Welcome to the final week of the season and one of the last chances to wager on a basic strategy teaser until the 2013 NFL season. The year has come and gone faster than a pick-six that pulls off a cover and ruins the spread. It seems like only yesterday that the replacement referees were messing up games and taking years off the life expectancy of NFL bettors everywhere. But, luckily for NFL gamblers, basic strategy teasers have won at an 85 percent rate this season, and they have been a solid investment for sports bettors all year. Let’s just jump right in and take a look at this week’s basic strategy teaser games and try to find the best value wagers for the final week of the season.
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Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts
Original spread: Texans -7.5
Six-point teaser: Texans -1.5
The Houston Texans absolutely need to win this game if they want to have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Texans are tied with the Denver Broncos at 12-3 and hold the tie breaker based on head-to-head win percentage. So, all the Texans have to do is win their matchup against the Colts, or else there is a chance that the team could fall all the way down to the third seed in the AFC, and into a first-round matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Colts, on the other hand, have the fifth seed in the AFC locked up, as they would hold the third tie breaker against the Bengals based on common opponents. Indianapolis has virtually nothing to play for, and the Colts will probably rest their starters for the majority of the game. This is a situation where teasing the Texans down to a 1.5-point favorite makes perfect sense. Houston is simply trying to lock up a win while keeping their starters safe. The team might not be able to cover the original spread but should be able to win by at least two points.
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants
Original spread: Giants -7.5
Six-point teaser: Giants -1.5
The New York Giants desperately need to win this week in order to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. If New York can beat the Eagles and finish the season 9-7, they can make the playoffs if Minnesota, Chicago, and Dallas all lose next week. New York’s playoff chances are slim but still very much alive.
The Giants have not been playing great football over the last seven weeks, but, luckily for them, the Philadelphia Eagles have been playing even worse. The Eagles have been dead in the water for the last 10 weeks and have gone 1-10 over their 11 games. It’s hard to image the Eagles turning things around and picking up a win during the last game of the season. Teasing the Giants down to a 1.5-point favorite is a solid wager to have. They will probably cover the original spread, so teasing them down only gives the Giants more breathing room to cover.
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals
Original spread: Ravens +2.5
Six-point teaser: Ravens +8.5
Both the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals already have their playoff situations locked up — but the Ravens can still move into the third seed with a win and a Patriots loss. So, while there is really no reason for Cincinnati to play their starters much, if at all, the Ravens, on the other hand, would love to win this game just in case the Patriots lose.
This is one of those games where anything can happen. But if you had to choose a winner between two teams not necessarily trying their hardest, taking the team getting the 8.5 points seems as solid of a reason as any. This game seems like a toss up, but teasing the Ravens up to 8.5-point underdogs should be enough to cover the spread.
This weeks basic strategy teasers seem as solid of a proposition as we have had all season. The wagers have been positive expected value bets all season, so there is no reason to abandon them now. If I had to choose the weakest of these three games, I would pick the Ravens versus the Bengals, since neither teams has much left to play for. But taking the Ravens and the points still has a lot of value. Remember to bet wisely, and may the spread be with you.
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