Teaser Betting | What is a teaser bet, and how is it different from a parlay?
If you’ve ever looked through a sportsbook’s bet catalog, you’ll likely have seen options for moneyline bets and spread bets. You’ve also at some point heard of parlays, which are a way for bettors to combine multiple bets to increase their payout beyond the sum of their individual payouts.
Teasers are similar, in that they allow you to combine bets. If you’re looking to understand teaser betting strategy, a good place to start would be to take a look at what makes teasers different from your regular parlay, and also to understand what the intent of a spread bet is.
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What is a teaser bet? | Teaser bets explained
If you’ve seen a point spread before, you’ll know what one looks like. As an example:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+2.5) vs (-2.5) Kansas City Chiefs
Let’s say there’s another bet the same weekend being offered for another game:
Las Vegas Raiders (+3.5) vs. (-3.5) Los Angeles Chargers
Those numbers you’re looking at aren’t odds, they’re point differentials. So the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs are both expected to win these fixtures, albeit by separate margins.
Since Kansas City and LA are more likely to win, the margin that they’re expected to win by becomes the spread, and they have to win by more than that amount to ensure a win for bettors who favored them to win. Up till this point you’ve been dealing with regular point spreads (if you’d like more information about point spreads, take a look at our guide on them). So if the final scores read.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14 – 17 Kansas City Chiefs
Las Vegas Raiders 16 vs. 19 Los Angeles Chargers
This would constitute a win for people who’d bet on the favorites covering the spread in the first game, but not the second. If you’d have put the bets in a regular parlay, you’d have lost your winnings for both. Is there any way to win both bets despite the same scoreline?
Yes, and this is where teasers come in. If you decided to tease both bets by 6 points for the favorites, your spread would change to:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs (+3.5) Kansas City Chiefs
Las Vegas Raiders vs. (+2.5) Los Angeles Chargers
This means a winning result for a bet on Kansas City even if the Chiefs end up losing by 3 points. For the Chargers, they just need to be 2 points or less behind the Raiders to guarantee your win. This is an example of a teaser bet, and you only win the teaser if you win both bets.
It should be clear to you when you read that spread that you’ve added more cushion to your wager. You’ve shifted the point handicap in favor of the team you’d bet on, and in the process actually made the spread look as though the favorite is the underdog.
Let’s move on to the next stage of understanding a teaser bet; knowing how the odds work.
Teaser Odds | Knowing when (and how) to place a teaser bet
This is where teaser bets differ significantly from parlays. Since Kansas City and LA are the favored teams in this example, giving them even more of an advantage should result in your bet giving you less winnings. And that’s exactly how things play out; if, for example, your original bets were each set at (-110), your teaser will be much lower, perhaps at (-150). This is unlike a regular parlay, which would give you a larger return than two individual bets on the same outcomes. The higher the points added or subtracted from the spread, the greater your overall cushion, and the lower your winnings.
This has to do with the advantage in terms of cushion that a teaser bet gives you. While parlays tie together two independent bets, thereby decreasing your chance of winning overall, a teaser alters point spreads to be more favorable to your outcome. This is why teaser bets are widely debated amongst gamblers; while they might seem obviously favorable, they also bear the risk of giving you less winnings than you could’ve earned through a regular parlay.
Reverse Teasers are an interesting new bet type that’s been making rounds on sportsbooks. Instead of giving your favored team or total (in the case of a totals teaser) an advantage, it instead gives you a disadvantage. So if the initial bet being offered was for Over/Under 40 points in total, and you realized that you were in for a very low scoring contest, you could utilize a reverse teaser to bet on the odds of the total being under 34 points. Since this is a less likely outcome than the default, such a bet would afford you even greater earnings than a regular parlay, provided you managed to reverse tease the other part of your bet and win it as well.
Teaser betting FAQ
Are teaser bets good?
There’s a lot of debate about this in gambling circles. While you do receive reduced winnings, the benefit in terms of more insurance can make the difference in some games. If you take the time to get used to teasers, you can definitely use them to turn potential losses into modest winnings, which is a definite plus point.
Do you lose a teaser if you lose part of it?
For a teaser to result in winnings, all constituent bets must be right on the money. So if you miss one outcome, it doesn’t matter how many you got right.
What happens if one of my bets ties?
We talked about the hook and how it helps ensure there is a definitive winner in our article on totals bets. In the case of teasers and parlays though, if a bet has no hook, you can end up tying the point total or spread. In this case, the tied bet pushes and is removed from your teaser. If you’d placed a two game teaser, this will mean your teaser stands dissolved, while a three game teaser will be converted to a two game teaser, and so on.
Should I convert my bets to a teaser or a regular parlay?
The answer to that question changes from fixture to fixture. When you’re 100 percent sure about your bet you might opt for a parlay, while a teaser is better utilized to ensure your side wins.