NFL Teaser Betting Guide
The teaser has become one of the most popular bets in the NFL. A teaser bet looks enticing to bettors because we’re getting points in our favor off of the spread. However, blindly betting on teasers is unprofitable, as the house has a considerable edge.
What is a Teaser Bet?
Before I get into any math or historical data I want to quickly explain what a teaser bet is in case some of you are unaware. Let’s take a look at the point spread in a football game.
- Point Spread: Denver Broncos –7 (-110) vs. Kansas City Chiefs +7 (-110)
A teaser is a wager on 2+ teams to cover an adjusted point spread. You can bet on teasers with varying points coming off the spread in your favor. Sportsbooks offer a wide range of teaser options, but the most popular is a 6-point teaser, which we’ll focus on.
In a 6-point teaser the point spread is adjusted by 6 points in your favor.
- 6-Point Teaser: Denver Broncos –1 vs. Kansas City Chiefs +13
As you can see, we take off six points from the favorite and add six points to the underdog. Keep in mind that you have to bet on a minimum of two games on a teaser just like a parlay bet. The payout odds are also fixed and known prior to placing the bet.
In order to have a chance at winning long term with teasers you need to be getting the best odds possible from online betting sites such as this one. I’m going to take a look at the best payout odds for 6-point teasers since these are the most common and profitable. The best odds for a 2-teamer is –110, 3-teamer +180, 4-teamer +300 and 5-teamer +450 (On a 6-pt Teaser). Bookmaker and BetDSI both offer these odds. 5Dimes used to, but they lowered their payout odds on most teasers.
NFL Teaser Strategy
Before we get into basic teaser strategy I want to show you how to calculate your breakeven point, which is important. A lot of these calculations are discussed in our sports betting odds guide, so for this article I’m just going to do the calculations. The first thing we have to do is figure out the implied probability of a teaser winning, which is simple. The implied probability of a 2-teamer (6-pt) teaser at –110 is 52.38% while a 3-teamer (6-pt) at +180 is 35.71%.
Now that we know how often we have to win our teaser to breakeven we can figure out how often we have to hit each leg. You can use a root calculator to determine how often each leg has to hit in order to meet the breakeven point. For example, if I plug 52.38% (0.5238) into a root calculator it’ll tell me that I need to hit each leg of my 2-teamer 72.37% of the time in order to breakeven. This means that in order to find +EV legs to bet on my teaser they have to hit over 72.37% of the time.
I prefer 3-teamer teasers because the odds are slightly better. If I plug the implied probability of hitting a 3-teamer teaser (35.71% – 0.3571) into a root calculator it’ll tell me that I have to win each leg of my teaser at a 70.95% rate, which is better than a 2-teamer. One of the most popular teaser strategies is called the “Wong Teaser”, which has become popular in today’s market. A Wong teaser is a 6-point teaser, but you only bet on favorites of –7.5 points to –8.5 points or on underdogs of +1.5 points to +2.5 points. From 1994-2012 Wong teaser sides won at a 73.23% rate, which is higher than the breakeven rate on a 2 or 3 team teaser.
The percentage climbs even higher if you look at just underdogs that qualify and not favorites. Realistically you could end up coming out ahead long term by betting on Wong teasers, but there are going to be years when you lose money by blind betting them. A lot of bookmakers have started shaving their NFL lines in recent years to prevent +EV Wong teasers. 5Dimes is one of these books, but there are some sportsbooks that rarely shave their lines to prevent this betting system. The reason why Wong teasers have proven to be profitable long term is because most NFL games are won by 3-7 points. When you bet a Wong teaser you’re moving the spread through both of the key numbers in the football (3 & 7). Did you know that roughly 25% of all NFL games end with a winning margin of 3 points or 7 points?
One problem with Wong teasers is that there aren’t many legs to bet each week, as bookies don’t want to set themselves up to be hit with a ton of teaser action. Rather than set a spread at –8 points they may make the line –9 or –9.5 points to prevent teasers. This means bettors have to be more creative and not limit themselves just to Wong teasers. You should try to keep a database that tracks closing point spreads and final scores although the information is also available online. Last season (2013) the Broncos went 10-6 ATS (62.5%) and 13-3 (81.25%) if you had bet them on a 6-point teaser each week. Denver was favored in every regular season game. Cincinnati was another great team to tease last season.
The Bengals went 10-5-1 ATS, but had a 14-2 (87.5%) record if you bet them on a 6-pt teaser during the regular season. When Cincy lost games last season they were almost always close because their defense kept them in games. Online sportsbooks offer teasers starting at 4.5 points and going up to 21 points although I’d never recommend betting on a teaser if you’re looking to buy that many points. Teasers can be profitable, but you have to spend time finding +EV teasers. Sweetheart teasers are popular amongst some bettors. There are two types of sweetheart teasers. One is a 10-point teaser with 3 teams that pays –110 and the other is a 13-point teaser with 4 teams that pays –120 odds.
These teasers are enticing, but you have to hit each leg at a very high percentage (80% – 86%) to breakeven long term. Certain weeks there may be 3 or 4 games with big spreads that you want to tease, but try not to get into the habit of betting then often. Make sure you shop around for the best lines as well. In some cases you may be able to get an extra ½ or full point off the teaser line by shopping at the major online sportsbooks. Every point counts in the NFL, which you’ll realize shortly once you start betting.