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Are Teasers A Good Bet For NFL Conference Championships?

There is a tired myth in sports betting that says teasers are reserved for those who are no sharper than an apple's edge.

Sportsbooks may disagree because teaser bets have cost them a bundle in recent NFL playoffs. 

Caesars in Las Vegas even refused to offer them during last year’s conference championships following a week where every single teaser bet paid out in the divisional round. 

Makes for a rough weekend for the book. 

Bettors may want to note this week that teasers have a history of coming in strong for bettors in the Super Bowl semifinals. Fourteen of 20 games over the last 10 years have finished inside six points of the closing spread, meaning both sides in those games were winners on teaser bets — the favorite and the dog. 

That means a whopping 70 percent of conference championship games have double-ended on teasers over the past 10 years. It’s a huge rate when you consider the playoff average over the last 10 years is just 44 percent (52 of 118 games), not including the current playoffs.

It’s a brutal spot for the sportsbook when even one game double-ends from a teaser standpoint during conference championship weekend. With only two games on the board, it essentially turns the teaser into a single-game wager. That’s bad for books and good for bettors when the whole point of the teaser in the first place is to make it tougher to win by forcing bettors to take multiple games on one ticket. 

If you aren’t familiar with teasers, it’s a parlay bet where you buy at least six points on a minimum of two games for an additional price. The payout isn’t as good as a regular parlay wager but in exchange you get an extra six points of cushion on each game. 

So a teaser on the underdogs this weekend would move the Steelers to 12-point underdogs and the Packers become 10-point underdogs instead of 6- and 4-point dogs. 

It makes sense that conference championship weekend is a time that might make sportsbooks a little uneasy when it comes to teasers. Books live and die with only two games. And the lines for those two games should, in theory, be the sharpest ones we’ve seen all season. It’s logical to think the end result will at least be within earshot of the closing spread also seeing as how it's supposed to be the best two teams in the conference. 

This weekend I like both underdogs so there isn’t a need for me to take a teaser. I’d only be limiting myself. But if you’re really not sure about who to take and still want some action, the numbers say teasers haven’t been a bad option in recent NFL seasons during conference championship weekend. 

Here’s a closer look at the number of games that have double-ended on teasers in the playoffs in recent seasons: 

cOnFERENCe CHAMPionship Round 
Last 3 Years4/6 times (66.7%)
Last 5 Years7/10 times (70%)
Last 10 Years14/20 times (70%)

And here's a look at how those numbers compare with the entire playoffs: 

All of NFL playoffs
Last 3 Years23/41 (56%)
Last 5 Years31/63 (49%)
Last 10 Years52/118 (44%)

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