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Last Updated: September 26, 2014

Teaser bets in the NFL

Introduction

Disclaimer

The analysis on this page is based on the 4450 NFL games between the 1994 to 2012 seasons. I started with 1994 because that was the year the two-point conversion rule was introduced. Besides sample size variation, I also had to make assumptions about how point spreads were created on teaser cards. To save time, rather than analyzing all 12 known types of parlay cards, I analyzed five types. To get an understanding of how extra points affect the probability of winning, I created my Wizard Teaser Equation.

The reader should assume there is some margin of error on any statistic on the probability of winning and expected return anywhere on this page. At the end of the day, sports are ultimately played by human beings, not statistics, so always take any predictions of future results, based on past results, with a grain of salt.

Off the Board Teasers

"Off the Board" (OTB) teasers are based on the current point spreads off the betting board at the time of the bet. No card is filled out. Instead, the bettor tells the writer the number of legs in the teaser, number of additional points on each leg, the bet numbers he wishes to parlay, and the amount of the bet. For example, the bettor might say, "Three-team, 6-point NFL teaser on 213, 218 and 224 for $100."

The bettor may choose to get 6, 6.5 or 7 extra points on each leg of the teaser. Naturally, the more points the bettor takes, the less he stands to win. Winning odds vary from place to place, so please refer to my pay tables for whom pays the best odds. However, for the lazy readers out there, Jerry's Nugget has the best OTB teaser odds for most the number of legs and points.

Following is my individual analysis of 6-point, 6.5-point, and 7-point teasers.

6-Point Off the Board Teasers

The following table shows what 6-point OTB teaser bets pay, according to the number of picks and the sports book group. Wins in this table are on a "to one" basis. In other words, the original wager is returned if the bet wins.

6-Point off the Board Teasers — Pay Table

Sportsbook Legs
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Boyd 10 to 13 8 to 5 5 to 2 9 to 2 7 to 1 9 to 1 10 to 1
Caesars 5 to 6 7 to 5 5 to 2 4 to 1 6 to 1
CG Technology 5 to 6 8 to 5 14 to 5 9 to 2 7 to 1
Golden Nugget 8 to 5 5 to 2 9 to 2 7 to 1 9 to 1 10 to 1
Jerry's Nugget 4 to 5 8 to 5 5 to 2 9 to 2 7 to 1 8 to 1 10 to 1
MGM 10 to 13 8 to 5 5 to 2 4 to 1 6 to 1 10 to 1 15 to 1
South Point 5 to 6 8 to 5 5 to 2 9 to 2 7 to 1 9 to 1 12 to 1
Stations 5 to 6 8 to 5 5 to 2 9 to 2 7 to 1 8 to 1 10 to 1
Stratosphere 5 to 6 8 to 5 5 to 2 9 to 2 13 to 2 9 to 1 11 to 1
Treasure Island 5 to 6 7 to 5 5 to 2 4 to 1 6 to 1
Westgate 10 to 13 8 to 5 5 to 2 4 to 1 6 to 1
William Hill 20 to 23 8 to 5 13 to 5 4 to 1 6 to 1 8 to 1 10 to 1 15 to 1 20 to 1
Wynn 5 to 6 8 to 5 14 to 5 9 to 2 6 to 1

The following table shows the probability of winning and expected return for a random picker against the best available 6-point teaser odds. Note the house edge ranges from 10% to 52%.

6-Point OTB Teaser — Random Picker

Legs Pays Prob. Win Exp. Value
2 20 to 23 0.469264 -0.122679
3 1.8 0.321460 -0.099913
4 3 0.220209 -0.119163
5 4.5 0.150850 -0.170327
6 7 0.103336 -0.173309
7 10 0.070788 -0.221328
8 15 0.048492 -0.224127
9 15 0.033218 -0.468504
10 20 0.022756 -0.522132

It is possible to significantly move the odds in the player's favor by not picking random sides, but by crossing common margins of victory. The following table shows the ten most common winning margins in the NFL.

Top Margin of Victories in the NFL

Rank Margin of Victory Frequency
1 3 15.7%
2 7 9.3%
3 10 6.2%
4 6 5.4%
5 4 5.0%
6 14 4.8%
7 1 4.0%
8 17 3.6%
9 2 3.5%
10 5 3.2%

Note how 25% of games end in a margin of victory of 3 or 7. By buying points that cross both these numbers, the player increases the probability of winning substantially. The only spreads that cross both numbers when teased with 6 points are -8.5, -8, -7.5, 1.5, 2 and 2.5. On average, 20% of games in the NFL have one side with one of these point spreads. Teasers on these point spreads are known as Wong Teasers, because Stanford Wong's book, Sharp Sports Betting, showed how to beat them.

The following table shows the probability of winning and expected return for a Wong picker against the best available 6-point teaser odds.

6-Point OTB Teaser — Wong Bettor

Legs Pays Prob. Win Exp. Value
2 20 to 23 0.536192 0.002446
3 1.8 0.392628 0.099357
4 3 0.287502 0.150009
5 4.5 0.210524 0.157881
6 7 0.154156 0.233252
7 10 0.112881 0.241694
8 15 0.082657 0.322520
9 15 0.060526 -0.031583
10 20 0.044320 -0.069273

Note the player advantages up to 32% on the pick-8. Unfortunately, most weeks don't have that many opportunities. As mentioned, 20% of games have a Wong side, so in a 16-game week, you can expect 3.2 Wongable games only.

Sadly, the liberal odds of -110 for a 2-leg, +180 for a 3-leg, and +300 for a 4-leg 6-point NFL teaser seem to have gone the way of the dodo bird with the 2014 season. The last holdout Jerry's Nugget depressed their odds with the 2014 season.

Note that 2004 was the worst year for Wong teasers in the sample period, and note what year I bet the ticket above at the Suncoast.

6.5-Point Off the Board Teasers

The following table shows what 6.5-point OTB teaser bets pay according to the number of picks and the sports book group. Wins in this table are on a "to one" basis. In other words, the original wager is returned if the bet wins.

6.5-Point off the Board Teasers — Pay Table


Written by: Michael Shackleford

Wizard Recommends

Sportsbook Legs
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Boyd 10 to 14 7 to 5 12 to 5 4 to 1 6 to 1 8 to 1 9 to 1
Caesars 10 to 13 6 to 5 2 to 1 7 to 2 5 to 1
CG Technology 10 to 13 3 to 2 5 to 2 4 to 1 11 to 2
Golden Nugget 7 to 5 2 to 1 4 to 1 6 to 1 8 to 1 9 to 1
Jerry's Nugget 10 to 13 7 to 5 2 to 1 7 to 2 5 to 1 6 to 1 9 to 1
MGM 10 to 14 7 to 5 2 to 1 7 to 2 5 to 1 9 to 1 12 to 1
South Point 10 to 13 7 to 5 12 to 5 4 to 1 6 to 1 8 to 1 10 to 1