Side-note: I am not sure if there is anything that fills me with more pure joy than waking up on a 50 degree fall morning in New England, running downtown to grab my coffee, walking my dog and then sitting down on my couch two-hours prior to kickoff to lock in my bets for the day.
It started off as a weekly tradition amongst friends and family, where we would gather every Sunday morning and talk about what teams we liked to win their respective games that day. That started when I was about 15 years old, way before I knew anything about betting against the spread. Fast-forward about five years and it had quickly transitioned to breaking down spreads, parlays, teasers, and where the sharp money was going. To this day, my buddies and I still try to chip-in and throw down on a four-leg teaser every Sunday during the NFL season. I wish we could say we win more times than we lose but that would simply be a lie.
For those that are not familiar with betting NFL teasers, I will attempt to give you a quick rundown. It’s one of the most popular ways of betting on the NFL, as it accounts for nearly 15% of a sportsbooks handle on any given week during the NFL season.
A teaser bet is a group of straight bets (two or more) combined into one bet, where each individual line has been shifted to your favor by the number of points of the teaser. There are three main NFL teasers – 6, 6.5 and 7 point teasers.
In a 6 point NFL teaser the line would be shifted by 6 points in the favor of the bettors’ play. For example, if you wanted to take the Jaguars +4, it would be converted into Jaguars +10 within a teaser bet. The spread was shifted 6 points (from 4 points up to 10 points). Another example would be if you wanted to play the Patriots -2.5. In a 6 point teaser, the -2.5 line would be changed to Patriots +3.5.
The same rules apply for 6.5 point teasers and 7 point teasers, except the line is shifted in your favor by 6.5 or 7 points rather than just 6 as listed in the example above.
Now, it is important to remember that you need two or more straight bets to validate a teaser. For example, you can’t simply bet the Patriots +3.5 when the line is originally -2.5. You need to combine the Patriots bet with another team. For the sake of example, we will go with Jaguars +10.
So, you have Jaguars +10 and Patriots +3.5 on your teaser. In order to win, you need both of these teams to cover their particular spread in their respective games. Assuming one of your picks were to tie, many sportsbooks will count this as a push and refund the bet. However, other books might use the other teaser selections to decide the fate of your bet.
The more teams you add onto your teaser, the less likely your chances of winning.
But the main reason why teasers have become so popular in recent years is because of how well-balanced the NFL has become. Sure, there are the elite teams in the NFL that beat their opponents by 10 or more points (looking at you, Patriots). But 25 teams across the NFL in 2018 had an average margin of victory or loss of +/- seven points. A teaser bet on a team that is a four-point underdog or more allows the bettor to feel more comfortable placing a bet on an inferior team because simply, more likely than not, they won’t lose by more than double-digits.
Teasing a team that’s favored by -7.5 or -8.5 down to -1.5 or -2.5 is also very popular because:
- It falls within a field goal, which is relevant when we’re talking about football.
- It falls within the average margin of victory for most superior teams.
The same argument could be made for teasing teams that are +1.5 or +2.5 point underdogs. By teasing them up to +7.5 or +8.5, it becomes increasingly more likely that they will cover their particular spread because teams typically don’t lose by more than one touchdown.
Shane Davies is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Shane, check out his archive.