Pleaser Betting Strategy

Our football betting guide includes advanced articles on
betting teasers for both NFL and college football games. It is
therefore only logical that we also include an article on their
opposite, the pleaser bet. For those not familiar with pleasers,
this page features a brief overview of how they work. We also have a video to break down all these concepts that you can view as well:


Unlike teasers, which make selections easier to get right,
pleasers make selections harder to get right. The flip side to
this is that the potential payouts are greater. It’s very
difficult to make consistent profits using these wagers though,
if not impossible. These wagers should therefore not be
something you spend a lot of time on in our opinion.

Nonetheless, you should be aware of any and all opportunities
for making money when betting on football, so there’s no harm at
all in learning about pleaser betting strategy. This page
contains some useful advice for placing this type of wager on
football games.

What Is a Pleaser?

Pleasers are a type of parlay that involve combining multiple
point spread wagers or multiple totals wagers into a single bet.
Just as with standard parlays, all selections must be correct
for the wager to win. Pleasers are much harder to win than
standard parlays though, as the spreads and/or lines are moved
in the bookmaker’s favor.

Confused? This is understandable, as pleasers are one of the
more advanced wagers. The best way to explain them is to use an
example. Let’s say you’re looking at betting on the following
two matches on the point spread.

  • Cleveland Browns vs Pittsburgh Steelers
  • New England Patriots vs New York Giants

Your preferred bookmaker has set the point spreads for these
games as follows.

Browns vs Steelers
Point Spread

Patriots vs Giants
Point Spread

A standard two team parlay would be a logical bet if you felt
that the Steelers and the Patriots would both cover the spread.
It would be successful if they won by seven points and eight
points respectively. It wouldn’t give you a huge return for your
money though. Depending on the bookmaker used, you’d probably
win about two and half times your initial stake.

If you wanted to go for a bigger return, and felt that two
teams would cover the spread comfortably, you might want to
consider a pleaser. Let’s say you went for a six-point pleaser.
This would move both the spreads against you by six points.
You’d therefore need the Steelers to win by 13 points, and the
Patriots by 14 points. This is obviously less likely to happen,
hence the bigger payout. Again it would depend on the bookmaker
used, but you could expect to win around six times your initial

Recommended Reading

We’ve provided a brief explanation of pleasers here. In our general sports betting guide, we have a
more in-depth explanation of how pleasers work.

Pleaser Betting Odds

We’ve just mentioned how a two-team six-point pleaser would
usually pay around 6/1 on winning bets. These odds will vary a
little from one bookmaker or betting site to the next, but not
by much.

Pleaser odds can vary quite dramatically based on the
following two factors though.

  • Number of points the spread is moved by.
  • Number of selections included in wager.

The odds will increase as the number of points the spread
moves by is increased. This is only logical, as a bigger move
makes it harder to get the selection right. So a seven-point
pleaser would have higher odds than a six-point pleaser, while a
four-point pleaser would have lower odds.

Likewise, the odds increase as the number of selections
included in the wager is increased. This is also logical, as
with more selections there is a greater chance of getting at
least one wrong. A three-team pleaser therefore has higher odds
than a two-team pleaser. A four-team pleaser has higher odds
again, and so on.

It’s important to consider the odds when placing a pleaser,
as they’ll help you to work out how often a wager needs to win
to be profitable. With a two-team six-point pleaser at 6/1, for
example, winning once every seven attempts is required to
average break even. This is 14.29% of the time, so you need to
win more often than that to be profitable.

In order to determine the odds given for each team
individually, you need to do the following calculations.

  • Change the break-even percentage to its decimal format.
  • In this case (14.29%), that’s 0.1429.
  • Calculate the square root of this number.
  • This solves to 0.3780.
  • Chance this number back to a percentage.
  • This give us 37.80%.

This tells us that if each selection individually wins 37.80%
of the time, we’ll go 2-0 on our selections 14.29% of the time.
We’d therefore want to be confident that each selection has a
better than 37.80% chance of winning if we’re going to be

The numbers here indicate that pleasers are not only hard to
get right, they also don’t offer a lot of value. This is largely
why so many experts recommend avoiding them completely. They are
viewed by many as –EV bets that are meant to tempt recreational
bettors seeking large payouts.

However, +EV please bets do exist on rare occasions. This is
something you probably wouldn’t discover reading betting
strategy in books, forums, or blog posts, because of the general
consensus that all pleasers are -EV sucker bets that are heavily

Pleaser Betting Strategy

In our article on NFL teaser betting, we pointed out that
three and seven are the most common margins of victory. As such,
teasers that go from a loss to a win on these point spreads are
the best of all teasers. Pleasers are opposite of teasers, so
three and seven are the absolute worst point spreads in pleaser
betting. The correct strategy here, in our view at least, is to
find the lowest value points to cross.

Which point spreads should be avoided?

Anything that crosses three and seven in any way, shape, or
form is a given, due to them being the most common winning
margins. Large favorites of -15 or greater should also be
avoided if we consider that only so many points tend to be
scored in NFL games.

The following are all frequent margins of victory, although
not as frequent as three and seven points.

  • 10 points
  • 14 points
  • 17 points
  • 21 points

If we rule these out, however, we’re going to eliminate
pretty much every point spread that will be offered in a season.
So we need to loosen the rules some. It’s okay to cross 10, 14
or 17 once in a pleaser, but you should never cross more than
one of these numbers in the same selection.

Which are the best points spreads to please across?

With some simple logic, we can determine that the following
point spreads are the best to please in NFL football. This is
based on doing six-point two-team pleasers.

  • -7.5 favorites
  • -10.5 favorites
  • -14.5 favorites
  • +13.5 underdogs
  • +16.5 underdogs
  • +20.5 higher underdogs

Considering point spreads are 50% propositions, and in
pleasers we need each team to win 37.8% to break even, it
calculates out. This gives the bookmaker six points, and we must
reduce our cover rate by less than the difference (12.2%) for
the pleaser selection to be +EV. Based on the subsets above,
let’s look at the historical results.

Historical data

Over the five seasons from 2007/08 to 2011/2012, the pleaser
subsets provided above had the following results.

  • No Please: 35-34 (50.72%)
  • Pleased 6: 27-42 (39.13%)
  • Decrease: 11.59%

It’s important to note that this isn’t data mining. That
sample size is far too small to have much value, but we actually
used push charts and simulations to first determine our logical
theory was correct. The historical data just gives us extra
comfort knowing these subsets have run profitable over a small
recent sample.

The Problem With Betting Football Pleasers

There is one significant problem with betting football
pleasers, even using our strategy outlined above.

+EV Pleaser Opportunities are Rare

Discouragingly, you won’t find too many +EV pleaser bets per
season. This is because you need two teams available in the same
week to meet specific criteria, and this simply doesn’t happen

Taking a look at the same five seasons as referenced earlier,
this is how often +EV pleasers bets were available.

  • 2007: 6 times (2 had 3 teams)
  • 2008: 1 time and it was a 3-team pleaser
  • 2009: 6 times all of them 2-team pleasers
  • 2010: 3 times all of them 2-team players
  • 2011: 3 times (1 was a 3-teamer)

The good news is that some betting sites allow up to two open
legs for 4-team, 5-team, and 6-team pleasers. A strategy here if
looking for massive payouts might be in those rare times there
are three +EV pleaser selections in the same week, to make it a
5-teamer leaving 2-legs open. Should you win, you could then be
patient looking for highest +EV pleaser selections to make in
future weeks.

Additional Advice

Advice for Serious Punters

You might be able to land an occasional large payout with a
combination of some good fortune and our pleaser betting
strategy. There won’t be many opportunities for this to happen
though, so if you are serious about making money from your
betting you can’t rely on pleasers. We advise that you also
learn some other football betting strategies.

Advice for Recreational Punters

Pleaser betting is a fun way to have a chance at a large
payout for a small stake. There’s nothing wrong with making
$20.00 6-team pleaser bets, hoping to run like Moses and cash a
$6,000 payday. It’s just important to note this is for fun;
don’t get carried away betting more than you can afford to lose.

Of course, if you’re looking for a chance at big payouts
while also making +EV bets, then you may have to look elsewhere.
One suggestion we have is to choose a sign up bonus from our
recommended betting sites, and instead of making pleaser bets,
use your bonus to make moneyline parlay wagers.

Football Sites CTA

Additionally, you could also refer to our article on football
betting systems