Pleaser Betting Strategy
Teaser betting strategy is a topic I’ve covered in great detail here at TheSportsGeek.com. If you’re not familiar with teasers, I strongly encourage you to first read our article on teaser betting strategy, and then sweetheart teasers before continuing. Assuming you’re familiar with the concepts covered in those articles, the next area you might take an interest in is pleaser betting which I cover in this article. Let me warn you though, the concepts here, while basic to an experienced sports bettor, might be too advanced for a recreational one. If you find yourself lost, review the material in our teaser sections, bet those profitably for a while and come back to this article at a later time.
Now with the intro out of the way, I’ll now dive into pleaser betting, including how to determine if a pleaser bet has value or not, but first starting with intro material such as “what is a pleaser bet”.
Pleaser Bets Explained
To define a pleaser bet in simple terms: a pleaser bet is the exact opposite of a teaser bet. For example, in a 2 team six point teaser bet with base lines of Jets +1.5 and Colts -8.5, you end up with a combo bet of Jets +7.5 / Colts -2.5 at -110 (risk $1.10 to win $1.00). If, instead, you bet these teams as a two team six point pleaser, you end up with a combo bet of Jets -4.5 / Colts -14.5 at +600 (risk $1.00 to win $6.00, aka 6 to 1). Pleasers pay much higher than teasers because the point spread is moved against you, rather than for you. In both pleaser bets and in teaser bets, each team must cover their modified point spread for the teaser or pleaser bet to win; any other outcome (1-1, 0-2, etc.) is graded a loss.
Where to Bet Pleasers
These days, not too many online bookmakers offer pleaser bets. Of the few remaining, 5Dimes.eu is the dominant leader of this niche. At 5Dimes, you’ll find 90 different sets of pleaser betting options. For NFL football, they offer 2-6 team pleasers in point formats of 6, 6.5, 7, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9, 9.5 and 10, with each available in a “ties win” or “ties reduce” option. That’s nine point options, times 5 number of team options for 45, times 2 options for the handling of ties, giving us 90 different sets of pleaser odds. Where it gets even more confusing, yet the odds are the same, is that 5Dimes offers different corresponding point spreads for each league. Here is an example of the points given in a pleaser when NFL is set at six points:
-6 points NFL sides
-7 points NCAAFB & CFL sides
-8 points all other football sides
-6 points NFL totals
-7 points NCAAFB & CFL totals
-8 points all other football totals
-5.5 points NBA sides
-6 points all other basketball sides
-7 points all basketball totals
With so many different pleaser options, the topic is far too vast to cover in a single article. As this is a small market, we figured the best way to attack the topic of pleaser betting is to show you the method that we, or any other thinking/math based sports bettor, would use to analyze the value of a pleaser bet.
To keep things simple, let’s look at a 2 team six point ties reduce pleaser at 5Dimes, which is offered at +600. The first thing we ask is, “how often do we need to win on an average when betting +600 to break even?”
As a reminder from previous articles, the math for this is risk divided by return, where return equals risk plus win. So, for example, at +600, a $100 bet returns $700 (our $100 risk, plus $600 win). The math is 100/700=0.1428571428571429, which is 14.29%. This means that we need both legs to win 14.29% of the time to break even. To determine how often we need each individual leg to win, we need to know what number multiplied by itself equals 0.1429, so what we’re looking for is the square root. The square root of 0.1429 is 0.378. To test whether this is correct, take 0.378 x 0.378 and see that it equals 0.1429. So what this tells us is that to achieve the required break even rate of 14.29%, we need each individual leg to win 37.8% of the time.
This same math works for other teams as well. If we were doing a three team pleaser at +1750, we’d calculate the break even as 100/1850=0.541, and because there are three teams, we’d take the cube root (third root) of 0.541 and get 0.3782. Here, we’d decipher that to win at +1750, we need to win 54.1% of the time, and to achieve this 54.1% break even rate, all three of our teams must win an average of 37.82% of the time.
Now, to save us from getting too math intense, simply Google search “Moneyline Converter” and plug in the percentages to translate them to American odds format. After doing this, I see 37.82% is the same as American odds +164.4. So what we have in a three team pleaser at +1750, is a three team parlay with each team priced at +164.4. The bookmaker is allowing us to sell six points and in exchange is giving us odds of +164.4.
Running the math on all 90 options that 5Dimes offers is time consuming, but knowing how to do the math we showed above is helpful. To move on to a comparison of 5Dimes.eu odds, we’ve done the math on each of their NFL six point options. That data is below.
5Dimes 6 Point Pleasers (NFL) Breakdown
2 Team Ties Win: +550 (15.38%) | Each Leg: 39.22% Break Even (+155)
2 Team Ties Reduce: +600 (14.28%) | Each Leg: 37.79% Break Even (+164.6)
3 Team Ties Win: +1550 (6.06%) | Each Leg: 39.28% Break Event (+154.6)
3 Team Ties Reduce: +1750 (5.41%) | Each Leg: 37.82% Break Event (+164.4)
4 Team Ties Win: +4100 (2.39%) | Each Leg: 39.32% Break Event (+154.6)
4 Team Ties Reduce: +4800 (2.04) | Each Leg: 37.80% Break Event (+164.5)
5 Team Ties Win: +10500 (0.94%) | Each Leg: 39.32% Break Event (+154.3)
5 Team Ties Reduce: +13000 (0.76%) | Each Leg: 37.68% Break Event (+165.4)
6 Team Ties Win: +27000 (0.37%) | Each Leg: 39.33% Break Event (+154.3)
6 Team Ties Reduce: +35000 (0.285%) | Each Leg:37.65% Break Event (+165.6)
What I’ve determined after breaking down each six point NFL pleaser option at 5Dimes is that the odds are no better as the number of teams increased. 5Dimes is basically using the same odds for 2 team, 3 team, 4 team, 5 team and 6 team pleasers, with the difference being fractions of a percent used to smooth the numbers and make them more presentable to a recreational bettor. For this reason as a professional, we’re never going to bet pleasers outside the 2 team format. If ever there was a week where we found more than two of value we’d round robin them. For example, if we liked teams a, b and c for a pleaser, we’d make three separate bets of A+B, B+C, A+C.
With the odds calculations out of the way, our next step is trying to find pleaser subsets that are profitable. Let’s say we like the Bills +13.5 and we go price shopping and find the best price on the Bills +13.5 is -105. Our break even percentage when betting the Bills straight at -105 is 105/205 = 51.22%. To see if betting the Bills in a two team ties win pleaser makes sense over a straight bet, we compare the 37.79% break even percentage of a leg in a 2 team six point ties lose pleaser with the 51.22% required for a straight bet. The difference is 13.43%. Our question now is: does going from +13.5 to +7.5 decrease our win probability by less than 13.43%, if it does, then using the Bills as pleaser leg has a higher expectation than betting them straight.
This is where things get complex. To calculate further, we’ll need to find out how often teams around +13.5 push at 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 points, and then add them together. Doing so will require NFL data, which most sharp bettors have compiled. Realizing that many readers won’t have this data, one place you can get access to it for a reasonable fee is atsdatabase.com.
Rather than use my own data for analysis, I’ll go ahead and use ATSDatabase. After copying and pasting their data into an excel spread sheet, I find that since 1983 there have been 642 point spreads between 10.5 and 16.5 points. Here is how often each of the relevant margin of victories have occurred based on this data: 13 points 2.2%, 12 points 1.0%, 11 points 2.4%, 10 points 3.6%, 9 points 1.9% and 8 points 1.5%. When I add those all together, the percentage is 12.6%.
What we’ve just determined is that if the historical results are indicative of future results, pleasing underdogs +13.5 has higher expected value than straight betting underdogs +13.5 at -105. This is because our required break even percentage is reduced by 13.43% when betting as a pleaser, and moving the spread those six points only reduces our win probability by 12.6%. Had the win probability decreased by over 13.43%, a straight bet would have the higher expected value.
Now, in closing, I tossed you a softball here, as there are far more sucker bet pleasers than there are profitable pleaser bet subsets. Keep in mind that in NFL the most common margins of victory in order are 3, 7, 10, 6, 14, 4, 1, 17, 13 and 2, and the distributions is heavily lopsided with the first two (3-7) being extremely common. When checking the board for +EV pleaser bets, I look first for ones that cross as few of those earlier numbers as possible.
Pleaser betting can be quite profitable, but variance is high and it is time consuming. Let’s just call it a tough way to make an easy living, but once you know how to do this math and get practice at it, it becomes easier in time. As always, we wish you the best of luck, and we remind you to bet responsibly. Profitable sport betting is about growing your bankroll a little at a time, while ultimately protecting it just the same. Once again, good luck, and please bet responsibly.