This is part 1 of a two part analysis of teasers.
Part II. A Look at Advanced Teaser Strategy
Teasers are one of the many different ways to bet football. If you’re brand new to sports betting, as in never placed a bet, you should read the article I just linked you to as the information contained in this article here is quite advanced. For others, if simple math makes your head spin, note that I touch on teasers in my simple to follow article on football betting systems. For anyone ready to learn, let’s dive into advanced teaser betting which is one the best ways to profit betting NFL football.
What is a Teaser Bet
A teaser bet is a parlay bet that uses modified point spreads. For example: a 2-team 6-point teaser on Giants -8.5 -110 and Patriots +4.5 -110 gives you Giants -2.5 and Patriots +10.5 as a parlay. The odds for 6-point teasers vary between bookies. To give an idea: 2-team 6-point teasers are generally offered at -110, 3-team 6-point teaser at +150 to +180 and 4-team 6-point teaser at +250 to +300. You’ll notice these pay less than standard parlays; this is because you have the added benefit of 6-points in your favor. In this article I’ll teach you everything required to make long term profits betting teasers.
Understanding the Odds
The first thing to understand about teasers is exactly what it is you are betting. Did you know a 2-team 6-point teaser at -110 is a parlay where each team is priced -262? Did you know a 3-team teaser at +180 is a parlay where each team is priced -244? If you’re already familiar with this math you can skip ahead; for those confused, allow me to illustrate this using simple math.
When betting at -110 we’re risking $1.10 to win $1.00, this means a successful bet returns $2.10 ($1.10 stake + $1.00 win). To calculate how often we need to win to break even, even when we use the formula risk/return = implied probability.
So here the math: 1.10/2.10=0.5238 (52.38%)
This tells us in a -110 teaser BOTH teams need to cover 52.38% of the time for us to break even. To see how often each team individually must win all we need to do is calculate the square root of 0.5238. You can do this via a root calculator (outside calculator); just enter 2 on the top field and 0.5238 in the bottom one. Doing this we see the answer is 0.7237 and this tells us each team must cover their point spread 72.37% to achieve the overall 52.38% required win rate. If we plug 72.37% into the implied probability field of our odds converter we see in American odds this is -262. This tells us is if we parlayed -262 with -262 the odds are -110. Therefore a 2-team 6-point teaser at -110 is a parlay with each team priced at -262.
Doing the math on a 3-team 6-point teaser +180: we start with $1.00 risked returns $2.80 ($1.00 stake + $1.80 win). So to calculate how often all three teams must win we take 1.00/2.80= 0.3571 (35.71%). This time we’re going to take the cubed root (3rd root) of 0.3571 because we’re dealing with 3 teams. Plugging this into a root calculator we see this solves to .7095 (70.95%). Once again using our odds converter we see 70.95% implied probability is -244 in American odds. So a parlay on -244, -244 and -244 pays +180. Therefore a 3-team 6-point teaser at +180 is a parlay where all teams are priced -244.
How to Beat Teasers
If you’re using 3-team 6-point +180 teasers you simply need to find a situation where teasing a point spread six points increases that teams expected win rate by 20.95%. Why? Because point spreads are a 50/50 proposition, and we’ve already determined in order to break even on 3-teams +180 teaser we need each team to win 70.95% of the time. 70.95%-50.00%=20.95%, so if a point spread is 20.95% more likely to cover when moved 6-points it is a +EV bet, if less than 20.95% it is a –EV wager and should be avoided. If we’re doing 2-team 6-point -110 teasers we need to increase the win rate by 72.37%-50.00%=23.37%. Hopefully this all makes sense! If not, reread it and keep in mind the math involved here is very simple.
Teasers were originally designed as a method to extract more money from recreational punters; however, along the way sharp sports bettors soon realized that with simple math and careful selection betting teasers can be quite profitable. Although the concept Basic Strategy Teasers has been around since the 1980’s, it was 2001 book by Stanford Wong titled “Sharp Sports Betting” that introduced this concept to the masses. Basic Strategy is based on the fact that almost 25% of NFL games are decided by either 3 or 7 points and around 38% of all NFL games are decided by 3 to 7 points. There are no other margins of victory close to these figures. Therefore simple logic tells us teasers that fully cross the 3 and the 7 at the best possible odds are the highest value of all teasers. This is called Basic Strategy or in some circles Wong Teasers.
To put this into a betting system, basic strategy is to tease underdogs +1.5 to +2.5 and favorites -7.5 to -8.5 in 6-point teasers. Basic strategy also states the best odds possible are required. As illustrated in the first section of this article 3-team 6-point teasers at +180 have better odds per team than 2-team 6-point teasers at -110. Therefore if on a given week there are 3 point spreads matching basic strategy criteria, 3-team teasers are a far better option than 2-team teasers.
Some Points about Basic Strategy
- Basic Strategy Teasers are very often +EV, but this is not always the case. The logic behind them only shows they are the best blind subset to wager on, nowhere does that logic quantify their profitability.
- It is important to check multiple online sportsbooks to confirm point spread you’re about to tease truly are +1.5 to +2.5 or -7.5 to -8.5. If your sportsbook list the line as -7.5, but one, two, or several others have the same team at -7, this should not be considered a basic strategy teaser.
- Basic Strategy refers only to NFL football. Despite belief to the contrary, there are in fact profitable college football teasers. To find these you need to understand advanced teaser strategy covered later in this article.
Best Betting Sites for Teasers
Prior to getting into advanced teaser strategy it is important to understand, punters who are beating teasers are doing so using lots of simple math and value shopping multiple online sportsbooks. A mistake novice bettors often make is to focus only on best teaser odds, meaning they want 3-team +180 not 3-team +170. However, what if there is 3 point spreads all +1.5 at every sportsbook (in other words the consensus line is +1.5 for each), yet one sportsbook that offered only +170 had these all priced at +3 -135? In case you’re not aware, the price such as -110 in +1.5 and -130 in +3 makes no difference to teaser payouts. Each site has “fixed odds” for teaser, so teasing +1.5 -110 to +7.5 or teasing +3 -130 to +9 results in the same payout. Generally speaking it’s important to get +180 on 3-team 6-point teasers however it is not the end all. If you understand advanced teaser strategy all things need to be considered to determine which option is best.
More to this point: 5Dimes.eu is well known for offering the best teaser odds overall, however they shade their lines in such as way it cost more to cross the 3 and the 7. Examples of how they accomplish this: say a team should be a -8.5 point favorite, 5Dimes might list them as -10.5 +130, or if a team is a +2.5 underdog 5Dimes might list them at +1 -125. On the point spread their expectation is the same; 5Dimes does this only to make it tougher to beat teasers. So although 5Dimes offers the best teaser odds, the value is often less than expected.
Again I must emphasize it is very important to use as many betting sites, bookies and sports books as possible when betting teasers. However, the site I find has the largest value the most often is www.bovada.lv. These guys offer 3-team 6-point teasers at +180, which is somewhat scarce these days. For example Intertops offers these at +170, Bookmaker at +160 and BetOnline at +150. Additionally, Bovada rarely shades their lines on -7.5 to -8.5 favorites, and often shades the lines on +1.5 to +2.5 underdogs to +3. So the one place they do shade the lines benefits teaser bettors. So while using multiple betting sites is important, opening an account at www.bovada.lv is an also near must for any serious teaser bettor.
Even websites with poor teaser odds often have +EV teasers. For example BetOnline.ag offers teaser odds so poor it’s almost a crime they’re allowed to do so. However, they also offer 2-team 7.5 point teasers at -140 which is an option not many sites offer. On rare occasions when there are two strong 10 point NFL favorites on the same week, this teaser option often has positive expected value. Another site Bookmaker.eu isn’t very competitive on most teaser options; however, they offer 4-team 6-point teasers at +300. This is quite impressive compared to BetOnline +250, Pinnacle +260, Carib +260 and Sportbet +280 on the same. The point I’m attempting to drill home in this section: understanding the intricacies of several online betting sites and then shopping point spreads in depth is a major key to profitable teaser betting.
Author & Professional: Jim Griffin