To Tease or Not to Tease - The NFL 6 Point Teaser
by Harry Brewer - 09/14/2006
Teasers used to be called sucker bets, fools gold and desperation plays. The truth is, they may be all of those if used incorrectly. The experienced gambler however, knows that there is most certainly a time and place for a teaser.
Mathematics is at the bottom of everything that goes on in sports wagering. Nobody wins on a consistent basis by betting the same amount in the same manner all of the time. Mathematically speaking, the technology available to us in this day and age can be your best friend. First and foremost it is important to understand that the people setting odds are very good at what they do. Their goal is not for you to win or lose, but to simply set odds that will cause balanced action, therefore making their profit on the juice, or vig. This applies to the point spread and the over/under.
The money that is wagered after the opening line is simply an expression of the combined knowledge, instincts and guesswork of gamblers from all over. Sports betting has often been labeled a 'tug-of-war' between the professional sharp bettor and the recreational 'square' bettor, with the bookie as the referee. You can guess who usually comes out on top in this battle.
The bookies know more than ever before about the betting patterns of their customers and thus allows for some of the sharpest lines that have ever been posted in all sports. The advent of the Internet and more widespread access to gambling are two reasons for this.
Now more than ever, the NFL wager is a true coin flip. Study after study shows that large groups of people actually have more knowledge than any individual. If the NFL wager is as close to a 50-50 bet as it can be, then teasing a line in any direction would shift the chance of a win against the house. Remember that the house wants balanced action because their profit is based on receiving a small percentage of all losing bets and using the principal losses to pay the winners.
How to Use a Teaser
The most popular version of the teaser in the NFL is the six-point, two team variety. With this brand of teaser, you normally get relatively low juice and you can actually use the house numbers to your advantage - adding or subtracting six points to the lines on two teams depending on whether you like the dog or the favorite. Remember, of course, that you must win both bets to cash your ticket.
It is necessary to understand that if you tease a large line you will be having less of an effect on the probability of a win than if you tease a smaller line. Fifty percent of the probability lies on either side of the original point spread. If you tease a 20-point line by 6 points you are changing the line by 30 percent. If you tease a 10-point line by 6 points you are changing it by a whopping 60 percent.
Just keep in mind that you are changing the probability of a win by one half of the amount of the line change percentage because you are effecting the fifty percent that lies on the side of the line you wish to bet. A sixty percent line change equates to a thirty percent probability increase.
When to Tease
The first few weeks of the NFL season are generally not a good time to bet teasers. There is a lack of current information on each team's performance and therefore the lines aren't as solid. There is already a variance from 50/50 in the line. As the season progresses, you will notice the point spreads becoming more and more accurate. This is when the teaser will help a good handicapper.
Out of 48 possible outcomes during week one, only about ten percent would have been affected by a tease. That percentage is too low. You have to remember that you need two games to win and that a push does not pay well. The mindset of a possible push is conditioned into most gamblers. This alters their perspective when betting teasers. You must have two winners.
In closing, be sure to shop around. There are good reputable sportsbooks listed on this website. All of them are currently taking teasers at 10-to-11, meaning you bet $110 to win $100, just like most straight bets. I actually found both Bodog and betCRIS to be very user friendly in regards to helping with information and they are both very consistent in their point spreads.