Teaser Bets & Payouts Explained

As sports betting descends upon Virginia, you’ll be bombarded with a ton of new lingo that’s part of the sportsbook lexicon. One of the more unconventional terms you might see is the “teaser” bet.

Teasers can be very good things for sports bettors — particularly if you plan on parlay betting. On this page we’ll explain what a teaser bet is, show you how teasers work, and also what you can do to take advantage of a teaser bet when it pops up at online sportsbook in Virginia.

What’s a teaser in betting?

A teaser is an easier-to-win form of a parlay bet where the sportsbook allows you to adjust the published odds in your favor.

To not get ahead of ourselves, let’s define what a parlay is. A parlay is a combination bet that combines several individual bets into one single bet. Each one of the individual bets inside a parlay is known as aleg.” As you add more legs to a parlay, the payout potential increases dramatically.

However, there’s a catch to parlays. Parlays require you to select every single leg correctly. Even one mistake causes a parlay bet to fail.

A teaser bet is no different from a parlay bet in terms of its function. You still select multiple legs to occupy a single bet, and you must get every single one correct for the teaser to pay off. But because you’re allowed to adjust the underlying spread or total in each of your legs, it becomes easier to achieve perfection in a teaser.

That ability to move the lines in your favor means reduced payouts if you win, however.

How does a teaser bet work?

Adjusting given odds at a sportsbook is not something that just happens. It takes quite a bit of math in order to move the lines on the fly for a custom teaser or parlay bet.

One of the main features of teasers is that the sportsbook will apply the same odds adjustment across the board to all of your legs. You can’t pick and choose how much movement each individual line of the bet can receive.

So, many sportsbooks will limit the types of bets that are eligible for a teaser to spread bets and totals bets. A moneyline or a proposition bet has too many variables to nail down for an equitable teasing rate.

Many sportsbooks will also keep teasers limited only to games with structures that allow for meaningful point adjustments. Since games like basketball and football typically score many points, it’s a lot easier to implement a flat shift in the spread or the total than it is in a game like baseball or soccer.

The latter two games commonly end with low scores, so there simply isn’t enough wiggle room to make the adjustment in a serious manner. However, depending on the sportsbook, some will have different offers available for varying teaser amounts.

A bet adjusted by four points, for instance, will pay out more than the same parlay adjusted by five points. To a certain extent, you can pick the amount of adjustment that you want.

Is a teaser a good bet?

At this point, you may be thinking that teasers sound great. In fact, based upon the information above, you could be forgiven for wondering why you would ever choose a straight parlay when you could tease the rate in your favor.

There are a couple of catches that come into play when you’re betting a teaser.

For one thing, teasers pay less than straight parlays consisting of the same legs. Because you’re reducing the risk to your bet, the sportsbook is not going to roll over and give you a chance at free bet equity.

Another issue is that even though teasers reduce the chance that you’ll lose it all, the possibility of doing so still exists. Teasers are parlays at their cores, and no amount of line shifting will change the underlying all-or-nothing structure associated with parlays.

So, while you may want to jump on teasers, understand that they are still a tough bet to win. At a certain point, it might become preferable to go for the bigger dollars of the straight parlay, even with the added risk.

Teaser betting examples from FanDuel

Teasers, like parlays, are often easier to understand as a real-world example. So, the following listing is an actual teaser that we put together on FanDuel Sportsbook.

Please note that we used $100 as our bet size for this scenario. You don’t have to bet the same amount by any means — we just wanted a nice, round number for our examples.

One last thing to be aware of is that FanDuel does give the option to choose the amount of the adjustment that you’re receiving in your teaser. So, hopefully, this NBA teaser bet example will give you an idea about how everything works.

Three-team teaser (NBA)

  • Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks: Raptors +5.5 @ -110
  • Indiana Pacers vs. Miami Heat: Pacers +4 @ -114
  • Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Lakers -5 @ -110

Teaser betting odds breakdown

  • Straight parlay: +584
    • Profit potential: $584.17
  • Teaser +4: +160
    • Profit potential: $160
  • Teaser +4.5: +140
    • Profit potential: $140
  • Teaser +5: +120
    • Profit potential: $120

Here we have a fairly standard parlay or teaser combination to use from the NBA. Two of our selections are mild underdogs, and the third is a favorite to win.

One thing to note is how profound the effect of yielding four to five points of leeway can be. As a straight parlay, this bet would be almost a 6:1 underdog.

However, even at the lowest teaser rate, bettors are only 8:5 underdogs. The takeaway is that NBA teams are often no worse than two baskets away from the spread, and spotting each team five points to use is almost enough to turn the bet into a favorite.

What is a pleaser bet?

As you bet parlays and teasers in Virginia, it’s possible that you’ll run across another type of bet called the pleaser.

Although it might look like a typo, pleaser bets are another type of parlay. They are, in fact, the mirror image of teasers. So, instead of sportsbooks giving you points on a spread or a moneyline, it takes them away. Pleasers take a straight parlay and make it harder to win.

On spec, it might seem as if you’d never want to take advantage of this kind of offer. Indeed, pleasers are much rarer than their counterparts with the rhyming name. However, with the lengthening of the odds comes an increase in the payout potential. In the same way that teasers cause your potential winnings to grow smaller, pleasers move in the opposite direction.

To be clear — you should never bet on a pleaser with money that matters to you in any way. Parlays are hard enough to win; pleasers are that much more difficult to pull off.

Still, if you feel as though a parlay is an incredible longshot, anyway, and you’d like to give yourself an opportunity for an even bigger score, a pleaser might be the bet for you.

Teasers offer less risk, less reward

Some sports bettors will never take advantage of a parlay bet, let alone a teaser. If you want to dip your toe in the world of parlays, a sports betting teaser might be the way to do it while lessening the risk that you’re taking.

Still, no matter what variant you’re using, parlays are high-risk, high-reward propositions. Make sure that you’re not betting rent or grocery money on one of these types of wagers (or any wager, for that matter).