Do you ever wish that you could move the line on a bet? There’s a way to do just that with something called a teaser. In this post, we’re going to answer the question to what are teaser bets and provide other valuable information.
Of course, nothing is ever that easy. Teasers come with the caveat that when you move the line you also have to pick two games right. If you like the Dallas Cowboys +2.5 and the Green Bay Packers at -7.5, you can tease these by six points, to +8.5 and -1.5, respectively. But like a parlay, you’ll have to be on the right side of both games.
Teasers can get more complicated with varying points, changes to the vig, number of teams, and so on. It’s important to remember that like any bet, teasers usually favor the house. And like any parlay, you might be compounding the house’s edge when you bet these. However, once you learn the concept you’ll be able to spot opportunities where teasing the line offers positive expected value.
Teasers: Finding Edges Around Key Numbers
The most common sport to find value on teaser bets is NFL football. Professional football has key numbers like three points and seven points that often separate teams in scoring because of field goals and touchdowns. That’s not the case in basketball, where adding additional points does very little to change outcomes versus the spread.
College football scoring rules are similar to the NFL. However, the college game has much more scoring variance, creating little value to bettors who tease games past key numbers like three or seven points.
That’s why bettors tend to focus their teaser bets on pro football, especially when they notice a chance to flip two game spreads onto key numbers. The example above shows this sort of opportunity. Dallas getting 2.5 points is just under a field goal, but teasing it up six points moves it through the field goal differential and touchdown differential. In the second leg of the teaser, Green Bay at -7.5 must win by more than a touchdown and an extra point. Moving the number down six changes that to a 1.5 point spread within the key three point number.
Sharp bettors are always looking for spreads that can be manipulated in this way. Sometimes they may find even more than one and tease three games or more. But once you’ve found two or more lines that make for good teaser bets to push across key numbers, you’ll then have to consider the cost of doing so.
For one, even at improved odds of covering these spreads, the probabilities have to be multiplied since you need both to hit. If Dallas’s implied probability to cover 8.5 points is 75% and Green Bay to cover 1.5 is 75%, then the chance of hitting both is .75 x .75, or approximately 56%.
That’s decent if the sportsbooks keeps the Vig on the teaser low enough. At -110, a 56% win probability offers about six percent expected value. But as the Vig increases, the EV decreases. Bettors have to be on the lookout to find teasers that not only increase the win odds of a single bet, but that increase both legs of the teaser parlay enough that it outpaces what the books are holding for themselves.
In short, teasers may seem exotic, but they are like any other form of sports betting. You will need to estimate your chances of winning and weight that against the prices out there on the market. Profitable teasers aren’t often available, and when they are it is usually in the NFL. But regardless of your sports betting focus or the time of year, teasers are another tool in the arsenal of positive EV sports bettors.