How to understand and make a teaser bet
Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce celebrate one of their many touchdowns. Photo by Charlie Riedel/AP.

What's a teaser bet? A teaser is a parlay, meaning that two or more bets are combined into one ticket.

Teasers are a unique way to change the spread of multiple games and are most common in high-scoring sports like the NFL and NBA.

We'll run through teaser examples in both sports, starting with the NFL.

Teaser betting basics

Let's use the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers as our first example. For our sake, we're going to say the Packers are 10.5-point home favourites over the Chicago Bears, while the Steelers are 3.5-point underdogs versus the Baltimore Ravens.

If you like Green Bay and Pittsburgh but aren’t 100% confident they will cover the spread, you can tease the spreads to more palatable numbers. In this scenario, we will tease both games by 7 points, standard to the NFL, as it represents a touchdown and extra point.

By doing that, we bring the Packers spread down to -3.5, meaning they only have to win by four instead of 11. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, would become a +10.5 underdog, meaning they can lose by 10 points or fewer, instead of just three.

When teasing a game, you are paying more juice (the cut you give the sportsbook for taking your bet), but are gaining points. That's the key trade-off.

Teaser bet odds

Normal point spread odds in the NFL (and the NBA) are -110 for both the favourite and underdog. So at the normal spread in the Packers and Steelers examples, it means Pittsburgh +3.5 and Green Bay -10.5 would both have odds of -110. Those odds mean that you would have to wager $110 to win $100.

If you bet on these games as a parlay, though, the odds would be +264. That would return a profit of $264 on a $100 wager. Why the bigger payout? Because betting on more than one outcome on a single ticket comes with more risk. You would have to get both bets right in order to win.

It's easy to get behind the Packers with offensive stars like Davante Adams. Photo by Aaron Gash/AP.

Now, when teasing these games, the odds would change. Let's say the Packers at -3.5 had odds of -260 while the Steelers +10.5 was -240. Bet together, the odds would be -104 and you would profit $96.15 on a $100 wager.

It’s worth noting that the odds won’t always be exactly the same for every teaser card.

How to make an NBA teaser bet

Seven points is by far the most common teaser for NFL parlays, but you may find options to tease by four, five, or 10, among others.

We'll use the NBA as an example for other types of teasers that include more teams or, in other words, additional legs to the parlay.

Let's assume the Los Angeles Clippers are 3.5-point underdogs at Denver, the Philadelphia 76ers are 7.5-point favourites at Detroit, and the Los Angeles Lakers are 2.5-point favourites at home versus Brooklyn.

Like with the Packers and Steelers example, we could bet them at those spread numbers as part of a parlay that had odds of +596 (assuming all were set at -110).

Teasing can be a smart betting strategy. Photo by Chris Szagola/AP.

But we could also create a teaser bet. For a five-point teaser, the Clippers would go to +8.5, the 76ers would go to -2.5 and the Lakers would go to +2.5.

The odds wouldn't be as juicy as +596 (think something more like +180), but, in theory, you'd have a greater chance of cashing the bet. Though the return wouldn't be as great — $596 compared to $180 on a $100 bet.

You could also do a 10-point teaser. In addition to making the Lakers an underdog (like in the 5-point teaser), you could now make the 76ers one as well. Your ROI would be even smaller but your probability of winning would increase even more. The more points you buy, the lower your payout becomes.

When placing teasers, it's important to weigh how much you value the points versus the payout and find a sweet spot.

Teasing totals

Teasing totals is very similar to teasing points.

If an over/under is set at 47.5 at -110 odds in the NFL, you can tease it seven points either way. Over 40.5, or under 54.5 both provide more of a cushion, but it changes the odds.

The same rules apply to the NBA. You may see a greater variance with the odds because more points are scored in basketball. Seven points for a 47.5 NFL total does not equal seven points in a 209.5 NBA total.

How to bet a reverse teaser

So we’ve established teasers are selling odds to buy points in order to be safer, but what if you want to do the opposite?

This isn't typically given as an option, but you can manually change the spreads in what is known as a reverse teaser. That means you are teasing the line in the opposite direction to get a massive uptick in payout potential.

This is more unlikely to cash and you're essentially selling points to get plus odds.

That feeling you get when the teaser cashes. Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes/AP.

Let’s say the Bills are 13.5-point favourites at home vs. the Jets and you believe a total blowout is going to happen. Then you can reverse tease them to -20.5, meaning they now have to win by 21 or more.

Further, if the Dallas Cowboys are 4.5-point underdogs against the Packers and you think they’ll win, you can reverse tease the line to Dallas -3.5.

Combining these two reverse teasers is incredibly risky, as you are going a touchdown away from what the operator believes will occur. But the odds would be tantalizing and look like this:

Cowboys -3.5 (+200)
Bills -20.5 (+220

That would generate odds of +860.

Check out our sports betting glossary for more insight into key betting terms.

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