Stuckey: The Best NFL Teaser for Championship Sunday

Stuckey: The Best NFL Teaser for Championship Sunday article feature image

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay.

  • Should you use teasers when betting the NFL? If so, when and how? We recap the five rules to follow and other factors to consider.
  • We'll then apply my teaser rules and guidelines to this weekend's Conference Championship games and decide whether to play or pass.

Contrary to popular opinion, teasers can be a very valuable tool to bettors — but really only in the NFL as long as you follow a few basic rules of thumb.

Here’s a recap of the five teaser rules that novice bettors should know (read more about all five here):

  1. Don’t ever tease across zero.
  2. Cross at least two key numbers, preferably 3 and 7.
  3. Don’t tease totals.
  4. Price matters.
  5. Know your book’s rules.

There are also other ancillary factors that I consider before ever finalizing an NFL teaser:

  • Lower scoring games: Naturally, teasing a side becomes more valuable in a game that points will come at a premium. Not a consideration this week.
  • Backdoorability: How will the opposing defense play late and/or how much do you trust your quarterback to drive down the field late for a touchdown? Very much in play this week with four high-powered offenses.
  • Coaching: Do you have a competent coach who will help you with game strategy decisions? For example, he kicks a field goal down 10 with less than two minutes left rather than trying to score a touchdown in the final seconds. Andy Reid has his clock management issues and Sean Payton has made some curious game strategy decisions this season, but these are four of the better coaches in the NFL.
  • Special teams: Do you have an overall special teams edge and, more importantly, a kicker you trust? This becomes even more important with the recent extra-point rule changes. No worries here, as we have have four trustworthy kickers and no poor special teams units this weekend.

No red flags for teasing any of the four teams this weekend — but it all comes down to key numbers and the range we can tease through. Remember our rules!

If we apply the guidelines from above, there is only one possible teaser combination worth considering.

Conference Championship Teaser Rankings

We never tease totals and we never tease across zero, which only leaves two potential teaser pieces:

  1. Rams +9
  2. Patriots +9

After digging into both games all week, I have decided to pass on any pregame sides or totals. I just think both lines and over/unders are spot on after making adjustments from last week and handicapping the matchups.

However, I did bet a small teaser (0.5 unit) on both underdogs this weekend. (I will also have plenty of player props, which I will be publishing a piece on shortly.)

I think we’ll see two close games, but since both games have high totals and I’m not truly crossing both the 3 and 7, I’m not in love with this teaser as much as I was last week.

I am doing the next best thing though — crossing the 7 from the 3, which means I am partially crossing the 3, while also covering two other important numbers in 4 and 6.

I also like that we have two high-IQ coaches (my two favorite), two reliable kickers and two potent offenses facing pedestrian defenses if I need a backdoor score late.

A little meaningless fun fact: the Patriots have gone 35-10 in the postseason since 2001. Of those 10 losses, six came by one possession, which is what the above teaser requires:

The good news is the Chiefs aren’t the Broncos or Ravens, who are responsible for all four of the Patriots’ double-digit losses in the playoffs since 2001.

Good luck!

My Conference Championship Teaser (0.5 unit): Rams +9/Patriots +9

NFL teasers YTD: 16-11 (59.3%)