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Why We Think Teasers and Parlays Are Overrated

Odds You might have heard a lot of sports bettors exclaiming, “I almost hit the parlay! Just missed it with one play.” Unfortunate, in a parlay whether you hit 9 out of 10 legs or 0 out of 10, the end result will be the same regardless.

Still, you will find that so many gamblers like parlays move over any other form of gambling as a long-term, sustainable gambling strategy.

Why is it so?

There are many answers to this question and none are very convincing. However, still we will lay out four main reasons why teasers and parlays are not a good bet with online sportsbooks.

  1. Odds are Very Much in House’s Favor

It is obvious why the sportsbooks would fear the wages where only a few dollars that can return up to 50x your initial investments.

But you will be surprised to know that it is totally opposite. The house loves to see people taking the risk of trying out parlays. It might seem counter intuitive, but if you pay attention to the promotional material for online sportsbook, they often talk about parlays and their potential.

The secret lies within the numbers, that sportsbooks often hide from you. According to a UNLV research study conducted over a span of 27 years, from 1992 to 2019, it was found that the house made a killing from parlays.

The focus of the study was one the concept of the “hold.” The hold is the term that is used to describe the money that a sportsbook makes after all the bets on a given event have been paid out. To truly understand how much money does sportsbooks make from parlays, you have to know:

What is the typical “hold” for regular sports bets and how much does it change when parlays are concerned?

You will be amazed to know the answer:

Nevada Sportsbooks reported their hold on regular, individual sports bets at 5%. Remember that these are the standard, standalone bets that most people make. When it comes to parlays then the hold easily swells to an astounding 30%.

If you compare parlays with regular bets on per dollar basis, they are SIX TIMES MORE PROFITABLE for a sportsbook.

But there are some individual factors like how skilled is the person making the bet, but still the data is simply undeniable. This is why a reason why almost no successful gambler ever advocates using parlays on a regular basis.

We are not implying that you completely remove the parlays from your game mix, but they should be wagered on sparingly.

Parlays must be treated as a lottery ticket. You will not be spending a lot of money on tickets just to win. You won’t buy them everyday but maybe just once in a while.

  1. Winning Two (or More) Bets is Hard

If you have spent enough time betting on sports in real amount of time, this critique of parlays and teasers will be easy for you to understand. Simply put, it is extremely hard to win multiple bets.

Even if you see at the winning rate of some of the best sports gamblers in the world it will be a little lower than 60%. This is why as a beginner or amateur bettor you will be extremely lucky if you are able to manage even a 50-50 winning percentage.

This is why the detrimental effect of parlays just comes down to numbers. Theoretically speaking, you could win two-thirds of your picks, which essentially mean that in a three-leg parlay your chances of winning is exactly 0%.

Even if you stick with typically the safest parlay which is a two-leg parlay, then also you are putting yourself at high risk of coming out with no winnings whatsoever.

Imagine a scenario, where a gambler picks 10 NFL games and at the end gets half of them right. If all these games are part of a parlay then there’s a high probability that he will be empty-handed at the end even after winning half of the games.

And, if for the same 10 NFL games another gambler plays them individually and gets half of them right, then at the end he’s only down 10% that too due to the vig.

With other bets, you have the probability of covering or nearly covering the losses, while with a parlay winning even 99% of the games won’t mean anything if you lose even a single one.

It’s either all or nothing.

  1. Teaser Bets Don’t Have Enough Value

Teasers also look an attractive betting option and in comparison, to a straight-up parlay seems an easier option. Unfortunately, teasers are the bait that the house uses to lure in bettors. These seem to be one of those too good to be true betting options.

Teaser bets are somewhat a combination of spreads and parlays or a hybrid between alternative lines. Just like parlays you must hit all the games to win in a teaser as well, but the spreads here are usually more favorable.

Let’s understand it better with an example.

Assume in a game between the Patriots vs. Jets game the spread might be Pats (-10) and the spread on the game between the Bills vs. Jaguars is Bills (-6.5). In a traditional teaser, the new lines would be Patriots (-4) and Bills (-0.5). Here it is obvious that if you play the favorites, your chances of winning are much higher as the spread is significantly lower.

Now this scenario might make you think that the teasers are a sure-thing propositions, unfortunately, there are a few issues that often get overlooked.

You have to remember the value of the 6 points. It is no doubt that getting the extra points is beneficial, but how often would they be difference between winning and losing is something most people get wrong. It’s not as often as one might think.

Consider the odds of the teaser itself. In a parlay bet, you have the opportunity to win a payout of 13/5, that is, for a $50 bet you would win $130 and end up earing a total of $180, in a teaser bet, things are a lot more modest.

For a 6-point, two-team teaser, the most likely odds you will get will be in the -110 to +110 range. While considering the 6-point cushion that you get on the spread, these odds aren’t awful, but keep in mind that you will have to win both the games to hit on your bet.

As a bettor adds more games to a teaser bet, the payout does increase and so does the risk involved. If you are so naïve to think that getting extra points mean a safe bet, you are in for a surprise when you discover how often a game goes the opposite way than you have expected.

  1. Parlays & Teasers Exist for a Reason

It is no brainer for any sports gambler to understand that the house does not set up betting option that will not eventually make them profitable. They have hired people to run the numbers. Even when some lucky bettors do hit on low-risk, high reward bets, things will still turn out in their favor.

The reason behind sportsbooks offers so many betting options is because they are aware of the fact that high payouts are almost irresistible to a high percentage of gamblers. Because of this psychological behaviour of the bettors, the scales are tipped even more in the favor of the sportsbooks. There is no reason to offer parlays and teasers with such big payouts, if the sportsbooks are not confident that at the end, they will more money to their bank accounts.

Due to the vig. Sportsbooks are already guaranteed to make a profit. But they are always looking for more ways to squeeze in more money from gamblers. Parlays and teasers present an extra option to get more money from the public.


Putting money in a multi-leg parlay is incredibly tempting giving the hefty payout, but almost always it is a too good to be true scenario.

When you hear someone turning their $50 into $50,000 it is easy to contemplate that extremely unlikely win and fantasize yourself winning the jackpot. But they are just money makers for sportsbooks and not the bettors.

If you want to be successful bettor in the long run, it is important that you focus on betting on moneyline or spread regularly and keep parlays and teasers as a fun indulgence for once in a while.


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