Examining the Pleaser Bets

In the late 1990’s the Stardust Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada introduced a unique wagering ticket for football betting called “Ultimate Challenge”. Bettors purchasing a ticket (card) would choose a side from four college football games, and if they beat the point spread by 8 points or more in all selections they’d be paid 60 to 1. In 2003 the now defunct online sportsbook Bet Jamaica introduced the same type of wager for NFL football calling them pleasers. This ended up being the name that stuck and today NFL pleasers are one of the many types of football wagers available online and are offered in 2-6 team formats.

Where to Bet Pleasers Online

The most popular sportsbook offering pleasers is www.betonline.ag. Here NFL pleasers use a six-point base and carry the following fixed odds payouts:

  • 2-Team 6-Point Pleaser +600 (6 to 1)
  • 3-Team 6-point Pleaser +1700 (17 to 1)
  • 4-Team 6-Point Pleaser +4500 (45 to 1)
  • 5-Team 6-Point Pleaser +12000 (120 to 1)
  • 6-Team 6-Point Pleaser +30000 (300 to 1)

To make sure it’s understood: a pleaser is basically the opposite of a teaser bet. For example, if you choose selections from the board listed as Jets +4.5 Patriots -6.5, Packers -1 and place them into a 3-team 6-point pleaser you end up with a parlay bet of Jets -1.5, Patriots -12.5 and Packers -7 which pays 17 to 1 if all three selections cover. In the case of a tie the wager size reduces, for example a win/win/push will pay the same as a 2-team pleaser, or in two team pleasers win/push is a push, where loss/push is a loss.

Are Pleasers Sucker Bets?

For the most part the answer to this question is yes, however to show why let’s take a look at the actual odd we’re getting per team in a pleaser bet. Starting with 2-team 6-point at +600 we first calculate the implied probability of +600. To do this we need to use the formula risk/return=implied probability. To note: return is stake+win, so… when staking $100 @ +600 the wager is $100 to win $600, therefore the return is $700 and the math here is 100/700= 0.142857. What this tells us is in order to average break even at +600 we need both teams to win 14.2857% of the time. To see how often we need each individual team to win (in order to achieve this 14.29% break even rate) we take the square root of 0.142857 which is 0.3780. This tells us if each individual team wins 37.80% of the time we’ll achieve our overall required break even rate of 14.29%. So to see the actual odds we’re getting per team visit our odds converter and plug in 37.80% under the field implied probability. You’ll now see the American odds equivalent is +164.55.

I’ve done out the same calculations for each pleaser set BetOnline offers. I’ll save sharing the math, but note: when calculating the 3-team pleaser I calculated the implied probability of +1700 then took its cubed root. For 4 teams I calculated the implied probability of +4500 and took its 4th root, etc. etc. Below is how each solved.

  • 2-Team 6-Point Pleaser +600 = 2-team parlay with +164.55 per team
  • 3-Team 6-point Pleaser +1700 =3-team parlay with +162 per team
  • 4-Team 6-Point Pleaser +4500 = 4-team parlay with +160.55 per team
  • 5-Team 6-Point Pleaser +12000 = 5-team parlay with +160.73 per team
  • 6-Team 6-Point Pleaser +30000 = 6-team parlay with +159.17 per team

Perhaps the first clue pleasers are a sucker bet comes in the fact the more teams added the worse the odds become. However the bigger indication: let’s look at the example of pleasing an underdog +4.5 to -1.5. Here we’re getting between +159.17 to +164.55 on this selection depending if we put them in a 2-team, 3-team, 4-team, 5-team or 6-team pleaser. As I’m writing this article I look and see that this week the Arizona Cardinals are +4.5 -110 at BetOnline, but also BetOnline has their moneyline at +185. This tells me I can bet them straight with no point spread +185 or I can add them to a pleaser and get them -1.5 +164.55 at best. Obviously wagering them on the moneyline is a far better choice. No matter how you slice it, for the most part pleasers are not a good wager and have a large edge to the house. However, the payouts are attractive enough and this is a heck of a lot better than the state lottery might offer. So with that said let me go ahead and provide some please betting strategy.

Pleaser Betting Strategy

  1. When the payouts are the same as BetOnline offers never bet more than 2-teams in the same pleaser. If you’d like additional teams it would be best to place manual round robin wagers.
  2. Never make a pleaser bet that fully crosses +3 or -3 as three is by far the most common margin of victory in NFL football. To will illustrate why: -3.5 -110 and -2.5 -164 have about the same expected value, this why most bookmakers will not sell half points on spreads of -3.5, -3.0, +2.5 and +3.0. What I’m attempting to get at here is if you please through the 3 (meaning going from a win to a now loss on either -3 or +3) the entire value of your pleaser is used up in that one single point move and you still have 5 other points to deal with. This is a huge sucker bet.
  3. The best pleaser bets are large favorites, for example teasing a team that is -14.5 to -20.5 brings this much close to neutral expected value.
  4. My final tip is to simply avoid pleasers. If you’re looking for big payouts moneyline parlays on underdogs will give you much better value. If you’re looking for maximum value, teasers are a far better bet, but only if you follow the advice in my strategy article on teasers.

Pleasers are for recreational gamblers looking for large payouts. If you’re willing to bet the despite our warning about their overall profitability you can find these available for wagering at 5Dimes and www.betonline.ag. I strongly suggest however betting smart using a wagering system.

Author & Professional: Jim Griffin