Everything You Wanted to Know About Parlay & Teaser Betting
In the world of sports betting, you will often hear people mention the words parlay and teaser. If you’re familiar with sports betting, you’re more likely very familiar with either of these methods of betting on sports.
If you’re new to sports betting, parlays and teasers are a great way to change things up by betting on multiple outcomes to occur with the goal being a higher payout than you would otherwise receive in betting on each game individually.
At the same time, each of these means of betting on sports comes with certain degrees of difficulty and it is much harder to successfully hit on parlay or teaser bets over time than it would be in betting on games individually.
With that being said, parlays and teasers are some of the most entertaining bets to place in sports betting, and this guide will cover everything you need to know about parlays and teasers, and help set you up for some satisfying victories.
What is a Parlay?
A parlay is the term given to a wager in sports betting that connects the outcomes of multiple events in a single bet.
In order to win a parlay bet, you must correctly select the outcome of every event, or leg, included in your parlay. Parlay bets typically range from two events all the way to as high as a ticket with more than 10 legs on the wager.
The payout increases with how many different events are on the ticket, so naturally a two-team parlay would be significantly easier to win than a 10-team parlay, meaning your payout for the two-team parlay will be much smaller than a potential 10-team parlay winner.
As the payouts increase, your chances of success get much smaller, but for many casual bettors a $5 or $10 longshot parlay is seen as the equivalent of betting on a long shot in a horse race or buying ten scratchers at a gas station — you just never know unless you try.
So now that you know how a parlay works, here’s an example of what a parlay may look like on any given NFL Sunday.
- Seahawks -7
- Chiefs -12
- Bears +3.5
In this example in order to win this three-team parlay, the Seahawks will need to win their game by eight points or more, the Chiefs by 13 or more and the Bears will need to win outright or lose by no more than three points. Should the Seahawks win by exactly seven points or the Chiefs win by exactly 12 points, the parlay would become a two-team parlay as one of the games ended in a push. In the event two of those teams pushed and the last leg covered their spread (in this example Chicago covering 3.5 points), the bet would essentially become a straight-wager on the Bears.
It should be noted that some casinos and online sportsbooks may treat parlays differently than others. Some sportsbooks will deem a push to be an equivalent to a loss, meaning your parlay would be a loser in that sequence. The majority of sportsbooks, however, do treat pushes as we laid out above.
What Can I Parlay?
What you are allowed to parlay largely depends on the sportsbook you are making your bets with. However, most sportsbooks adhere to the same basic guidelines with what you can and cannot include on a parlay ticket.
All sportsbooks will allow you to parlay moneylines, point spreads, and over/under totals bets. All sportsbooks will allow you to parlay any combination of those three betting options at any time.
From there it becomes a case by case basis dependent on the sportsbook in question. Some sportsbooks will allow for bettors to parlay game props, futures, live bets, quarter/half bets, run-lines, puck-lines, and more. Other sportsbooks will only allow a few of these things but not some of others.
If parlay betting is something that will be very important to you, be sure to research what sportsbooks will allow you to parlay what particular forms of betting.
What’s the Payout for Winning a Parlay?
As is the case with anything related to online sports betting, this will vary from sportsbook to sportsbook and will also vary depending on what exactly you are betting on within your parlay.
However, if we were to look at a basic two-team parlay where each wager was listed at the standard price of -110, you would in all likelihood look at a payout in the range of +250 to +275. The payout then essentially doubles for every team or event you add to your ticket. (A three-team parlay pays out roughly 6/1, four-team 12/1, and so forth).
Parlay payouts can fluctuate based on the odds of the teams included in your parlay. If your two-team parlay had a modest favorite included with a good-sized underdog and the parlay was a winner, the underdogs greater odds would increase the payout accordingly. On the other hand, if your parlay is of two teams that were heavy favorites, the payout would drop accordingly.
A great way to find the right combination of favorites and tantalizing underdogs to craft the perfect parlay can often be found in just adding and removing teams to your sportsbook bet slip and deciphering the odds that way. There are many instances where a bettor can work the odds to find a more favorable parlay, you just have to play around with some things every now and then.
What is a Teaser?
The easiest way to differentiate between a parlay and teaser is that a teaser is fundamentally the exact same wager as a parlay, only with adjusted lines baked into the payout.
Unlike parlays, teasers can only include bets against the spread or on totals. Teasers also are only offered in football and basketball as other sports do not provide the amount of scoring necessary to make teasers worth it.
The most common sport for teasers comes with football. The most common forms of a teaser in football are of the 6.0, 6.5, and 7.0 teaser varieties. This comes in handy when you are wanting to bet on multiple favorites but are not overly excited about messing with a loftier point spread.
How a 6.5-point teaser could be applied in football would look like so:
- 49ers -7.5 (49ers -1)
- Patriots -6.5 (Patriots PK)
- Chiefs -7.5 (Chiefs -1)
By teasing these three favorites a bettor would get the 49ers and Chiefs at -1 instead of -7.5, and the Patriots at a pick instead of needing to win by a touchdown or more.
If you felt very comfortable that all three teams would win their respective matchups, this particular teaser would look like a very good wager and would likely pay slightly above even money. That would of course differ from a parlay payout at roughly +600.
This shows how the payouts can differ when adjusted lines are baked into the end result.
What are Sweetheart and Monster Teasers?
Depending on the sportsbook where you are playing, the ‘Sweetheart Teaser’ could be offered to you as a betting option, but how does this differ from your traditional teaser? Well, ‘Sweetheart’ Teasers are offered to players with the incentive of having a point spread or total adjusted by 10 points as opposed to the 6-7-point range, and most sportsbooks will offer these at enticing prices ranging from -110 to -140.
Monster teasers are the exact same idea, only with an even larger adjustment of 13-points for football and basketball.
As is the case with other teasers, moving the point spread 10 or 13-points in either direction appears at first glance to be a major advantage to the bettor, but bettors should still be very cautious in how “safe” such a wager is as all too often the can’t miss favorite will miss and spoil even the largest of teasers.
Always do your research on what lines to adjust and never bet over your head in the event the easy teaser goes awry.
Are Sweetheart (or Monster) Teasers Sucker Bets?
Anytime you think you’ve found a “sure thing” in sports betting or gambling in general, feel free to do a quick Google search of what the hotels on the Las Vegas Strip look like.
There is no sure thing in sports, not even betting against the Cleveland Browns (though that’s not the worst strategy, but different topic for a different day). At first glance, you may think a Sweetheart or Monster Teaser is a sure bet because you are getting to move the line in a very noticeable fashion one way or the other.
The fact is, depending on who you ask, Sweetheart and Monster Teasers are widely seen as a longtime losing proposition.
Because of the very unfavorable odds, especially relative to that of a parlay or more traditional teaser, you will need to win a very high rate just to break even.
Consider that even on the best priced Sweetheart Teasers, your payout will generally come in at -110. You would need to correctly pick roughly eight out of 10 legs correct just to make a little bit of profit. And while on the surface that may seem easier with more points to play with, you’d be surprised to find out how often even adjusted spreads by 10-13 points will miss.
Now compare that same batch of stats to the fact that you have a 52.38% break even point when betting on games individually at that same -110 price, and you can start to see how you are playing right into a sportsbooks hands if you go this direction long term with your plays.
We don’t want to fully dissuade you from ever trying one of these bets out, as we’ve made a few of these wagers of ourselves in our days of wagering, but just try to steer clear of these bets for a long-term winning strategy. In all honestly, you’re often better off just sticking to the old fashioned parlay or traditional teaser anyway.