Football Tease: The Art Of Two-Team, Six-Point NFL Teasers
by Josh Nagel - 09/28/2007
Perhaps the most profitable bet you'll find during the NFL season is the two-team, six-point teaser. It's delightfully simple and powerfully effective.
If you can find this football tease at -110 for the juice, even better. This gives you the same price as a one-team straight bet and, while most sports book offer this teaser at minus-120 or worse, it doesn't hurt to shop around because the reduced juice can make a big difference in the long run.
The bet is a strong play for several fairly straightforward reasons; mainly, because of the salary cap and other factors used by the NFL to ensure parity, the gap in talent between the best and worst teams is smaller than it is in any other major sport.
Accordingly, this is reflected in the point spread, where double-digit chalks are rare and a team favored by a touchdown is considered a relatively significant favorite. Many games fall on key numbers like three and four and these are usually the numbers the oddsmakers assign to these games.
So here's where the six-point NFL teaser comes into play. Probably the best advice you can give an NFL bettor is to take the points; with this teaser, you'll take even more. The beauty of the maneuver is that, when done wisely, you can manipulate the spread in your favor enough that the bet almost qualifies as a steal.
"The NFL lines are so tight, so good and so accurate, that getting those points actually drastically changes the line," said Neil Baron, a longtime sports book writer at Reno's Club Cal Neva.
The Cal Neva, coincidentally, is one of the few major sports books in Nevada to offer the two-team, six-point teaser at -110. However, Baron said he once worked at another sports book that stopped offering the bet "because the book was getting beat so bad by them."
Now, because it's a great bet, don't assume it's a sure thing. There's a difference, and the bets are called teasers for a reason. They are so tempting that often every single team can look like a good value. You decide to string together a five-teamer, only to see it go down by one game. That's why you need to stick to a two-teamer and, moreover, you need to make sure you are looking in all the right places.
So we've established that six points are a lot to take in an NFL game; and football teasers can get exponentially bigger depending on where you take them. Since many games fall on numbers like three, seven and 10 - for obvious reasons if you follow football - then those are the exact same numbers you want to move off of and put in your favor.
Here are some examples of excellent places to take a six-point teaser: moving a seven-point favorite down to one (a big favorite is now essentially a pick 'em), a 4.5-point underdog to 10.5 (your minor underdog now rakes in the seven- and 10-point key numbers in your favor) the 8.5-point underdog (you pick up the 10-, 11- and 14-point key numbers) and the pick'em to plus-6 (you liked them to begin with, now take almost a touchdown).
Conversely, the six points lose some value in the following situations: a 7.5-point dog teased up to 13.5 doesn't help a lot (there's a pretty decent chance of the chalk covering by 14), a three-point favorite to a three-point dog (if the chalk loses outright, you are probably looking at a tie at best) the 13.5-point chalk down to 7.5 (still a lot of points to cover in the NFL) and any favorite or underdog of 14 points or more (these teams tend to cover convincingly either way).
Recent results - as they do every week in the NFL -- serve as proof. Let's say you and your buddy Handy Cap headed to the sports book last Sunday morning and you both decided to try a two-team, six-point teaser. You decide you like the Ravens and their defense to beat up on Matt Leinart and the Cardinals, but the seven-spot looks a little steep for this often offensively-challenged Baltimore bunch. You also decide that Atlanta at +4 might be a nice home darkhorse against a historically erratic Carolina squad, but you're not too sure you have the nerve to bet on any team with Joey Harrington at quarterback. After much careful deliberation, you decide there is some value in both teams with six extra points, and you go up to the window and receive a ticket that reads Baltimore -1 and Atlanta +10.
Meanwhile, your buddy Handy Cap already is in his seat with ticket in hand, having rushed to the window after just glancing at the board. He saw the Bills at plus-17 and said something to the effect of "17 points is a like a billion in the NFL!" and hurried to the cage. On his way there, he bumps into another patron wearing a Denver cap and proudly tells his new friend, "We both know the Broncos never lose at home," forgetting they almost did the previous week to the lowly Raiders. His teaser has the Bills at plus-23 and the Broncos at plus-3.
Handy erupts when the Bills score the first touchdown and claims his bet is already "a lock!" You are equally pleased to see the Ravens jump all over the Cardinals. However, the second half is a different story. Kurt Warner replaces Leinart and Arizona storms back to the tie the game late. You are nervous, but know you still have a chance because all the Ravens have to do is win, and they are approaching field-goal range in the final seconds. Handy Cap has no such hope; his bet became a piece of litter on the floor when Tom Brady and New England came back and blasted the Bills 38-7.
You breathe a sigh of relief when the Ravens win 26-23, and another when the Falcons blow an early lead but hold on for a seven-point spread with the 27-20 loss. Handy Cap, meanwhile, re-did his bet for the afternoon games, this time with the Broncos at plus-3 and the Redskins at plus-2. As the Broncos go down 23-14 to the Jaguars and the Redskins lose 24-17 to the Giants, he disgustedly rips up another ticket and tosses its remnants on the floor.
As you step over them and head to the cage to pick up your winnings, you hear Handy Cap call you "a moron who got lucky." You just smile and walk away.