In sports betting, a teaser bet is a type of parlay bet. In a teaser bet, the bettor is allowed to change the point spread for a game, making the bet easier to win. In exchange, the sportsbook will lower the payout due to them if they win.
The most common teaser is a two-team, six-point football teaser. In this type of teaser bet, the bettor can adjust the point spreads for the two games but will realize a lower return on the bets in the event of a win. And just as in a standard parlay bet, both teams must cover these new spreads in order for you to win and for your teaser bet to pay out.
Teaser bets are most common when betting on football, and slightly less so in basketball. They can involve two teams, or many more—some sportsbooks allow up to 10 bets in a teaser. As with any type of parlay bet, teasers can generate large returns, but they are also risky.
- In a teaser bet, you can change the point spread for two or more games.
- The bettor is allowed to change the point spread for a game in a teaser bet, making the bet easier to win. In exchange, the sportsbook will lower the payout due should they win.
- The most common teaser is a two-team, six-point football teaser. In this type of teaser bet, the bettor can adjust the point spreads for the two games but will realize a lower return on the bets in the event of a win.
- Gambling always involves a negative expected return—the house always has the advantage.
What Is a Teaser Bet?
At its most basic level, a teaser bet is a type of parlay bet in which you can pay to make the bet easier to win. You pay for this increased likelihood of winning in the odds that you pay for the bet.
The standard teaser allows you to bet on two games as a parlay bet, but to adjust the spread of each game to make it more likely you’ll win. Normally, you can adjust six points for a football game and four points for a basketball game.
In exchange for making your bet easier to win, you must pick at least two teams to bet on. This increases the chances of the bet failing by at least one leg. And like a parlay bet, you must win all of the legs in a teaser to see any return. The sportsbook might also raise the odds for teaser bets, diminishing your payout even if you do win.
In 2018, the Supreme Court gave U.S. states permission to legalize sports betting if they wish to do so. It is still fully illegal in 17 states, including California, Massachusetts, and Texas. In four other states, there is some form of pending legislation.
Example of a Teaser Bet
Here are the spreads for two football games and how they can be adjusted as part of a teaser bet:
- Jets (vs. Falcons); Original spread +2.5, New spread +8.5
- Patriots (at Texans): Original spread -7, New spread -1
Now, let’s say that the Jets lost to the Falcons 27-20. This is covered under your new 8.5-point spread. The Patriots were originally a 7-point favorite against the Texans, and let’s say they won 25-22, covering the new 1-point spread.
This is a good example of why a teaser bet is easier to win than a standard two-team parlay, because neither the Jets nor the Patriots covered the original point spread, but both would have covered in a teaser.
A teaser like this will generally be priced around -120, meaning if you risked $12 on it, you would have won $10. If one or both teams did not cover the new spreads, you would have lost your $12.
Though the six-point, two-team football teaser is most common, you can make teaser bets from almost any combination of bets, and pay to change the spreads on them. A teaser is really just a parlay with adjusted prices, so you can do almost anything. That includes:
- A six-team, 6-point teaser
- A two-team, 10-point football teaser
- A four-team, 4-point basketball teaser
And so on. You can even include over-under bets as part of your teaser, or any other statistic that you can make a standard bet on.
Teaser bets can be composed of almost any combination of smaller bets, just like a parlay bet. The more individual wagers you include in your teaser, the higher the payout but the more difficult the bet is to win.
Calculating Teaser Bets
The price you will get for a teaser bet will depend on the sportsbook you use. Each book uses an algorithm that determines your payout and has its own rules about how teaser bets work. The price for a teaser bet is normally based on three main factors:
- The sport (football teasers are better bets than basketball teasers)
- The number of points you’re getting
- The number of games included in your teaser, because you need to win every leg to cash the bet
Some sportsbooks also adjust their prices based on the spreads you’re changing because it’s more advantageous to go from +2 to +8 than from +10 to +16.
To give you an idea of the prices you should be getting, here are some recent examples of how the pricing breaks down on two-team NFL teaser bets at several legal U.S. sportsbooks:
- Caesars -120
- DraftKings Sportsbook -120
- BetMGM -120/-130
- Circa -125
- FanDuel Sportsbook -134
Be aware that changing the odds from -110 (the standard price for a spread or total bet) to -120 can have a large effect on your margins, and make it much more difficult to make money with teaser bets.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call the National Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-522-4700 or visit NCPGambling.org/Chat to chat with a helpline specialist.
Should You Use Teaser Bets?
In general, teaser bets are not a good long-term strategy for making money on sports betting. Just like parlay bets, tying multiple bets into one wager in which they all must win decreases your chances of winning, and in general, you will not be compensated enough for the compounding risk to make it worth your while.
That said, teaser bets went through a period of increased popularity a few years ago because there is a specific type of two-team teaser known as a “Wong” teaser—so named for gambling author Stanford Wong—which can produce bets with positive expectation (+EV).
Steven Petrella, deputy editor for the Action Network, explains that Wong teasers work because “almost 40% of NFL scores end with margins of 3-7 points,” and this means that “[i]f you can get -120 or better on the 6-point, two-team teaser, it’s likely to be profitable over the long term.”
Otherwise, betting teasers is generally a -EV decision. But then again, so is all sports betting, and it’s possible to accept a loss in exchange for the excitement of betting on a game. As the American Gaming Association’s Vice President of Research David Forman puts it, “There are many ways to wager, and each fan gets to pick how they want to get in on the action. What’s most important is that every bettor takes the time to learn the odds and rules of their wagers and only bet within their budget. Sports betting should be enjoyed purely for fun, not as a moneymaking opportunity.”
If you are going to do that, and you want to limit your losses, there are general strategies about teasers to keep in mind:
- Never, ever tease through 0. That would mean you’re taking a team that’s -4 to +2. Why? Because NFL games are designed not to end in ties (and can’t at all in college), so you’re not getting one of the points for which you're paying.
- Be careful when betting on basketball games. You can bet teasers for basketball, explains Steven Petrella, but they're generally not good bets because there's too much variance in basketball scoring.
- Don’t tease college football games. The range of outcomes is wider, and even going through key numbers, it’s not profitable.
- Make sure you’re getting -120 or better on 6-point, two-team teasers. If you’re not getting a fair shake there, you’re probably not getting it on other teasers.
What Happens if a Teaser Ends in a Push?
A push in sports betting is when a game lands on the exact spread or total. Bettors get their money back and don’t lose any juice. Normally, a sportsbook will simply drop that leg out, and adjust the payout—the same as it would with a parlay.
What Does a Teaser Pay?
The most common teaser is a two-team, six-point football teaser. In this type of teaser bet, the bettor can adjust the point spreads for the two games but will realize a lower return on the bets in the event of a win.
Are Teasers a Good Strategy?
In most cases, teasers will not be a good option for the bettor looking to make money. Similar to parlays, tying multiple bets into one wager in which they all must win just increases the chances of the sportsbook scooping up your money. You're not getting compensated enough for the compounding risk.
The Bottom Line
Teaser bets are a type of parlay bet in which you can pay to improve your chances of winning on individual games. The most common teasers allow you to adjust the spread of football matches in exchange for combining two or more matches into one bet. Combining your wagers in this way makes it far less likely that the bet will pay out, but if it does, you stand to see a significant return.