When it comes to betting on NFL games, a majority of the attention goes toward two types of bets: point spread and totals.

From a betting perspective, each game offers numerous betting opportunities. Some of them are simple, e.g., moneyline bets, in which all you have to do is choose which side you think will win the game.

There are also plenty of advanced bet types available. Many of them can seem intimidating at first glance, but it often turns out that they’re not as daunting after a little practice and research.

Some of these wagers may make sense for your handicapping strategy, while others just may not fit.

Either way, it’s still worth taking the time to learn something new when it comes to handicapping. After all, you never know when you may come across an idea or bet type that fits your style like a charm.

Let’s take a closer look at an advanced bet and work through a few examples.

After reading this page, you’ll know what a teaser bet is in football, how to use it and whether or not it makes sense for your particular approach to wagering.

What are teaser bets?

A teaser bet is pretty similar to a parlay bet.

In both cases, you are placing wagers on two or more games on the same betting ticket. To win or cash the bet, you must be correct on all the legs. If it’s a three-game teaser or parlay and you are wrong on one of the games, that ticket is a loser.

The difference between the two is simple.

For a parlay, you are working with the information at hand. All bets on parlay ticket will be on the lines posted by oddsmakers, whether they are point spreads, totals or moneylines.

For a teaser bet, you are factoring additional points into the equation, albeit in a fashion which makes a bet more appealing. One school of thought suggests that using teasers will reduce the risk on multi-game tickets.

As a result, you will see less of a return for success on teaser bets than you would from a successful bet on a traditional parlay ticket.

We’ll cover that aspect even more in-depth as we work through some examples, but it’s an important tidbit to keep in mind for now.

Most common types of teaser bets

You can use teaser bets on tickets in which have two or more games selected. Two games are the minimum for a wager, and some sportsbooks will cap the maximum number of teams you can use on a single ticket.

The same rules apply at many books for parlay tickets as well, so be sure to check your preferred provider for specific policies.

As with parlay bets, the odds of winning the wager decrease as the number of games on the ticket increase. Any wagering ticket with more than one outcome is difficult to pull off, but it’s more likely to be correct on two instances than three, and so on.

In addition to the number of teams involved, there’s another critical factor involved in teaser bets: points.

Most commonly, teasers revolve around three key numbers: 6, 6.5 and 7 points. Again, other books out may offer something different, so be sure to become familiar with the teaser rules at your sportsbook of choice.

To put the teaser bet into effect, you are moving the point spread in the direction you find more favorable.

Take a look at these two fictitious NFL lines:

  • Patriots -7 over Jets
  • Cowboys -8 over Giants

In these examples, the Patriots and Cowboys are the clear favorites. You expect them both to win, but you have a suspicion the margin will be closer since these are traditional rivalry games.

As a result, you decide a 6-point teaser moves the needle to a neighborhood you are more comfortable.

Here is what the odds will look like with the teaser applied:

  • Patriots -1 over Jets
  • Cowboys -2 over Giants

The same rules would apply for 6.5- or 7-point teasers as well. When used correctly, football teaser bets can bring the game lines within a comfortable range. They’re considered less risky than traditional parlay bets as a result so that the returns will be less on teaser wagers.

How to use teaser bets in the NFL

Each week, NFL game lines begin being released by oddsmakers on Sunday night, typically after all of the afternoon contests have wrapped up. These are the opening lines for a given week, which are often tied to some formula about the strength of NFL teams. As bets start rolling in, the lines can begin to move.

In fact, it’s not uncommon to see a swing of a half-point or more by the time Tuesday rolls around, as well as various movements with the odds attached to a contest. It’s always a good idea to have a feel for the opening lines and any subsequent movements.

This applies even if you are the type who prefers to handicap during the week and place wagers closer to the weekend.

Watching the line shifts can help you get a feel for which way the winds are blowing in terms of market interest for the week.

When starting a week’s handicapping process, it’s reasonable to make a mental note of the games that look like potentially profitable opportunities right off the bat. It’s also typical to find a few contests that you are completely unsure of, either because of the matchup or the point spread attached.

For games that fall into the latter category, teaser bets can help. Let’s say you have the three following games that have you feeling rather unsure:

  • Chiefs -2.5 over Chargers
  • Colts -8 over Bills
  • Saints -9 over Buccaneers

After breaking down all three games, you decide that the Chiefs and Chargers contest is a toss-up. For now, you chose to put that one aside and perhaps revisit later.

For the other two games, you like both of the favorites.

However, you also like the way both of the underdogs are playing and expect a much tighter contest. A 6.5-point teaser could do the trick.

Here’s what the lines would look like afterward:

  • Colts -1.5 over Bills
  • Saints -2.5 over Buccaneers

With the teaser now in place, you feel more comfortable with the potential outcomes.

As you see it, the Colts and Saints are both in line to come out on top of pretty tight games. Of course, you’ll need to be correct on both fronts to have a winning ticket for this bet.

Examples of teaser bets

As mentioned up above, advanced NFL bet types can look rather challenging at first glance. Practice makes perfect, so working through them a few times will naturally help to boost your comfort level.

Let’s kick it up a notch and look at these wagers with more teams involved. First up, let’s say we have the following three games on our radar as potential teaser opportunities:

  • Steelers -10 over Dolphins
  • Browns -4 over Titans
  • Eagles -8 over Redskins

After handicapping the games, you decide that you like the Steelers to win, but the hefty spread concerns you.

For the Browns and Titans game, you like the Browns to win, but it really wouldn’t surprise you if the Titans won either.

For the final game, you like the Eagles, but giving up 8 points in a rivalry game makes you nervous.

This could be a good spot for a 7-point teaser bet. Here’s what the wager will look like afterward:

  • Steelers -3 over Dolphins
  • Browns +2 over Titans
  • Eagles -1 over Redskins

By using a 7-point teaser, you have now brought all three games to a level you find much more appealing.

Now, let’s add a fourth game:

  • Steelers -10 over Dolphins
  • Browns -4 over Titans
  • Eagles -8 over Redskins
  • Raiders -1 over Broncos

We already broke down the other three games, so we only have to worry about the fourth one in this example.

In this case, we decided we would like the Broncos if we could get some more points out of the deal. After factoring in the seven-point teaser, here’s where the four games stand:

  • Steelers -3 over Dolphins
  • Browns +2 over Titans
  • Eagles -1 over Redskins
  • Raiders -8 over Broncos 

If all four of these games break in our favor, we’ll have ourselves a winning ticket. Regardless of which way the bet breaks, be sure to study your results to determine what went right and what went wrong.

That’s an invaluable part of the handicapping process, which can lead to more additional insight and understanding as your journey continues.

Payouts on teaser bets

Getting the hang of teaser bets can be a challenge, and the same applies for getting a handle on what the payout will be.

While virtually every betting site will allow you to plug in some bets to see what the return would be if you were correct, it’s often helpful to visualize that beforehand.

For teaser bets, viewing the odds in both fraction and American odds format can assist in getting a handle on the potential value return, not to mention the probability of the bet itself.

Here are the standard payouts for a 6-point teaser in both formats:

  • Two teams: 10/11 or -110
  • Three teams: 9/5 or +180
  • Four teams: 3/1 or +300

As you add more points, the payouts change. Here’s the average scale for 6.5-point teasers:

  • Two teams: 10/12 or -120
  • Three teams: 8/5 or +160
  • Four teams: 5/2 or +250

And finally, here are the average payouts for 7-point teasers:

  • Two teams: 10/13 or -130
  • Three teams: 7/5 or +140
  • Four teams: 2/1 or +200

Payout totals can vary at different books, but the scale laid out above serves as a solid benchmark. As with all bet types, a wager that’s considered less of a risk will provide a smaller return.

Just like with point spread and totals betting, odds of -110 are standard on two-game teasers.

The more games you add, the higher the risk. Hence, the return will be higher for three- and four-game teasers and so on.

However, it will also be less than what you would see for a standard parlay ticket. Keep in mind that you can add more games to your teasers, naturally, in accordance with the rules in place at the sportsbook.

The more you add, the bigger the return. However, the likelihood of being correct on all bets also decreases with the more games you add to the ticket.

The bottom line

A teaser bet is somewhat of an advanced wagering strategy, but after mastering the basics of how they work, you’ll find that they are also relatively easy to use.

Teaser bets require a minimum of two games, but you can include additional contests. Caps on the number of games can vary, so check out the rules at your sportsbook for specifics.

Typically, teasers revolve around the following numbers for football games: 6, 6.5 and 7. However, this can also vary, so review the rules on teasers at your book of choice.

Just like parlay wagers, the chances of being correct on all legs decreases with each game added to the ticket.

In a nutshell, fewer games equal fewer risk, and you’ll see a lower return as a result. More games equal higher risk, so the return is more significant.

Teaser bets can be a robust tool to have in the belt each season, especially for contests that have you on the fence.