Football and basketball bettors know only too well how tough the point spread can be to beat on a week-to-week basis. Sometimes you may like a team, but when you see the point spread, you decide you aren’t quite getting enough points or you are giving up too many. One popular solution to this problem is the teaser.

Teasing NFL and NBA Lines

Teasers come in a variety of different sizes depending on which book you use, but the most common varieties are selecting two or three teams and teasing NFL lines by 6, 6.5, or 7 points, and teasing NBA lines by 4, 4.5, or 5 points.

As an example, let’s say you like Pittsburgh -4.0 and Los Angeles +6.0, but are worried that Pittsburgh might only win by a field goal or LA might lose by a touchdown. If you pair these games together in a 7-point teaser, you now have Pittsburgh +3.0 and LA +13.0. Now any Pittsburgh win (and even a 1 or 2-point loss) is a cover, and Los Angeles is also covered in many more circumstances.

Because teasers move the line so favorably in the direction of your choice, they do come at a price. Unlike two-team parlays which pay +260 at most books, two-team teasers pay -130.

Teasers Easier than Parlays

There are two reasons for this major drop in price. The most obvious one is that teasers are easier to win, since parlays use the lines that bookmakers came up with while teasers give you a lot more coverage.

The other reason is that teasers leave a window in which both sides win, meaning that bookmakers would stand to lose that leg of the teaser regardless of which side you chose.

For example, let’s say Portland is -3.0 against Memphis (+3.0). If you decide to use this game in a 5-point teaser, you can have either Portland at +2 or Memphis at +8. If Portland loses by one or wins by seven or less, everyone who teased this game wins this leg.

Teasers aren’t always the right play, but they are a valuable option to have in your overall repertoire.