Teasers are incredibly popular with public bettors. They are similar to a parlay, but also quite different. In a teaser, bettors can adjust the spread or total in their favor and get better lines on games. This is known as "teasing up" or "teasing down." Teasers are attractive because they seem like "safer" bets than betting the standard spread or total. Public bettors love adding more and more teams to a teaser in order to maximize their potential payout if all cover. However, the more teams you add to the teaser, the more risk you assume and the more you increase the likelihood that at least one will lose.
Sharp NFL bettors target teasers also, but they are much more disciplined and selective. Pros target the two-team 6-point teaser, which can be bet at roughly -110 or -120 odds. For example, say you like two favorites this weekend and both are -6.5 on the spread. You could tease both down to -0.5, which means they just have to win the game in order for your teaser to hit.
While public bettors look for the biggest spreads of the weekend and blindly tease down favorites, pros focus on teasing through key numbers. When teasing, the goal is to pass through as many key numbers (3, 7 and 10) as possible. Key numbers are based on the most common methods of scoring, which include the field goal and touchdown. As a result, the most common margins of victory in a football game are 3, 7 and 10. With this knowledge in mind, you always want to be on or off a key number depending on which side of the bet you prefer.
For example, say you really liked the Bucs and Patriots in a 2-team, 6-point teaser in Week 2. The Bucs were -8.5 against the Panthers. You could have teased them down to -2.5, which passed through the key number of 7 and 3. The Patriots were + 4.5 at Seattle. You could have teased them up to + 10.5, which passed through key numbers of 7 and 10. Both of these plays would have cashed as Tampa Bay beat Carolina 31-17 and New England only lost to Seattle 35-30.
When betting teasers, always shop around because different sportsbooks have different prices. For example, one book may list a 2-team, 6-point teaser at -120 odds, while another might be closer to -140. It's easy to fall in love with teasers because, on the surface, you think they can't possibly lose. But remember, they're a "tease" for a reason. And just like parlays, they provide a big edge to the house. If you're going to bet them, be selective and disciplined. Focus on the 6-point, 2-teamers that pass through multiple key numbers.
For NFL Sunday analysis and betting updates be sure to join Michael Lombardi, Patrick Meagher and myself this morning from 10 a.m.-noon ET on The Lombardi Line. We'll be dissecting all the big matchups and breaking down late sharp action across NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and more.
In the meantime, here are three NFL games today receiving sharp action across the market.
1 p.m. ET: Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers
These two teams are trending in opposite directions. The winless Texans (0-2 SU, 0-2 ATS) have been outscored 67-36 in two games and just fell to the Ravens 33-16 at home, failing to cover as 7.5-point dogs. On the flip side, the undefeated Steelers (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) are coming off a 26-21 win over the Broncos but didn't get the cover as 6.5-point home favorites. This line opened with Pittsburgh listed as a 5-point home favorite. Some books opened closed to -6. The public is rushing to lay the points with the Steelers, but we've seen sharp money load up on Houston, causing a dramatic reverse line move toward the road dog. The Texans reached + 3.5 and have since leveled off at + 4. Historically, it has been profitable to buy low on undervalued teams in Week 3 who failed to cover their first two games.
1 p.m. ET: San Francisco 49ers at New York Giants
Both of these teams are off to slow starts and things have gotten worse due to a barrage of big injuries. The 49ers (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) rebounded from a Week 1 loss to the Cardinals with a resounding 31-13 win over the Jets as 7-point favorites. The Giants (0-2 SU, 1-1 ATS) are winless but battled back in Week 2, falling to the Bears 17-13 but covering as 4.5-point dogs. This line originally opened with the 49ers listed as 6.5-point road favorites. With Bosa, Garoppolo and Kittle all out, this line has dipped to 49ers -3.5. Some books are even down to 3. The Giants have value as a contrarian home dog with a line move in their favor. The total dipped from 42 to 40 since opening. Nick Mullins will start at quarterback for the 49ers.
1 p.m. ET: Cincinnati Bengals at Philadelphia Eagles
The Bengals (0-2 SU, 1-1 ATS) have lost a pair of close games, most recently falling to the Browns 35-30 but covering as 6-point dogs. Meanwhile, the Eagles (0-2 SU, 0-2 ATS) have been dreadful through two games, blowing a big lead to Washington in the opener and then getting crushed by the Rams 37-19 last week in a game they were favored by 1.5-points. This line opened with Philadelphia listed as a 6-point home favorite. Spread bets are slightly favoring the Eagles here, yet we've seen this line fall from Philly -6 to -4. This signals sharp reverse line movement on the road dog Bengals. One advantage for the Bengals here is the fact they last played on Thursday while the Eagles played Sunday.
More Week 3 line moves
Titans -1.5 to -2.5 at Vikings
Rams + 3 to + 2 at Bills
Colts -9 to -11.5 vs Jets
Panthers + 7 to + 6.5 at Chargers
Lions + 6.5 to + 5.5 at Cardinals