the most well-known strategies is the Wong teaser strategy.
Named in honor of Stanford Wong, the nom de plume of the author of the popular 2001 book “Sharp Sports Betting,” Wong’s teaser strategy is a six-point teaser that includes teams that are favored by 7.5 or 8.5 points and underdogs who lag by 1.5 or 2.5 points. Given that a very high percentage of NFL games are decided by these margins (due to the prevalence of 3-point and 7-point scores in NFL games), teasing teams that feature these spreads can increase win probability dramatically.
The jump in win probability has been so significant with Wong’s teaser strategy that it led sportsbooks to boost the odds associated with them to maintain the house’s edge.
The above example illustrates how a typical Wong teaser strategy might work. At +140 odds, the win probability is calculated at just 41%. But Wong’s research shows that since 2015 bets have covered as high as 75% of the time.
A lesser-known but potentially lucrative betting option, reverse teasers enable you to turn your betting teasers strategy on its head. Typical teasers allow you to diminish the number of points a favorite is favored by or make it easier for an underdog to cover a big spread. As the name suggests, reverse teasers enable you to lengthen the spreads that your selected team must cover.
The example above illustrates how the spreads would change on the teams included in this hypothetical reverse teaser. As you can see, the Bills now must win by at least 12 points instead of six, and the Giants must now win by at least three points instead of avoiding losing by more than three. Accordingly, the payout on such a teaser will be exponentially greater than a traditional teaser and can vary from sportsbook to sportsbook. However, the one constant remains the requirement to win or push on every leg for your reverse teaser to be considered a winner.
Some studies have shown that proportional betting is the best strategy. This involves betting a certain percentage of your bankroll on each bet. This means if you win, the percentage of your bankroll is higher, allowing you to earn more if you continue to win. But if you lose bets, the percentage of your bankroll will decrease, allowing you to lose less money until you start to win again.
In some situations, teasers can offer a greater payout than parlays for similar bets. However, parlays are also viable for betting on multiple games simultaneously. Ultimately, it’s up to the bettor to decide what method makes them more comfortable and confident when betting.
For many years, Wong teasers have been one of the most profitable ways of betting on the NFL. Of course, that doesn’t mean they are a sure thing or easy bets to make. Whilst some sportsbooks reacted to the strategy by shortening the odds of two-leg six-point teasers or implementing a minimum of three legs; there are still opportunities to be found.
Looking to understand how parlay bets work in sports betting? Here’s everything you need to know about parlay bets.
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You'll hopefully have taken away some important lessons in understanding betting teasers. To get the most value from your picks, visit our odds comparison tool to compare the latest odds.
Written by Daniel Coyle
Daniel has written professionally about sports for two decades and covered the sports betting beat for the past nine years. He is an expert EPL, MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and UFC writer.
His work has been featured in various newspapers, magazines, and online media, including the Montreal Gazette, Globe & Mail, Faceoff.com, Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report, NESN, Sportsnet, SB Nation, Oilers Nation, and The Nation.