October 15, 2020 - by Jason Lisk
Kyler Murray teases the opponents with his running ability (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire)
A “teaser” is a popular bet where you get to move the line a specific amount in your favor, but in exchange you receive a smaller payout and have to win more than one game. The most common type is a 6-point, 2-team teaser. In this type of bet, you would get to move the point spread by 6 points (for example, moving a 3-point favorite to instead become a 3-point underdog) for two games, and have to win them both against the teased spreads.
Different sports books have different rules on what happens with a push against the teased line, and also offer different betting odds for teasers of different types. You always want to pay attention to those odds, because they impact how successful you have to be with your individual bets to be profitable overall.
In this article, we are going to go through some research on which numbers make for the best options if you are looking at NFL teasers.
In his book Sharp Sports Betting, Stanford Wong detailed a theory about which teasers could be profitable. Wong looked through game data from 1999-2010 to examine how often certain scores were achieved. Wong’s position was that you wanted to select teams at spreads that allowed the teased points to pass through scores of 3 and 7. This is often referred to The Wong Teaser.
For example, taking a 2-point underdog would allow you to capture both +3 and +7 in a standard 6-point teaser, since the teased line would be +8. Similarly, teams favored by just over a touchdown would also allow a tease to cover both a 3-point and 7-point victory margin for the favorite.
Here is some of the data (1999-2010) according to Wong:
In order to win a 2-team teaser, both teams have to cover the new line. While you are a favorite to win with either of them, you have to win each at a high enough rate that you win more than half the time with both.
If the vigorish for your teaser is -110, that means you have to win more than 52.4% of the time to be profitable.
If the vigorish is -120, you have to win 54.5% of the time to be profitable.
As a result, to figure out the cover rate for each single game that you’d need to for the bet to be profitable, you have to find what winning percentage multiplied by itself (squared) results in either a 52.4% or 54.5% chance of success.
You would need to have more than a 72.4% chance of winning each game with a teased line to be profitable at -110. (72.4% x 72.4% = 52.4%)
You would need to have more than a 73.8% chance of winning each game with a teased line to be profitable at -120. (73.8% x 73.8% = 54.5%)
Some books, though, do vary the betting odds for a teaser based on which point spread you are teasing. So you will want to always pay attention to those odds and know if the specific book varies the odds or offers a specific flat rate. The advice below will apply to the latter, though you could use some of the data on how frequently teams cover teased lines (below) to also figure out which odds are better than others from a book that does vary them.
Wong’s research was from 2010 and prior. So below we present data from the 2010 to 2019 seasons, to see what holds up.
Using our Custom NFL Betting Trends Tool, you can see how teams have performed at each point spread, and also how many games finished within a certain number of points from the spread. Using that, here are the ATS results against each spread, as well as the performance if you had teased each line by 6 points.
The red bars show the standard ATS win rate at each spread for 2010 to 2019. The blue bars show the teased spread win rate over the same period. And thus, the difference between the two shows the percentage of games where the result switched because of the 6-point line move.
For example, 3-point favorites covered 46.1% of the time in that span, and would have covered 64.6% of the time if it was teased to a line of +3 instead.
Here is the data for spreads between -11 and +11, as the data thins out beyond those spreads.
That chart allows you to visualize the peaks and valleys where the win percentage increases or drops. Here is the data presented in table form, with specific numbers.
|Spread||ATS||ATS w/ 6-point tease|
Remember those 72.4% and 73.8% numbers to break even on 2-team teasers if you are laying -110 or -120? You will want to look at spreads where the cover rate is above that with teasers (the blue lines).
The data from 2010 to 2019 largely confirms Stanford Wong’s key numbers. The following original spreads have won at 73.8% or better since 2010, when teasing 6 points:
The four highest win rates are all numbers that fall within Wong’s theory of passing through the key 3 and 7 numbers. That said, and whether this is due to randomness, or the changes in extra points rules and the amount of times teams go for two, teasing at both -6.5 and -7 would have been above the profit line for bets at -120 over the last decade. And it’s not because the underlying spread performance is great. 6.5-point and 7-point favorites both covered less than 50% of the time over that span. So it appears that even though these teases did not catch the key number of 7, covering “just win the game” for a favorite of that size has value.
However, one thing that remains true is that the worst teaser options appear to be those that pass through zero and both ones. For example, teasing from -4 to +2, or -3 to +3.
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