What Is A Teaser Bet?

Updated on April 2, 2020

For sports betting, the big three bet types capture most of the attention. Moneyline, point spreads, and totals attract a ton of betting action, and bets of this nature tend to dominate the conversation as a result.

However, there are plenty of other ways to get in the game. Some of them are really simple and straightforward, while others can seem a bit on the complex side at first glance.

While the natural tendency is to shy away from those that fall in the latter category, they are more than worthy of taking the time to understand how they work.

In fact, you’ll come to find that they aren’t that tough to wrap your head around after a little practice. One of the wagers that fall into this category is a teaser bet.

Through this article, you’ll know what a teaser bet is, how to use it, and whether or not it’s something that fits with your strategy.

What Are Teaser Bets?

A teaser bet shares something in common with parlay wagers. In both cases, you are placing two or more games on a single betting slip. You’ll need to be right on all choices in order to cash in.

For example, on a three-team teaser, all three legs must be correct in order to have a winning ticket. The same holds true when we’re talking about a three-team parlay bet.

The difference between the two comes down to who is in control of the lines. On a point spread parlay bet, you’re placing your money down on the line set by the oddsmakers. For a teaser bet, you can move the lines to a point that you find them more favorable.

Naturally, a shift in the lines can result in a less favorable return. That said, when used properly, teaser bets can open the doors to even more potentially profitable situations.

Most Common Types of Teaser Bets

Teasers are most commonly used in sports in which the point spread is a big betting focus, such as in basketball or football. As we work through some examples, we’ll use these two sports as our main focus.

A teaser bet will include two or more games. Just like in parlay betting, the more games that are added to the ticket, the greater the odds of being correct on all of them.

Some books will cap the number of games that can be used for parlays and teasers, so keep that in mind and consult the exact rules at your preferred operator for clarification.

Teaser bets generally revolve around key numbers. Three specific numbers are the big focus for basketball and football.

  • Basketball: 4,4.5, or 5 points.
  • Football: 6. 6.5, or 7 points.

Now let’s take a look at how these numbers get applied. Starting with basketball, consider this fictitious line for an NBA game.

  • Los Angeles Lakers -10.5 over Golden State Warriors
  • Milwaukee Bucks -7.5 over New York Knicks

You decide that you like the favorite in both cases, but the hefty spreads are making you feel a bit skittish. This could be a good spot to use a 4-point teaser. Here’s what the adjusted lines would look like.

  • Los Angeles Lakers -6.5 over Golden State Warriors
  • Milwaukee Bucks -3.5 over New York Knicks

It works the same way in football. Here’s an example using a made-up spread from an NFL game.

  • Patriots -9 over Jets
  • Cowboys -8 over Giants

Once again, you like the favorites but don’t want to lay that many points. You decide to use a 7-point teaser to bring the spread more to your liking. Here are the adjusted lines.

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

Teaser bets can be used to your advantage by dropping the spreads down to a level that you feel is more reasonable. Since you’re dropping the spread, there’s a little less risk involved.

The return on a teaser will be less than you would receive for a correct parlay on unadjusted lines as a result, so keep that in mind.

How to Use Teaser Bets

To use teaser bets effectively, it helps to have a good sense of how the lines move. From the time that lines are released until game time, the market will react, and oddsmakers will adjust accordingly.

For NBA and College Basketball, betting odds will generally be released no later than the morning of a game, but you may be able to get a sneak peek at them the night before in some spots.

College football lines are generally out on Sundays in advance of the following weeks games. For NFL, you’ll see lines for the upcoming week by Monday, but keep in mind that there’s still a primetime game to play before the previous week is considered closed.

As the day moves along for basketball lines, there will be shifts based on how the market reacts. When it comes to football, there’s more time for swings, so you may see the number hold steady before fluctuating later in the week.

In both cases, if oddsmakers release a number that the betting market loves, then it’s not uncommon to see the line move real quick after the open.

One good rule of thumb to follow is to get a glimpse of the lines for your chosen sport as soon as you can after the release. Make a mental note of games that look appealing, and keep an eye on any shifts that happen from that point.

By doing so, you’ll have a good sense of which games you want to key in on when it gets closer to time to place your wagers.

Let’s say that you have reviewed the day’s College Basketball lines early in the morning. You have a handful of games that you like at first glance, and these are the ones you’ll watch as the day moves along.

After handicapping the games, you come up with three that you like. It just so happens that all three are favorites, and the spread has risen throughout the day.

  • Dayton -4.5 to -6.5
  • Michigan State -5.5 to -7.5
  • Villanova -3.5 to -5.5

The market has come down heavy on the favorites, and the spread has risen on all three games as a result. You still like all three favorites to win their games, but climbing spreads make you uneasy. It’s a good time to use a 4-point teaser. Here’s what you’ll be looking at.

  • Dayton -2.5
  • Michigan State -3.5
  • Villanova -1.5

Not only do you have more attractive spreads than what the public is betting on, but you have also dropped them below the open. You’ve managed to drop the risk somewhat, but the trade-off comes in that you’ll get less of a return if all three of your teaser bets come in.

Examples of Teaser Bets

Before diving right in with teaser bets, it’s important to understand exactly how they work. There’s no such thing as easy money when it comes to sports betting. However, practice and fine-tuning your skills can enhance your chances of being right more often than not.

To that end, let’s walk through some more examples of teaser bets. We’ll kick things up several notches and add several teams to the mix, starting with the NBA.

Four games on the hardwood jump out to you as appealing plays. However, those same choices are readily apparent to others as well, so the lines are a bit hefty.

  • Toronto Raptors -7.5
  • Philadelphia 76ers -6.5
  • Denver Nuggets -9.5
  • Los Angeles Clippers -8.5

You fully expect the favorites to win all four games, but high spreads in the NBA turn you off. If you add a 5-point teaser into the equation, the lines suddenly don’t seem as intimidating.

  • Toronto Raptors -2.5
  • Philadelphia 76ers -1.5
  • Denver Nuggets -4.5
  • Los Angeles Clippers -3.5

All four of the games are now at a level that you find more attractive, so you’re willing to take less of a return while enhancing your chances of success.

Next up, you’re looking ahead to a busy Saturday of College Football action. Of the dozens of games on the docket, five favorites are staring you in the face as potentially fantastic plays.

  • Clemson -10.5
  • LSU -8.5
  • Alabama -9.5
  • Notre Dame -12.5
  • Ohio State -16.5

You’ve seen the spreads rise on all of these games to the point that all five teams are favored by more than a touchdown. While you’re confident they’ll get the job done, there’s no telling when they’ll call the dogs off and the other teams may close the gap in garbage time as a result.

A 7-point teaser can be a workaround for that. Suddenly, the big favorites only have to cover by a lesser amount of points.

  • Clemson -3.5
  • LSU -1.5
  • Alabama -2.5
  • Notre Dame -5.5
  • Ohio State -9.5

The teaser has brought the lines down to a level you’re more comfortable with. While the potential return is less due to adjusting the lines, the additional peace of mind may turn out to be worth it.

Payouts on Teaser Bets

Just like getting a handle on using teaser bets, it can be a little tricky understanding what the payout will be. For visualization purposes, it can help to look at potential returns in two ways: fractional and standard odds.

This can not only tell you what kind of return to expect, but it can also help you understand the actual probability of the wager itself.

Returns may vary at different books, but there’s a standard range you can expect for teasers based on points and number of teams used. Let’s look at basketball first and cap the teams at four.

4-point Basketball Teaser Payout

  • Two team: 1/1 or -100
  • Three team: 9/5 or +180
  • Four team: 3/1 +300

4.5-point Basketball Teaser Payout

  • Two team: 10/11 or -110
  • Three team: 8/5 or +160
  • Four team: 5/2 or +250

5-point Basketball Teaser Payout

  • Two team: 5/6 or -120
  • Three team: 3/2 or +150
  • Four team: 2/1 or +200

Next, let’s look at the standard range for football teasers.

6-point Football Teaser Payout

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

6.5-point Football Teaser Payout

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

7-point Football Teaser Payout

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

As you can see, the more games you add to a ticket, the more of a potential return you’ll see. For points, it’s the opposite: the more points you use in a teaser, the payout will drop in comparison to teasers with the same number of teams while using less points.

As with parlay bets, the chances of being correct on all legs on a ticket decrease with each game added. That doesn’t mean that it’ll be impossible to hit, but it’s important to understand the risk-reward ratio for any bet you place.

The Bottom Line

A teaser bet is a slightly advanced wagering concept. In a nutshell, you’re moving the spread on a wager to a spot that you find more favorable.

Teasers are most commonly used in football and basketball betting, two sports in which the point spread attracts a ton of action.

It’s similar to a parlay wager in that it requires two or more legs to implement. Certain books will cap the number of legs you can use for a teaser, so refer to the rules at your preferred provider for exact numbers.

Teasers generally revolve around key numbers for both sports: 4, 4.5, and 5 for basketball, and 6, 6.5, and 7 for football.

As you add more teams to the ticket, the risk rises on your end. When it comes to points, the more points that are used, the more of a risk it is for oddsmakers.

As such, returns will vary based on the number of teams and points used. In short, you’ll see less of a return from teasers than parlays using the same number of legs. That’s the trade-off you make for moving the lines in your favor.

Teaser bets can seem complex at first glance, but a little bit of practice is all that it takes to gain a good understanding of them. They can be a solid tool to have in the arsenal each season, especially for contests and point spreads that have you feeling unsure.

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