What Is A Parlay vs A Teaser?

Learn the differences between parlay and teaser, two of the most common terms thrown around in sports gambling.

As more and more states legalize sports gambling, more and more sports fans will have quick, easy access to placing a bet instead of that once-a-year trek to Las Vegas that fans used to wait for. And awaiting new sports bettors is a sea of confusing terms that can often be as intimidating as a baccarat or craps table for the uninitiated.

Two of the big terms that will be thrown around a lot are parlay and teaser, so here’s a guide to understand what exactly those mean.

How does a parlay work?

A parlay is a wager that links two or more bets, with all of the bets needing to win for a payout. The more correct bets in a parlay, the higher the payout. For example, a five-team money line parlay, which would typically pay off at +2000 (20:1), means all of the teams you pick have to win for the payout. But if only one of your picks loses, you would lose the parlay.

A parlay can have 10 or more picks, combining all types of wagers across several games or props, with a huge payout for winning all of the bets. However, the likelihood of winning 10-plus simultaneous bets is extremely low. (Standard parlay payouts can be found here: https://www.thesportsgeek.com/sports-betting/strategy/parlay-betting/)

Sportsbooks often post winning multi-leg parlay tickets on social media to promote the high payout possibilities. In this case, a bettor hit a 14-leg parlay and turned $20 into more than $91,500. That is a return of 4,300:1.

Recently, U.S. sportsbooks have introduced the concept of same-game parlays. For this type of wager, a bettor selects from lines, totals and prop bets from the same game. In the case of the most recent Super Bowl, a same-game parlay might combine Kansas City -3.5, Patrick Mahomes throwing for more than 250 yards and Rob Gronkowski scoring at least one touchdown. The odds for same-game parlays are lower than multi-game parlays because the events are correlated in some way.

How does a teaser work?

A teaser is another multi-game bet, usually attached to football games, college or NFL. You adjust the point spreads in the games chosen by 6 to 7 points in both directions in your favor. In other words, you get to subtract six points from the spread of a favorite and add six points to the spread of an underdog. For example, a -13 favorite would become -7, while a +3 underdog would become +9. (Standard teaser payouts can be found here: https://www.gamblingsites.org/sports-betting/beginners-guide/teasers/)

More popular teaser bets occur when the lines aren’t the typical football-scoring point differentials, such as -3 or +7. If a favorite is -5, a teaser allows that team to become an underdog at +1. Conversely, an underdog at +8, now moves to a two-touchdown gap at +14.

Playing sports betting parlays or teasers appeals more to casual bettors willing to take a flyer on long odds for fun. But bettors who consider themselves sharper (or “sharps”) typically stay away from both types of bets.

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