Teaser Betting Strategies

Teasers have become one of the most sought-after forms of wagering when it comes to basketball and especially football markets. While teasers make bookmakers across the world millions, savvy bettors can use these bets to their advantage.

Understanding teasers is essential to reducing your edge and exacting profits from these wagers.


What Is a Teaser?

Teasers are multi-leg bets similar to parlays and accumulators, except bettors will be able to add points to their side of the wager. Teasers can only be used in sports with point spreads or totals.

Their recent rise in popularity is mostly due their explosion in popularity in the NFL and NCAA football markets, but teasers are also available for both NCAA and NBA basketball. Here’s an example of a 6-point NFL teaser:

Odds before teaser:

Pittsburgh Steelers +3.5 (-110)

Seattle Seahawks -7 (-110)

Odds after teaser:

Steelers -2.5

Seahawks -1

As you can see, our above point spread wagers went in our favor by a margin of 6 points. The Steelers moved to -2.5 instead of +3.5, and our other leg, the Seahawks moved from -7 to -1. A typical two-team 6-point teaser pays -110, so we would have to wager $110 to win $100.

As the number of legs in your teaser increases, so do the odds. For instance, a three-team 6-point teaser has payout odds of +165 at most sportsbooks. A 4-team teaser comes in at +265 and so on.

Like parlays, teasers are losing bets unless all the legs or bets in the teaser win, unless a push occurs. Our above teaser wouldn’t be eligible for a push because it’s just two teams, but also because the Steelers are favored by -2.5, which by default can’t end in a push.

Generally, a pushed leg in a teaser would simply mean the bet would revert to a smaller teaser. For instance, if a player bet a 6-team teaser and one of the legs pushed, it would go to a 5-team teaser. I say, “generally” here because not all sportsbook grade their pushes this way; some may count it as a loss.


Betting Teasers

Teasers can range from 4 points when betting basketball teasers to up to 20 points at some sites. Of course, these massive 20-point teasers have some crazy to-win odds, but some sportsbooks do offer them. With teasers, if a sportsbook offers it, sports bettors can wager on it.

Teaser size: 6 points: 6.5 points: 7 points: 
2-team -110 -120 -130
3-team +165 +150 +140
4-team +265 +240 +200
5-team +450 +400 +350
6-team +600 +550 +500

Above is a basic table showing the payoffs for NFL teasers from 6 to 7 points and up to 6 teams. As you can see, the odds start to increase rapidly as the number of teams get higher. The jump from two teams to three teams is substantial (and comparatively in the bettors’ favor), but as we start to move up, the odds increases and don’t catch up with the true odds, giving sportsbooks a large edge as the number of teams continues to rise.


Profitability of Teasers

For the most part, teasers are not profitable for the vast majority of sports bettors. However, this is mostly because they’re betting on too many teams and failing to line shop for strong odds. While the above table shows the standard odds for teasers, there are bargains to be found online at a number of operators.

Many sites will offer two-team 6-point teasers at +100, instead of the standard -110. This, of course, makes these bets all the more profitable. Likewise, some sites may offer -120 on two-team teasers, making them nearly impossible to profit from.

Since bettors will primarily be focusing on two- or three-team teasers, it’s of upmost importance that they check the odds at their sportsbook before choosing that as their spot to bet teasers. Adopting a strategy also helps. For example, basic strategy teasers for the NFL, known as “Wong Teasers,” are an excellent option for NFL teaser betting. However, sportsbooks have adapted to these over the years and are quick to limit bettors who are profiting from these.

Two- or three-team teasers have somewhere between a 10–20% edge for the sportsbooks, depending on the odds at your current sportsbook. These aren’t terrible, but bettors are still at a disadvantage.

As we look at four teams or higher, the odds get considerable worse. Most long-term studies and databases give sportsbooks a gigantic edge when it comes to teasers larger than four legs or teams. Some shops have gargantuan advantages, with edges as high as 50% in some cases. Overall, teasers larger than three teams are almost always a bad bet.

The rare case where betting teasers larger than 2–3 teams may be profitable is when clearing a bonus or freeplay. The bonus clearing adds an extra advantage to the wager because bettors are playing with house money.

In short, the vast majority of teaser bets above 2–3 teams are what profitable sports bettors call “sucker bets.” These bets are very rarely +EV and should be avoided. With that said, there are many who profit heavily from teasers, especially using basic strategy teasers and line shopping for the best odds on their 2–3 team teasers.