Pleaser Betting Strategy

Our football betting guide includes advanced articles on betting teasers for both NFL and college football games. It is therefore only logical that we also include an article on their opposite, the pleaser bet. For those not familiar with pleasers, this page features a brief overview of how they work. We also have a video to break down all these concepts that you can view as well:

Unlike teasers, which make selections easier to get right, pleasers make selections harder to get right. The flip side to this is that the potential payouts are greater. It's very difficult to make consistent profits using these wagers though, if not impossible. These wagers should therefore not be something you spend a lot of time on in our opinion.

Nonetheless, you should be aware of any and all opportunities for making money when betting on football, so there's no harm at all in learning about pleaser betting strategy. This page contains some useful advice for placing this type of wager on football games.

What Is a Pleaser?

Pleasers are a type of parlay that involve combining multiple point spread wagers or multiple totals wagers into a single bet. Just as with standard parlays, all selections must be correct for the wager to win. Pleasers are much harder to win than standard parlays though, as the spreads and/or lines are moved in the bookmaker's favor.

Confused? This is understandable, as pleasers are one of the more advanced wagers. The best way to explain them is to use an example. Let's say you're looking at betting on the following two matches on the point spread.

  • Cleveland Browns vs Pittsburgh Steelers
  • New England Patriots vs New York Giants

Your preferred bookmaker has set the point spreads for these games as follows.

Browns vs Steelers
Point Spread
Patriots vs Giants
Point Spread

A standard two team parlay would be a logical bet if you felt that the Steelers and the Patriots would both cover the spread. It would be successful if they won by seven points and eight points respectively. It wouldn't give you a huge return for your money though. Depending on the bookmaker used, you'd probably win about two and half times your initial stake.

If you wanted to go for a bigger return, and felt that two teams would cover the spread comfortably, you might want to consider a pleaser. Let's say you went for a six-point pleaser. This would move both the spreads against you by six points. You'd therefore need the Steelers to win by 13 points, and the Patriots by 14 points. This is obviously less likely to happen, hence the bigger payout. Again it would depend on the bookmaker used, but you could expect to win around six times your initial stake.

Recommended Reading

We've provided a brief explanation of pleasers here. In our general sports betting guide, we have a more in-depth explanation of how pleasers work.

Pleaser Betting Odds

We've just mentioned how a two-team six-point pleaser would usually pay around 6/1 on winning bets. These odds will vary a little from one bookmaker or betting site to the next, but not by much.

Pleaser odds can vary quite dramatically based on the following two factors though.

  • Number of points the spread is moved by.
  • Number of selections included in wager.

The odds will increase as the number of points the spread moves by is increased. This is only logical, as a bigger move makes it harder to get the selection right. So a seven-point pleaser would have higher odds than a six-point pleaser, while a four-point pleaser would have lower odds.

Likewise, the odds increase as the number of selections included in the wager is increased. This is also logical, as with more selections there is a greater chance of getting at least one wrong. A three-team pleaser therefore has higher odds than a two-team pleaser. A four-team pleaser has higher odds again, and so on.

It's important to consider the odds when placing a pleaser, as they'll help you to work out how often a wager needs to win to be profitable. With a two-team six-point pleaser at 6/1, for example, winning once every seven attempts is required to average break even. This is 14.29% of the time, so you need to win more often than that to be profitable.

In order to determine the odds given for each team individually, you need to do the following calculations.

  • Change the break-even percentage to its decimal format.
  • In this case (14.29%), that's 0.1429.
  • Calculate the square root of this number.
  • This solves to 0.3780.
  • Chance this number back to a percentage.
  • This give us 37.80%.

This tells us that if each selection individually wins 37.80% of the time, we'll go 2-0 on our selections 14.29% of the time. We'd therefore want to be confident that each selection has a better than 37.80% chance of winning if we're going to be profitable.

The numbers here indicate that pleasers are not only hard to get right, they also don't offer a lot of value. This is largely why so many experts recommend avoiding them completely. They are viewed by many as –EV bets that are meant to tempt recreational bettors seeking large payouts.

However, +EV please bets do exist on rare occasions. This is something you probably wouldn't discover reading betting strategy in books, forums, or blog posts, because of the general consensus that all pleasers are -EV sucker bets that are heavily sold.

Pleaser Betting Strategy

In our article on NFL teaser betting, we pointed out that three and seven are the most common margins of victory. As such, teasers that go from a loss to a win on these point spreads are the best of all teasers. Pleasers are opposite of teasers, so three and seven are the absolute worst point spreads in pleaser betting. The correct strategy here, in our view at least, is to find the lowest value points to cross.

Which point spreads should be avoided?

Anything that crosses three and seven in any way, shape, or form is a given, due to them being the most common winning margins. Large favorites of -15 or greater should also be avoided if we consider that only so many points tend to be scored in NFL games.

The following are all frequent margins of victory, although not as frequent as three and seven points.

  • 10 points
  • 14 points
  • 17 points
  • 21 points

If we rule these out, however, we're going to eliminate pretty much every point spread that will be offered in a season. So we need to loosen the rules some. It's okay to cross 10, 14 or 17 once in a pleaser, but you should never cross more than one of these numbers in the same selection.

Which are the best points spreads to please across?

With some simple logic, we can determine that the following point spreads are the best to please in NFL football. This is based on doing six-point two-team pleasers.

  • -7.5 favorites
  • -10.5 favorites
  • -14.5 favorites
  • +13.5 underdogs
  • +16.5 underdogs
  • +20.5 higher underdogs

Considering point spreads are 50% propositions, and in pleasers we need each team to win 37.8% to break even, it calculates out. This gives the bookmaker six points, and we must reduce our cover rate by less than the difference (12.2%) for the pleaser selection to be +EV. Based on the subsets above, let's look at the historical results.

Historical data

Over the five seasons from 2007/08 to 2011/2012, the pleaser subsets provided above had the following results.

  • No Please: 35-34 (50.72%)
  • Pleased 6: 27-42 (39.13%)
  • Decrease: 11.59%

It's important to note that this isn't data mining. That sample size is far too small to have much value, but we actually used push charts and simulations to first determine our logical theory was correct. The historical data just gives us extra comfort knowing these subsets have run profitable over a small recent sample.

The Problem With Betting Football Pleasers

There is one significant problem with betting football pleasers, even using our strategy outlined above.

+EV Pleaser Opportunities are Rare

Discouragingly, you won't find too many +EV pleaser bets per season. This is because you need two teams available in the same week to meet specific criteria, and this simply doesn't happen often.

Taking a look at the same five seasons as referenced earlier, this is how often +EV pleasers bets were available.

  • 2007: 6 times (2 had 3 teams)
  • 2008: 1 time and it was a 3-team pleaser
  • 2009: 6 times all of them 2-team pleasers
  • 2010: 3 times all of them 2-team players
  • 2011: 3 times (1 was a 3-teamer)

The good news is that some betting sites allow up to two open legs for 4-team, 5-team, and 6-team pleasers. A strategy here if looking for massive payouts might be in those rare times there are three +EV pleaser selections in the same week, to make it a 5-teamer leaving 2-legs open. Should you win, you could then be patient looking for highest +EV pleaser selections to make in future weeks.

Additional Advice

Advice for Serious Punters

You might be able to land an occasional large payout with a combination of some good fortune and our pleaser betting strategy. There won't be many opportunities for this to happen though, so if you are serious about making money from your betting you can't rely on pleasers. We advise that you also learn some other football betting strategies.

Advice for Recreational Punters

Pleaser betting is a fun way to have a chance at a large payout for a small stake. There's nothing wrong with making $20.00 6-team pleaser bets, hoping to run like Moses and cash a $6,000 payday. It's just important to note this is for fun; don't get carried away betting more than you can afford to lose.

Of course, if you're looking for a chance at big payouts while also making +EV bets, then you may have to look elsewhere. One suggestion we have is to choose a sign up bonus from our recommended betting sites, and instead of making pleaser bets, use your bonus to make moneyline parlay wagers.

The Best Places To Bet Online
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Additionally, you could also refer to our article on football betting systems.

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