Here are the answers to some of the questions asked in the Comments to my article, "Teaser of the Year? What's That?

Question 1:   posted by jonpistone2  on 12/07/2009 3:01 AM

i noticed u talked lots about 6 and 7 point teasers...clearly in a 13 point teasers you must get FOUR games right, rather than two...and ties are counted as a LOSS (which ive noticed makes these 12.5 point teasers if the line isnt already set at a half) ...  but i was wondering if u had any thoughts on this and why i shouldnt be playing them.

I wrote only about 6 and 7 point teasers because they were the subject of the article, and if I tried to include everything about every type of teaser in one article the post would be too long for most people to want to read.   Since you ask, I'll write about the 4-team sweetheart teasers  here.

There is absolutely no reason that you shouldn't be playing 4-team, 13-point, sweetheart teasers laying odds of 12-10 or less, so long as you only bet them in the NFL, and you restrict yourself to only teasing teams with a half-point line and all four teams are teased only within the range of the favorite winning by 1.5 points and the favorite winning by 17.5 points.   In practical betting terms, that means you can get an advantage teasing any underdog up from any half point line in the range of +1.5 to +4.5 to between +14.5 and +17.5, or you can tease any favorite with a half point in the range between -14.5 and -17.5 down to -1.5 to -4.5.  If you stray from these requirements on any of your four underlyng bets you will be getting the worst of it.

The difficulty you will encounter is finding four teams on the schedule that fit the above qualifications.  Most books offering the 4-team, 13-point sweetheart teasers with a lay of 12-10 are careful not to give four of those qualifying lines to you all at the same time.  That's why you keep seeing lines like 2(-25) instead of 2.5.   

In NCAA Football there is no sequence of 13 consecutive numbers that will give you a sufficient edge to overcome the huge vig on these teasers described below.

The biggest problem with 4-team sweetheart teasers is that you must win all 4 games.  By betting only teams with half point lines, you eliminate the problem of all ties causing the teaer to lose, with no reduction of the number of teams for a push. If you flip a coin, the odds against winning 4 out of 4 selections are 15-1.  You can work that out by diagraming all possible combinations of results for the 4 games.  You will find there are 16 possible results, but only one of those combinations will win, to wit, the Win-Win-Win-Win combination.  Since there are only two possble results for each game -- Win or Lose - you can also calculate the total number of possible combinations by simply multiplying 2 by itself 4 times.  2 x2 x2 x2 = 16.  When only one comination out of 16 will win and 15 will lose the odds are 15 losses to 1 win, or 15-1 against winning.  

If you put $120 through the window on four teams, the true odds breakeven payout would be 15 x $120 + return of your $120 original bet.  That equals $1920.  On the sweetheart teaser, the book only gives you back your original $120 bet plus $100, for a total of $220.  The difference between $1920 you should get, and the $220 you actually get is pocketed by the bookmakers.  That's one huge $1700 vig coming off the top of your win on a $100 bet..  

The vig, however, does not necessarily mean the teaser is a bad bet.  Let's pretend you bet 160 teasers.  By flipping a coin you can expect to win 10 and lose 150.  To be a winner at odds of -120, you will need to win 87 teasers in every 160, instead of just 10.  The question is whether the 13 point line move will cause the needed 77 losing teasers to move over to the winning column so that you can eek out a tiny win.  

To answer that question, you need to know how many times each of the score differentials you cross can be expected to appear as the final score in each of the games you bet.  You can find various sources of Push Percentage Tables for the NFL and NCAA by doing a search.  Use the average of several, since their results may vary depending on the time period studied.  The study should be for a period of at least 10 years to be meaningful.  I'd give you some links to push percentage tables on the net, but I'm not sure whether that would be considered a promotion for competing websites, so you will need to do own hunting.  

Question 2: posted by SKing24 on 12/08/2009 2:34 PM
Not sure I understand you here...So, you are saying that teasing a 3.5 fave to a 3.5 dog is not smart b/c I am going thru 0?  I essentially crossed over 2 key numbers by going thru 3 twice.  Not only that, but I just made a team the oddsmakers feel is better than a FG than the other team a dog of more than 3.  Am I missing something here?

Yup.  You understood me correctly.  Here's what you are missing:
I assume that you are laying 13-10 on your 7-point teaser.  At odds of 13-10 you will need to win 56.5% of your teasers in order to just break even.  You can check that by assuming you bet 100 teasers and win $100 on 56.5 of them for a total win of $5650, but lose $130 on 43.5 of them for a total loss of 5655.  The $5 difference is due to rounding out decimals.

In order to win a 2-team teaser 56.5% of the time you must win the games in them at a rate of 75.2%.  We calculate that by taking the square root of 56.5%.  If you win each game 75.25% of the time, you will win both games (and thereby win your teaser) .752 x .752 times = .565.  That converts to the required 56.5% teaser wins needed to break even.

Even though 3 is a key number, you are not doubling up the advantage by crossing the underdog winning by 3.   When you have a favorite of 3.5 points, the favorite will win by 3 almost twice as often than the underdog will win by 3.  Thus the you are not getting the advantage you believe you are getting by crossing the key number of 3 twice. 

The numbers 1 and 2 are worth very little with the favorite winning, and even less with the underdog winning, because the underdog will win by 1 or 2 points fewer times than the favorite.  As my article discussed, the Pick is completely worthless as a number.  The final score of the game can be expected to fall between the favorite winning by 3 and the underdog winning by 3 approximately 21 times in 100 That means that in 100 games you will move approximately 21 games from the loss column to the win column by teasing a team from -3.5 to +3.5.  To find a chart that will give the number of times a game will land on number on both sides of the pick'em line you need to search a chart of the occurrence of each number, not just a chart of push pecentages.  A chart of push percentages will only give you the nnumber of times the favorite will win by each particluar line.

We calculate whether you are gaining or losing with a teaser by considering the increase in result if you flip a coin to pick your teams.  If the line move turns the coin flip into the percentage you need to create a breakeven at odds of 13-10, then you have the edge.  If not, then  the bookmaker is taking the edge and you are getting the worst of it.  

In this case if we add our increased 21 wins to a 50-50 coin flip, we get 71 wins.  Since the line move is on the underlying games, it is the win percentage of the underlying games that is increased 21%.  We calculated that we need 75.25% winners on the underlying games in order to break even in a 2-team teaser at odds of 13-10.  The line move from -3.5 to +3.5 is only getting you a 71% win rate on the underlying games.  That translates to .71 x .71 = 50.4% of our teasers won.  We've already calculated that you need to win 56.5% of your teasers to breakeven at odds of 13-10.  Winning 50.4% won't do it.  The bookmaker is taking more advantage with the odds than he is giving you bakc with the line move. 

Using a coin flip when straight betting would only get you 50% winners, but breakeven is a much lower 52.5%.  That is because the bookmaker is taking much less commission.  The difference between the teaser expectation of 50.4% and the teaser breakeven of 56.5% is more than twice the vig cost of straight betting.  You will lose $1408 by flipping a coin and betting the games in the teaser you suggest 100 times for $130 each.  You will lose only $500 per 100 games by flipping a coin and betting straight.  
In case anyone is interested, you can expect to lose only $1300 by betting your two teams in 100 parlays for $130 each at odds of 13-5 in your favor.  In other words, your teasers will cost a $100 bettor $908 more than making 100 straight bets to win $100, and $108 more than parlaying the same teams,.  The extra cost exists whether or not the bettor's own handicapping percentage makes him a net winner in the end or a net loser in the end on his teasers.  Compared to the parlay, he will either win $108 less or lose $108 more than playing the exact same teams in a parlay instead of your suggested 2-team parlay   Parlays are bad bets, but your suggested 7-point teaser is worse.    .