A Guide to Teaser Bets: what are they, are they worth it, best strategies

Want to add another strategy to your sports gambling tool box?

Teaser bets aren’t a free goldmine, but there are ways you can use them to profit.

Let’s cover:

  • What is a teaser bet?
  • Teaser bets vs parlays
  • Understanding teaser payouts
  • Are teaser bets worth it?
  • Best strategies to make teasers profitable
  • Teaser traps
  • FAQ: open teaser, can teaser bets push

What is a teaser bet?

A teaser is a bet where you combine multiple bets into one, and you get to change the spread of each bet by a number of points in your favor. This means the bet is more difficult than a standard bet because you have to win more than one bet, but it’s easier to win than a parlay because you get to change the point spread to be more favorable.

The change in the point spread is the same across all of your selected bets. You usually have multiple options of how much to change the points spread (eg. +1, +3, +7). The more points you give yourself, the less risky your bet but also the less your total payout will be

If you’re a little lost here, it probably helps to read our guide on the most common types of bets and maybe how sports betting odds work to review some of the basics.

Teaser bets vs parlay bets

A teaser bet is a type of parlay bet.

I have an entire guide on parlay bets and whether or not you should do them that might be worth checking out.

So what makes a teaser different than a parlay?

A teaser is the same as a parlay because you have multiple bets that all have to hit to win one bigger payout.

The difference is teaser bets are made easier by giving you more points. Since it is easier, it will pay less than the same parlay.

In other words, teasers are a lower risk lower reward parlay bet.

Understanding teaser payouts

Teasers increase the payout for each extra bet (also known as “leg”) that you wrap into your teaser bet. It decreases the payout for each extra point you give yourself to make the bets more favorable.

The exact details of how they do this are complicated and will vary sportsbook to sportsbook, but let’s cover a general example if you like details:

Let’s make it easy with a bet against two perfectly evenly matched teams. Your odds of winning each game is 50%. Now, let’s say you make it a two team parlay with evenly matched teams. You have a 25% chance of winning (.50 * .50 = .25 chance of winning). A 25% chance is +300 odds, meaning that if you bet $10, you’ll get $40 back or $30 profit. Of course, the sports book wants it’s take, usually around 10%. This means actual odds might be around +270. If you lose, you still lose all your money. Win and you get around $36-$37

Now, it gets more complicated because they’ll reduce your odds even more because you’ve made the bet easier. This gets more complicated because the initial spread, the amount of points, and the sportsbook all make a difference in how much the odds change. Needless to say, you’ll get less.

What about a 3 team teaser payout? A 3 team teaser payout will pay more than a 2 team payout because of the increased risk. You should expect quite a bit more because every bet you add significant decreases your chances of winning the bet. The 2-team payout you had a 25% or 1 in 4 chance of winning (assuming even bets), but in a 3-team teaser you have a 1 in 8 chance. Of course, the points you gave yourself in the teaser make your bet easier so you’ll have better than 1 in 8.

What about a 4 team teaser payout? This follow the same trend. Adding one more team makes your chances of winning much lower. A 4-team even odds bet has about a 6% chance of winning. That deserves a big payout of roughly $160 for every $10 you bet, BUT since it’s a teaser and the sportsbook will take juice, you’ll get less than $160.

The takeaway here is there are many moving parts to teaser bets. You’ll be rewarded for the parlay part of the bet where you taking more risk, but you’ll get less than a parlay because you’ve made your bets easier to win. The more important question might be are teasers worth it?

Are teaser bets worth it?

I’ve covered before how parlay bets are a bad bet. Not always, but in general, sports books profit more on parlays, which means sports bettors lose more.

Teasers are a type of parlay bet, so they probably aren’t a great bet either. There’s a couple of reasons for this:

First, riskier bets you’re more likely to lose. Yes, sports books compensate you some for this risk, but usually not enough to make it worth it. This leads us to our second point.

The more complicated a bet is, the more difficult it is for people to see how much the sports book is taking. It’s easier to hide the sports book taking a profit on a 6-team parlay than it is two evenly matched teams. If you bet $10 on two evenly matched teams, you’ll expect about $20 (a little less so the sportsbook can profit). But if you bet $10 on a 4-team teaser is $40, $47 or $55 good? It’s difficult to determine. The sportsbook wins.

With this in mind, there are strategies you can increase your chances of success.

My favorite strategies for teaser bets

If I’m trying to pull off a teaser bet, there’s a few strategies I keep in mind:

  1. Play with important numbers. Certain numbers are known to be bigger tipping points. Football is one of the most common for 3 and 7 point victories. This means giving yourself points that get around these numbers can be more profitable than your average point. In other words, if Chiefs are favored by 4.5 points (spread is -4.5) and in another game the Jets are favored by 5.5 points (spread if -5.5) a 2 points teaser is much more valuable in the Chiefs part of the bet. This is because the Chiefs bet now wins if they win by 3, but the Jets bet would lose. I try to get all my bets under these “magic numbers.” Side note: interestingly: 3 is also a common winning number in basketball games.
  2. Keep the teaser as simple as you can. It’s fun to go for the home run. A team 10 parlay undoubtedly can give you a huge payout and bragging right, but it’s also a lottery ticket you’re likely throwing your money away. But this also ties into #1. It’s more difficult to edge around key numbers the more teams you have, but if you have just a few teams, you might be able to get all just under the key numbers.
  3. Go for closer spread games. If games have a closer spread, the points you’re giving in your favor make a bigger difference. Sure, the sports book still takes this into account, but giving yourself more of a chance to win almost always is in your benefit.

Teaser traps

The biggest trap with teasers is going for the home run. Everyone wants the big win–the bragging right and the big payout. Sportsbooks love “lottery ticket” bets simply because they almost always take the money. It’s fine to add some risk vs a straight up bet with a teaser, but if you want to stay profitable sports betting, try to still stay methodical about it. It’s too easy to just take 10 bets and give yourself a touchdown in each game and hope it wins. It probably won’t.

Another trap is falling asleep and feeling like just because you’ve given yourself a few extra points, your bets are likely to win. Yes, the original spreads are often very close but many games also become a surprise. When you’re combining many bets, one of those surprises is very likely to happen.

Ignoring anything but the points is another common mistake. The “getting points part” can often make bettors just look at how they’re getting a better spread but ignore the teams. Stay to the same sports betting strategies you’d use in straight up bets to pick the teams you think will win. Then, zone in on those teams to add to your teaser parlay.

Having fun and being profitable with teaser (and other) bets

Teaser bets can be a fun and potentially profitable addition to your sports betting strategies. By focusing on key numbers, keeping teasers simple, and considering the games carefully, you can navigate the risks and find success with this type of bet. Just remember to stay disciplined and avoid the common traps that can trip up bettors.

Looking to up your sports betting game even further? Don’t miss our comprehensive article on sports betting tips that can help you become a more savvy and strategic bettor. Check it out now and level up your betting experience!