Throughout the NFL season, bettors will put teaser cards together in an attempt to maximize their chances of winning in one of the most challenging sports to turn a profit on. Football betting is the most popular form of betting in the American sports gambling landscape, and teasers are synonymous with betting on football.
In this guide to the teaser bet, find out how teasers work and what bettors should and should not do when using them.
A teaser bet is a bet that consists of multiple legs, similar to a parlay, with each of those legs modified to make them more favorable to the bettor.
Teasers consist of a combination of point spread and over/under picks, which are then moved by a predetermined number of points in the bettor’s favor. All of those modified spreads and totals then need to win in order for a bettor to cash their teaser ticket.
The appeal of a teaser bet is that each leg is supposed to be easier to win than a straight bet or a traditional parlay. For more on a traditional parlay, read our guide on how to parlay bet. While this does not guarantee that a teaser will cash, getting each leg at a better number than the actual point spread or total is a positive.
The teaser bet is most closely associated with football betting, as it is used the most on NFL games.
In football teasers, bettors can move multiple point spreads or totals, usually by a possession or so to help them correctly predict the outcomes of each game. In football, teasers are especially popular when reducing the number of points that a favorite is laying in a game, though the best application for each game depends on the original point spread and total.
The way a teaser bet works is such that bettors are essentially trading the odds they are getting for a more favorable point spread or total amount.
In football, the most common teasers adjust point spreads and totals by somewhere in the range of six to seven points. In basketball, teasers typically adjust the spread or total in a bettor’s favor by somewhere between four to five points.
When it comes to covering the spread or winning an over/under bet, the extra cushion of a possession or more can certainly come in handy. This is especially true in a sport like football, where the lines from bookmakers are often very precise. However, there are some strategic elements to teaser betting that should not be overlooked to maximize the value of this type of wager, which we will get into later in this guide.
How much a teaser bet pays depends on two main factors:
In football, a typical six-point teaser will go off at -110 odds for two teams, +180 for three teams, and +300 for four teams, with the odds increasing with each leg added from there. However, teaser payouts can vary depending on the sportsbook being used, which bettors will be able to see when they create their teaser tickets.
A teaser bet will pay slightly less than the odds mentioned above in the event that a bettor moves their lines by an additional half-point or point.
Whether or not this is worth doing depends on what the original point spreads and totals are for each leg of the teaser. While laying the additional vig, the cut or amount charged by a sportsbook for taking a bet, for an extra point or half-point can sound appealing, there are times and places where it makes more sense to do so than others.
Placing a teaser bet at DraftKings Sportsbook is incredibly easy to do, as the user interface makes locking in a teaser an experience that takes no more than a few taps.
As an example of a teaser bet, let’s say that there are two football games going on that we are interested in teasing. In the first game, Team A is a six-point favorite over Team B. In the second game, Team C is a seven-point favorite against Team D. With both favorites laying right around a touchdown in their respective games, we are going to tease both favorites down to a more favorable number.
In this example, we will use a six-point teaser, betting on Team A and Team C in their respective games. In a six-point teaser, Team A would go from a six-point favorite to a pick ‘em against Team B. Team C would go from a seven-point favorite down to a one-point favorite against Team D. That means Team A would simply need to win their game to cover their leg of the teaser, while Team C would just need to win by more than one point to cover the second leg.
In a two-team, six-point teaser, the odds are typically -110. This means that we would need to risk $110 to win $100 on our teaser ticket. If both legs win, we would earn a profit of $100, or we would lose $110 if either leg was not a winner.
In football betting, key numbers are very important, as scoring most often happens in increments of three and seven points.
Margins of victory regularly come in multiples of three and seven, with one-possession games often being decided by threes and sevens. When placing a teaser bet, keeping those key numbers in mind can be incredibly valuable and maximize profitability.
Being able to tease a favorite down to under three points, or an underdog to over seven points, is one of the most effective ways to use a teaser bet. By doing this, bettors can protect themselves against favorites that win by a field goal but fail to cover the spread, as well as underdogs that fail to cover the spread when losing by a touchdown.
Those scenarios with teaser bets are not guaranteed to happen all the time, but having some protection against them can be very impactful.
The Wong teaser is a strategy for those betting teaser cards that explicitly aims to navigate the key numbers of three and seven in football betting.
The strategy is named after Stanford Wong, who popularized the practice of playing two-team, six-point teasers only on favorites between 7.5 and 8.5 points and underdogs between 1.5 and 2.5 points.
By teasing down favorites within that range of points, bettors will see those favorites dip down to the 1.5 to 2.5-point range. And by teasing underdogs within that range up by six points, bettors would turn those underdogs into 7.5 to 8.5-point underdogs. In both cases, bettors are teasing teams through the key numbers of three and seven points, protecting themselves against a finish on either one of them.
Using the Wong teaser strategy does not guarantee that a teaser bet will hit, as an underdog could lose by multiple possessions, and favorites can lose outright in a sport as unpredictable as football. But this is the optimal strategy to use when betting on teasers, as it provides insurance against some of the most likely outcomes that would torpedo either leg at its original point spread number.
Teaser bets in basketball are an option for those who want to use them. But, the question here is whether or not a teaser bet is a good idea when wagering on this sport as opposed to football.
The answer, in short, is that using teaser bets in basketball is not a good idea for bettors whose primary goal is to win.
Teaser bets are not a good idea in basketball because of the sheer number of possessions in a standard basketball game.
In the 2021-2022 NBA season, the Dallas Mavericks ranked dead last in the NBA with 98 possessions per game. The Minnesota Timberwolves ranked first in the league, averaging 104.9 possessions per game. With basketball teasers typically spanning four to five points, that means a teaser would only impact two possessions in a league where there are typically around 100 per game.
Compare that to the NFL, where a teaser covers one possession in a sport where there are usually around 20-25 per game. The benefit of a teaser is much more palpable in football than it is in basketball, making this type of bet less useful on the basketball court.
In any form of sports betting, pushes are going to happen sometimes. In straight bets, players have their stake refunded in the event of a push. With parlays, any leg that results in a push is simply taken off of the parlay ticket. But what happens when there is a tie in a teaser bet? That depends on the rules at the sportsbook a bettor is using.
Some bookmakers will grade a push as a tie in a teaser bet and simply remove it from the equation the way they would in a parlay. Other bookmakers will grade a push as a loss in a teaser ticket, though, resulting in the entire teaser being graded as a loss. It is important for bettors to look up the teaser rules at their preferred sportsbook so they know what will happen on these bets ahead of time.
While teaser bets are common in football betting, pleaser bets are another way to manipulate betting lines to a bettor’s advantage. With a pleaser bet, bettors are still tasked with selecting multiple point spreads or totals across a slate of football games. But instead of moving those spreads and totals in a bettor’s favor, those numbers are moved in the opposite direction.
For example, if there are two games that are lined as a pick ‘em on the football schedule, a bettor could put both of them into a pleaser. Instead of picking two teams at the pick ‘em line, they would opt to lay six or seven points with each team they selected. This would make it harder to win their bet, but would also greatly increase the potential payout if both legs were to win.
A typical payout for a two-team pleaser is +600, with three-team pleasers going for around +1700. These are by no means easy to win, but can pay handsomely when they do connect.
Bettors who want to give themselves the best chance to win their teaser bets should download the Elias Game Plan app. The Game Plan app gives bettors insights on which teams have been covering the spread, which teams have not, and how teams are performing relative to the total.
Our insights can be used to craft more profitable teaser tickets throughout the football season.