Advice on betting teasers

To accompany their round-robin, straight and parlay bets, many football handicappers also enjoy making teaser bets. Teasers give extra points to work with to each football team and over/under total in order to make it easier for each to cover the spread.

Because each betting proposition is receiving extra points, it is possible that both sides of a proposition are winners, which is good for us bettors. What many people don't like about teasers is the payoffs (which are much smaller than regular parlays) because they feel it takes too many winners to win too little money.

I like to bet on teasers, but I learned the hard way how to win money off of them. Here's some advice on how to improve your chances of winning on teasers:

-- Don't bet teasers on college football. Why not? For the same reason you don't see college games on the pleaser card: College final scores can land way off from the original point spread. An extra six or seven points for a college team often isn't enough. Pro games, however, tend to finish closer to the spread and are easier to win on the teaser on either team's side.

-- Don't bet over/under totals on teaser cards. An extra four to six points to work with on a pro football total score are just a one-score difference. The original total is about the same and pays much better if you win. Note: Totals cannot be teased off the board.

-- On the teaser, bet the same pro teams that you are wagering on in your straight bets, parlays and round-robins. Don't add teams to your teaser just because the spreads have suddenly become more attractive. You either like the team already or you don't. The teaser should be used as an insurance policy just in case you were a little bit off on your predictions. Sometimes you will realize that there aren't enough picks on the teaser to make wagering worthwhile, which is OK because not betting is better than adding a loser to your best picks.

-- Don't pick both sides of a teaser prop on the same game. It's impossible to like both sides of a game's spread, so why would anybody try to land in the middle of the low-paying teaser spreads? Don't fall into that trap, and just pick the side you like better.

-- Certain spread numbers are not worth teasing. I never bet minuses of more than three on a teaser because often the favorite is just concerned about winning the game. A -1 on the card or -2 off the board for teasers is OK, because a field goal win is enough and very few games end up with the favorite winning by less than three, although it does happen. But if your original spread pick is already an underdog, then it is a perfect candidate for a teaser play. Tack on some more points to your original pick and hope the team doesn't get blown out like your Sunday morning breakfast.

-- Keep in mind on a teaser that any time you cross from a minus on the original spread to a plus on the teaser spread, that you are also crossing "O." Games don't end in ties anymore, so you're cheating yourself a point every time you cross "0." A six-point teaser essentially becomes a five-point teaser, and so on and so forth.

A +2 point bet on a teaser is a big no-no in my book. Not only does this wager cross "0," but in football +2 is virtually the same as -2. If you can get -2 or -3 off the board or parlay card, you have almost the same chances as the handicapper with +2 and, if you win, it pays much better.

-- Advantages to betting teasers off the board are that 6-, 6- and 7-point teasers are available, and only two teams are needed to make a wager. The advantages to betting teasers off the cards are that more than eight teams can be wagered on, and only $2 is necessary to make a wager as opposed to $5 off the board. Still, be more concerned about finding winning spread numbers than trying to win a certain amount of cash.

College pick: Eastern Michigan +8 at Central Florida.

Pro picks: Jacksonville -12 at Cincinnati. New York Giants and Philadelphia Under 33 1/2.

Joe Ellison is the Nevada Appeal betting columnist.


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