Before we get this class in session, it’s important that you fully understand the three main types of NFL bets: moneyline, against the spread, and totals. Without that base knowledge, our class on parlays and teasers will go over your head.

Once you understand moneyline, the spread, and totals, you shouldn’t have any trouble grasping parlays and teasers. They are not actually a new and different type of NFL bet; they’re merely wagers that include more than one event. If you like both the Patriots and Steelers to cover their respective spreads in Week 1, you don’t have to make two separate bets with two separate stakes. Instead, you can wager once on both teams. This is the general idea of both a parlay and teaser. But let’s look a little deeper at the specifics of each.

What’s a Parlay?

Parlays are the simpler of the two. They involve any combination of moneyline bets, bets against the spread, and totals bets. Most sportsbooks will also allow you to parlay props and futures bets, so long as the events aren’t too closely linked. The idea here is that bettors gain a better potential payout because it’s more difficult to get multiple picks correct.

In order to create a parlay, you just add more than one selection to your bet card. Most books will cap the number of events that you can group in one parlay, generally around 12. It is vital to understand that in order to win a parlay, you must get all events correct. If you create a parlay with eight selections, but only get seven of them correct, there is no consolation prize; so don’t go overboard with it.

As you add selections to your bet card, you will see the odds/payout increase. If you have no interest in learning how to calculate parlay odds, then pay no attention to the next paragraph. You can now move onto teasers.

If you’re curious how the odds in a parlay are calculated, this paragraph is for you. (If you’re unfamiliar with odds, get a full explanation here.) In order to calculate your potential winnings, you need to convert the odds of all your selections into decimal form. If you’re dealing with American odds, it differs for positive and negative odds. Either way, remove the sign before substituting numbers in. If you have positive odds, divide the odds and then add 1. If negative, divide 100 by the odds and then add 1. If you’re working with fractional odds, just carry out the division. Now that your odds are in decimal form, multiply them all together. You then subtract one from the product to get your “parlay factor”. Multiply your wager by the parlay factor to figure out your winnings!

What’s a Teaser?

A teaser is just a specialized type of parlay. All selections in a teaser must be either against the spread or totals. The bettor then has the ability to “tease” (i.e. adjust) the spread by 6.0, 6.5, or 7.0 points. Of course, in gaining a more favorable spread/total, you will be sacrificing your potential payout in the process. Here’s an example to illustrate:

Chiefs vs Patriots Spread Betting

If you like both the Patriots and Steelers to win their games, but want a little more value than what the moneyline is offering, then you’d look to the spread. However, you may not be overly confident in them both covering their rather-high spreads. Thanks to teasers, there is a solution. If we tease both of these spreads by 7.0 points, then New England’s original spread (-7.5) becomes -0.5 and Pittsburgh’s (-9) becomes -2. Now, as long as the Patriots win by a point and the Steelers win by a field goal, you will win this teaser bet. (Like with parlays, all selections in a teaser must be correct for you to win the bet.)

Because you’re now getting a more favorable spread, you won’t be getting the original -110 payout for the games. Assuming the ATS payout of all the games in your teaser are -110, the teaser odds will generally be as follows:

Teams 6.0 Points 6.5 Points 7.0 Points
2 -110 -120 -130
3 +180 +160 +140
4 +300 +250 +200
5 +450 +400 +350
6 +600 +550 +500
7 +1,000 +900 +800
8 +1,500 +1,200 +1,000
9 +2,000 +1,500 +1,200
10 +2,500 +2,000 +1,500

So in our New England/Pittsburgh example, since we teased the spread in two games by seven points, the payout would usually be -130.

Don’t be surprised if your odds are slightly worse than displayed in the chart, though, as every sportsbook has the right to alter them slightly. Specific books may also offer you a 10 or 13-point teaser with a certain number of selections.

All the same is true if you are betting on the game total, or any combination of totals and spreads. In order to create a teaser bet, add the events you wish to bet on to your bet card, and a “teaser” option will appear.

Now that you know the difference between a parlay and a teaser, and how each one works, get out there and win some money! But don’t forget to read our strategy tips, too.