How to bet like the smart money – Part 3
The last type of sucker bet to be discussed are teasers. True to their name, teasers look so-o-o-o tempting. They tease you in the darkened bar, carefully hiding their face, perhaps blinding you with a not quite accidental brush of their hand across your crotch. They are irresistible and offer endless promise. But get them home and they turn into the monster from “Species” stab you through the throat and steal your wallet. They are the worst and most dangerous of the sucker bets while appearing to be the most beautiful bets of all. A Teaser is exactly the same as a parlay except that the bookmaker pays you much less. Already it doesn’t sound too good does it? So why would anyone bet it? You forgot about the tease this monster puts on in the darkened bar. The accidental brush against your crotch filled with endless promise
Teasers, like bar girls, come in endless shapes, sizes and hair colors, but they are all equally poisonous. We’ll discuss the two most common types in the outlaw market. The two team Teaser, in which you must win both games but instead of 14-6 or even 13-5 the bookmaker actually offers to pay you less than even money.
A $120 bet gets back $100. The sucker thinks that the vig is the $20, but we now know that the vig in these bets really comes off the winning end. Certainly the vig on Teaser has to be more because you only get paid
less. The “tease” is that in two team football teasers you get to move the line by 6 points in any direction that benefits you. In three team football teasers you get to move the line 10 points in any direction. Basketball teasers carry more variation but the most I’ve ever seen is 6 points on a two team and 9 points on a three team NBA teaser. It sounds great. Imagine getting that 10 point favorite at only pick ’em, or that 7 point favorite plus points, or that 7 point underdog plus 17 instead! The teaser always looks so very, very juicy before the games go off. After the games are over, however, you’ll find that if you won, you probably would have won anyway without moving the line and collected much more money, and when you lose the point move didn’t save you.
For you to be better off having bet a three team teaser instead of making straight bets, the teaser will have to save you on at least two of the games. that means you’ll have to lose the games to the spread but win them in the teaser. This is something that will not occur very often. Let’s look at the math. First, as with parlays, we’ve got to see what the house take is on a teaser. As we said in discussing parlays, the odds of winning both of two games is 3-1 against. The odds of winning all three out of three games are 7-1 against. Let’s look at 3 team teasers for a moment. If the true odds are 7-1, then when you bet $120 on a Teaser, the payout should be 7 x 120 = $840. Instead of paying you $840, the bookmaker pays you only $100. The difference is $740, which is the bookmaker’s “take” off the winning end. In percentages 740 divided by 840 gives us an incredible 88% take. In return for that huge take the bookmaker gives us back the right to move the line by 10 points in football or by up to 9 points in basketball in any direction we want. Obviously doing that will give us many more winners. The question is: Will it give us enough more winners to counteract the huge house take. The answer is: Not even close. In football it is difficult to calculate the advantage of a 10 point line move because it varies depending on the numbers you move across.
The greatest possible advantage you could get is to move a team from minus 6.5 to plus 3.5 or from minus 3.5 to plus 6.5 which moves across the same numbers. The move across these numbers will increase your win rate by 46.4%. The percentage advantage was calculated by using charts published by Michael “Roxy” Roxborough showing the percentage probability that each number in football will occur as the final spread difference. Crowne Club members have been given these charts, which are endlessly useful. We’ll discuss these percentages in future articles. For the time being you’ll have to take my word for it.
From the numbers above you can see that the bookmaker has taken an 88% advantage and given you back a maximum of 46. 4% Net 41.6% to the bookmaker! Not exactly my idea of a good bargain. In basketball we can calculate the advantage of a line move more exactly. Every number in Basketball has an equal 1.4% chance of occurring. A 9 point line move gives you a 9 x 1.4 or only 13.6% higher winning percentage. This means that if we flip a coin and can hit 50%, our maximum win percentage in a football teaser after the ten point line move is 50% of 46.4 or 23.2% more winners. Add that to the 50% and we see that after the to point line move we will now win 73.2% of our games by flipping a coin. That’s not enough to counteract the 88% of the bookmaker. How about if you can win at the highest possible long term rate I’ve ever seen, 62%. If we multiply 62% by 46.4% we get 28.7% more winners . That means we’ll be right around break-even on teasers. Instead of being a big winner at 62%, after all the teaser vig you’ve turned 62% handicapping into break-even. Congratulations!
People often think they’ve found heaven with teasers because at their new 73% win rate they can have a weekend in which they go 5-0 or 6-0 or even better on teasers. Eventually, though, getting the wrong pay out and the huge take will wear them down and they will have sacrificed as much as a full 25% of all the money that crosses the table long term. Don’t forget our prime Rule of gambling: A bet with more house edge is never better than a bet with less house edge. Neverever, no matter what you do or what silly losing system some author comes up with to sell books or some sports tout comes up with to sell picks.
thedailyspread.com | January 13th, 1999
– – – – – – – – – – – –About the writer
Rob Crowne is a professional level sports bettor and owner of the Crowne Club. His free pick line was the impetus for the creation of our site.