What Is A Teaser Bet?
A teaser bet is a bet type where you pick the outcome of more than one matchup and you give each matchup a fixed number of points to adjust either the point spread or the total to your advantage.
With teasers, you pick the outcome of more than one matchup, just like a parlay. However, for each matchup you pick, you get to “give points” to either the point spread or the total.
Let’s look at an example with the following 3-game teaser:
Washington Wizards (+6.5) vs Dallas Maverics (-6.5)
Denver Nuggets (+2.5) vs Charlotte Bobcats (-2.5)
San Antonio Spurs vs Los Angeles Lakers (Total = 193.0)
If this was a 3-game parlay, you would be picking based on the point spreads and totals set by the oddsmakers.
With teasers, you are allowed to adjust either the point spread or the total. Most oddsmakers allow you to use 6-8 points to make your adjustments. Let’s assume in this example that we are picking a “3-game 6-point teaser”.
In each matchup, we’ll now “spend” our 6 points to make things more advantageous for us.
In the Washington/Dallas matchup, the current spread is 6.5, so Washington is given a 6.5-point head start at the beginning of the matchup. If we spend our 6 points on Washington, then we can make their head start 12.5 instead of 6.5. If we spend our 6 points on Dallas, we can reduce their spread from -6.5 to -0.5, meaning that they start the game with a 0.5-point deficit instead of the 6.5-point deficit set by the oddsmaker.
In the Denver/Charlotte matchup, we could spend the 6 points on Denver to increase their head start from 2.5 points to 8.5 points. Conversely, we could spend the 6 points on Charlotte, changing their spread from -2.5 to +3.5. See what happened there? Before we spent those points, Charlotte was actually starting the matchup 2.5 points behind Denver. But after we spent the 6 points, Charlotte now starts with a 3.5-point head start!
We are also able to spend teaser points on totals as well, which we’ll do in the San Antonio/Los Angeles matchup where the total is currently set at 193. If we wanted to pick the over, we can reduce the total by 6 points, down to 187. If we wanted to pick the under, we can increase the total by 6 points, up to 199.
Let’s see where we spent the points:
Washington (+6.5) vs Dallas (-6.5) becomes Washington (+12.5) vs Dallas (-12.5)
Denver (+2.5) vs Charlotte (-2.5) becomes Denver (-3.5) vs Charlotte (+3.5)
San Antonio Spurs vs Los Angeles Lakers (Total = 193.0) becomes Over 187.0
This is a 3-game teaser. The advantage to teasers is, obviously, that you increase the number of possible ways to win your picks by adjusting the spread or total.
The disadvantages are two-fold:
First, just like parlays, teasers are a lose-one-lose-all, so you must pick every matchup correctly in order for the teaser to win.
Second, the odds are significantly lower than parlays, which gives teasers limited upside. Usually, the oddsmaker will set pre-defined odds for teasers. For example:
Any 2-game teaser: 1.83
Any 3-game teaser: 2.00
Any 4-game teaser: 2.80
Teasers are only allowed for some sports, typically Basketball and Football. It wouldn’t quite work the same if we were allowed to give 6 points to hockey or baseball matchups, would it?