With the NFL set to return on Thursday, bettors will be able to place their wagers on a plethora of betting options. Seasoned bettors tend to stick to sides and totals, while newbies or "square" bettors tend to play more parlays, props and teasers, options that are geared to the house's advantage.
The most obvious way of betting the NFL is via the point spread. This is the most popular and well-known option in the sports betting industry. Most people enjoy betting on a team to cover the spread instead of winning or losing the game. The next option the public loves is the parlay bet. They know the odds of winning are already slashed 10-fold for every game they add, but they continue to bet parlay after parlay in hopes of striking it rich one time on a $20 bet. That reason alone is why 99 percent of the public loses over the long term.
One betting option available to NFL bettors is the teaser. A teaser bet is similar to a parlay bet. It's a bet the requires winning two or more games in order to get a payoff. However, the difference between the two lies with the point spread. A straight parlay bet allows you to play only the point spread offered, while a teaser bet allows you to adjust that number for whichever team you favor. There are different types of teasers available, but the most common one is a six-point teaser. For example, if a game has the point spread set at -10 with the total at 51 for the game, your six-point teaser would allow you to tease that spread and get the favorite at -4 or the underdog at +16. This method is also applied to the total as well. Should you like the underdog and the "under", you can add six points to the total, and now you have a readjusted total of 57 with an underdog of +16.
Despite how easy teaser bets may seem, they are usually a sucker bet for most who play this method. The reason I say that is because those who play teasers seemingly don't understand the value of the key numbers in the NFL. Think about the scoring for a second. The most common margin of victory in the NFL is three points. Since 2002, games ending with a three-point margin occurred 15.67 percent of the time. The next most common number is seven. A seven-point margin of victory occurs 9.67 percent of the time.
With those key numbers in mind, I can now explain basic strategy teasers. Simply put - you must find two favorites where the point-spread is between -7.5 and -8.5 and tease them down using the six-point teaser to make their adjusted spread between -1.5 and -2.5. This likens your chances of winning as you have moved the spread under the two most common margins of victory for NFL football. On the contrary, if you like the underdog, make sure to find spreads that hover around the +1.5 - +2.5 range, which would give you an adjusted spread of +7.5 and +8.5 - which also moves the spread through those two key numbers. This is the only teaser we recommend at Doc's Sports because we feel the numbers and percentages are finally in our favor. For example, if a line is reasonably accurate then you can assume about a 50 percent chance of either team covering. If the odds are -110, then you would need to win about 52.4 percent of your bets to break even. To win 52.4 percent of your teasers you need to be able to win the individual game approximately 72.5 percent of the time. Because games end up being decided by three and seven more than 22 percent of the time, teasing through these two numbers increases the chances of covering a spread from about 50 percent to 72 percent or more.
Before you get too excited, you must understand that there are a few issues that have made this teaser strategy harder than it should be. First, books have increased the price of teasers. It used to be that you could grab a two-team teaser for about even-money (+100). Now the most common price is -120, and -130 isn't exactly unheard of, either. After doing some due-diligence, I was able to come across two of the lowest-priced teasers on the market. 5Dimes offers a -100 price tag for a two-team, six-point teaser (ties push), while Bovada comes in at -110. Those are just about the best prices you will find anywhere online.
These extra costs of making these types of bets make it much more difficult to earn a long-term profit. The second hiccup when it comes to betting teasers is finding the right spot. Las Vegas didn't build itself; gamblers built the town. The guys that run the sportsbooks in Las Vegas aren't dumb. They caught on to this betting strategy, and because of that, spreads of -7.5, -8.5, or +1.5, +2.5 are not all that common any more. These lines can still be found, but it means bettors have to jump on the line as soon as they see these key numbers.
If we look ahead to Week 1 of the NFL, we will find that there are a few opportunities to play the favorites and get them with a smaller spread across the key number of three. This basic strategy teaser will be a good way to build our bankroll for Week 1. These lines can be found at Bovada.
San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs
Spread: Chiefs -7
Six-Point Teaser: Chiefs -1
The Chiefs are laying seven points at home against the visiting San Diego Chargers. This would be a great spot to use the Chiefs as teaser pick No. 1. They were one of the better home teams last season, going 6-2 at Arrowhead Stadium. Readjusting the spread using a six-point basic strategy teaser would allow you to get them at a spread of -1. That's essentially a "pick'em", and you can make a case that this is one of the best plays on the board. The Chiefs should be able to run the ball at will even with Jamaal Charles not yet at 100 percent healthy. His backups Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West will fill his shoes and the stat column. The Chargers are a mess right now and I expect them to lay an egg in their season-opening game.
Spread: Titans +2
Six-Point Teaser: Titans +8
Minnesota is going to be in tough this year even after trading for annual underachiever Sam Bradford. He wasn't very good in a Rams uniform and looked lost in an Eagles shirt. Now he comes into a situation where teams will be stacking the box in an attempt to stop Adrian Peterson, and I don't trust his ability to be able to win games on his own as a playmaker. As for the Titans, I am fully expecting them to be a run-first team with a backfield of DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry. They will grind out drives and even run the read-option with QB Marcus Mariota. This will keep the clock running and should limit the Vikings' time of possession. Barring any critical turnovers, this game should stay well within the adjusted spread of +8, and the Titans might even prevail victorious.
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