What Are Teasers, Pleasers & Specials Bets?

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Teasers, pleasers, and specials don’t exactly sound like betting lingo. But they do, in fact, refer to popular bet types you’ll find at Florida sportsbooks.

Teasers and pleasers are spin-offs of parlays that come with a few twists. While they can be fun and potentially lucrative, teasers and pleasers are not always the smartest bets on the table. They’re best left to certain situations when the rewards outweigh the associated risks.

On the other hand, specials are easier to hit, as they are single bets. They represent variations of props and are contingent on an event happening (or not happening) within a game.

What is a teaser bet?

The underlying principle of teasers is similar to that of parlay betting, although you’ll find a few striking differences. With both bet types, you must correctly predict all your picks from the slip to win. If one leg (selection) comes up short, you lose your entire bet. Another common denominator is the prospect of hitting a big payday with each selection (leg) added to the teaser.

That’s pretty much where the similarities end. The hallmark of teasers is the ability to control the gambling lines. With parlays, you have to settle for what the books offer for that market, whereas teasers allow bettors to “tease up” or “tease down” the spread or totals line —moving it by a few points to make it more favorable.

This kind of flexibility can be a double-edged sword. Adjusting the line does improve your odds of winning, but the returns aren’t as big as with standard parlays. Simply put, you’re shifting the lines in your favor but for a reduced payout.

How do teaser bets work?

So far, we’ve talked about how teasers work only in theory. Let’s put that newfound knowledge into practice via actual examples: a two-team teaser that features hypothetical NFL and NBA matchups.

Here’s how the opening lines might look like at Hard Rock Sportsbook in Florida:

  • Miami Heat -8.5 over the Orlando Magic 
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers -6.5 over the Miami Dolphins 

Let’s say you want to bet on the Miami Heat, but the 8.5-point winning margin seems a bit over the top. On the other hand, you’re predicting a teeter-totter game between the Dolphins and the Buccaneers. You’re confident that the Dolphins will put up a good fight but not enough that you’ll take them on the moneyline odds. Thus, you decide to tease the lines a bit.

Let’s take a look at the adjusted lines you want to set for your bet:

  • Miami Heat -4.5 over the Orlando Magic 
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers -12.5 over the Miami Dolphins 

You applied a four-point teaser in favor of the Heat for the NBA showdown while ramping up the spread line for the Bucs-Dolphins game by six points.

All it takes for you to win your bet now is the Heat to beat the Magic by five or more points and the Dolphins to stay within the spread range, losing by fewer than 13 points or winning outright.

Are teaser bets a good idea?

Spreads and totals are extremely dynamic markets, so determining whether or not teasers are worthwhile is circumstantial.

Adding or subtracting a few points in the example above did improve the likelihood of your team covering the spread, but did you increase your chances of winning by enough to justify taking your teaser bet? Was the juice worth the squeeze?

Probably not. Teasers add extra insurance, but they’re not usually worth the extra juice you have to lay. The truth of the matter is that sportsbooks have a higher advantage on parlays and teasers than on straight bets.

Most sharp bettors will not recommend combo bets because they increase variance too much. Teasers are almost always negative EV (expected value) outcomes, which implies a loss over time. Long story short, teasers make sense only when the reward outweighs the risk, which doesn’t happen often.

Payouts for teaser bets

At most Florida sportsbooks, teasers typically involve three numbers. For betting on basketball games, you’ll find 4, 4.5, and 5-point teasers. Then, teasers revolve around 6, 6.5, and 7 points in football betting.

As a rule of thumb, the higher the number, the lower the payout. For example, a 5-point NBA teaser will bring you a smaller payoff than a 4-point NBA teaser. As mentioned earlier, the potential returns will progressively increase the more teams you add to your teaser slip.

The table below showcases the potential payouts for $100 basketball teasers based on two key factors: the number of teams and the size of the spread adjustment.

Two TeamsThree teamsFour Teams
4 Points-100 ($100 profit)+180 ($180 profit)+300 ($300 profit)
4.5 Points-110 ($91 profit)+160 ($160 profit)+250 ($250 profit)
5 Points-120 ($83 profit)+150 ($150 profit)+200 ($200 profit)

Here’s the payout chart for standard football teasers.

Two TeamsThree teamsFour Teams
6 Points-110 ($91 profit)+180 ($180 profit)+300 ($300 profit)
6.5 Points-120 ($83 profit)+160 ($160 profit)+250 ($250 profit)
7 Points-130 ($77 profit)+150 ($150 profit)+200 ($200 profit)

How to place a teaser bet in Florida

Placing a teaser bet is fundamentally no different than creating a parlay. At most Florida sports betting sites, the option to tease your selections will become available once you’ve selected two NFL/NBA spreads or totals bets.

Some sportsbooks have designated tabs for teasers, while others group teasers with parlays. DraftKings is one of the best sportsbooks for major sports, thus an attractive spot for teaser betting. It’s also one of the select few operators that allows same game parlays and teasers.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to place an MLB teaser bet on the Tampa Bay Rays via the DraftKings Sportsbook app in Florida:

  1. Visit the sportsbook’s site and log into your account.
  2. Go to the betting lobby and find MLB across the left side menu.
  3. Add a run line and a totals bet from the Rays’ matchup onto your slip.
  4. The option to tease your selections will appear underneath your bets. There, you can choose how many points you want to tease by.
  5. Once you’re done adjusting the lines, the sportsbook will display the odds you’ll get for your teaser bet. If they’re acceptable, enter the amount you want to stake in and submit your bet.

Limits to what can be teased

Teasers are generally exclusive to basketball and football mainly due to the high-scoring nature of these sports. Also, points spreads and totals have a huge pull among NBA and NFL bettors, which is yet another reason why teasers are centered around these two markets.

It’s worth mentioning that some sportsbooks price out a wide range of alternate totals and spreads. These can deviate from the opening lines by as much as -/+10 points. But remember that the more you alter the spread, the bigger the premium and the smaller the payouts.

Pros and cons of teaser bets

You’ll find several points in favor of teasers, with an obvious overall advantage: they are easier to hit than standard parlays. You get the kick of nailing a big combo bet while also having a safety net of extra points to boost your chances of winning each leg.

Teasers give you the flexibility to move the lines to a level you’re comfortable with and the confidence to bet on games that you wouldn’t otherwise.

The most salient downside is the payout reduction. Since teasers pay significantly less than a parlay with the same number of legs, you’ll often trade too big of a payout to make it all worthwhile.

More teaser bet examples

Since teasers are more complex than garden-variety straight bets or parlays, we decided to provide a few more examples to help you fully grasp the concept.

Previously, we opted for a two-team teaser. Now, we’ll add one more selection to step it up a bit.

  • Miami Heat vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Lakers +8.5 @ -112
  • Orlando Magic vs. New York Knicks: Magic -2.5 @ -109
  • Orlando Magic vs. New York Knicks: Under 212.5 @ -110

Odds breakdown

  • Straight parlay: +593
    • Profit potential: $593
  • Teaser +4: +160
    • Profit potential: $160
  • Teaser +4.5: +140 
    • Profit potential: $140
  • Teaser +5: +120
    • Profit potential: $120

In our three-team NBA teaser primer, we combined two spread bets with an over/under wager, with all selections being priced out around the standard -110.

While the standard parlay pays nearly five times more than five-point teasers with the same number of legs, these few points differential increase the true odds of winning your bet. Even more so, the sportsbook’s spread and totals estimates are usually pinpoint accurate, so teasing a few points in your favor will almost always be enough to get you over the hump.

What is a pleaser bet?

Pleasers are the opposites of teasers. Pleaser betting offers alternate lines in favor of the sportsbook and not the bettor. That means pleasers provide more unfavorable odds but bigger payout potential.

Are pleaser bets a good idea?

Pleasers are popular among players who are more risk-tolerant than average bettors. The payouts for pleasers exceed a standard parlay, but these wagers are longshots and are nearly impossible to hit.

Sure, you might connect on a juicy pleaser every now and then, but it will take you dozens of lost pleasers until you finally hit one. And worse yet, they’re rarely offered by the books.

What is a special bet?

Specials are off-the-wall wagers that aren’t directly tied to the outcome of a given game or match. Instead, you’re betting on whether an occurrence proposed by the sportsbook will or will not happen.

You’ll find specials bets almost exclusively when betting on soccer. In other sports, these types of bets are colloquially known as props or proposition bets. Popular examples of specials betting may include:

  • Will ‘x’ player score the first goal?
  • Will the match go to overtime?
  • Will ‘x’ player commit the most fouls?

Odds boosts

At most top sportsbooks in Florida, you’ll find odds boosts used to promote high-profile sporting events throughout the week. Generally, there are two types of odds boosts: single bet odds boosts and parlay boosts. In both cases, these sportsbook promos provide a better payout for the same amount of risk.