Column: Teasers can produce results

To accompany their parlay and straight bets, many football handicappers also enjoy making teaser bets. Teasers give extra points to work with to each football team and over/under total in order to make it easier for each to cover the spread.

What's good about the teaser is that each betting proposition is receiving extra points, so it is possible that both sides of each proposition are winners. What many people don't like about teasers are the payoffs, which are much smaller than regular parlays, because they feel it takes too many winners to win too little money.

I like to bet on teasers, but I had to learn the hard way the easiest ways to win money off of them. Here's some advice on how to improve your chances of winning on teasers:

- Don't bet teasers on college football. Why not? For the same reason you don't see college games on the pleaser card - college final scores often land way off from the original point spread. An extra six or seven points for a college team many times is not enough. Pro games, however, tend to finish closer to the point spread and are easier to win on the teaser on each team's side.

- Don't bet over/under totals on teaser cards. An extra four to six points to work with on a pro football total score are just a one-score difference. The original total is about the same and pays much better if you win. Note: Totals cannot be teased off the board.

- On the teaser, bet the same pro teams that you are wagering on in your straight bets and parlays. Don't add teams to your teaser just because the spreads have suddenly become more attractive. You either like the team already or you don't. The teaser should just be used as an insurance policy in case you were a little bit off on your predictions. Sometimes you will realize there aren't enough good picks on the teaser to make wagering worthwhile, which is fine because not betting is better than adding a loser to your best picks.

- Don't pick both sides of a teaser proposition in the same game. It's impossible to like both sides of a game's spread, so why would anybody try to land in the middle of both spreads on the low-paying teaser spreads? Just pick the side you like better.

- Certain spread numbers are not worth teasing. I never bet minuses of more than three on a teaser because teams are just concerned about winning their games. A -1 1/2 on the card or -2 1/2 off the board for teasers is OK, because a field goal win is enough and very few games end up with the favorite winning by less than three. If your original spread pick is already an underdog, then it is a perfect candidate for a teaser play. Tack on some extra points to your original pick and hope the team doesn't get blown out.

- Keep in mind that any time you cross from a minus on the original spread to a plus on the teaser spread, that you are also crossing "zero." Zero is a number, and games don't end in ties anymore, so you're cheating yourself a point every time you cross "O." A +2 1/2 on a teaser is a big no-no because not only does this wager cross "0" but in football +2 1/2 is virtually the same as -2 1/2. Betting the original -2 1/2 or 3 gives you almost the same chances as betting + 2 1/2 and pays much better.

- Shop around. Depending on how many teams you are teasing and whether you are teasing off the board or card, both Leroy's and Cal-Neva have their advantages. Be most concerned about finding the best point spreads.

Best picks: New York Giants -1 vs. Washington Redskins; St. Louis and Atlanta Over 55.

Joe Ellison is the Nevada Appeal betting columnist


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