Bettors love playing NFL teasers and bookmakers love taking bets, so are these wagers for suckers or can a smart player actually formulate a positive expectancy by optimizing their wagering strategy?
The answer is both Yes and No depending on the approach you take. We often hear the phrase that teasers are “sucker” bets and that statement is definitely true for the average bettor who does not consider the numbers he is teasing, while professional bettors understand the concept of moving the spread around key numbers.
Bookmakers will gladly write action all day long from bettors who fail to understand the basic principals of teaser betting. In truth, they are teasing an unsophisticated bettor by allowing him to move a point spread in his favor with the premonition that he is getting the better of the number.
A teaser bet is simple to make, but very few understand how to make one the right way. When considering an NFL teaser, there are two rules that need to be followed each and every time. First, one needs to recognize key numbers in the NFL because of the scoring patterns, certain numbers occur more than others. When considering a teaser play, the most value lies when you can cross as many key numbers as possible. The key numbers in the NFL are 3, 4, 6, 7, and 10. Of those five numbers, 3 and 7 are the most relevant and games land on each more frequently than any other number in the NFL. Obviously, the most productive and profitable way to bet a teaser involves all games when one can cross both the 3 and 7.
The second rule is the way we can apply the numbers to a teaser and structure the bet accurately. There are two ways in which we can manipulate the numbers in our favor and bet our teaser correctly. Teasing a favorite greater than 7 and no more than 8 1/2, we cross 7, 6, 4, and 3. Next, by teasing an underdog in the spread range of 1 1/2, 2, and 2 1/2, we again cross the key numbers of 3, 4, 6, and 7. By utilizing teasers in these parameters, we have enhanced our positive expectancy and made the wager correctly. If one combines these structural advantages with some sound handicapping, the profits will add up and the teaser bet will be a permanent fixture in a successful betting portfolio.
The above is based on using two-team, six point NFL teasers. These bets are almost obsolete in Las Vegas because bookmakers realize that sharp players who utilize the strategy will continue to beat them year after year. The standard used to be +100 (even) money on 2-team teasers, but now most sportsbooks understand their liability and have gone to -110 pricing.
Keep in mind that the above example is for football only and does not apply to basketball. The unique scoring nature of football allows for key numbers which is not the case in basketball and is why teasers should not be played in any other sport.