What Does a ‘-‘ Mean in Betting?

The ‘-‘, or hyphen, is one of the most useful symbols in modern day life. You’ll often find it at the end of a word, connecting two words, or even between a word and a numeral. Basically, you’ll often see ‘-‘ in some form or another.

When it comes to gambling, however, it can be a bit more complicated. When you see a betting symbol such as ‘-‘, it usually means that the bet being offered is a push or teaser bet. The term ‘teaser’ is used because the original bet is usually smaller than the wager being teased. For example, you may see a $1 bet or a $2 bet teased to $10 or $20 respectively. When used in this manner, the symbol is usually placed at the center of the wager rather than at the end. For example, the $10 bet above would be written as $1-10 rather than $10-.).

What Is a Push Bet?

A push bet is usually used when you don’t want to reveal the full amount of the wager. Instead, you’ll place a smaller wager and then push it up to a larger sum. If the teaser wins, your original stake will be returned to you plus the winnings. If it loses, you’ll lose the smaller wager but will still have to cover your original stake.

The concept behind a push bet is that, by teasing the bet, a house can attract more players, generate more interest, and thereby gain more profit. In general, push bets are accepted less frequently than traditional wagers because it takes more work for a player to remember to check for them. For this reason, I don’t recommend using them except perhaps as an occasional promotional offer.

What Is a Teaser Bet?

A teaser bet is similar to a push bet but there’s one crucial difference — the original stake is revealed at the end. When a bookmaker or casino offers a teaser bet, they are trying to convince you that the return on your investment is worth the trouble of keeping track of. For instance, let’s say that you have a $5 bankroll and they offer you a $2 teaser on the 10th race at a mile and a quarter. It would look something like this:

  • Teaser: $2
  • Bet: $5
  • Payoffs: $5 wins, you’ll get your $2 back and $3 in return.
  • Returns: $2 wins, your $5 will be returned to you plus the $3 in winnings.
  • Profit: $7 net profit

This profit margin may not seem like much but when you consider the fact that you’re only wagering a couple of dollars on the 10th race at a mile and a quarter, it’s not hard to see how the teaser bet could be appealing. Keep in mind that, as with all gambling, this example is hypothetical and is for illustrative purposes only.

Is There Any Difference Between The Two?

Both push bets and teaser bets are simply wagering strategies so, in theory, there’s no real difference between them. The main difference is in how they are presented to the player. With a traditional push bet, you’ll see the full amount of the original wager directly beneath the wagering line while the symbol for a teaser bet will usually be in the middle of the page with the larger amount of the wager appearing at the bottom.

To make things even more complicated, some casinos will use two sets of numbers for their teaser bets. One set of digits will be used to denote the original stake, with a hyphen separating them. For instance, a $5 bet with 2-5- would mean that your original stake is $5 and the teaser is 2-5 (or $2 × 5 = $10).

This system allows a bookmaker or casino to lay out all of their teasers in the following manner:

  • 10th race at a mile and a half: $5-2-5
  • 9th race at the same distance: $5-3-5
  • 8th race at the same distance: $5-4-5
  • 7th race at the same distance: $5-5-5
  • 6th race at the same distance: $5-6-5
  • 5th race at the same distance: $5-7-5
  • 4th race at the same distance: $5-8-5
  • 3rd race at the same distance: $5-9-5
  • 2nd race at the same distance: $5-10-5
  • 1st race at the same distance: $5-11-5

This example illustrates how using multiple sets of numbers for a teaser can make it easier to keep track of the different bets being offered. Bookmakers will frequently use this system to attract more players and increase the likelihood of winning.

When Do You Use These Terms?

While these terms may seem relatively self-explanatory, it’s important to remember that they are used in conjunction with various rules and statutes that govern the sports gambling industry. Here’s a short list of when you should and shouldn’t use these terms: