A topic not discussed in much depth in our comprehensive guide to teaser betting is sweetheart teasers. If you’re not familiar with these: Bodog.com calls them “sweetheart teasers” where other sites refer to them as “special teasers”, “monster teasers” or “super teasers”. While the name varies between betting sites, the concept remains the same. In this type wager the bookmaker gives additional points as the number of teams teased increases. The two most common examples are “3-team 10-point” and “4-team 13-point” NFL teasers . In this article I’ll examine sweetheart teasers in detail, including how to beat them, where to get the best odds, and then conclude with an analysis of basic teaser strategy applied to sweetheart subsets.
How to Beat Sweetheart Teasers
The trick to beating sweetheart teasers is to only make bets that will win more often than each team’s required breakeven percentage. Rather than rehashing math covered in other articles let me go ahead and just give some examples.
- In 3-team 10-point teasers offered at -110 each selection needs to win 80.6% of the time for the overall teaser to average break-even.
- In 4-team 13-point teasers offered at -120 the break-even rate increases to 85.9% for each selection.
- In 6-team 21-point teasers offered at -350 the required break-even for each selection is a whopping 95.9%.
As you can likely guess from only glancing at these figures, these teasers are not easy to beat. I’ve quantified this a bit using a sample that consists of 1260 of the 1280 “regular season” games for the 5 seasons ranging from 2006/07 to 2010/11, using closing lines from www.bookmaker.com. The 20 games excluded were removed due to late posts, games going off the board, or circled situations where teasers were not allowed. With the sample now quantified let’s see how randomly bet sweetheart teasers fared the past 5 years.
- Against P.Spread: 380-435-22 (46.6%)
- Teased 10 Points: 622-215 (74.3%)
- Teased 13 Points: 686-151 (82.0%)
- Teased 21 Points: 778-59 (93.0%)
- Against P.Spread: 209-206-8 (50.4%)
- Teased 10 Points: 318-105 (75.2%)
- Teased 13 Points: 336-87 (79.4%)
- Teased 21 Points: 386-37 (91.3%)
- Against P.Spread: 206-209-9 (49.6%)
- Teased 10 Points: 328-95 (77.5%)
- Teased 13 Points: 357-66 (84.4%)
- Teased 21 Points: 396-27 (93.6%)
- Against P.Spread: 435-380-22 (53.4%)
- Teased 10 Points: 650-187 (77.7%)
- Teased 13 Points: 692-145 (82.7%)
- Teased 21 Points: 784-53 (93.7%)
When comparing this data to the break even rates quoted earlier it’s pretty easy to see that randomly sweetheart teasing teams is largely –EV. Perhaps some good news for recreational gamblers: road favorites actually performed better in 4-team 13-point teasers than they did when bet straight at -110. Betting at -110 you’d have lost about 5.31% of the amount risked. Betting in 4-team 13-point teasers you’d have lost only 1.74% (which is lower than the house’s advantage in most casino games) of the amount risked (as allocated to each individual selection).
Considering this is a subset with a losing track record I’m not going to do any further analysis on this, however “results oriented thinking” suggests for fans watching games and trying to make their best picks, 4-team 13-point teasers on road favorites are not that bad of a bet when the odds are -120. The second part of that sentence is the key as many sites charge -130 or -140 for these bets where the odds then become horrible. If you’re a fan and looking to bet these stick to www.5dimes.com and www.bodog.com where they are offered at -120.
If you’re actually looking to beat sweetheart teasers you’ll need to do some capping and then stick primarily to basic strategy.
Basic Strategy Applied to Sweetheart Teasers
The most profitable subsets for sweetheart teasers are ones that follow basic strategy. In case you’re not familiar with basic strategy here is the criteria:
- Because 38.1% of NFL games finish with a 3-7 point margin of victory, basic strategy dictates a teaser needs to cross all these numbers, while using the best odds available.
- Because zero has no value and moving from +1 to -1 burns two teaser points, basic strategy teasers never cross zero.
Considering the above criteria, we’re not going to do any sweetheart teasers on underdogs as the only options to cross the 3-7 range is +0.5 to +2.5 point-spreads and these can be handled by standard teasers. We’re also not going to tease any favorites -10 or less as these would involve the zero. Through process of elimination, the only spreads remaining that cross the 3-7 point range are spreads -10.5 to -12.5 teased 10 points, and spreads -13.5 to -15.5 teased 13-points.
Let’s do some testing how 10 point teasers have fared since the 2005/06 season began:
10.5 to 12.5 Point Favorites
- Against P.Spread: 31-42 (42.5%)
- Teased 10 Points: 57-16 (78.1%)
Considered these need to win 80.6% of the time to break even, over the past 6 seasons you’d have shown a loss betting these in 10-point teasers; however, not as big of a loss as you would have betting them straight against the point spread. What’s interesting here, the teams covered 35.6% more often when teased 10-points than they did ATS. If the spread was truly a 50/50 proposition their win rate would only have needed to increase by 30.6%.
The historical results were nowhere near as impressive for 13 point teasers:
13.5 to 15.5 Point Favorites
- Against P.Spread: 30-28-1 (51.7%)
- Teased 13 Points: 47-12 (79.7%)
Considering 4-team 13-point teasers at -120 require each teaming winning 85.9% of the time, these haven’t fared so well.
Data Relevant to Sweetheart Teasers
For those interested in doing further research on sweetheart teasers here’s some data you might find relevant. It took me going back to week 5 of the 2001 NFL season to get a sample size of 300 regular season games that had a spread of between 10 and 17 points. Here is the number of occurrences for margins of victory on the favorite over that sample:
- 16 points: 6 occurrences (2.00%) | 15 points: 2 occurrences (0.67%)
- 14 points: 11 occurrences (3.67%) |13 points: 5 occurrences (1.67%)
- 12 points: 3 occurrences (1.0%) | 11 points: 3 occurrences (1.0%)
- 10 points: 14 occurrences (4.67%) | 9 points: 7 occurrences (2.33%)
- 8 points: 9 occurrences (3.00%) | 7 points: 20 occurrences (6.67%)
- 6 points: 3 occurrences (1.0%) | 5 points: 7 occurrences (2.33%)
- 4 points: 10 occurrences (3.33%) | 3 points: 22 occurrences (7.33%)
- 2 points: 10 occurrences (3.33%) | 1 point: 10 occurrences (3.33%)
This push data is dangerous to use due to sample size issues. The first thing you might notice is during these 300 games teams won by exactly six-points on only three occasions, and managed to win by five-points on seven occasions. When using all games over the last 5 seasons, six is the fifth most frequent margin of victory and five is only the twelfth most frequent.
For the purpose of having a third sample to compare, I pulled up a push chart shared by mikevegas in this (http://www.roughingthepunter.com/showthread.php?t=1907) Roughing the Punter thread.
Having three data sources that rely on each other (each developed in a similar manner) each should produce relatively the same results. So let’s check it out by analyzing a -11.5 point favorite teased 10 points using each of the three methods.
- We already determined earlier that over a relatively small sample -10.5 to -12.5 favorites had their cover rate increased by 35.6% when teased 10-points.
- If we use the 8-13 point favorite column on the push chart developed by mikevegas and add up the value of all points 2-11 we see these total 34.4%.
- If we do the same with the push chart I developed the total is 34.99%.
While the three methods used are all based on the same data, and can’t validate one another, the historical results do suggest that teasing ten points increases -10.5 to -12.5 favorites’ cover rates by 34.4% to 35.6%. My theory is that as the market becomes more efficient, which should happen near immediately, these figures will drop slightly. However, considering 10-point 3-team teasers at -110 require only a 30.6% increase in cover rate, there is likely enough room and more than likely this subset ends up profitable over the long haul.
Conclusion: There is a very good reason sharp betting sites such as Pinnacle Sports, Bookmaker, etc. offer 3-team 10-point teasers at -120 to -140. For as long as www.5dimes.com and www.bodog.com continue to offer these at -110, there are profitable angles to be had.
Three Final Thoughts
- If you’re going to bet sweetheart teasers, be sure to do so at sites offering the best odds such as www.5dimes.com and www.bodog.com.
- When making 3-team 10-point teasers at -110, always check to make sure the moneyline is not less than -415. If it is, than the moneyline bet has better value and the teaser should be avoided.
- While we didn’t cover these in any depth, www.betonline.com has 21-point teasers at incredible odds. Their odds are actually better than 5dimes offers for a full point less (20-point teasers). I haven’t done enough analysis to determine if these can be beaten or not, but with such steep favorites their odds makers do appear to be operating on a dangerously low margin. These might be worth taking a look at and are at the very least a fun bet for the recreational gambler who keeps it in control.
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