NFL Six-Point, Two-Team Teasers
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 09/23/2008
NFL bettors tired of suffering bad beats on last second coaching decisions, dropped balls or backdoor covers often turn to teasers to try and make up for missing the spread by a few points. In football a bettor can tease two teams by six points each while maintaining the -110 juice. The tradeoff is adding a team to your bet, but, unlike a parlay, the payout does not increase. The bettor gets to move the line six points in the favorable direction for both teams on the ticket (totals can be teased as well). If you were to tease the Steelers at +3.5 last week and the Patriots at -13.5 you would have had the Steelers at +9.5 and the Patriots at -7.5 with both needing to hit to cash your teaser ticket.
Teasers have gained in popularity over the years and there is some value to be had with them if they are used wisely and in moderation. In certain games where points seem at a premium, teasers can offer more value than usual. It is smarter to tease NFL games rather than college because points are often harder to come by in the NFL, where point spreads are generally in the single digits. Oddsmakers have fewer opportunities to make mistakes with only a handful of games being played on Sunday and very few teams get blown out like they do in college. Teasers vary by the amount of teams you can play and points you can tease but for now we will stick to the six-point, two-team teaser. This is the only teaser that sharp bettors play with any regularity.
You should not tease a game that you think has an unfavorable line to make it more favorable. In the grand scheme of things six points do not mean a whole lot in the NFL. Overall this season out of 94 lines through three weeks, including the sides and totals of each game, only 28 times has the line been determined by less than six points. Just like the six points can have a different value between college football and the NFL it can also take on different meanings in different games.
Turning a team from a favorite to an underdog seems smart but looking at the big picture you are wasting a point on the zero because ties are virtually nonexistent in the NFL and one or two points rarely decide games.
By shopping for the best lines or waiting for line movement a bettor can use the six points in the teaser to gain as many "key numbers" as possible. The key numbers in the NFL, points that games are generally determined by are 7,6,4,3 and 1. If you are backing the underdog and are getting points, it would be wise to try to move the line beyond as many of those key numbers as possible. Moving from +2 to +8 makes a drastic difference while teasing a game from +5 to +11 makes a minimal difference. If your opinion leans towards the favorite the opposite is true where a bettor would want to move a line from -8 to -2 rather than -11 to -5.
Another big mistake bettors often make is when a game is nationally televised and they want action on it and without having a strong opinion on the side or total they decide to tease both the side and the total in the game. The six-point tease has been nearly as ineffective on the total as it has been on the side after three weeks. The six points would only have mattered on the side 13 times out of the 47 games and made a difference 15 out of the 47 times on the total.
Watching friends sweat out last second field goals while you may already have the game in the bag because you teased it makes teasing seem like an easy proposition, but looking at the numbers it is anything but that. Teasing is a valuable tool that can be used by bettors but can also be easily abused.