Should You Bet Parlays and Teasers

It's been a long time since I talked about making anything besides straight bets here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting. Generally speaking, you shouldn't worry about parlays and teasers if you're in the early stages of your career as a sports bettor. And, you should only get involved minimally if you're more experienced and trying to earn a living.

In fact, one of the surest signs that a better is no longer a square (to use common industry parlance for the general public) and is getting more sharp is that they've trimmed parlays and teasers from their repertoire.

Think of it this way...betting too many parlays and teasers will make...

*Bad handicappers go broke VERY quickly
*50/50 handicappers go broke instead of breaking even
*55/45 handicappers break even instead of winning money

I believe now is the time to re-open this discussion because we have a lot of new bettors across the country who are just now finding out about this study course. And, because a holiday weekend like Thanksgiving brings out a lot of recreational bettors who throw their money at bad propositions.

The basic key to remember with parlays (you pick multiple teams in an attempt to win a higher payoff, but you have to SWEEP your picks to cash) and teasers (you get to move the line 6, 7, or 10 points in your favor on multiple teams, but you have to SWEEP at those new lines to cash), is that they're much harder to win than everyone realizes. Football is volatile. Upsets are common (much more common than the general public understands). And, sportsbooks aren't in the business of giving away money to the masses. The house edge is even BIGGER on these props than straight bets.

Here's my quick scholarly advice for these options.

PARLAYS: Only consider them when you have one MONSTER play (like a 150-unit, 200-unit, or 250-unit release) that can be linked to other games you like. You see, parlays don't pay off at true odds. But, if you have a game that the market has missed by a mile, then the odds go back in  your favor. Official parlay payouts are overestimating cover and upset potential when teams like Utah State or Army are about to crush San Jose State.

Be careful to notice that I'm NOT saying "take your best pick each week and parlay it with others." Maybe for your 2-3 best picks of the YEAR should consider this approach. That's a starting point anyway. In the future we can talk about situational dynamics where bets are correlated (side and total in the same game...a win for one team in an early kickoff means a team in a later kickoff must win big...etc...)

TEASERS: There is a well-publicized "basic strategy" in the NFL for two-team six-point teasers that has proven the test of time (don't ever use teasers in college football where scoring is too volatile!). It goes back decades. I knew about it in the 1980's. A book published the strategy back in the early 2000's. You take favorites of -7.5, -8, and -8.5 and move them down to -1.5, -2, and -2.5. And, you take underdogs of +1.5, +2, and +2.5 and move them up to +7.5, +8, and +8.5.

Can you figure out why? Those are the only price windows where the six-point adjustment crosses both the key numbers of THREE and SEVEN in the same move. You can't do that with pick-em, or -9, or any other numbers. You want to CROSS both to put the percentages in your favor.

The most important thing to remember here is that a lot of these still lose too! I didn't call this the "perfect" strategy. It's one that will grind out a profit over time. Sometimes two-point underdogs get blown out. Sometimes eight-point favorites lose outright.

So, if you're relatively new to sports betting...and you're thinking "I'm going to take what Kelso Sturgeon teaches me every week and use it in parlays and teasers," it would just be better if you left the room and went to pursue other interests. Take up hang gliding, eco-tourism, or writing novels. You're going to be a losing bettor if your main plan of attack is those. It means you don't understand football, or math, or how to protect your hard-earned money.

Once you're better educated, focus on a relatively rare use of parlays and basic strategy for teasers.

No homework for you over the holiday weekend, beyond making sure you're betting strategy is sound Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. If you were being too aggressive in areas besides straight bets, go over your plans again to see what you can cull.

If you need some help finding best bets, KELSO STURGEON'S top plays can always be purchased at this website by credit card. Questions about extended service and combination packages can be answered in the Vegas Sports Masters office by calling my office at 1-800-755-2255 during normal business hours. Remember to ask about basketball when you call.

The Dean of Sports Handicapping hopes you had a great Thanksgiving Day (and night) with your family. Plenty of football still ahead to enjoy this weekend and beyond. Thanks for your attendance today over a holiday weekend. I'll be back Monday at the usual time for our next class get-together.  Most of our coursework will be football the next few weeks. But, so many exciting things are happing in college and pro basketball that I might sneak in some days on those sports. I hope you got to watch the Gonzaga/Duke game on TV earlier this week. It's a great time to be a sports fan and a sports bettor. See you Monday.