First off, a teaser bet is when you take two or more teams and tease the lines of each game by a set number of points (must use the same number for all games involved). The most common teasers are 4.5-points, 5-points and 5.5-points, but there are sportsbooks out there that will let you go even higher. For example, if you had a three team 5-point teaser on Bulls -6.5, Magic +5.5, and Celtics +1.5, you would be getting the Bulls -1.5, Magic +10.5, and the Celtics +6.5. The bet works similar to that of a parlay. All three must win for your bet to win, and many times ties will result in a loss.
The big problem with teasers is they aren’t as great as you might initially think. The key number to show a profit if you are simply betting the spreads/totals is 53%. The majority of people struggle to hit that. If you were to only bet teasers the percent you have to hit will likely surprise you. If you only bet 5.5-point two team teasers, you would have to win 73.9% of every individual play you teased. Without some pretty serious strategy or pure luck this is extremely hard to do.
What draws people to teasers is they feel like laying a few less points on the favorite or getting a few more points on the underdog will all but guarantee them a win. That is simply not the case. I think a lot of people tend to remember all those bad losses when their bet got turned upside down in the final minutes of a game, and they think just a few more points and I would have won. In reality 5.5-points will save you a bet here or there, but in the long run it doesn’t give you a strong enough edge to win over the long run.
That’s not to say you can’t win betting teasers if you put some strategy into play. A common rule for many experts who bet on teasers is to never cross the other side. What that means is you don’t tease favorites into underdogs (including pick’em). For example, if you wanted to play a 5.5-point teaser you would only tease underdogs or favorites of 6-points or more.
The idea is to look for favorites that can be teased down to a number where they basically have to win the game to cover the spread and underdogs who have a decent shot at winning the game but could really benefit from a few extra points. The ideal teams for a 5.5-point teaser would be home underdogs, home favorites of 6 to 6.5 points, small road underdogs of 1 to 3 points, and road favorites of 6 to 6.5 points.
The number of teams you can include in a teaser depends on the sportsbook, but there are some out there that will go as high as 15 teams. It may seem like a pretty enticing bet, especially when you see the payout, but it takes a near miracle to cash in a 15-teamer. In fact, the more teams you add the harder it gets. Most experts like to limit their teasers to two or three teams. Many times if they have more than three teams that they like, they will create two separate teasers.
Creating two separate teasers leads me into another teaser strategy that I would like to share. The idea here is to create multiple teasers based off your strongest play. For example, if Miami -5.5 was your favorite play out of four plays, you would use a 5-point teaser to make it Miami -0.5. You would then create three separate teasers that included Miami -0.5 and two other plays (three possible combinations). With this strategy there will be times when you cross over the line and turn a favorite into an underdog. You will also have large favorites that still have to cover a spread to win the game.
The best advice I can give you in betting NBA teasers is to be very selective. Look for situations in which taking a few extra points can really impact your chances of winning.