What are Teaser Bets?

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Teaser Bets

It seems to happen every time you play a parlay. You are so close to hitting the big payday, and then one of your last bets misses by a field goal. 

All of your betting instincts were right. They were just undone by the foot of a kicker in the final minute.

If this doesn’t describe you, it will be one day soon. And you, too, will be left opining about how if only you could move the point spread a couple of points in your favor, you would be cashing in on your football betting genius.

Pine no more. Instead, play a teaser.

How Teasers Work

A teaser bet is essentially a parlay, but one that gives you more favorable odds to play. It is a multi-event betting ticket, and all of the events must win in order for the ticket to win. But with a teaser, you can move the point spreads of each event from between 4 and 10 points, depending on the sport and the teaser.

Winning a multi-event ticket is never easy. If it was, no sportsbook would offer them. 

But by moving the spread in the direction that favors each of your bets, it does become easier. Those close calls turn into winning tickets, and you no longer have to wonder about the what-ifs of playing a parlay with a better line.


You are most likely to play a teaser when betting on football. And while they are available for college football, typically, this is an NFL bet because of the more consistent way you can predict NFL scoring.

Some sportsbooks may differ, but most of the teasers that you’ll play on football will involve 6 points, 6.5 points, and 7 points. You get to choose how much you adjust the point spread, and in which direction – lower for the favorite, or higher for the underdog. Here’s an example using the posted point spreads from three NFL games.

  • Chiefs (-8.5) at Giants
  • Lions at Packers (-9.5)
  • Bills (-7.5) at Jets

All three favorites are desirable bets, but all three must win by more than a touchdown in order for their bets to win. So instead of parlaying the three favorites and hoping that you don’t get undone by an underdog that keeps it close, this would be a good place to bet a 6-point teaser. Suddenly those point spreads become:

  • Chiefs (-2.5) at Giants
  • Lions at Packers (-3.5)
  • Bills (-1.5) at Jets

Now all three favorites make for great bets. The Chiefs and Bills just need to win by a field goal, and the Packers’ margin for error against the Lions has been significantly increased.

Since you’ve played this as a teaser, it won’t pay out what you would normally get with a three-team parlay, which is 6-to-1 with a standard -110 payout per game. Instead, you will get +180 for the entire bet.

A $100 parlay on the posted odds would return $600 in profits, minus the juice. A $100 6-point teaser pays you $180 in profits. That is significantly less, but also significantly more than $0, which is what you would get on a parlay if the Lions kicked a late field goal to only lose by 7.


Teaser bets on the NBA and college basketball are less frequent, but they are available. They work much like football teasers, but the main numbers that you’ll see for basketball teasers are 4 points, 4.5 points, and 5 points. And just like with football, you can move the spread to benefit a bet on the favorites or a bet on the underdogs.

  • Nuggets (-3.5) at Rockets
  • Warriors at Lakers (-4.5)
  • Pacers at Celtics (-5.5)

If you move these lines four points, but in favor of betting the underdogs in your teaser bet, you would then be betting the following three results.

  • Rockets (+7.5)
  • Warriors (+8.5)
  • Pacers (+9.5)

These all become significantly easier for the underdogs to cover the spread, which makes it far more likely that you’ll hit your bet. As with football above, which has a 6-point move as the smallest you can make, the 4-point shift in basketball is the smallest. And that means the payout on a three-team teaser bet also pays +180.

You can play as low as a two-team teaser or what is sometimes called a monster teaser, which can be as high as 10 teams. Sportsbooks may also offer what is known as a sweetheart teaser, which allows you to move the spread a full 10 points in your favor on a three-team bet.

Build Your Own Teasers

Some sportsbooks will offer alternative point spread betting and allow you to use those lines to create your own teaser. You can bet a three-team teaser but only adjust the spread on one of the games.

And by using an alternative point spread the movement can be as little as 0.5 points. The payout on that one game would shift in the area of -110 to -120, so the overall payout is less than a standard parlay but considerably more than a full teaser.

You can also move the point spread on one of your games in the other direction, increasing the payout of that game. If you have the Dolphins -2.5, but you’re certain they’ll win by more than a field goal, you can use alternative point spread to push the line to -3.5. Instead of paying -110, you might see the odds on that game jump to +125.

Teaser Ties

Before placing any teaser bets, make sure you understand your sportsbook’s rules regarding ties. They vary from book to book, and generally speaking, will have one of four results.

If one of your teasers ties, that event is dropped from your teaser. So if you originally played a three-team teaser, it’s now reduced to two teams.

A tied bet on one of your teasers may nullify the entire bet, returning it to you as no action. This will only happen if the other bets in your teaser win. If they lose, a tie on another event is moot since the entire bet is already a loser.

Some sportsbooks may treat a tied teaser event as a win. Other sportsbooks may treat your tied teaser as an automatic loss of the entire bet.

When betting a sweetheart teaser, ties are almost always treated at losses.

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Teaser Strategies

Typical strategies that you see from regular teaser bettors are to tease down betting favorites to as close to pick’em as possible, then bet them. You’re playing as close to a straight win/loss bet as you can, but with better odds.

This same strategy is often seen on totals wagers, which can also be included in a teaser bet. If the over/under is 48.5, you can drop it down to 42.5, and then bet the over.

When teasing a football bet, always keep in mind that the two most common margins of victory are 3 points and 7 points. So when teasing a football game, tease it beyond these benchmark numbers.

If you’re betting an underdog at +2, adding six points to that makes it +8, and you’ve passed both of those benchmark numbers. That makes it a very worthwhile tease.

Another number to keep in mind 53%. This is how often you have to hit your regular point spread bets in order to turn a profit. When betting a three-team teaser, you need to win 71% of your bets to stay in the black.

So what needs to be decided when you are doing your analysis is this – does the teaser raise my odds of winning by at least 19%. If the answer is yes, bet the teaser. If the answer is no, don’t bet it, and instead, just wager on each game individually.

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