Every week, we’ll look to find value in a possible teaser bet, although not every week will provide such opportunities. For those who are unfamiliar with NFL teasers, here’s how they work:
- Like a parlay, a teaser must have more than one leg or selection
- Teasers allow you to add points onto the side or total you like
- For example, if you like the Titans as underdogs, but their current line (+2) feels too risky, you can tease that up by 6, 6.5, or 7 points to make them +8, +8.5, or even +9.
- Some books let you tease in smaller or bigger increments, but the standard is 6-7 points.
- You will pay more for this privilege. For example, a two-team, six-point teaser is usually -120. This means you’d have to wager 120 dollars for every 100 dollars you want to win.
- In general, teasing a total is frowned upon by the sharp betting community. Why? Too much volatility, and the probabilities just aren’t on your side. We’ll skip the deep math lesson for now, but I promise it’s usually not a good idea.
This week, we’re selecting a three-team teaser that, at most books, should pay at least +120, meaning you’ll win $120 for every $100 you wager. These are the legs we’re choosing:
Teaser of the Week
3-Team, 7-Point Teaser (+120)
Tease the Bengals from -6 to +1
Tease the Texans from +3 to +10
Tease the Falcons from EVEN to +7
Why are we teasing the Bengals? This is an angle we love to play on: two teams who experienced wildly different results last weekend, when we feel last week’s losing team is easily the better outfit. The Bengals eventually have to shore up their issues, right? In two weeks, Cincinnati has allowed 24 points in the first quarter. Playing from behind, they predictably allowed opposing defenses to attack more aggressively, surrendering a league-worst 13 sacks. That’s not how you win football games.
Last season, Mike White led a 1-5 Jets team to a 34-31 win over the surging Bengals in one of the more shocking results of the season. I don’t think Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati faithful forgot about that, and I love that we have an extra revenge angle to motivate the team we’re betting on. In Week 1, Cincinnati controlled the game (32 first downs and held the ball for nearly 44 minutes) and lost due to terrible turnovers and a missed field goal in overtime. In Week 2, the Bengals came alive in the second half, allowing only 120 yards to the Cowboys and outsourcing their opponent 14-3. It was the final seconds that did it, though; Dallas kicked the game-winning field goal with no time left on the clock in the fourth quarter.
In their defense, the Jets look better this season. They fought hard in the first half against the Ravens at home in Week 1. Then, they did the unthinkable and avenged a 13-point deficit against the Cleveland Browns in Week 2, and they did it with only 2:30 left.
Of course we must call out the obvious, though: if Nick Chubb just downed himself and didn’t score the Browns’ last touchdown, Cleveland would have run out the clock and won. Instead, Chubb gave the Jets life by scoring and letting New York control the ball. The question is: if what should have happened would have happened, what would this line be on the Bengals this week? Cincinnati probably would have been even bigger favorites is the answer.
Regardless of what the Jets can or can’t do – and they’re not as bad as they’ve been in recent years – we’re betting that the Bengals “get-right” on Sunday. They were the AFC representatives in last year’s Super Bowl and they’re easily the best 0-2 team in the NFL. Joe Burrow finally gets his, and we love this angle as our first teaser leg.
Why are we teasing the Texans? Firstly, all the Houston Texans do is fight. Yet, we’ve seen them get outgained and ultimately come up short in two straight weeks. That said, it’s hard not to be impressed by their effort and resolve. Houston is 2-0 against the spread (ATS), and now they face a team that may be less talented than they are in the Chicago Bears. Against the Colts and the Broncos – two teams most experts predicted would be in the playoffs this season – the Texans did a lot of things right. Let’s take a look:
- They only turned the ball over once in two games.
- They haven’t missed a field goal.
- They’re top 10 in opponent points per game (9th) and 3rd down conversion rate (8th).
- They’re top 5 in opponent points per play (3rd), opponent TDs in the red-zone (4th) and opponent completion percentage (56.79%, 4th).
Long story short: the Texans will make a team work to beat them. Lovie Smith-coached defenses are known for their bend-don’t-break approach, and it showed last Sunday. At home, Denver was in a supreme spot to squash the Texans after losing outright to Seattle in an emotional Week 1 matchup on Monday Night Football. Houston didn’t let them play bully-ball. The Broncos’ vaunted offensive weapons only went 3-for-12 on third down conversions, and Russell Wilson completed only 45% of his passes. Denver won 16-9, but Houston didn’t look like a vastly inferior team in that battle.
This week, the Texans compete against the 1-1 Chicago Bears. Chicago has elected to run the ball 65% of the time in two weeks, and they should probably stick to that game plan against the Texans’ pass defense. The only issue for Chicago: they’ve allowed an NFL-worst 189.5 rushing yards per game to their opponents. Dameon Pierce, the rookie running back who exploded onto fantasy radars in the preseason, is still looking for his first breakout performance in a game that matters. This might be the spot.
I also like that Brandin Cooks (11 receptions for 136 yards) hasn’t been a big difference marker yet. The unheralded wide receiver is Houston’s best option after he posted a 1000+ yard season in 2021. The Texans covered the spread and played in close games against harder opponents than the Bears. I trust them again this week in a matchup that could realistically win.
Why are we teasing the Falcons? Atlanta is another 2-0 ATS team, despite the fact that they’ve lost two close contests. On Sunday, they travel to the Pacific Northwest to square up against the Seattle Seahawks. An indictment on the Seahawks is our first angle on this teaser leg. After a hard-fought victory in Week 1 against their former franchise quarterback, the Seahawks looked like what most of us thought they would in Week 2 against the San Francisco 49ers.
The Niners dominated Seattle, permitting only 14 first downs, 216 total yards, and controlling the clock for nearly two-thirds of the contest. They never allowed Seattle’s offense to score, either. While we expect the Seahawks to play somewhat better at home, that’s not worth a full seven points of line value. Seattle as a “pick-em” at home is appropriate, since you can argue that Atlanta is a more talented team.
The Falcons almost shocked the world in Week 2 in a wild comeback at SoFi Stadium against the Super Bowl champions. They held the ball as long as Los Angeles, ran the ball better (90 rushing yards compared to LAR’s 65), and returned a blocked punt for a touchdown to make it a one-score game in the 4th quarter. They outscored the Rams 24-10 in the second half, too. In Week 1, the Falcons probably should’ve beaten the New Orleans Saints. They bested the Saints in total yards, time of possession, and third down conversion rate. But turnovers and a late surge from the Saints resulted in a one-point win for their divisional rival.
Still, we love the way this Falcons’ team battles, and it’s likely they’ll be a great ATS team all season. Arthur Smith, Atlanta’s head coach, probably feels like he’s fighting for his job. The same can be said for Marcus Mariota, the journeyman quarterback now on his third NFL team in seven seasons. They’re full of young talent like Kyle Pitts (who’s way overdue for a breakout game) and Drake London, the rookie wide receiver who already has 13 receptions for 160 yards and a touchdown in two contests. He looks pro-ready.
A matchup between two flawed teams, I’d rather tease the squad that’s due for a win and showed great effort in two games against superior opponents. Add the Falcons without hesitation, and let’s capitalize on this three-team, Week 3 teaser! Good luck, everyone!