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Gambling 101: What is a Teaser Bet?

Bookmakers have tempted bettors with teasers for decades. Let's take a closer look at this exotic betting option.

Sports betting offers a great escape, and players have hundreds of wagering options available. Beyond standard gambling methods, like point spreads, moneylines, and game totals, teasers offer bettors a unique form of betting. As part of the parlay family, teasers allow players to adjust lines on point spreads and game totals to receive better odds.

Teasers are available on football and basketball as the range of odds can be moved up or down by several points. Baseball and hockey typically do not have teaser options as the odds on those sports are set with lower numbers. Bookmakers offer daily teaser cards that allow bettors to place a parlay bet with as many as 15 different selections.

How Do Teasers Change Football Betting Lines?

While they may differ, depending on the sportsbook, football teasers generally involve three key numbers. Those numbers are 6, 6.5, and 7, and bettors can choose to move the favorite line lower or push the underdog odds higher. Here's an example of how the odds would move on an NFL bet on a 6-point teaser card. In this example, all three favorites are priced above seven points, which is the second most common margin of victory after three points.

Original Football Odds:

  • Dallas Cowboys -7.5 vs. Washington Redskins
  • Green Bay Packers -7.5 vs. Detroit Lions
  • New England Patriots -8.5 vs. Miami Dolphins

Bettors may like the favorite in all three games, but giving up more than a touchdown isn't appealing. This is the perfect time to place a 6-point teaser bet as the odds on each match drop below the two most common margins of victory.

6-Point Teaser Football Odds:

  • Dallas Cowboys -1.5 vs. Washington Redskins
  • Green Bay Packers -1.5 vs. Detroit Lions
  • New England Patriots -2.5 vs. Miami Dolphins

There is, of course, a hook with teasers as the payout is reduced from the return paid on standard parlays. Numbers vary by sportsbook, but the price on a 6-point teaser is usually set between +150 and +180 on three-team bets. That means bettors will receive a $150 to $180 return on a $100 wager. That return is much lower than the $596 profit earned from a standard parlay with -110 odds.

How Do Teasers Change Basketball Betting Lines?

Basketball teasers are very similar to football, but odds don't move quite as much. The key numbers are 4, 4.5, and 5 on basketball teaser cards. Again, bettors can move the line lower on favorites and receive more points on underdogs. Here is an example of how players receive more favorable odds on basketball underdogs with a 4-point teaser parlay.

Original Basketball Odds:

  • Dallas Mavericks +3.5 vs. Houston Rockets
  • Indiana Pacers +4.5 vs. Milwaukee Cucks
  • Brooklyn Nets +5.5 vs. Toronto Raptors

4-Point Teaser Basketball Odds

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  • Dallas Mavericks +7.5 vs. Houston Rockets
  • Indiana Pacers +8.5 vs. Milwaukee Bucks
  • Brooklyn Nets +9.5 vs. Toronto Raptors

Build a Custom Teaser With Alternate Point Spreads

Many sportsbooks offer alternate point spreads, and they allow bettors to build a custom teaser. Players can adjust the line on a single game and place a one-team wager or on several matches to set up a parlay ticket. Alternate point spread odds allow bettors to move the line up or down in increments of a half-point. For example, Minnesota may be -3.5 (-110) favorites over Chicago.

Wanting to get below the key number of 3-points, bettors can buy one point and tease the odds down to -2.5 points. The hook here is the juice changes to somewhere in the range of (-130), which means bettors need to wager $130 to receive a $100 return. The reverse happens if bettors deem the point spread to be lower than what it should be. In this instance, Minnesota might be -5.5 (-110) favorites, and bettors can lay an extra point to push the line to -6.5 odds. The payout increases when adding points, as the juice would change to (+120) approximately.

Bottom Line: Are Teasers Sensible Wagers?

Betting preferences are personal, and everyone has an opinion on whether teasers are smart wagers or a sucker bet. Teasing odds up or down gives bettors more favorable odds, but the payouts drop significantly. Also, since many teaser cards use half points, the chance of a push is eliminated. That means each selection on teaser parlays must win outright to cash a winning ticket.

The best strategy for betting on teasers is to limit the number of games involved. While +600 odds on a 6-team teaser may be tempting, the odds of all six sides winning are not very good. Don't get sucked in by the lure of higher payouts. Limiting teasers to two or three selections gives players a much better chance to cash winning wagers. As with all gambling, make smart wagers by performing proper research before placing teaser bets. When betting sparingly, with small investments, it's reasonable to take a shot at a teaser parlay from time to time.


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