Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Friday, October 2, 2015 at 2:00 PM
This past Thursday night’s football results were a great reminder of why the general public does such a bad job with football teasers…and why smart handicappers can add them to their arsenal. I almost always focus on standard side and total handicapping here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping. Today, let’s take a field trip to the topic of teasers.
WHAT ARE TWO-TEAM TEASERS?
Most of you know what these are. But, there are some of you who are new to sports betting and aren’t familiar with this longtime staple of Las Vegas sports betting. Today I’m going to focus on two-teamers…which is a betting proposition where:
*You get to move the line SIX points in your favor on TWO games
*You have to win at BOTH of those adjusted prices to cash your bet
If you go 1-1 at the new prices, you lose. Seems easy, because six points feels like a lot. But, they’re called teasers for a reason. Many square public bettors lose big on these because they overestimate the value of points and their own handicapping ability.
WHAT’S THE WORST MISTAKE TEASER BETTORS MAKE?
It’s almost automatic that a square bettor will see a line of “favorite -6,” and he’ll by dying to move that down to pick-em. “All they have to do is win the game straight up!” While it’s true, you’d be shocked at how often six point favorites lose their games! This is also true at -6.5 (moving the game down to -0.5) and -7 (moving the game down to -1). “All they have to do is win the game” is a trick that will separate you from your money.
Thursday night…in the only college game on the board, Miami of Florida was a six-point favorite at Cincinnati. They didn’t even look like the superior team when it was all said and done. I was sure mad about their poor effort. Teaser bettors who included this “automatic” (in their view) play already lost all the possible teasers where it was included. Doesn’t matter who you paired Miami with…the teaser bet is already down the tubes because Miami couldn’t win straight up.
WHAT’S A BET TEASER BETTORS SHOULD CONSIDER?
Taking an underdog of +2.5 up to +8.5 may be the single best option in football betting. You cross both the 3 and the 7 with your six point move. And, you’re doing it with a team that was expected to be competitive anyway because the original line was below a field goal. Remember…a line of +2.5 means that smart bettors DIDN’T like the favorite or the game would have been bet up to there or more! Moving from a solid +2.5 up to +8.5 is generally a very sharp percentage play.
The Pittsburgh Steelers were +2.5 through most of the week with Pittsburgh. They should have won the game. They ended up losing by three in overtime. Smart team side bettors shopped around and settled for a push. But, smart teaser bettors cashed that half because Pittsburgh +8.5 as half a teaser was so sound.
Square bettors are always dying to take favorites. They think moving the line down makes their lives easier. In fact, the opposite is true. They should be trying to take dogs because lines are often stacked against favorites to begin with. Taking dogs puts the full force of teasers to work for you in terms of point value.
Some other keys to remember:
*Points are much more “valuable” in the NFL than in the colleges...so many smart bettors don’t even try betting teasers in college football. Think about this…the Over Under in Thursday’s NFL game was 43.5 or 44. In the college game, it was 70! Which is more valuable…taking six points in a tightly played game projected to land around 44…or a wide-open and wild game that could reach the 70’s? Points are cheap in college football, which makes moving a line six points rarely worth doing. You’re not getting much with the move. (My only college exceptions would be with low-total games in the high 30’s or low 40’s…bad weather games…or spots where your handicapping suggests you fade a bad team has little chance to score any points.)
*Any move that crosses both the 3 and the 7 in the NFL is usually sound. So, you should look at taking underdogs of +1.5, +2, and +2.5 up past the 7…and favorites of -7.5, -8, and -8.5 below the 3. The way the math works out…moving -6 down to pick-em isn’t justified…but moving -8.5 down to -2.5 is. That’s what the studies show…so start thinking in those teams.
*Don’t waste time betting Over/Unders. The value just isn’t there moving 50 up to 56 to go Under, or dropping 62 down to 56 to go Over (or whatever). There may be some occasional, very peculiar instances where a teaser might apply. Not worth the time and money to look for them. Focus on the areas where points are most valuable…then put those points to work for you.
I don’t release teasers to my clients. And, I probably won’t talk about them again this season. But, after Miami lost at Cincinnati in the colleges Thursday, while Pittsburgh played close with Baltimore…it seemed like the ideal time to broach the subject while those results were fresh in your mind. I always try to keep the coursework relevant to real world dynamics. You’re trying to win NOW…so let’s stay on top of NOW as best as possible.
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The Dean of Sports Handicapping thanks you for your attendance and hard work. See you again early next week
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