A Teaser is a combination of two or more football/basketball spreads/totals where you get a better line on each pick in exchange for a lower payout. There are an incredible number of variations in how Teasers are offered but generally you can tease your football lines 6, 6.5, or 7 points and your basketball lines 4, 4.5, or 5 points.
For example, if you like the Eagles -8 and the Chargers +2 but aren't sure the Eagles will win by a touchdown or the Chargers will keep it close you could tease both these picks. If you teased 7-points you would have a 2-team Teaser with Eagles -1 and the Chargers +9. I think you can clearly see that making Philadelphia only have to win by 2 to cover (instead of 9) makes this pick easier to win. Also, the Chargers can now lose by 7 and still cover. The tradeoff is the payout is only $7.14 for $10 risked (this varies from book to book but will serve for our examples today) instead of $22.50 for $10 risked as a parlay would be. You must decide if the greatly improved chance of winning is worth a 2/3 reduction in payout.
With Teasers involving three or more picks, a Push on any leg reduces the Teaser to the next lowest level. A 4-teamer where one leg is a Push would Payout at 3-team levels, etc. Note that a 2-team Teaser with a push is not reduced to a 1-team Teaser as there is no such pick. Be sure to check with your book to see how 2-team Teasers with a push are handled (some settle Push/Loss as a Loss, others make it a Push) so you are not surprised.
Why are Teaser payouts so much lower? Simple, it is the only pick type where balanced action can still result in losses for the book. How can that be? Here is an example using the Bucs and the Giants. The spread is Tampa Bay -6 and the total was 38. Using 7 point teasers and only this one game, there were four plays that could have been made:
Tampa Bay +1 and Over 31NY Giants +13 and Over 31Tampa Bay +1 and Under 45NY Giants +13 and Under 45
If the final score was Tampa Bay 19-13, every one of these is a winner because the final score was within 7 points of both the posted point spread and total. If there was $130 to win $100 on each of these plays, the House just lost $400 on $520 in handle for a 77% loss!
This article courtesy of Bodog Sportsbook