Newbies to the world of gambling have a lot of questions. And understandably so—there’s so much opaque lingo and so many esoteric guidelines in sports betting that your typical sportsbook might as well be written Greek as far as your average novice bettor is concerned.
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What is a Teaser Bet in Sports Betting?
Adding to the confusion that many new bettors experience is the sheer variety of bets they can place. Sports betting offers an array of betting odds and options to put your money behind your favorite teams, from futures and prop bettings to the wild world of the special teaser bet. But to win big, you have to keep them all straight.
In short, it’s one of the riskiest games in the sportsbook. But with great risk can come great reward, as many a kamikaze bettor has discovered when selling points on teaser odds. If you’re someone who places gutsy bets like a sportsbook Evel Knievel, teaser bets might be for you. Here’s why.
The High-Risk, High-Reward Nature of Teaser Bets
When you place a teaser bet, you’re essentially exchanging a certain number of points for volume. In exchange for those teaser points, you must parlay bet at least two selections. They’re high-risk propositions that heighten the excitement for some bettors. And when they hit, they can offer a handsome payout.
Teaser bets are made across an array of sports and leagues, but they’re most popular in sharp markets with stiffer competition, like NFL and NBA. Although it can depend on the sportsbook, you should expect to sell the following amounts of points:
Mechanics of a Teaser Bet
Teaser bets are fairly simple. Once you sell your points on a teaser bet, you’re then asked to tie at least two selections together in a parlay. For the bet to have a teaser payout in your favor, you have to win each leg.
To illustrate, let’s take an example using two NBA selections. Hypothetically, suppose these teams were valued as such:
Remember that the standard teaser bet for NBA games is four points. In this scenario, a teaser bet on the Pelicans would raise their odds to -2.5, which looks a lot better than -6.5. Likewise, those four points are going to bring the Lakers out of the negative to a positive 1.5, which might make the bet worth it.
Understandably, parlaying your selections in this way increases your chances of losing the bet. That’s a big part of what makes teaser bets so risky and one reason why so many bettors avoid them.
It’s at this point that many bettors start to think, “But wait, you’re basically describing a parlay bet.” And it’s true that teaser bets are very similar to your standard parlay—in both cases, you’re hedging your bets on multiple wagers and crossing your fingers that they all pan out.
But there’s a crucial distinction between betting teaser odds and parlays. With teaser bets, you’re able to move the line in your favor. Adjusting the point spreads on each leg to better suit your teaser bet helps balance the risk of linking the legs together.
Analyzing Teaser Bet Odds and Potential Payouts
Because a teaser bet is so similar to a parlay, it’s worth understanding how often parlays hit. Knowing your point spread odds is a crucial aspect of any sound betting strategy, and knowing the odds when it comes to parlays can help you decide whether or not a teaser bet is worth it.
That said, the odds on parlays are pretty variable. They shift one way or another, sometimes drastically, depending on the odds of the individual teams in question. Here are two rules of parlay odds that you should keep in mind if you’re considering placing a teaser bet:
Keep in mind, however, that parlays and teaser bets are not the same. You’ll still get to move the line in your favor when you place a teaser bet.
Effective Strategies for Teaser Betting
Most of the time, teaser bets feature just two teams. But depending on the sportsbook, you could see one that features as many as ten teams. However, it’s more likely you’ll see a teaser bet involving three teams.
Three-team teasers work pretty much the same as a two-team bet. In both cases, you’ll have to win on each leg to have your total wager graded as a winner. As an example, let’s look at the spread on three fictional NFL matchups:
Although you can play seven-point teasers for NFL games, for this example, let’s pretend you’re playing a traditional six-point teaser. Let’s also suppose that you’re putting your money behind the underdogs in each game. Just like in a two-team teaser, your six points will raise the point spread. You’ll end up with a line that looks like this for the unfavored teams:
For some people, betting teasers is an opportunity to manipulate the odds in their favor and rake in big wins. For others, it looks like a guaranteed way to hand over your life savings to the sportsbook. But as with most things, the truth about teaser bets is closer to the middle between those two views.
Generally speaking, teasers are not a good bet, despite their potentially large payouts. Mostly, this is because of how the parlay works—you’re linking your bets together. In other words, you’re putting all your eggs in one basket and increasing the chance of breaking all of them.
Strategic Selection of Teams for Teaser Bets
That said, there are a few situations when a teaser bet is a good option. Here’s when they could be a winning strategy.
There are two situations in which teaser bets could be worth the play, despite the fact that you’ve tied your legs together.
The Wong Teaser Strategy
In the NFL, you sometimes have the opportunity to play what’s known as a “Wong” teaser. These teasers are named for Stanford Wong, the author of many gambling books. Unlike standard teasers, Wong teasers offer a positive expectation that you’ll win the teaser payout.
Sweetheart Teasers Explained
A Sweetheart Teaser is a special type of teaser bet that typically involves more points than standard teasers, such as a 10-point line shift. The advantage of a Sweetheart Teaser lies in its ability to significantly shift the point spread, making it an attractive option for games with clear favorites, like a dominant NFL game or an NBA matchup featuring top teams.
However, bettors should be aware of the trade-offs, such as reduced teaser payout odds and the requirement to include more selections in their bet slip.
Reverse Teasers in Sports Betting
Reverse teasers, also known as “pleasers,” add an intriguing twist to traditional teaser betting, offering a unique challenge for seasoned bettors. Unlike standard teasers, where the point spread is moved in the bettor’s favor, reverse teasers move the spread against the bettor.
This means that in a reverse teaser, the point spread for each selection becomes less favorable. For instance, if the original line for a team is -7, a reverse teaser might shift this to -13. This shift makes each leg of the bet harder to win, significantly increasing the risk. However, the allure of reverse teasers lies in their substantially higher payouts compared to standard teasers or parlays.
They are particularly popular among sharp sports bettors who seek higher rewards and are confident in their predictions. While reverse teasers can offer thrilling wins, they require a deep understanding of the sports, teams involved, and strategic betting acumen, making them suitable for more experienced bettors.
Another reason you might choose to go with a teaser bet is because of the price. Teaser bets tend to be a little more expensive than your average spread bet or total bet. It can depend on the sportsbook you’re using, but you’re unlikely to find a two-team, six-point teaser bet less than -120. Some can go as high as -150. But if you happen to find one that’s closer to -110, it might be worth the gamble
For reference, here’s what you can expect from teaser bet pricing, depending on how many points and legs you’re playing:
Of course, you might simply place a teaser bet simply for the fun of it. Perhaps you’re feeling confident in the game outcomes you’ve parlayed and want to make enjoying those victories a little sweeter. Or, you love a good underdog—who doesn’t?—and making a bet adds some more thrill and stakes to whether they emerge victorious.
Whether you’re new to the exciting world of sports betting or you’re looking for a way to reignite your passion for this well-worn way of enjoying America’s favorite games, Tipico is the fun and legal way to get in on the action.
Place a Teaser Bet with Tipico
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Now that you have a handle on teaser betting, check out our other guides