Teasers & Parlays: The Sportsbook’s Best Friends

Sep 17, 2010

It always amazes me how sports bettors are drawn to teasers and parlays, despite the fact that the odds are heavily in favor of the casino with these exotic bets.  Nothing makes a sportsbook manager happier than a watching a salivating sports bettor approach the window with multiple teaser and/or parlay wagers.  Consider that the odds of winning a three-team parlay is 8-to-1, but the payout is only 6-to-1.  Knowing the basic mathematics behind such a wager, why would any sports bettor insist on betting parlays? 

As a professional sports handicapper who has received 20 awards from The Sports Monitor of Oklahoma, I always counsel my clients against any type of exotic bet that squarely places the odds in favor of the casino.  One of the keys to sports investing is finding a game(s) that provide solid value from a fundamental, technical and situational handicapping standpoint, while also taking into account analytical research.  In short, a professional sports bettor is more interested in finding an edge over the casino as opposed to looking for a quick payout from sucker bets like teasers and parlays.

Another key to sports investing is understanding variance and the importance of a long-term perspective (and the will to invest in it).  Despite purported ‘sports services’ claiming 70% and 80% win rates, the reality is that most analytical strategies (like sports betting) only provide a small advantage to the player.  But, that razor-thin edge over the sportsbook is enough to increase one’s investment portfolio IF the sports bettor adheres to a long-term perspective that allows analytics to pay off.  Michael Lewis’s book, Moneyball, provides a perfect example of the foregoing principles.  Moneyball uses “statistical analysis to shift the odds of winning a bit in one’s favor, not to achieve perfect certainty, which is impossible.”  In essence, utilizing past data through well-founded data mining techniques can and will improve a sports bettor’s results, especially if he/she understands variance and makes a long-term commitment to the sports investment process.

In conclusion, stay away from sucker bets like teasers and parlays and hire a qualified sports handicapper to assist in giving you the ultimate edge over the much-hated sportsbooks.