January 14, 2023

Betting on Teaser


Every sports betting forum on the web seems to be talking about “Wong Teasers” and “Teaser Betting Strategies” these days. As someone who has been consistently profitable every year since 1999, I wasn’t thrilled when “teaser strategies” became the talk of betting forums. After Stanford Wong published Sharp Sports Betting about a decade ago, Las Vegas sportsbooks started losing money on trailers. Today, as far as teasers are concerned, it’s nearly impossible to find +EV wagers in Las Vegas. Thankfully, there are still plenty of options online, but how long will this be the case?

Though I am still reluctant, considering that the cat is no longer there, I decided to write this comprehensive article on parlays to clarify a few things and contribute. Here I’m going to break everything down as simply as possible to show you which parlays are profitable and help you understand why they are Profitable. After reading this article, you can bet on swings at odds in your favor. I’m convinced you’ll benefit from the information on this page, so I’m asking you for a small favor: please think about supporting our site by linking to us in a blog post or forum or using one of our links to join us online Sports betting (e.g., BetUS).

I’ll start with the introductory material for those unfamiliar with the trailer. I encourage experienced bettors to skim through the first few sections simply.

What is Teaser betting?

In Layman’s terms, a parlay is a bet that uses a modified spread. In football, the most modification is six points. Let’s say you like three Bets this week: Jets -7.5, Raiders +1.5, and Bills +5.5. Instead of straight betting or parlays, you can place a three-team six-point parlay on Jets -1.5, Raiders +7.5, and Bills +11.5. To win the bet, you need all three teams to play. A winning trio is paid 1.8 to 1 on most online betting sites.


Standard Teaser Odds

Teaser odds vary by site. When betting on the Sixes Prelims, you want to find two teams -110 or better, three teams +180 or better, and four teams +300 or better.

5Dimes. EU also deserves mention, as they have industry-leading odds with two teams at +100 for a 6-point pass. Beware, however, that 5Dimes often shade the lines teasingly that it’s hard to find value for money. If every site had Jets -8.5 / Redskins +8.5, 5Dimes would probably list the line as Jets -9.5 +105 / Redskins +9.5 -125. Pricing +105, -125, etc., has nothing to do with teasing since you can tease either side by 6 points and get the same payout as if both were -110. 5Dimes lists the line this way because teasing +8.5 to +15.5 is less valuable than teasing -8.5 to -2.5 for reasons we’ll get to later in this article. 5Dimes is a great option when you’re getting into advanced teaser strategies, but as a beginner, just knowing that 6 points pass +100 for both teams can be deceiving.

Another way parlay odds can be deceptive: for example, which offers +100 on two teams’ parlay odds for 6 points. It’s not a company I’m very familiar with, but I quickly looked around the web and found sports betting sites that gave them a C+ rating, which could be better. It brings me to my last point; many disreputable bookies offer the biggest payouts. You need to be smart about this scam, as sportsbooks can post any payout rate they wish, and there is no risk if they have no intention of paying out the winner. Being very familiar with the subject, the most well-known betting sites that also offer favorable parlay odds are BetUS and BetOnline.


Push Teaser rules

Push rules are usually the same for each site. A split bet loses if one of the legs of the handicap is all-in and any other leg loses. Draws and all wins reduce the same as they are in a pass. For example, a three-team pass with the result: of push/win/win will pay as a two-team pass. If there is no loss and only one win, bets will be refunded (e.g., 2 Teamer push/win = no action, and bets refunds).


Introduction to Advanced Teaser Strategies

As we mentioned, a parlay is a parlay that uses a modified spread. To analyze the line strategically, we need to break down the bet to the point where we know the odds paid out on each side. Don’t worry if this needs to be clarified; it should make sense for now.

Let’s start with the 2-team 6-point (-110) trailer. As you probably already know, to break even at -110, you have to win 52.38% of your bet. The formula used for the calculation divides by return, where return equals stake plus win. e.g., a bettor risking $110 to win $100 has a return of $210, so the math here is 110 dollars risk/$210 return = 0.5238, or 52.38%. It is how often the “double” side of the variation board must win for the bet to break even. To perform any statistical analysis on teasers, we must ask ourselves, “how often must each leg win individually to achieve a 52.38% win rate?” To calculate this, we must know how many times it equals 0.5238. Using a square root calculator, we find that 0.7237 x 0.7237 = 0.5238. Each leg must win, on average, 72.37% of the time for the forward bet to have a neutral (breakeven) expectation. To avoid being math intensive, I’ll simplify things and tell you to google “Moneyline Converter,” plug in 72.37%, and see that this equates to a -262 money line in American odds format.

We’ve now deciphered the two-team six-pointer trailer at -110. What we have is a two-team winning streak of -262 per team. The Bookmaker sells us six credits and charges 152 cents for those credits (from the standard -110).

As another example, let’s look at a +180 three-team trailer. A $100 bet at these odds would win $180, so a winning bet would return $280 (our $100 stake plus a $180 bonus). Using the breakeven formula of risk divided by benefit, we get 100/280=0.35714. This trailer has three teams, so we need to know which number multiplied by itself three times equals 0.35714. Use a cube root calculator to understand that the answer is 0.7095 multiplied by 0.7095 multiplied by 0.7095. Therefore, in a three-team, six-point match, each leg must win 70.95 percent of the time to break even. We plug it into the Moneyline converter and get -244.

We’ve interpreted that a three-team 6-point pass +180 is a three-team parlay -244 per team. The Bookmaker sells us six credits and charges 134 cents (from the standard -110) for those credits.

After running this math on a few options, I got the following odds for how often a single leg would have to win for a given trailer to break even:

2 teams -110 = 72.37% / 2 teams +100 = 70.71% / 2 teams -105 = 71.57%

3 teams+180=70.95%

4 teams +300 = 70.71%

5 teams+450 71.11% / 5 teams+500=69.88%

6 teams +600 = 72.30% / 6 teams +700 = 70.71%

Four- to six-team picks have higher variance, and we usually find fewer teams to tease in a given week. When comparing other options, you can see that three teams at +180 give us the best value unless we can find a site that offers +100 with two teams.

Update 2014: I can no longer find a sportsbook that offers 3 team previews for +180. The best I’ve discovered is +165 from 5Dimes. EU. I calculated the teaser at +165 for three teams using the formula above, and each leg needs to hit 72.26% of the time to break even.


The Golden Key to Teaser Betting

We now know that when betting three teams at +180, we need each to win 70.95 percent of the time. Let’s compare whether it is better to bet directly on the spread or the variation. If we bet directly at the 5 Dime juice sportsbook, we would pay -105. To calculate our required -105 breakeven ratio, we again use the risk divided by the reward formula. A $105 bet returns $205 (our $105 bet plus a $100 win), so the math works out to be 105/205=0.5122, or 51.22%. The difference between a breakeven rate of 70.95% in the teaser and 51.22% straight bets with less juice is 19.73%.

Now, if you’re a savvy gambler familiar with changing the tables, a light bulb may have gone on in your mind. If not, don’t worry. You may be overwhelmed and need more time to adjust. To determine whether parlays are better than straight bets, we need to know whether the six extra points increase the probability of winning by 19.73%.

The truth is that most parlay bets are dumb bets since seldom do 6 points increase the odds of winning by 19.73%. For this, you need the cross-key number. The NFL’s most common winning order is 3, 7, 10, 6 and 14, 4, 1, 17, 13, & 2. It is why base strategy forecasts have historically been +EV.


Basic strategy preview:

“Sharp Sports Betting,” first published in 2001 in Stanford Wong’s book, the concept of the “basic strategy trailer,” was first published in print. Wong uses a push chart to illustrate that teasing +1.5 to +2.5 underdogs & -7.5 to -8.5 favorites, given the correct teaser odds, is profitable. Note that when moving the spread by six pips in both preview options, you will win what would have been a loss: 4 of the six most common win margins, including the first two (3, 7, 6, and 4). Although it’s been nine years since the Sharp Sports Betting chapter writes, these preview games have won more than the required 70.95% clip.

So how have bettors who followed the basic strategy fared in recent years?

Today is November 19, 2010. I specified that date to let you know the sample size I used. From the start of Week 1 of the 2006 NFL season to the most recent Thursday night game of Week 11 of the 2010 NFL season, the schedule included in the Basic Strategy trailer has been 101-45 (69.17%). Unfortunately, blindly following all the “yellow teasers” isn’t profitable. The good news is that the modified base strategy is already profitable.

Decomposing the trailer results into four subsets results in the following:

Home Dog +1.5 to +2.5 Teased to +7.5 to +8.5

25-17 (59.52%)

Road Dog +1.5 to +2.5 teased to +7.5 to +8.5

44-17 (72.13%)

Home favorite -7.5 to -8.5 teased to -1.5 to -2.5

23-7 (76.67%)

Road favorite -7.5 to -8.5 teased to -1.5 to -2.5

9-4 (69.23%)

Here’s another update from Kevin on Jim’s article on trailers. I want to check if +1.5 to +2.5 for Road dogs and -7.5 to -8.5 for Home favorites are still profitable or if the market has corrected.

Here’s the data since 2004:

*Note that I can only get the data to the nearest percent, but that’s okay.

Family favorite -7.5 to -8.5 teased to -1.5 to -2.5 = 76 percent (profitable)

Road underdogs +1.5 is to +2.5 Teased to +7.5 to +8.5 is equal to 71% (unprofitable)

So while I discovered that the derided small road loser has yet to be profitable since 2004, I also researched the other two and noticed that. 

Home underdogs +1.5 is to +2.5 teased to +7.5 to +8.5 = 78% (profit)

Road favorite -7.5 to -8.5 Teased is to -1.5 to -2.5 = 80% (profitable)

So, as you can see, 3 of the four are profitable.

However, sports betting is about making money, so some of them started doing “line shading” so that you couldn’t make the numbers go up or down by 6 points.

If you stick to road dogs and family favorites, you’ll be well over your required breakeven win rate. Now, this does have sample size issues, & some have criticized this as “data mining,” but let’s be blunt: I don’t care, and I don’t include family dogs in trailers anymore. There’s been a trend in the NFL: Teams are more aggressive on the road than at home. At home, they often run out and manage the clock. While away, they hope for extra possession. It applies to some teams and coaches more than others, but it’s worth your analysis/limitation when deciding which Teams to put in the trailer.

Logically, trailers over 3 and 7 should still be the most profitable. However, in 2004 or 2005, a poster titled “Police Bill” prophetically introduced us to “non-basic strategy trailers.” It’s a rather odd term, as you might think it refers to any trailer that doesn’t fit the basic strategy model, but no, it refers to underdogs +4.5 to +5.5.

In Season 2006 & the end of Week 10 of the 2010 NFL season, all underdog teams +4.5 to +5.5 teased for 73.33% of their sixes, 88-32.

Remember, this is not data mining. A subset backtested as profitable in 2005, and I discovered it in 2006. I’ve been tracking and monitoring it since then, and it’s been a winner.

The weak home teams, +4.5 to +5.5, have recently performed poorly in the preliminaries. Since 2006, the +4.5 to +5.5 Road Dogs have dominated with a 68-17 (80.00%) finish.


Teaser betting tips that go beyond conventional wisdom

Sports forums need to fill up with useful information. It accepts that trailers that cross zero are the worst trailers possible. Instead, profit as long as the opportunity exists. 5Dimes offers both teams a 6-point “tie-to-win” forecast at -105, and a 6.5-point “tie-to-win” forecast at -115. It makes sense to tease a strong -3 road favorite to a +3 “tie win” and a strong -3.5 road favorite to a +3 “tie win.” The first example is 64-24 (72.73%) from 2006, which is good enough for the blinds. The second option boils down to this: if it’s good enough to bet straight, teasing is better if you have a leg to match it with.


College football teaser

 For a three-team parlay of +180 to be better than a straight bet of -105, the added points are required to increase the leg’s winning probability by 19.73%. The tips we share in this article about “Basic Strategy Trailer,” “Police Bill Trailer,” “Double Triple Zero,” etc., don’t apply to college football. Very few 6s in college football increase the winning percentage by 19.73%, even when it comes to 3s and 7s. The few exceptions are games with lower overall points.


Basketball teaser

I admit that I am not an expert in basketball betting. Basketball trailers are much less profitable than the NFL. Most betting sites start with a 4-point, and some Sites have a point value of 4.5, with -110 for two teams, +180 for three Teams, and +300 for four teams. Here’s a rough push map of NBA basketball scores:

1: 2.27%

2: 4.03%

3: 3.83%

4: 3.48%

5: 4.37%


7: 4.11%

8: 4.2%

9: 4.76%

10: 4.16%

11: 3.87%

12: 3.51%

13+ data continues to tail downward.

Another industry secret many are reluctant to share: In the weeks when I find out, there’s only one NFL game worth betting on.

The Bookmaker offers a trailer that can mix football and basketball, with the reserve price for the basketball at 5 cents and the reserve price for the football at 6 cents. It is much better than the standard odds. To capture the value of that football passing segment, I will combine it with the NBA passing segment, where I go over as many of the most valuable points in the NBA (points 4-10) as possible. Remember that Bookmaker only offers +160 for three players, so this strategy only works for a two-team mix of -110 (5 points NBA, 6 points NFL).

My -3 to +3 tie wins when using “Basic Strategy,” “Bill the Cop Teasers” for blind teaser betting, or when doing my analysis involving “Capped Markets,” waiting until 30 minutes before the game starts, Make your bets. In this time frame, the NFL betting line represents the perception of the actual probability of the match by the largest and most successful professional gamblers. To find out why to, read our article on the current betting market. Our final piece of advice is to manage your money well. The teaser seemed to be winning for 7 or 8 weeks in a row, and the bettors became overconfident. Then came a horrible week where it was all lost. In 2010, that was week 8; for most people, it was a catch. Be confident, bet wisely, and build but protect your bankroll, and you can make a lot of money.

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