'Teaser' cards tough way to win parlays

Sep 22, 2009 5:03 PM
by GT Staff |

Yet, ‘reverse’ teasers can be lucrative

There’s a good reason why they call them "teaser" parlay cards: they tease you into thinking you can win with them.

Nonetheless, teasers are popular with parlay cards bettors who want to gain a little advantage against the point spread, which is decreased for the favorite and increased for the underdog.

For the few extra points, payoffs, however, are dramatically reduced – up to 90 percent for some parlays. For instance, a 5-team teaser pays only 6-for-1, compared to 25-for-1 on a half-point parlay card.

Serious football handicappers scoff at playing teaser cards, but "reverse" teasers are another matter.

Reverse teasers, rather than expanding the range of a winning bet, decreases it, by usually 7 points. Thus a favorite has the point spread increased by 7 points, while the underdog has it decreased by 7 points.

"Beating a reverse teaser is the ultimate challenge," says Phil Hess, a regular sports bettor at Arizona Charlie’s in Las Vegas. "You really have to know what you’re doing, but if you can accurately predict the outcome of a game, you’re rewarded with boxcar payoffs."

Indeed, the lure of the reverse teaser is the astronomical payoffs. The aforementioned 5-team parlay on a reverse teaser may pay as much as 250-for-1, compared to 25-for-1 on the half-point cards. And picking a perfect 8-for-8 can pay as much as 8,000-for-1!

Of course, sports books aren’t in the business of making nickel-and-dime bettors rich. The point spreads on a reverse teaser are so exaggerated that often neither side is a winner.

Last weekend, for instance, there were nine college games on Arizona Charlie’s Reverse Teaser Deluxe parlay card, but only two games produced a winner – Colorado State and Florida State.

The NFL slate on Sunday was more encouraging – of the 15 games listed, 10 produced winners, most of which were underdogs who won outright.

"Some of those games were actually pretty easy to handicap," Hess said. "It shouldn’t have come as a shock to see the Jets, Cardinals and Ravens win outright."

Most of the other winners were favorites who won by nice margins – the Saints, Bills, Broncos and 49ers.

The results pretty much followed form for reverse teasers in Week 1, when 12 college games produced four possible winners, while the 15 NFL contests had seven winners.

At this point in the season, Hess says, sticking with live underdogs in the pro ranks, as well as a few favorites capable of shutting down their opponents, should be able to produce a few viable reverse teasers each week.

"You don’t need many games to win big," he said. "I usually pick just three teams per card, or sometimes add a fourth game.

"The most I’ve ever hit is 5-for-5, which pays about 225-for-1," he continued. "Maybe one day I’ll catch that elusive 8-for-8, but it’s not a priority. You have to bet on what you can realistically win."

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