Exotic Bets Explained

It is football season, and this is typically the time of year that sportsbooks, especially the ones focused on the North American market, see the most volume of traffic. This also means that there is more discussion around exotic bets, and trying to hit a big payday winning a huge bet. We want you to understand exactly what exotic bets are in sports betting, along with the pros and cons of betting them.

What are exotic bets, anyway?

We realize that some of you may have never heard this term before. Exotic bets refer to the whole host of bets that aren’t simply betting on who will win the game. This term is used primarily to describe horse racing bets, but it can also be applied to certain types of sports bets. These typically involve combinations of bets, which in turn pay a higher rate of return. We are going to focus on exotic bets for football, although some of these could also be done for other sports.

Parlay Betting

Parlay betting is the most common form of exotic sports betting. A parlay is a bet where you take two or more outcomes or propositions, and combine them together into one combined bet. This typically means a better payout percentage, as you can see from the following chart that details the payout of a standard parlay bet of $100:

2 Team Parlay
13 to 5

3 Team Parlay
6.5 to 1

4 Team Parlay
13 to 1

5 Team Parlay
25 to 1

6 Team Parlay
50 to 1

7 Team Parlay
100 to 1

8 Team Parlay
180 to 1

9 Team Parlay
400 to 1

10 Team Parlay
825 to 1

11 Team Parlay
1500 to 1

As you can see, the more games you put in the parlay, the more you can win! There is a large appeal to this type of betting, especially when you are thinking about betting on games or outcomes that you think are a lock. However, there is a huge risk involved with these types of bets, which is why sportsbooks love them.

No matter how many teams you put into your parlay, if you get just one game wrong, your whole ticket is a loser. Many players try to hedge their bets as their parlay gets closer to being a winner. For example, you could have a 7-team parlay for $100 that would pay $10,000 for winning. Now, if you only have one game left and you have the other 6 correct, you could be one win away from 10 grand! But, if the game loses, you get nothing. IN this case, if you bet a sum on the other side of the final game, then you are a winner either way!

Teaser Bets

Teaser bets are another form of exotic sports bet, which gives you a chance to change the lines in exchange for paying a fee to do so. This sounds too good to be true, but it is a very popular form of betting, especially for football. There are three common types of football teasers – 6 point, 6.5 points, and 7 point – however, there are some sportsbooks that offer teasers from 5 points all the way to 14 and higher! These tend to cost far more than the standards so we will focus on the 6 to 7 range.

The key to a teaser bet is that you get to move the line in whichever direction you like. Let’s look at an example here of a two-team teaser for NFL football.

New England -6.5
Cleveland +6.5

Oakland -3
Denver +3

In this case, if you chose a 6 point teaser and wanted to bet on New England and Denver, the new odds would look like this:

New England -0.5
Denver +9

As you can see, the outcome of the game can be very different for you to win this bet. That’s the good news – the bad news is that you will have to pay for it. If you had just bet the two original lines in a teaser, you would have received 2.6 to 1 odds, but with a 6 point teaser in play, you will receive $100 back for every $110 bet. Of course, if game pushed, then it doesn’t count in either a parlay or a teaser, and the ticket is reduced to the next level down for payment purposes.

Prop Betting

Prop betting involves betting on smaller, more individual outcomes during a game, such as passing yards by a QB or the longest Field Goal. We have an article dedicated to prop bets on this site so you should check that out for more details.

Exotic bets are a fun way to put a small amount of money down on your bet but enjoy more than one game for the outcome. Losing a parlay can be excruciatingly painful, however, and now you hopefully understand the risks a little more clearly.


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