Football betting doesn’t have to be complicated, especially if enjoying yourself is more important to you than making money. Take point spreads and totals for example. They are the most popular football wagers, and they also happen to be one of the most straightforward.
It’s even possible to make some money without getting into the more complicated aspects of football betting. We know of at least a few simple football betting strategies that don’t require expert knowledge to implement and we completely understand the desire to keep things as simple as possible.
However, we also believe there are benefits to expanding your knowledge. This extends to those who bet for fun too. There’s no harm in broadening your horizons a little and trying to understand the alternatives to simple wagers. If nothing else, it gives you more options for betting on games, which can help make football betting more enjoyable.
Motivated to make money? Then, you NEED to learn about all the different wagers available. While we would never recommend ignoring the basic wagers completely, we still need to emphasize the importance of knowing the alternatives. For the best chance of success, you need to take a holistic approach to your betting. This requires considering all the options available to you in any given situation, and then trying to select the most suitable (and profitable) course of action.
Teasers and pleasers are two examples of alternative football wagers that we recommend learning about. They are quite advanced, but not so complicated that you have to be a genius to use them. We’ve covered them together in this one article because they work in similar ways. We also believe that they’re both good wagers to learn about regardless of whether you bet primarily for fun or primarily to make money.
Please note that there’s a lot of advice out there that suggests ignoring teasers and pleasers completely. This is because they are hard wagers to win consistently, and the bookmakers’ edge is generally higher than normal. However, we categorically disagree with the notion that they should be ignored. For one thing, they’re great wagers to have some fun with. With the right strategies, they also have the potential to be profitable.
In this article we explain how both of these wagers work. We’ve also provided some useful strategy advice. There’s a lot to take in on this page, but it’s worth the effort for sure.
What Are Football Teasers?
Football teasers can be described as parlays that use modified point spreads. For those of you not familiar with parlays, they involve combining multiple selections into a single wager. All selections must be correct for the wager to be successful, so they’re obviously harder to win than single wagers. Because of this, they come with higher odds.
Teasers are easier to win than traditional parlays though, because the spreads are moved in your favor. With most bookmakers and betting sites you have the option to choose how many points the spreads are moved by, but with a “standard” teaser the move is six points. So, as an example, let’s say we were looking at the spread on a game between Cleveland and Philadelphia.
Cleveland Browns vs Philadelphia Eagles
If we were placing a single wager on the spread here, and backing the underdog, we’d need the Browns to lose by less than seven points. Or, if backing the favorite, we’d need the Eagles to win by more than seven points. But if we were including our selection in a six-point teaser, we’d get six extra points either way. So we’d only need the Browns to lose by less than 13 points if backing them, and we’d only need the Eagles to win by more than one point if backing them.
Clearly this six-point move makes it a lot easier to pick a winner on the spread. So, what’s the catch?
While there isn’t really a “catch,” there are two aspects of teasers that counteract the advantage we gain from the additional points. We already mentioned the first one. Since teasers are a type of parlay, we have to include at least two selections and we have to get each selection correct. If just one fails, then the whole wager is a loser. So although each individual selection is easier to get right, we still face the difficult task of finding multiple selections that are all going to go as we expect.
The second one is the odds. The potential payouts for teasers are significantly lower than for traditional parlays. To illustrate this, here’s a table comparing the odds for parlays and teasers available at a popular betting site.
Number of Selections
6-Point Teaser Odds
Standard Parlays Odds
The odds for a six-point teaser with two selections are -110. That means we need to win that type of wager over 50% of the time for it to be profitable. That isn’t as easy as you might think, even with the additional points. Those extra points do increase the chances of getting each individual selection correct, but there’s still no guarantee.
If we start including more selections, we need to win less often because of the higher odds. Here are the required win rates to break even on teasers with three or more selections, based on the example odds shown above.
Number of Selections
Break Even Win Rate
From a quick glance at this table you might think that the logical thing to do is include more selections. Thanks to the higher odds, with more selections you don’t have to win as often to make an overall profit. However, the odds are higher for a reason. Even when getting extra points, there’s still a chance that any given selection will end up being wrong. And the chance of at least one selection being wrong increases exponentially as you include more selections. So, in fact, including more selections is not the right thing to do at all. You’re just making it harder to win.
We should mention that you can also include totals selections in a teaser. The basic principle is still the same; the line is moved in your favor by a certain number of points. Let’s go back to the game between Cleveland and Philadelphia to illustrate how this works. Here is what the totals line for this game looked like.
Cleveland Browns vs Philadelphia Eagles
When placing a single wager on the total here, we’d need to see at least 43 points scored if backing the over and 42 or less points scored if backing the under. But if we were including this selection in a six-point teaser, we’d get an extra six points in our favor. So we’d only need to see at least 37 points scored if backing the over, and 48 or less points scored if backing the under. Again, this obviously makes it easier to get an individual selection right. The same downsides apply though. Always remember: getting extra points doesn’t guarantee a win.
Before we move on to some strategy advice, here’s a quick summary of what you need to know about football teasers.
Teasers involve making multiple selections in a single wager.
The minimum number of selections is two, but this can be higher in some circumstances.
Teasers can involve only point spread selections, only totals selections, or a combination of the two.
The point spread or totals line is moved in your favor.
The standard move is six points, but other options are usually available.
Teaser odds are based on both the size of the points move and the number of selections.
Taking more points decreases the odds. Making more selections increases the odds.
Odds are lower than for traditional parlays.
Wong Teasers Explained
Wong teasers are also commonly known as basic strategy teasers. The original name came about because this is a strategy that was first introduced by Stanford Wong. In his 2001 book, Sharp Sports Betting, he wrote about a method to exploit the key numbers in NFL games using teasers. In the years since, this method has become widely accepted as one of the best teaser strategies to use. Not only is it referenced on many sports betting websites, but it’s also discussed at length in many sports betting forums.
There’s a great deal of math behind this strategy, but we’re not going to get into all that detail. We don’t feel it’s necessary to understand the math right now, as it just complicates what is actually a very straightforward strategy.
Please note that Wong teasers are designed to be used on NFL games, not college football. They are also based on making only point spread selections, not totals. The first step is to identify teams that match either of the following criteria.
Favorites giving away 7.5 to 8.5 points.
Underdogs receiving 1.5 to 2.5 points.
By teasing spreads that fall within these ranges by six points, we fully cross the key numbers of both three and seven. These are the two most common margins of victory in NFL, so the theory is that we automatically give ourselves a good chance of winning based on this fact alone. In Wong’s book, he analyzed several years’ worth of data to support this theory. Others have done research since then to further prove that his theory is sound.
If you can identify two or three teams that match the necessary criteria, those teams should be placed in a six-point teaser. According to the math, teasers with three selections will provide better value in the long run than teasers with two selections. However, you won’t always be able to identify three teams that match the required criteria. In those situations, a two-team teaser is still a viable option according to this strategy.
This is essentially all there is to Wong teasers. As you can see, it’s a pretty simple strategy that has been proven to work over extended periods of time. While it clearly has some merit, we have to point out its one main flaw.
Wong teasers became so popular that the bookmakers started to take notice.
We’ve already mentioned how well-known this strategy is. Well, we also should mention that any well-known betting strategy that actually works tends to stop working eventually. Why? The bookmakers are always looking for ways to prevent their customers from winning easily, so it was only a matter of time before they took steps to prevent people from using Wong teasers effectively. These steps included changing the rules and payouts on teasers, shading lines so that there are fewer teams meeting the necessary criteria, and even limiting the accounts of bettors implementing the strategy.
The result of all this is that blindly following the basic Wong teasers strategy is no longer effective. The theory behind the strategy is still sound, but simply following the set criteria just won’t be enough. So, what can you do? Narrow down the criteria for which teams get selected. For example, some people have found that also factoring in whether a team is playing at home or on the road helps. This way they can exclude home favorites and road underdogs as possible selections.
Our view is that it’s definitely worth considering the principle theory that the Wong teasers strategy is based upon. We can’t wholeheartedly recommend the entire strategy in its basic form though. This is because it’s based entirely on historical data. And just because teasing teams across certain key numbers has worked for a number of years, there’s absolutely no guarantee that it will continue to work in the future.
The fact is that we don’t believe ANY strategy that’s based solely on historical data is optimal. This approach is fundamentally flawed in our opinion. Mining past data can certainly tell us a lot, but it never tells us everything. We always have to use our own judgement too, and analyze each and every situation individually.
This is precisely what makes our football betting strategy guide unique. We don’t give you precise systems that tell you exactly what to do and when. Instead, we try to give you the information and advice that you need to work that out for yourself. The strategies that we recommend are not formulaic in nature. They still require you to go through a thought process and make your own decisions. And that, we feel, is the very best way to find success.
Having gone off on a bit of a tangent, let’s get back on track. Next up is our preferred strategy for betting football teasers.
Our Preferred Football Teaser Strategy
Although we have used Wong teasers over the years, and had some success with them, there is an alternative strategy that we prefer. The basic principle here is very simple, but overall the strategy does require more thought than Wong teasers. Please note that to use this strategy effectively, you should already be using solid strategies for making your point spread and totals selections. If you need some help with that, the articles listed below should be able to help.
The reason you need to be skilled at betting point spreads and totals is that our preferred teaser strategy is based entirely on using existing selections. You’re not looking to make selections specifically to include in teasers. Instead, you’re looking to take your existing selections and combine them in teasers to try to maximize the potential value. This strategy will obviously only work if you are making good selections in the first place.
We came up with key three rules to follow when using our strategy.
Only include selections where you have higher than average confidence of winning.
Only include between two and four selections.
Keep the stakes small relative to your normal stakes.
The idea is that you consider this strategy AFTER you’ve already made your point spread and total selections. You can implement it if there are at least two selections that you’re very confident of winning. All you need to do is then place teasers for each possible combination of those selections.
This is extremely straightforward if there are only two selections. You’d simply place one teaser on both of those selections. We recommend six-point teasers, but the strategy can be applied using any number of points.
Things get a little more complicated when there are three or four selections to include. For example, let’s say you’ve made the following three selections.
Selection 1 – Miami vs New York: Miami +3
Selection 2 – Detroit vs Pittsburgh: Over 35 points
Selection 3 – Minnesota vs Cincinnati: Cincinnati -3
To cover each possible combination of these selections, you’d need to place a total of four teasers. These would cover the following combinations.
Selections 1 & 2
Selections 1 & 3
Selections 2 & 3
Selections 1, 2 & 3
Now let’s say you made four selections. The same three as before, but also the under in the game between Miami and New York. You’d now need to place a total of 11 teasers, covering the following combinations.
Selections 1 & 2
Selections 1 & 3
Selections 1 & 4
Selections 2 & 3
Selections 2 & 4
Selections 3 & 4
Selections 1, 2 & 3
Selections 1, 2 & 4
Selections 1, 3, & 4
Selections 2, 3, & 4
Selections 1, 2, 3 & 4
It doesn’t take long for the total number of wagers you need to place to get pretty big. This is the reason for rule three; keeping the stakes small. We recommend about 50% of your normal stake when placing one teaser to cover two selections. When placing four teasers to cover three selections, about 15% for each teaser is good. And when placing 11 teasers to cover the four selections, about 5% for each teaser is good. These are only guidelines of course, but these figures have worked well for us.
The point of this strategy is really just about extracting the most value you can from selections that you’ve already made. If you’ve made good selections then, in theory, by teasing them by six points you should stand a VERY good chance of winning each one of them. Covering all the different combinations gives you the opportunity of some extra payouts, but prevents a complete loss if just one selection lets you down.
We’re confident that this strategy can be very effective for anyone. Just please remember that its success, or otherwise, hinges entirely on how good your original selections are. If you’re consistently losing your point spread and totals wagers, then this strategy will only compound your losses. It will help to increase your profits if you’re already winning though.
What Are Football Pleasers?
Now that we’ve covered teasers in great depth, it’s time to take a look at pleasers. We’re not going to cover these in as much detail, because we don’t recommend paying too much attention to them. They’re simply too hard to consistently make money from. It’s certainly worth learning how they work though, and there are occasions when a pleaser is a good bet to make.
Pleasers are essentially the opposite of teasers. They also involve making multiple selections and using modified point spreads or totals lines. So, what’s the difference then? With pleasers, the spread and lines are moved AGAINST you, rather than in your favor. So instead of getting extra points, you have to give points away. As with teasers, you have the option to choose how many points the spreads and lines are moved by. Keep in mind, though, that six points is the standard.
Let’s take a look at how this works in practice. Here are some examples of how the spreads and lines move with pleasers.
When betting a +10 underdog, the spread moves to +4.
When betting a +3 underdog, the spread moves to -3.
When betting a -3 favorite, the spread moves to -9.
When betting the over on 42 points, the line moves to 48.
When betting the under on 35 points, the line moves to 28.
It should be immediately obvious why pleasers are so hard to win. You’ve not only got to get multiple selections right, but for each of those individual selections you’ve got to find spots where the bookmakers have set the spreads or lines quite a way out. And those spots are rare. The bookmakers do get it wrong sometimes, but they seldom are off by a huge margin.
So, why would ANYONE want to bet pleasers given how hard it is to win? It’s because the potential payouts are so attractive! Here’s a table showing the odds for six-point pleasers at one of the betting sites we use.
Number of Selections
6-Point Pleaser Odds
As you can see, with just two selections in a pleaser you have the chance to win six times your stake. With six selections, you have the chance to win a whopping 300 times your stake. A lot of bettors love to chase the big payouts, so pleasers can seem like an appealing option to them.
The reality is that pleasers are most appealing to the bookmakers. Sure, they face big payouts. But the odds are high for a reason. For every big pleaser payout that they have to make, you can be certain that they’ve taken a lot more money in losing pleasers. No-one, and we mean NO-ONE, can win pleasers with any degree of consistency.
Does this mean that pleasers should be avoided at all costs? We don’t think so, no. If you’re very selective, and only use them when the circumstances are right, they can be an effective wager. Read on to find out more.
Is There a Good Pleaser Strategy?
A lot of experienced and knowledgeable football bettors will tell you that the only good pleaser strategy is to never place pleasers. We fully understand this point of view. We would certainly never actively encourage anyone to place pleasers on a regular basis, because they hardly ever offer enough value. However, every now and then an opportunity comes along when placing a pleaser makes sense.
Now, there isn’t really a defined strategy for using pleasers that’s proven to work. We haven’t come up with one anyway, and to our knowledge no one else has either. What we can say is that we believe there are three scenarios where it’s possible that giving away six points is not as crazy at seems.
When we expect small underdogs to win.
When we expect the favorites to run away with a game.
When we expect big favorites may not play to their full potential.
Let’s address these scenarios one by one. First, when we expect small underdogs to win. When we say small underdogs, we’re referring to teams that are being given three points or less. If we believe that a small underdog is likely to cover, then we also have to consider the likelihood of them actually winning. Since very few games are decided by small margins, if they do win, they may win by enough to cover the additional six points we have to give away if including them in a pleaser.
Moving onto the second scenario, there are times when we look at a game and wonder why the bookmakers have made the spread so small. Not often, but often enough to register. For example, we might see a favorite at something like -7.5, when we think there’s a really good chance that they are going to absolutely annihilate their opponents. In spots like these, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that a favorite is not only going to cover but cover by more than the extra six points.
There are also times when we look at a game and think that the spread is way too big. A good example of this is a game where the favorite is expected to win very comfortably against comparatively weak opposition, and they have a much bigger game coming up next. Say they’re something like -16.5. While this spread may seem reasonable right now, we believe they’re likely to take it easy once they get a few points ahead. So backing the underdog here could make sense even if we give away six points and only get ten and a half.
All of these scenarios are perfectly plausible, and could happen numerous times throughout a season. Any time two of them arise in the same game week, that’s one of the few occasions when a pleaser might make sense. We can put both the relevant selections into a six-point pleaser and be in line for a payout at +600. We only need to win such a wager one time out of every five to make a profit, so finding value is possible if our reasoning is solid.
Please note that we recommend only ever including two selections. Three or more selections in a pleaser and you’re just giving money way in our opinion. It’s also important to keep your stakes small too, due to the high risk of loss. And if you do find good selections to include in a pleaser, remember to back them as singles as well. If you think there’s a chance that they’ll win when giving away an extra six points, then you must think they are worth backing WITHOUT giving away those points.
Additional Tips for Betting Teasers & Pleasers
To finish this article, there are two final pieces of advice we want to offer. The first of these is not something we typically suggest when discussing betting strategy in any form, but in this instance we feel it’s actually the right thing to do.
Have some fun with football teasers and pleasers.
Honestly, this is one of the best reasons for learning all about teasers and pleasers, even if your main motivation for betting is to make regular and consistent profits. There’s no harm in finding some welcome relief from the serious side of your betting, and teasers and pleasers can definitely provide that.
Providing you keep the stakes small, it’s fine to ignore most of the usual rules and just place a few crazy teasers and pleasers in the hope of getting lucky. The chances of winning a ten-selection teaser or a six-selection pleaser are very slim to say the least, but it’s exciting to try. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll hit that big payout.
Our second piece of advice is to make sure that you have accounts at a few different betting sites. The rules and odds of teasers and pleasers can vary quite significantly from one site to the next, and it should always be your goal to get the most advantageous terms for each wager that you place.
That’s why it’s worth shopping around each time you place a teaser or pleaser, and seeing which site is best for that particular wager. This might make a significant difference to your overall results in the long run. If you’re not sure which sites to use, you should check out our recommendations. They’re all top quality and very reliable.