Teasers, Pleasers & Special Bets Explained

When you want to bet on a slate of games, you’ll have plenty of options. You can focus on the standard bets, dig a little deeper with props and alternate lines, live bet when the action gets underway or even try your hand at a parlay.

There are even more choices for those who want them. Teasers and pleasers let you have some more say on the spread for multi-leg wagers. Other special bets provide even more odds to consider. Let’s take a closer look at how they all work.

Standard sportsbook bets

When you visit a legal online sportsbook, you’ll see some different types of bets, starting with these:

  • Moneyline: Pick which side you think will win the game.
  • Spread: A bet that takes the margin of victory into account.
  • Totals: Bet on the total combined score of the game.

Then, if you bring up more wagers for one of the games, you’ll have even more options:

  • Prop betting: Side bets on things that may or may not happen during the game, sometimes based on team or player accomplishment.
  • Alternate lines: Deviations from the main spread and total, with the odds shifting accordingly.

And here are some additional choices, depending on what you’re looking for:

  • Parlays: Tie together two or more bets on the same slip for a chance at greater returns.
  • Live betting: Bet on a game after the action has started.
  • Futures: Bet on season-long outcomes like the winner of the next Stanley Cup.

In short, you have options. But if you to expand your horizons and try something a little different, you can do that to.

What are teasers?

A teaser is a bet that can give you additional control over the point spread, but with a catch:

  • When you move the spread, the odds move, too.

Teasers MUST consist of wagers on two or more games, and you must get them all correct to win, basically like a parlay.

They’re most commonly available for football betting and basketball betting, two sports where spread bets are most prominent and varied. Spreads for the NFL, the CFL, college football, the NBA and college basketball can be as little as a half-point all the way into double digits.

When you place a teaser bet, you can move the spread by a set number of points in your favour for each of the games in the teaser. You use the same number for each game.

What are pleasers?

How does a pleaser work? A pleaser bet works just like a teaser bet, albeit in reverse. As opposed to buying points, as in lessening the spread on two or more games, you’re selling points, as in taking on more risk on two or more games that you feel awfully confident about.

The same basic rules apply: You must use the same number of points on each game, the odds will move to reflect the new lines and you must be right in all instances to win. Another name for a pleaser bet is a “reverse teaser.”

Other special bets to know

In horse racing betting, there are standard bets and there are “exotics.” In sports betting, there are also exotic bets, as in wagers that tend to be off the radar for most bettors but are available at many legal sportsbooks online:

  • Round robin: Similar to a parlay in that it ties together multiple outcomes, but it splits up the possible combos into a series of bets so that you can still win some money if you don’t get all of your picks correct.
  • Full cover: An accumulator bet which covers all possible outcomes. The name varies by the number of selections, such as a trixie for three choices and a Yankee for four.
  • Treble: A progressive accumulator on three separate outcomes in which the winnings roll over into the next selection and so on.

As with standard parlays, the risk rises with every additional leg you add. However, the theory behind the exotic-style wagers is that the risk is somewhat mitigated because you’re taking more control of the exact allocation of the choices.

Bets of this nature are best for when you have a good deal of experience. Also, keep in mind that not all exotic bets will be available at every sportsbook, though most will have round robins.

Teaser and pleaser betting examples

While betting teasers and pleasers ultimately provide bettors with some more control over the sportsbook lines, there are limits to be aware of. Exact options may vary by sportsbook, but the most common numbers for how much you can move the lines are the following:

  • Basketball: 4, 4.5 or 5 points.
  • Football: 6, 6.5 or 7 points.

For teasers betting, let’s say that you pick these two NBA games:

  • Toronto Raptors -6.5 over Houston Rockets
  • Miami Heat -5.5 over New York Knicks

You like the favourites in both spots, but big spreads for high-scoring NBA games make you uneasy. Instead of just taking your chances at the listed numbers, you could use a four-point teaser:

  • Toronto Raptors -2.5 over Houston Rockets
  • Miami Heat -1.5 over New York Knicks

By using the teaser, your two picks now have less hefty spreads to cover. The odds will reflect the shift in the lines, and you’ll have to be right on both games to win. On the pleaser side, say you like these two CFL betting lines:

  • Winnipeg Blue Bombers -3.5 over Ottawa Redblacks
  • Saskatchewan Roughriders -2.5 over British Columbia Lions

As you see it, you don’t think these contests are going to be as tight as the oddsmakers are predicting. In fact, you’re willing to wager that the two favourites will win by more than a TD each. In this case, using a six-point pleaser would result in the following:

  • Winnipeg Blue Bombers -9.5 over Ottawa Redblacks
  • Saskatchewan Roughriders -8.5 over British Columbia Lions

To win the bet, the Bombers and Riders will have to exceed expectations. If they manage to do so, you’ll receive a solid return due to the extra risk that you’ve taken on.

Payouts for teaser and pleaser bets 

As with any other bet, the payouts for winning teaser and pleaser bets will vary based on the odds at the time you bet and the amount you wagered. For an added variable, it’s different from a regular parlay, as the odds for your selections will change once you shift the lines.

However, there are general payout ranges that are based on the number of legs in the bet and the amount of the shift. As an example, here’s what the average payout odds look like for seven-point football teasers and pleasers.

2-130 or 1.77+800 or 9.00
3+130 or 2.30+2500 or 26.00
4+210 or 3.10+6000 or 61.00
5+320 or 4.20+15000 or 151.00
6+450 or 5.50+45000 or 451.00
7+600 or 7.00+70000 or 701.00
8+650 or 7.50+100000 or 1001.00

As you can see, payouts can rise dramatically based on the number of legs you include, especially for a pleaser. However, the same caveat that applies to parlay betting, in general, is applicable here: The more selections you add, the less likely you are to win.

This isn’t meant to discourage you from placing teaser and pleaser bets, but simply to point out the reality. When a sportsbook is willing to pay out an astronomical sum on a winning wager, you can rest assured that the chances of it happening are incredibly slim.

Is it possible? Of course, but be careful not to get your hopes up or to get caught up in the excitement of chasing a huge payday. That’s a recipe for burning through a bankroll in a hurry, so be sure to have a sound budget in place for any sports betting strategy you use.

When should you use a pleaser or teaser?

Teaser and pleaser bets make the most sense when you have more confidence in a shift in the point spread as compared to the line that the general public is wagering on. For a teaser, reducing a spread by four to seven points may make you feel as if you have a better chance to win, but you still have to get all of your picks right.

As for a pleaser, this should only come into play when you’re seeing a substantial cover for two or more teams. For example, if the lines on two games that you like are at 2.5 points but you’re confident that the favourites can win by 6.5 points or more, then a four-point pleaser is worth considering.

No matter when you’re considering using a teaser, pleaser or other bet, it’s important to remember this simple rule of thumb: You should never bet based solely on the potential return, as anything can happen once the game begins. Instead, focus your bets where you are most confident, and concentrate on consistent success.

When should you use other specials?

Any time you are making more than one selection on a betting slip, the risk will rise with every choice that you add. While exotic wagers can help to cover more bases and theoretically reduce risk as a result, the bottom line remains: You must be right on multiple things in order to win.

Finding long-term success with betting on single outcomes is challenging enough by itself. When you try to do so with multi-leg wagers, the chances of lengthy droughts and/or burning through your bankroll rise. For exotics, the best rule of thumb to follow is only to try them if you have a high level of confidence in the wagers.

The chance to win a great return from a small outlay is always appealing, but the reality is that sportsbooks make a great deal of money from the parlays that they offer. Despite that, bettors continue taking their shots at glory.

Multi-leg and exotic bets can be fun and entertaining for a big day of NFL or CFL games, but keep your expectations in check. If you want to take some chances with a small portion of your bankroll, there’s nothing wrong with that, but be sure to balance that out with more high-probability plays and bets that you feel confident about.

How teasers, pleasers and specials can fit into your betting strategy

While there are more than enough games, events and standard bets to keep bettors engaged all year round, additional options are always welcome. If you’re just starting out with sports betting, you’ll be much better served by starting with the basics, improving your skills and learning every step of the way. Once you have that down, you can certainly expand your horizons into other realms.

For bettors who already have some experience and are simply looking to try something different, the more exotic bets may be a fun option. However, keep in mind that there’s still a learning curve to conquer regardless of overall experience level.

After you have a good understanding of how the exotic bets work, you can then pick your spots. Teasers and pleasers can work when you see multiple games where moving the lines could work, while round robins can fit when you have a parlay that you like, for example. At the end of the day, long-term success with sports betting calls for getting yourself in the best possible position with optimal plays, among other things.

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