I do not in general like inverse ETFs, I actually do not in general like any ETFs because most track the underlying bad and lag it and the inverse or leveraged ones working with derivatives are even worse in that sense. That said I remark that I do not know particularly about the other treasury bond ETFs: TBF or TBT, so they could be an exception but I would check that thoroughly before using them. The risk with bad ETFs is that on the long term it can have big divergences with what they are supposed to track and you end up profiting much less than what you should have if it tracked correctly. They might just have a small daily tracking error or even do better some days but on the long run the errors add up and can hert you. As for TLT, it is quite transparent, their creator publishes clearly at any point of time, what Treasuries it holds, and its Net Asset Value tracks those treasuries very well, I wrote about that here, it’s a bit outdated but the idea can be applied any time.
The problem with TLT, and with any short, is that shorting directly implies you need to put lot of money so if you want to short 100 TLT stocks @110 you would need to put 11.000 dollars, so not only do you use a lot of money that you could use in a good opportunity to buy stocks but you also have the problem that TLT pays monthly “dividends” equivalent to a 4% annual yield and being short you will be the one charged with that. So those are 2 big problems to consider. I gave that a thought and since I have options experience I realized that I could avoid both problems by shorting instead of TLT directly one of its short dated maturity deep in the money calls, so I shorted the strike 95 September call, there you have to just put a bit over 1500 to short if TLT is @110, so much less than 11.000 dollars and for the same potential benefit. That call behaves just like the TLT ETF because it’s deep in the money and because its maturity is very short, so it basically has no time value and the little time value it has is in your favor because you are shorting so you get the time value, the one that loses the time value is the one who is buying the call. The “risk” is that if TLT drops under 95 fast before the mid September call expiry date, that would let you will only profit up to 95 (so 15 dollars per etf) instead of more. But it is extremely unlikely that that happens, in order for that to happen interest rates should go up very fast and in any case you will make quite much, so it’s not a bad risk, its a risk of profiting less than you could have but you will still have a lot of profit and fast. The most likely scenario is that TLT drops “slowly” for example to 100- 105 and you close your short a few days before expiry by mid September (note that you will not lose money doing this because as time passes the time value is reduced and benefits you) and short the next month call, lets say the strike 85 or 90. And you can keep on doing this call rolling month by month, or until you decide to take the profit, having the big advantage that you pay nothing for the dividends and you have to put a very very small amount of money to short for the same potential benefit.