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While teasers, pleasers and specials might sound like appetizers you’d order in a bar, they’re actually common types of bets that are found at almost any sportsbook.
Teasers and pleasers are parlay bets that involve moving the point spread or point total for each selection. Specials are types of exotic prop bets where the goal is to predict whether something will or won’t happen during the game.
Teasers, pleasers and specials aren’t as popular as moneyline bets and point spread bets. However complicated they seem at first, once you read through this guide and get a few teasers under your belt, you’ll open up a new realm in your sports betting repertoire.
What’s a teaser bet?
A teaser is a bet that involves picking two or more individual selections on a single betting slip with adjusted lines for the point spread or over/under. In other words, it’s a parlay where you can shift the lines to make the win more probable.
For regular point spreads or over/unders bets, the line is constructed so that both sides of the wager pay roughly equal amounts. Therefore, the odds would be around 50/50. Teaser sports betting allows you to move the line slightly in one direction or the other, improving the probability of a given outcome but consequently, lowering the odds and the potential payout.
Much like with any other parlay, you must get each pick correct for the ticket to pay off.
Are teasers worth betting?
Teasers represent a “safer” way to place a parlay sports bet, but the trade-offs are that you have a lower potential payout and, even as a teaser, a multi-leg bet like that can still be difficult to win.
The good news is that you’re in control of adjusting the lines. Basically, you pick the exact odds you want to bet. The sportsbook will usually give you several options, and the more you move the line, the higher the probability will be for that bet to be successful. This way, you can decide how risky your teaser parlay bet will be.
Still, you have to understand that the cumulative odds are what matters in the end. You can put several picks, or “legs,” on your ticket, with each of them having more favorable lines, but getting them all right will still likely make your teaser an underdog.
How do sportsbooks decide what to tease?
Teaser bets are most common for NFL betting and betting on the NBA because these games usually end in a lot of points. A teaser doesn’t make much sense for sports like soccer or hockey, as there are only a few goals per game, and the winning margins are usually small.
As mentioned, teasers work with point spreads and totals. The reason for this is the many options they offer for adjustment.
What’s the drawback to teaser bets?
Online betting sites offer teasers because bettors usually find 50/50 markets unattractive. However, giving you the ability to adjust the lines makes an otherwise “boring” bet more interesting.
The real catch is that teasers are only available as a parlay bet, so even if you’re getting a higher probability of hitting every one of your selections, the parlay as a whole may still make it unlikely for the bet to win.
Example of a teaser bet
To help you understand how teaser bets work, here’s a three-team example using NBA games. This bet might be presented as follows at Caesars MD sportsbook:
- Brooklyn Nets vs. Philadelphia 76ers: 76ers +7.5 at -200
- Atlanta Hawks vs. Los Angeles Clippers: Hawks +5.5 at -150
- Washington Wizards vs. New York Knicks: Knicks +4 at -140
The games in this example have adjusted lines that favor the underdogs by an additional three points. Therefore, the odds are shifted more toward the underdog teams. If this were a regular parlay, each point spread would be three points lower. For example, instead of +7.5, the Sixers would have a spread of +4.5, and the odds would be close to even money (around -110).
Using the teaser option, we’ve created a scenario where all the teams should have an easier time beating the spread. You can also apply a similar adjustment to teams that are favored on the spread.
Combining the above bets as a teaser would create odds of around +328, meaning that a successful $100 bet would result in a $328 profit. For a regular parlay, with odds of -110 for each bet, we’d have +596 odds for the entire ticket. However, the straight parlay is less likely to be successful.
What’s a pleaser bet?
A pleaser is basically the opposite of a teaser bet. Just as teasers favor the bettor, pleasers put the odds in favor of the sportsbook. Bettors use this option if they’re hoping for a bigger payout.
For example, let’s say that the New England Patriots are playing the Cleveland Browns. At PointsBet Sportsbook in Maryland, the initial spread might be shown as -6.5 on the Patriots and +6.5 on the Browns. Being the favorites, the Patriots receive negative points to even out the playing field and create odds of around -110.
If you wish, as part of a pleaser, you can give the Patriots an even bigger disadvantage, say -13.5 points. Now, you will need the Patriots to win by 14, but this bet will come with better odds, like +160, for example.
Just like teasers, pleaser bets must be in the form of a parlay (a minimum of two selections per ticket), and all legs must be correct for you to win.
Are pleasers worth betting?
Pleasers are undoubtedly fun bets that can create a large payout through a relatively small stake. However, you shouldn’t expect to land a big payout.
There’s a reason why pleasers come with high sports betting odds, as you will be putting teams at a sizable disadvantage relative to the initial point spread. In some scenarios, you should rule pleasers out altogether, even though they might look good on paper. The general rule is to never take a pleaser on whole numbers and focus more on those that come with a half-point, as to avoid a “push.”
Also, try to avoid large favorites. For example, if an NBA team has a spread of -16.5, it’s already at a significant disadvantage. After all, the players on the court are not playing the spread and are only focused on winning the game. To them, it makes no difference whether they win by five, 10 or 20 points. Alternatively, it would make sense to bet on the underdog in this scenario.
What are specials in sports betting?
Specials are essentially miscellaneous sports bets. You have your main bets like the moneyline, over/under, and point spreads and then there are specials that don’t necessarily relate to the game’s final outcome but include some of its individual segments.
The term “specials” is mostly for betting on soccer. When betting on other sports, you’ll often see these bets, called proposition bets, or props. Soccer specials can include all sorts of bets, from guessing the right score to more complex predictions like the following:
- Will a team win from behind?
- Will a team be shut out?
- Will there be an own goal?
An odds boost is a special promotion that online sportsbooks may offer for certain events. Think of it as getting better odds for the same price. In some cases, boosted odds offers can increase your payout potential by over 40%, although it will usually be in the 10%-20% range.
But why would a sportsbook give its customers a way to play with better odds than usual and practically remove the vig? Well, they certainly don’t do it out of generosity. Instead, a sportsbook’s strategy with offering this promotion is to incentivize players to place more bets on a given event. In the end, the winners will receive a higher payout, but there will be more wagers in total, generating a bigger overall profit assuming relatively even betting.
In any case, if you see boosted odds, you should look for ways to take advantage. Be aware, though, as odds boosts may come with certain requirements and limitations, like a maximum bet limit or only being able to use the boosted odds as part of a parlay.