key POINTS

  • Combine multiple bets into a parlay with adjusted lines (spread, total). 
  • Select teaser instead of parlay, and the online sportsbook will shift the lines.
  • The odds will move with each leg you add to the teaser.
  • A teaser can include bets from the same game, multiple games, or multiple sports, all depending on the book.
  • Line adjustment may differ from sportsbook to sportsbook and for different sports. 
  • Some books may apply restrictions to teasers.

For bettors looking to build bankroll or gain some security with their wagers, a teaser is one option to consider. Teasers are a form of parlay, which refers to combining multiple bets into a lumped wager with a more profitable payout, but the bet pays nothing if one or more legs of the wager fail. 

While the same principles apply with teasers, the betting lines move in your favor to increase the likelihood of each leg cashing. In exchange, the odds will move closer to even money. A three-leg teaser might land between odds of -120 and +150, whereas a three-leg parlay might generate odds of +300 or longer, with higher risk. 

Below, we go over some of the details involved in how to bet on teasers, along with some teaser bet tips and strategies.

What is a teaser in sports betting?

A teaser will always involve multiple legs and will only pay out if each leg is successful. However, if one leg results in a push or draw (when the total or spread lands exactly on the line), the sportsbook will remove that leg from the payout and count it as “no action.” The remaining legs will pay out at adjusted odds should they all be correct. 

Let’s say you create a teaser involving NFL Week 1 odds from the 2024 season. At most books, six points of movement is standard for NFL spreads and totals for teasers, so a potential teaser could shift the Baltimore Ravens from +3 to +9 and the total from 47.5 to 53.5 in the season opener at Kansas City.

One could take the Ravens to cover the adjusted line of nine points, bet on the total score being under the adjusted line of 53.5, and add one more conservative leg by teasing the Buffalo Bills from -7 to -1 in their home opener against the Arizona Cardinals. These three legs might generate odds of +120 to +150. 

If the Bills win by at least two points and the Kansas City Chiefs win by a score of 30-21, the adjusted under would hit, and the Ravens would “push” on the adjusted spread of nine points. So the payout could move from around +120 to -140, with the sportsbook paying out two of the three teaser legs. 

Different sports have different standards for teasers, with books usually offering a four-point adjustment to lines for NBA teasers. Sometimes books will offer up to 10 points for NFL teasers. Sometimes books will allow users to change the number of points that the lines move, so an NFL teaser with three legs shifted by four points might have the potential for a +160 payout, while the same teaser with a shift of six points might generate +100 odds. 

When sportsbooks offer the option for cross-sport teasers, the adjusted number of points will have to correlate. So if a customer chooses the standard six points for NFL legs, the NBA legs in a teaser would remain at the standard four points. If the customer shifts up to seven points for NFL legs (with a lower potential payout), the NBA legs would accordingly shift by five points. 

Sometimes it’s possible to manually create teasers by adjusting the lines with alternate spreads or totals. Books might restrict the use of parlays with alternates. This is a popular technique in MLB betting, where heavy favorites on the moneyline can generate much longer odds at -2.5 or -3.5 on the run line

Using alternate lines can also create a “reverse teaser” or “pleaser” with even longer odds than a typical parlay. These wagers would involve “selling points” instead of buying points at a sportsbook, so the aforementioned bet on NFL Week 1 action could instead look like Ravens -3, under 41.5 points, and Bills -13, with the odds potentially shifting to +800 or longer on linked bets with less likely outcomes according to oddsmakers.

Can I make a teaser with any bet?

Teaser requirements can vary from sportsbook to sportsbook. 

Books have different restrictions on the number of teasers available for certain users. These restrictions are not always transparent, but most books will offer the option to turn NFL bets into at least one teaser on a weekly basis. Teasers might become available at different times leading up to a slate of games. 

Some books will require three legs to craft a teaser, while some allow two-leg teasers. Some books will allow teasers to come from the same game, while others will only accept teasers involving legs from multiple games. Typically, books will restrict teasers to traditional game lines (spreads and totals) and will not allow team props or player props to factor into teasers. 

And some books might restrict teasers to two or three picks, with teasers of four-plus legs automatically split into two separate wagers. 

Is a teaser a good bet to make?

All wagers involve risk and some potential reward. For those just learning how to bet teasers may not be the first market to gravitate to. Teasers are generally less risky than parlays, but any multi-leg wager opens the door for failure when the unexpected inevitably occurs in sports. 

That said, teasers are a tool to consider for moving spreads past the “key numbers” in certain sports. The most likely outcome in NFL games is a three-point or seven-point victory, and the NBA has similar key numbers of four, five, and six points.

So teasing favorites from eight points to two points in the NFL can significantly increase the likelihood of a cover, and teasing an underdog in the NBA from +5 to +9 could help, but there is typically more variance in NBA results. 

The same goes for teasing totals in the NBA, which are typically over 200 points, whereas NFL totals are typically between 40 and 50 points. Moving a total of 220 by four points will impact outcomes far less often than moving a total of 42 by six points. 

As with all wagers, teasers should be used responsibly and based on the best information available to bettors. 

Teaser examples

The above is an example of a six-point teaser at FanDuel Sportsbook for NFL Week 1 action with three legs moving past some key numbers. 

Shifting the Steelers from +2.5 to +8.5 against the Falcons moves through the key numbers of three and seven to allow for a cover even if Pittsburgh loses by eight points. Shifting the Bills from -7 to -1 allows the Bills to cover if they win by two or more points in their home opener.

And shifting the total of the NFL opener from 46.5 to 52.5 points moves it above the key number of 51 points, creating a higher probability of an under. From 2000 to 2023, 75% of NFL games have finished under 53 points.

More examples

This is an example of a teaser from the 2024 NBA Finals at Caesars Sportsbook, involving an adjustment of four to six points on a two-leg teaser. Buying five points moves the underdog Mavericks from +7.5 to +12.5 and shifts the game total from 214.5 to 219.5 points to increase the likelihood of a closer, lower-scoring game leading to a payout of both legs. 

How do I build teasers on sportsbook apps?

To start building a teaser, head to the game lines tab on a sportsbook and select from the available lines. Once you’ve added multiple wagers to your betting slip, books should offer the option to combine those bets in a parlay, teaser, or round robin. 

The odds will move based on each selection, and you will be able to see how the lines shift according to the number of points that the teaser offers.

Note that lines can be teased in either direction by clicking the desired bet (over or under, favorite or underdog) before you reach the stage when teasers are offered. 

Once you’ve built your teaser, the sportsbook will show you the adjusted lines and potential payout. 

How do oddsmakers price teasers?

Sportsbooks will price teasers on a sliding scale based on the number of legs involved in the wager and the number of points by which the teaser adjusts each leg. 

Books will take the original odds on a wager (-110 is the standard) and use a formula to multiply those odds in a multi-leg wager. Then, the formula will adjust the potential payout based on the number of points involved in the teaser, so it will be much closer to even odds than a parlay that simply combines a number of bets with odds of around -110.  

The formula for calculating payouts may differ in different sports and at different sportsbooks.