How to Bet Teasers: Expert Wagering Advice
As a bettor, we are usually at the mercy of the sportsbooks. Whatever lines and prices they put out, we must find a way to beat them and get the best possible return on our investment. Sportsbooks are usually ruthless and leave bettors with little to no advantage. However, there is one specific betting option that allows us to sweeten the pot and give ourselves a better chance to successfully win bets. This is called a "teaser." Depending who you ask, some say a "teaser" is for suckers, while some swear by it.
What is a Teaser?
When you hear someone using the term "teaser" they are referring to a special kind of betting option available that involves the point spread and total in basketball or football. It is similar to a parlay in that it must involve two or more bets, and each bet must be successful. However, the difference lays with the ability to adjust either the point spread or total in each game you are betting on. By adjusting the point spread on each game, you give yourself a better chance of winning the bet. However, the potential returns are lower than that of a parlay.
Football teasers are the most popular teasers in the betting industry and offer bettors a slew of options. Sportsbooks usually offer teasers that allow you to shift the original line by six points, six and a half points, seven points, or sometimes even 10 or more points. A 10-point teaser is typically referred to as a sweetheart teaser.
As always, an example will make things easier to understand. Let's say that on a typical NFL Sunday, you are interested in three teams - the Falcons (-7), the Cowboys (-2.5) and the Texans (+4.5). If you were to bet these teams in a three-team, six-point teaser, you would be getting each team at very different odds. A six-point teaser would result in the Falcons being (-1), the Cowboys being (+3.5) and the Texans (+10.5). On paper, each of these teams should have an easier time covering the adjusted spread, but as we already know, the game isn't played on paper. By adjusting the spreads, you have changed the potential payout. If you were to do a three-team parlay with these three teams, you would be getting close to 6/1 odds. Instead, most sportsbooks offer 2.5/1 odds on a three-team, six-point teaser. The risk is much lower, but so is the reward.
Basketball teasers work the exact same as the above football example, except sportsbooks offer different lines. The majority of sportsbooks will allow you to play a four-point, four-and-a-half-point teaser and a five-point teaser. You can play this option on both the point spread and total of each game. Let's use a totals example to give you a better idea of how this works. If you like three NBA games and their totals are 201, 188 and 193.5, respectively, so you could tease them to either the "over" or "under." Here is where it gets a little tricky. A four-point teaser to the "over" would reduce the total by four points, thus making the total potentially easier to reach. If you like the "under" a four-point teaser would add four points to the total so that you now have totals of 205, 192 and 197.5, respectively.
Are Teasers Worth Playing?
Much like any other betting option available to bettors, teasers are worth playing if they are done correctly and the situation calls for it. We already know "teasers" offer a much lower payout than straight parlays, but that's okay because there is one situation where a "teaser" is the best option. Since football has key numbers of three, four and seven, the ability to manipulate the lines in order to beat these numbers is crucial. Instead of laying a ton of money on a -400 favorite to win outright, or -110 to cover a big -7.5-spread, a six-point teaser allows you to bring that favorite through each of the key numbers and make them a -1.5-point favorite. Since a one or two-point margin of victory is very uncommon in the NFL, the odds of the favorite winning by at least a field goal is extremely high. The same rule applies for the underdog. A +1.5-point favorite or higher can be teased up through each of the aforementioned key numbers, thus making it a potentially easier spread to cover.
The biggest mistake a bettor can make when playing a "teaser" is teasing a team across zero. In reference to a six-point teaser, making a -3 favorite a +3 dog is frowned upon by sharp bettors and typically leads to a losing bet.
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