# Betting NFL Teasers – A Detailed Guide

A teaser is a popular type of football bet, and one that you

should definitely consider including in your overall **
football betting strategy**. Teasers are similar to

parlays, in that they involve making multiple selections, but

they are not quite as straightforward. They can be based on

either point spread bets or totals bets, and the initial spreads

or total lines are moved in your favor.

We provide a brief overview of exactly **how teasers
work** in this article, and plenty of strategy advice

too. We also address two major misconceptions regarding these

bets.We also have a video put together that you can watch if you don’t want to read through. Our resident sports betting expert Drew Goldfarb breaks down NFL teasers very well here:

Please note, what you’re about to read covers **teaser
betting strategy** in great depth. Although the material

is long, we encourage you read it all if you want the best

chance of making money from this particular bet. No matter if

you’re a seasoned gambling professional, or someone just

starting out, learning the information is near certain to lead

to additional profits betting on NFL football both this season

and all future seasons to come.

This page focuses entirely on betting

NFL teasers. We have written another article that deals with

betting college football teasers.

## Misconceptions Surrounding NFL Teasers

There are two commonly held beliefs regarding NFL teasers,

and these are as follows.

- They are only for experienced and knowledgeable bettors.
- They are always sucker bets.

Although teasers are rightly referred to as an advanced

wager, they are not so complicated that you should avoid them

unless you’re an expert. So the first statement above is simply

not true.

It’s also wrong to think that they can’t be profitable. If

you can learn how to use them correctly, and in the right

circumstances, then it’s perfectly possible to make money from

them. We’re not saying it’s easy, as it’s not, but then no

aspect of successful football betting is easy. The point is that

it’s plain wrong to just broadly label NFL teasers as sucker

bets.

## What is a Teaser?

In case you’re not aware, a teaser bet is a parlay that uses

a modified point spread. You’re given a better point spread than

the board is offering, and these pay less than a parlay.

To explain, let’s say in a given week there are two games

you’re interested in betting on. The first is the Chicago Bears

against the St. Louis Rams, and the point spread looks like

this.

Point Spread

+8.5

-8.5

You like the look of the Rams at -8.5, and the odds are -110.

The second game is the Minnesota Vikings against the Oakland

Raiders, with the point spread as follows.

Point Spread

+3.5

-3.5

In this one you like the look of the Vikings. The odds are

again -110.

There are three ways you can bet on the two teams you like.

- A straight bet on each team. For each wager, you would

have to risk $110 to win $100. - Betting them together in parlay, at odds of +265. This

would give you the potential to win $265 for every $100

wagered, if both selections win. - Betting them together in a teaser.

For the teasers, let’s say you do the industry standard

2-team 6-point teaser at -110 odds. This would cover both teams

in a single wager, with the spreads moving six points in your

favor. So you’d have the Rams at -2.5 and the Vikings at +9.5.

The odds would be -110 for the single wager covering both teams,

so you’d be risking $110 to win $100.

Basically, the teaser is the same as the parlay in that you

need both selections to win in order to win the wager. Because

the spread has been moved in your favor, though, the odds have

been reduced.

As we mentioned earlier, teasers can also be placed based on

total lines. However, for the purposes of this article we’re

concentrating on teasers based on point spreads.

This is only a very basic explanation of

how teasers work, as this article is primarily about the

strategy involved specific to football betting. We’ve also

provided a more detailed explanation of teasers in our general

sports betting guide.

## How Teasers Can Vary

For football betting, teasers are available in all different

shapes and sizes. You can choose the number of teams you want to

include, and the number of points you want to move the spread

by. The odds then vary accordingly.

For a 2-team teaser, you’ll typically find the following odds

available.

- 6 points: -110
- 6.5 points: -120
- 7 points: -130

Some bookmakers and betting sites also offer 7.5-point

teasers at -140.

While the odds for 2-team teasers are somewhat standard, they

can vary more significantly when you include three teams or

more. It’s worth noting that many betting sites offer special

teasers where, rather than getting a larger payout, you keep

getting more points for each team added. For example, one site

offers the following.

- 3-team/10-point teasers: -110
- 4-team/13-point teasers: -120

Many other sites offer the same at much worse odds such as

-130 to -160.

If you plan on placing a lot of teasers, then you

should use a betting site or bookmaker that offers plenty of

options and attractive odds for this type of wager. A good place

to start is with our recommended football betting sites.

## Betting Strategy for NFL Teasers

Back in September 2006, a poker player known as Daliman

introduced the sports betting public to basic strategy for

betting NFL football teasers. The concept he brought to forums

was not new. In fact, he disclosed in his first post that he had

read about this strategy in a book published in 2001, Sharp

Sports Betting by Stanford Wong. In tribute to the author, he

called these “Wong Teasers.”

Amazingly, he introduced them to poker forums at the start of

a season where they won at an ungodly clip; and many talented

gamblers literally bankrupted sports bookies that year. It was

the height of the poker boom (UIGEA didn’t go into effect until

the season was about over) and with these running so well that

year, many people into poker started betting on sports. The name

“Wong Teasers” stuck.

We should point out that, while these are still one of the

best blind bets in NFL football, 2006 was just an amazing year.

They are not always so successful, but if you follow the

strategy advice we provide here then you can certainly make some

money from them.

Considering that the best-known writer behind the Stanford

Wong penname didn’t write the teaser chapter of Sharp Sports

Betting, and the man that did was just sharing a strategy that

had been around since at least the 1980’s, we will refer to Wong

Teasers by their original name – “Basic Strategy Teasers.”

## Introduction to Basic Strategy Teasers

Now that we have covered what a teaser is, and provided some

background information on the basic strategy, let’s look at how

to use them.

The most common margins of victory in NFL football are three

points and seven points, and basic strategy is essentially based

on the following premise.

7 at the best odds possible.

To be clear, **fully crossing** means going from

a loss to win. Therefore, teasing -7 to -1 isn’t part of basic

strategy nor is teasing +3 to +9. This is because in these

examples, you’re going from a push to a win on one of the

required numbers, not a loss to a win, which is the key.

### Why Margins of 3 & 7?

To explain why the margins of three and seven are so

important, let’s look at some past data. Although this is a

little outdated now, covering the seasons from 2007/08 to

20011/12, the principle still applies. We’ll be providing some

fresh data for more recent years soon, and it will probably be

very similar.

- Regular season games were decided by exactly 3 points

14.8% of the time. - They were decided by exactly 7 points 9.8% of the time.
- They were decided by the range 3-7 points 38.8% of the

time.

There are no other margins of victories that come remotely

close to these percentages.

### Getting the Best Teaser Odds is Key

There are two parts to the basic strategy to be concerned

with. Fully crossing the margins of three and seven is one.

Doing so at the best odds possible is the other. When using

basic strategy, a lot of novice punters forget that the best

odds possible is as much a requirement as crossing the three and

seven.

## Basic Strategy Subsets

Considering we’re required to get the best odds possible and

most online betting sites start their teaser offers as 6-point

teasers, we can now decipher the two subsets to basic strategy.

- Subset 1: Tease all underdogs (from +1.5 to +2.5) by six points (to +7.5 to +8.5)
- Subset 2: Tease all favorites (from -7.5 to -.8.5) by six points (to -1.5 to -2.5)

No other subset would meet the criteria for the reason that

we’re looking for the absolute best odds possible and must fully

cross the 3-7.

The final challenge to getting the best odds relates to weeks

when there are more than 2-teams with point spreads meeting

basic strategy subsets. Here we need to know how many teams give

the best odds possible. To discuss this topic further, we need

to get into teaser math.

### Teaser Math: How Many Teams per Teaser?

As mentioned earlier, teasers are parlays that use modified

point-spreads. The problem with this statement is that we’re not

actually sure what odds we’re getting for each individual team.

For example, we know on a 2-team 6-point teaser at -110 we’re

getting -110 that our teams will go 2-0 against the modified

point spread. We want to analyze whether a straight bet,

standard parlay, or teaser is best though. To do this, or any

other analysis, we’re going to need to figure out a way to break

this down to odds per team.

What we do know, considering we can select any team as our

teaser selection, is that the odds must be the same for each

team. So we’re now asking what moneyline, parlayed with the same

moneyline, results in the overall odds -110. One method a novice

bettor might use to solve this problem is to try to find the

solution via trial and error. The good news is that there’s a

much easier way.

To start, we need to consider how often we need to win in

order to average breakeven. Considering the odds are -110, what

we need to know is the implied probability of -110. We can get

this figure using our odds converter. Plugging in -110 in the

American odds field, we see the implied probability is 52.38%.

This tells us if both teams win 52.38% of the time, we’ll

average breakeven over the long haul.

To figure out how often each team individually must win, the

magic trick is to change 52.38% to a decimal (0.5238) and

calculate its square root. If you’re confused how to do this, no

problem. Just Google search a square root calculator, plug it

in, and see that the answer is 0.7237, which is 72.37%.

At this point, you can go back to our odds convertor and plug

in 72.37% under implied probability. You’ll see a 2-team 6-point

teaser at -110 is a parlay where each team is priced -262.

Allow us to go ahead and run through this one more time, now

calculating the odds on a 3-team 6-point teaser at +180.

- First we need to calculate the implied probability of

+180 - This is 35.71%, which we convert to a decimal of 0.3571.
- We’re dealing with three teams, so we must calculate the

cubed root of this decimal. - This is 0.7095, or 70.95%.
- We plug this 70.95% into our odds convertor.
- This tells us that a 3-team 6-point teaser at +180 is a

parlay where each team is priced -244.

Notice something? Remember basic strategy dictates that fully

crossing the three and seven and getting the best odds possible

are requirements. The latter tells us that when there are three

teams that meet our subsets of underdogs +1.5 to +2.5 and

favorites -7.5 to -8.5, we’ll want to do 3-team 6-point teasers

at +180 instead of 2-team 6-point teaser at -110.

## Using Historical Data

In order to best illustrate why basic strategy teasers are

often times +EV, it’s helpful to look at historical data. In the

previous section, we calculated that 2-team 6-point teasers are

parlays where each team is priced -262, and that 3-team 6-point

teasers are parlays where each team is priced -244. The implied

probability of -244 is 70.95% and of -262 is 72.37%. Now keep in

mind that implied probability is a fancy word for how often a

team must win to break even.

Moving along, we already know that for point-spreads where

both sides are priced the same (example +1.5 -110 / -1.5 -110,

not +1.5 -105 / -1.5 -115), these bets are designed to be 50/50

even money propositions. If a selection in a teaser needs to win

70.95% of the time to break even, which is the rate for 3-team

6-point teasers, then moving the spread 6-points must increase

the chances to win by 20.95%. This is because we went from a 50%

proposition to a 70.95% proposition, and the 20.95% is the

difference.

Although this isn’t the best method, to keep things simple,

let’s take a look at how all basic strategy teasers have fared

over the five seasons from 2007 until 2012.

During this time, all favorites -7.5 to -8.5 went 22-20

(52.38%) against the point spread; when teased six points, they

went 33-9 (78.57%). Also, during this time, all underdogs +1.5

to +2.5 went 49-60 (44.95%); and when teased six points, they

went 74-35 (67.89%).

You’ll notice the win rates for the favorites increased

26.19%, and for the underdogs they increased 22.94%. In a 2-team

6-point teaser at -110, we needed the increase to be 22.37%; and

in a 3-team teaser 6-point teaser +180, we needed the increase

to be 20.95%. We’ve reached that increase in both cases, which

hints at the fact that if point spreads actually were covering

at the 50/50 rate intended, these basic strategy teasers are

+EV.

### The Danger of Data Mining

Basic strategy teasers have been a hot topic in betting

forums for years now. In the past, road favorites weren’t doing

well, and many bettors tried claiming they were no longer a

basic strategy subset. However, in the period following those

claims, road favorites went 11-4 (73.33%).

There was then a period when people suggested avoiding home

underdogs, due to poor results in that subset.

In fact, if you look at the discussion on teasers over the

years, there has always been one subset or another trailing

behind. This circulates every few years and is simply caused by

variance. For the same reason that all four subsets cross the

two most common margins of victory, they all should have an

equal win probability.

This means basic strategy teasers are either +EV or they are

not. There’s no “all basic strategy teasers except (insert

subset) are +EV”. This results-oriented thinking is similar to

the failed logic that says patterns appearing on roulette wheels

or a baccarat score cards are helpful in knowing the results of

the next spin or hand.

For more on the topic of basic strategy, refer to the book

Sharp Sports Betting by Stanford Wong, and then search the

sports betting sub forum of twoplustwo.com if need be. The

overall consensus of the sharpest bettors in the world is: if

you can find three NFL teams just before game time that are +1.5

to +2.5 or -7.5 to -8.5 and tease them in a 3-team 6-point

teaser at +180, then you’ll be making a +EV bet.

## Teaser Bets Can Be Sucker Bets

Earlier, we touched on the fact that teasers can be used on

the over/under betting total of any game as well the point

spread. We don’t believe this is something you should do though.

To show why totals are a bad idea, let’s look at the historical

results from the same five year period as before.

### Over Bets

- Over bets went 651-606-23 (51.79%)
- When teased by six, they went 881-382-17 (69.75%)
- The increase is just 17.96%.

### Under Bets

- Under bets went 606-651-23 (48.21%)
- When teased by six, they went 828-434-18 (65.51%)
- The increase is even lower at 17.30%.

Remember, we need to increase by between 20.95% and 22.37% to

find a +EV teaser bet. Simply put, teasing totals is a bet for

suckers, unless somehow the outcome is correlated (meaning a

2-team teaser using the point spread and total of the same game

where a correlation exists. It would be a rare occasion if this

were ever +EV; and at times, the betting sites will circle the

game to indicate that it’s not allowed.).

Earlier we shared the results from a five season period

teasing underdogs +1.5 to +2.5 and favorites -7.5 to -8.5, and

showed these all increased by more than the 20.95% and 22.37%

needed to be +EV. Had we just picked at random, here is what the

results would have been.

**All Home Underdogs** *(Regardless of Spread)*

- No Teaser: 207-213-11 (49.29%)
- Teased +6: 291-133-7 (68.63%)
- Increase = 19.37%

**All Road Underdogs** *(Regardless of Spread)*

- No Teaser: 433-388-23 (52.74%)
- Teased +6: 576-260-9 (68.90%)
- Increase = 16.16%

**All Home Favorites** *(Regardless of Spread)*

- No Teaser: 388-433-24 (47.26%)
- Teased +6: 552-271-22 (67.07%)
- Increase = 19.81%

**All Road Favorites** *(Regardless of Spread)*

- No Teaser: 213-207-11 (50.71%)
- Teased +6: 281-137-13 (68.04%)
- Increase = 17.33%

As you can see, all figures fall short of our minimum at the

20.95% increase required to break even, and extremely short of

the 22.37% needed when doing 2-team teasers at -110. Also keep

in mind that these numbers are inflated as they include both

basic strategy and non-basic strategy subsets.

No matter how you slice it, non-basic strategy teasers bet at

random are very poor sucker’s bets.

## Be Careful of the Line Shades

This is an important final lesson. Remember, it wasn’t long

ago that many bookies went bankrupt over basic strategy teasers

winning at an epic clip. The online betting sites fared better

than the independent locals for the reason that they were far

more aware of the risks. Many betting sites combated basic

strategy teasers by simply changing the payouts. For example,

3-team 6-point teasers were +180 for years, and nowadays only a

small handful of sites offer better than +160.

Another tactic many betting sites use today is line shades

for both the purpose of blocking +EV teasers and to trick novice

bettors into making -EV teaser bets.

When teasing the point spread is all that matters and not the

price, betting sites often post lines such as +7.5 +105 / -7.5

-125. If you understand buying half points, you’ll know that

-7.0 -110 and -7.5 -125 have about the same expected value. The

betting site is simply moving the point spread and charging the

fair price for the move. What they’re doing here is tricking

novice bettors into thinking this is a -7.5 point spread worth

teasing, when really the correct odds are +7 -110 / -7 -110.

Make sure you’re dealing with consensus prices.

When betting basic strategy teasers, be sure to glance at the

odds offered by several betting sites to make sure the team is

at least a consensus -7.5 favorite, or at the least a +2.5

underdog, before making your bet. For the favorites, if you see

any other site offering -7 or better, this is a no bet. For the

underdog, if you find any other site offering +3 or better, this

is a no bet UNLESS +3 is priced -130 or greater.

This means that the bookmaker with the best teaser odds is

not always the best one to use. They might be shading the lines

to make the odds worse for basic strategy players, in the hope

of trapping bettors into making –EV bets.