The Trouble with Teasers
Generally speaking, betting teasers is not a good value proposition.*
A teaser is a specific type of bet where you get extra points, but must pay extra odds.
The most popular teaser is in the NFL, where a 2 team, 6 pt teaser requires the same -110 odds, or VIG as a normal bet. But, 2 differences:
1: you must wager on and win 2 games
2: you get 6 extra points in each game. For example, you can bet a 12.5 pt NFL fave and tease them down to 6.5 pts. You can also bet an underdog and get an extra 6 pts, getting +10 instead of +4.
You can bet bigger teasers with more teams and still risk 110 to win 100, for example:
-a 4 team, 11.5 pt teaser
-a 6 team, 13.5 pt teaser
In every case, you must win all the games to win the teaser, but winning each game gets easier because you get extra points.
How often do you need to win each game to make the teaser profitable?
Paying -110 juice, you must win 53% of general bets to turn a small profit over time.**
2 team 6 pt teaser – need to win EACH game 73% of the time**
4 team 11.5 pt teaser – need to win EACH game 85% of the time
6 team 13.5 pt teaser – need to win EACH game 90% of the time
What is the Problem with betting Teasers:
Winning multiple games is tough and you are NOT being compensated for the risk. Getting 6 extra points is less than 1 TD, and you need to win 73% of the time to turn a small profit. 73% is hard to pull off with just an extra 6 points.
Upsets happen. Guys loving teasing big 6-10 pt faves down figuring they can’t lose. Oh really? In the parity league that is the NFL. Consider these results from the 1st 7 wks of the 2013 season:
Wk 1 – Steelers lost to Titans as a 6.5 pt fave
Wk 2 – Eagles lost to Chargers as a 7 pt fave
Wk 3 – Vikings lost to Browns as a 7 pt fave
Wk 3 – 49ers lost to Colts as 10 pt fave
Wk 5 – Falcons lost to Jets as a 9.5 pt fave
Wk 6 – Texans lost to Rams as a 7.5 pt fave
Wk 7 – Dolphins lost to Bills as a 7 pt fave
Wk 7 – Broncos lost to Colts as a 6.5 pt fave
In the first 7 wks of the 2013 NFL season, 8 times, a 6.5+ pt favourite lost outright. These teams lose more often than people realize.
If you look at the money-line (odds of a team winning), it illustrates the weakness of the teaser bet. A 6 pt favourite’s chances of winning are usually -240 with +220 for the dog, that works out to -230 as a no juice line, or 230/330 = 70%, so a 6 pt favourite is implied to win only 70% of the time, but teasers require 73% win rates for 6pts which is bad value*.
So why do guys bet teasers? Because they are teased or tricked into it. They make you feel like you are making a smart bet. You will usually win one of the two legs of the teaser because you are winning around 70% of the time. When you lose, you will complain about your bad beat, asking how (the Pats could lose, Rodgers could blow it at home, etc) the favourite lost. You feel close to winning and it teases you into making bad teaser bets again. AVOID IT!!!
NOTE: this article is applicable to ALL SPORTS. Getting extra points isn’t usually worth the extra juice you have to lay
*A very specific teaser can be profitable. It involves the following characteristics:
1: Betting a 2 team 6 pt teaser laying only -110, therefore each side needs to win 73% of the time to turn a profit.
2: Each of the 2 teaser bets crosses BOTH the 3 AND 7 (i.e., betting an 8.5 pt fave teased down to 2.5 pts OR a 1.5 pt dog getting 7.5 pts). These 2 key numbers come in 13% combined (along with approx. 2.5% for 2/8, 4, 5, and 6), so 23% on top of 50% (normal cover of spread %) is 73% required to cover VIG.
3: Ideally extra favourable conditions – including low totals (o/u) in the game valuing each point more, or, not betting overvalued big rd faves and teasing them down (i.e., avoid teasing GB down from 8.5 to 2.5 at Vikings wk 8).
**Winning each game 73%, therefore .73 * .73 = 53% which covers juice (and turns a minor profit), specifically, you win $100 53% and lose $110 47%, so .53 * 100 + .47 * -110 = 1.3% profit.
need a refresher on the terms? See our glossary of terms.
need a refresher on the odds and how they work? See explaining the odds.