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Teasing College Football Favorites

College Football Betting: Teasing Favorites

By Loot, College Football Handicapper,

You’ve heard it before and for the most part it’s true: You should mostly grind away making straight bets on sides and totals. That seems to be the consensus. You will hear people telling you to steer clear of parlays, teasers, and the like. And it’s a good rule of thumb, as players generally burn up a lot of money on the more speculative type of bets. But when used wisely, a teaser can actually be a good bet.

As you might have figured out, the teaser we refer to is of a two-team variety. We’re not going to say to not play teasers, then recommend you play a bunch of teams. Two is safer. You only need to win 2 games. And you’re getting 6 or more points toward the spread. When done right, it’s a bet where you can expect some positive value. And that strikes against the whole idea of teasers and parlays--which we normally associate with being more adventurous bets.

But yes--a two-team teaser is sometimes a good move. When you can take a pair of favored teams and tease them down to where they are no longer giving points or even now they’re getting points, that’s a powerful tool. You can get off key numbers and sometimes beat a pair of key numbers. Say you have a pair of 8-point favorites and make a two-team/6-point teaser. You get both teams at -2 now. You conquered a series of key numbers--namely 7 and 3.


You can make a two-team teaser on underdogs also. Let’s say you have two dogs at -4 and -5. Maybe a 6.5-point teaser is called for here. It gets that -4 to -10.5 and off the key number of ten. And when you can take small underdogs and get a double-digit spread, that’s a powerful weapon. The payouts are not that great. With two-team teasers, the amount you stand to win is only 10-11. So you have to pay for the privilege. But you would be surprised how often these bets win.

Going back 15 years, 3-point favorites teased to +3.5 win 75% of the time. In addition, road dogs at +4 or +5 that are teased to 10 or 11 also win 75% of the time. Again, that is largely attributable to the fact that teasers allow you to sail through some key numbers, which when compiled, make up a big percentage of potential game margins.

There has been a lot said negatively on teasing through zero. For example you take a -3 favorite and tease it to +3 or +3.5. In that case you are teasing through zero, which is not a viable number since no games end with that margin. So maybe the argument can be made that you leave a point on the table by teasing through zero, but unless that fact makes this a bad play in an overall sense, what difference does it make?

Another thing about teasers is that the bookie seems to be worried about them. The limits on teasers are usually lower than most bets. And when bowl games are taking place, the limits on teasers continues to drop. When the book is putting limits on how heavily you can bet a teaser, bells should go off in your head. At the end of the day, a big part of betting success is consistently doing what the book doesn’t want you to do.

It can really hurt the books when a savvy bettor is working this two-team teaser routine against them during bowl season. When betting on bowl games, taking two games and teasing them 6 points or more can be a deadly move against the books. Those lines are usually pretty tough. In other words, those spreads and totals are usually very good lines. So when you have an opportunity to blow up those spreads and totals in your favor, the book has reasons to worry now. That’s why they reduce the limits. They know a cagey bettor isolating two games on a teaser can do some real damage.

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