Don’t like the point spread your chosen team is getting? You can give them a leg up by betting on a teaser instead when you make your NFL picks – if you’re willing to pay the price.
If you’ve been betting on football for a while, you’ve probably filled out a parlay card at some point. A parlay is when you bet on more than one event (usually between two and 12) at the same time; if all the outcomes are in your favor, you get a giant payday at the end. The more events you put in your parlay, the bigger the prize gets – and the less likely it’ll happen. Sharp bettors usually stick with a two-team parlay, often combining the point spread and total from the same game. Recreational bettors love the 12-team parlay. It’s like a lottery ticket, but with football.
But what if you can’t find enough betting lines that you’re willing to put money on? That’s where teasers come in. This is a special type of parlay, where you move the NFL odds in the direction you want, by either six, 6.5 or seven points. You’ll win a lot more teasers that way, but in return, your payout will be smaller. Is the trade-off worth it? Like so many things in sports betting, it depends.
The Art of the Tease
Let’s take a closer look at the mechanics behind the teaser bet. First, note that NFL teasers are usually capped at 10 events, not 12. You might also find slightly different payout tables depending on which sportsbooks you’re doing business with – yet another reason to have multiple accounts at reliable outlets. With that in mind, here’s how the payouts for 10-team parlays and teasers look at Bovada:
6-point teaser 25-to-1
6.5-point teaser 20-to-1
7-point teaser 15-to-1
So much for winning the lottery. But 25-to-1 is still a massive haul, and if you took the 10 biggest favorites of the week and gave them each a 6-point head start, you’d obviously cash in a lot more often. However, that’s not the smart way to bet on NFL teasers. Instead of blindly loading up on chalk, you need to attack the right spreads. You need some magical thinking.
Did you catch our award-deserving piece about betting on point spreads? If you did, you’ll recall that more NFL games end in a winning margin of three points (roughly one out of every six games) than any other number. The second-most common winning margin is seven points games) than any other number. The second-most common winning margin is seven points (one out of 11 games). These are called magic numbers in football betting circles. These are the numbers you’re looking for.
To get the most value out of your teasers, you want to move the spread so it crosses both the 3 and the 7. For example, at press time, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 1.5-point road dogs for Thursday’s exhibition game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. If you were to put Tampa Bay in your 6-point teaser, you’d be getting them at +7.5 instead of +1.5. That’s a serious power-up right there.
The same strategy applies if you want to tease a favorite. The Atlanta Falcons are available at -7.5 for their September 10 regular-season opener at Soldier Field against the Chicago Bears; if you tease the Falcons by six points, you get them at -1.5 instead. There are other point spreads that will jump over both magic numbers for you. Here’s the full list:
Underdogs: +1.5, +2, +2.5
Favorites: -7.5, -8, -8.5
If you focus on putting these teams in your teasers, you can maximize the expectation on your NFL bets – but only if you pump the brakes and don’t put too many teams in your combo. That 10-team teaser will probably cost you money in the long run. Eight teams at a 15-to-1 payout is the sweet spot; you won’t find eight teams that fit the bill every week, but when you do, it’s clobberin’ time.