Week 3 of the NFL season is already upon us, and to say that the season has started off in a rather peculiar fashion would be an understatement. Two of the preseason Super Bowl favorites are sputtering along on offense (Seattle and Green Bay), the New England Patriots are 2-0 without the services of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, The Washington Redskins are already experiencing locker room turmoil, and Carson Wentz just might be the real deal.
Despite all of that, however, covering the spread in the NFL is key. Some interesting numbers I came across while doing some research pointed out that road teams are 18-14 ATS (56.2 percent), underdogs are 19-13 ATS (59.4 percent) and road dogs are covering at a 60 percent clip (14-9 ATS). While it's still early, be sure to keep these high-percentage situations in mind when making your plays this week.
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However, for the sake of this article, I will be giving you teams that I think will be the most attractive when teasing the spread either up or down six points (on a two-team teaser). This is called the "Basic Strategy Teaser". A basic strategy teaser is a two-team, six-point teaser that uses the power of NFL key numbers, which are the most common margins of victory, to move certain spreads around the three- and seven-point mark.
This week's action has three NFL games that qualify with a mix of favorites and underdogs being teased into a more appealing position. All lines are courtesy of GT Bets.
Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers
Spread: Green Bay -7.5
Six-point teaser: Packers -1.5
In the preseason, there was a lot of hype surrounding the return of Aaron Rodgers' go-to receiver Jordy Nelson. Many experts predicted that the Packers offense could get back to their 2014 ways and dominate the league. Through two games so far this season, I give the Packers offense mixed reviews. Yes, they put up 27 on Jacksonville, but they were made to look pedestrian against a good Vikings defense. Moving forward they get a depleted Lions team that is fresh off of choking away a 15-3 lead last week against Tennessee. Division games are always closely contested, and despite playing in their home opener the Packers offense will need to prove to me they can consistently score points before I lay the -7.5.
Prognosis: While I won't lay -7.5, I think using the Packers in a six-point teaser is the best bet on the board. The Lions have just one win in their last 24 games at Lambeau Field, which means only a crazy person believes they can actually win the game this week.
Oakland Raiders @ Tennessee Titans
Spread: Tennessee +1.5
Six-point teaser: Titans +7.5
The Oakland Raiders are a team everyone wants to believe in. They are supposed to have a high-powered offense that can outscore any team in a shootout. While that may be true -- thanks to the growth of QB Derek Carr and WR Amari Cooper -- the defense has left a lot to be desired during the first two weeks of the season. They have allowed more than 1,000 total yards and will likely find it tough to contain a dual-threat QB such as Marcus Mariota. Mariota has been solid during the first two weeks and is fresh off a come-from-behind win last week against Detroit. His supporting cast has been effective as well, with DeMarco Murray and Delanie Walker pitching in with three touchdowns. Oakland is slated for another early start (10 a.m. PST) and could find themselves in a dogfight against a scrappy Titans team.
Prognosis: On paper, Oakland is the more-talented team, but as we saw last week the more-talented team does not always win. I'm concerned about the early start, and I expect this to be a lower-scoring game than we are used to seeing from Oakland. Take as many points as you can get.
San Diego Chargers @ Indianapolis Colts
Spread: Chargers +2.5
Six-point teaser: Chargers +8.5
The San Diego Chargers might just be the unluckiest team in the NFL. They are ravaged by injuries seemingly every single year, and this year is no different. They come into this game after losing Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead for the year. Normally, this would spell the end of San Diego's season, but I wouldn't rule them out yet. Philip Rivers has been one of the best QBs so far this season with five touchdowns and zero interceptions. Last year's fantasy bust Melvin Gordon is finally running with a purpose, scoring three touchdowns on 159 yards. I would much prefer that duo over Andrew Luck (limited in practice with shoulder soreness) and an aging Frank Gore in the backfield. The Colts are winless, and I expect them to remain winless after this game.
Prognosis: The Colts will be without their No. 2 receiver Donte Moncrief, and that will hinder the offense. I expect the Colts to try and run the ball, slow the tempo down and keep Rivers off the field. While I believe San Diego will win this game outright, getting 8.5 points in this game will feel like Christmas came early.
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