Understanding Parlays and Teasers for Bigger Wins in Sports Betting

Parlays and teasers offer the chance to strike a massive win, but there's a bit more to them than a bucket of cash.

With sports betting, two terms often spark the interest of bettors looking for significant payouts — parlays and teasers. After all, who doesn’t love a massive win?

These betting strategies can transform small wagers into large winnings but come with a higher risk.

We don’t typically advocate for parlays as it’s a bet that undoubtedly favors the house, but if you’re going to take a dip into this type of bet, you should know what you’re getting into.

So, with that, we’re breaking down what parlays and teasers are, how they work, and the strategies you can use to leverage them for larger payouts.

What Are Parlays?

A parlay is a single bet that links together two or more individual wagers for a high payout. 

The catch?

All the selections made in the bet must win for the parlay to pay out. This all-or-nothing approach makes parlays a high-risk, high-reward betting strategy.

It’s already difficult enough to win a single bet, but now you need to win multiple at once, or you win nothing.

Imagine betting on a weekend of NFL games. There are generally 12 to 14 games on average between Thursday and Monday during the season. 

You decide to place a parlay bet on three teams: the New England Patriots at -150, the Green Bay Packers at +120, and the Dallas Cowboys at -110. If all three teams win their games, your $100 bet could turn into a payout of approximately $600. The exact payout depends on the combined odds, but this example illustrates the potential for a significant return on a relatively small investment.

Let’s say the Packers and Pats both win their games, but the Cowboys come up short with their game; you lost it all. 

You could’ve bet each of those games individually and won both the Packers and the Patriots games, which would’ve most likely covered your losses from the Cowboys loss, but the payouts would be much smaller.

What are Teasers?

Teasers are similar to parlays in that they involve combining multiple bets into one. However, teasers allow you to adjust the point spreads or totals in your favor.

In exchange for this advantage, the payout for teasers is less than for a standard parlay.

Essentially, you’re manipulating the odds of a parlay to be more in line with your risk tolerance.

Let’s say you’re looking at two NBA games. The Los Angeles Lakers are -8 favorites against the Houston Rockets, and the Miami Heat are -4 favorites against the Charlotte Hornets. In a 6-point teaser, you could adjust the Lakers’ spread to -2 and the Heat’s to +2, making it easier for your chosen teams to cover the spread.

If you bet $100 on this teaser and both adjusted spreads are covered, you might win around $180. The reduced risk with teasers comes at the cost of smaller payouts compared to parlays.

DraftKings Bet Slip Showing Parlays vs Teasers
This bet slip from DraftKings is a perfect example of how single bets payout compared to parlays.

Elevating Your Parlay and Teaser Betting Game

Maximizing your winnings with parlays and teasers isn’t just about luck but strategic finesse and an insider’s approach.

Here’s how you can transform your betting techniques from novice to expert level, ensuring each decision you make is informed and calculated.

Deep Dive into Data Analysis

Becoming a master of the game means going beyond surface-level research. Understanding the basics—like team performance histories, current injury reports, and even how the weather might play a role—is crucial. But let’s take it a step further—

  • Advanced analytics. Use statistical analysis tools to evaluate team performance under various conditions. Look for patterns in how certain teams perform against the spread when playing at home versus away or how they fare under specific weather conditions.
  • Player matchups. Dive into individual player matchups, especially in key positions. For instance, in football, how does a team’s offensive line stack up against the defensive line they’re facing this week? In basketball, how does a team’s leading scorer perform against the defensive strengths of their upcoming opponent?

Strategic Risk Management

The allure of a high payout can often cloud judgment when building parlays. We get it. There are a lot of emotions in sports betting. 

Here’s how to keep a clear head—

  • Selective combination. Instead of stacking a parlay with numerous selections for the sake of a bigger payout, aim for a sweet spot. A three-to-five selection parlay often balances the risk and reward adequately.
  • Hedging options. Consider strategies for hedging your bets as the games unfold. If the initial games in your parlay are successful, look into options for securing guaranteed profits before the final games are played.

The Art of Line Shopping

Finding the best odds requires a bit of legwork but pays dividends. This is how the pros make the big bucks.

  • Multiple accounts. Have accounts on several sportsbooks. This diversity allows you to compare odds in real time and snag the best ones. Of course, you can have your favorite sportsbooks such as FanDuel, DraftKings, or even BetMGM, but don’t hesitate to diversify to grab the deals.
  • Timing is everything. Understand that lines can shift based on betting trends and breaking news. Monitor these changes and know the right time to lock in your bets. With some practice, you can be faster than the bookmakers.
  • Turn on alerts. Use sports betting apps or websites that offer line movement alerts. This way, you’re always in the know when the odds swing in your favor.

Implementing these strategies requires effort, but this meticulous approach separates the casual bettor from the savvy investor. 

Betting on sports should always be fun, but there’s nothing more enjoyable than doing so with the confidence and knowledge that you’re making the smartest plays possible and racking up some big wins.

The Thrill of the Bet

Parlays and teasers can make sports betting even more thrilling, offering the chance for substantial payouts from small wagers. 

However, we always caution the increased reward comes with increased risk. Unless you’re a seasoned bettor, we don’t recommend getting into parlays at all. 

By understanding these betting strategies and doing your homework, you can make more informed decisions, potentially leading to big wins. 

Remember, successful sports betting isn’t just about making the right picks; it’s also about strategy, patience, and risk management. Lose the emotions and bet with your head.


Matt Brown

Head of Sports Betting and DFS

Matt’s love for sports betting and daily fantasy sports, coupled with a deep understanding of football, hockey, and baseball, shapes his innovative thoughts on Hello Rookie. He has a B.S. in Aeronautical Computer Science and a M.S. in Project Management.