The 2015 NFL season is only hours away, and at this point most bettors have poured over every single line looking for the best value during Week 1. And while there are quite a few great spots to bet on, another opportunity to find value is by wagering on a basic strategy teaser. The bet takes favorites of 7.5, 8.0, and 8.5 points and teases them down to under three points and takes underdogs of 1.5, 2.0 and 2.5 points and teases them up past the seven-point mark. The strategy uses the NFL key numbers (the most common margin of victory) to create a positive expected value bet (or something close to it). Here is a quick look at the three best betting options for Week 1 of the season. And remember to return to Doc's Sports every week as we follow basic strategy teasers over the course of the NFL season.
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San Francisco 49ers vs Minnesota Vikings
Spread: 49ers +2.5
Six-point teaser: 49ers +8.5
We all know the internal drama that has plagued San Francisco over the last couple of seasons from front office dysfunction to off-the-field player issues. The team lost a few key pieces on a once-dominant defense and is expected to be a .500 team at best according to many NFL pundits. The strength of this teaser, however, comes from the fact that a Minnesota team that went 7-9 in 2014 is suddenly a road favorite against a squad that has recent experience going deep into the playoffs.
Minnesota has the potential to be a solid team with the return of Adrian Peterson and the growth of second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. But are the Vikings ready to be road favorites during the first game of the year? The 49ers stock has dropped drastically over the offseason, but the team should be able to cover a +8.5-point spread at home during the opening game of 2015. This teaser feels solid and the best of Sunday's options.
New Orleans Saints at Arizona Cardinals
Spread: Saints +2.5
Six-point teaser: Saints +8.5
The big question surrounding this teaser is whether Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer will be ready to play, and if he is then just how effective he will be. Last season the Cardinals built up a 10-1 record with Palmer at quarterback, and they turned into an under-the-radar contender late in the season. If Palmer isn't ready to go on Sunday, the ball will most likely be turned over to backup Drew Stanton, who can be solid at times and downright bad at others. The strength of this teaser comes from the unknown variables on Arizona's side of the ball. Coach Bruce Arians may not be looking to sprint out of the gate and could be content with taking things slow early in the year.
New Orleans, on the other hand, can struggle on the road and is coming off consecutive 4-4 seasons. The team also traded Jimmy Graham during the offseason, one of quarterback Drew Brees favorite target, but still has enough offensive weapons to be a force during the 2015 season. The organization as a whole is coming off a disappointing end to last season and will be looking to right the ship and return to the playoffs after losing five straight home games to finish 2014. Arizona could and probably should win this game, yet the team has too many question surrounding them to bet on it. New Orleans has a huge cushion with the 8.5 points.
Buffalo Bills vs Indianapolis Colts
Spread: Bills +2.5
Six-point teaser: Bills +8.5
This teaser definitely feels like the weakest of the bunch. Indianapolis is an offensive juggernaut, while the Rex Ryan-led Bills team will surely be defense-oriented. Buffalo's management has already admitted they might not do much this season without a "starting quarterback" on the roster. Last season Indianapolis lead the league in most games covered with a 12-6-1 ATS record and managed to win those games by nearly two points more than the actual spread.
Receiving +8.5 is a lot of points, and that line is anchored by the key number of seven, so taking Buffalo with this teaser wouldn't be crazy. The Colts, however, won 9 of their 13 victories (playoffs included) in 2014 by double digits, and the team managed to win all but two games by seven points or more. Skipping this teaser feels like the best option.
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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