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Playing NFL Teasers

   by Bryan Leonard - 10/29/2005

I don't recommend trying to make your sports betting living off teasers. However, there are times when teasers offer good wagering value. Sometimes you can tease an underdog you like over several key numbers offering excellent value. For example, if you like a +4 dog who you think should win the game, you can tease it to +10 or +10.5, offering plenty of insurance in case they don't win. Or, you can tease a favorite down to 3 or even less than 3, skipping over key numbers 7, 4 and 3. This particular Sunday offers some interesting potential for teasers on several favorites.

The Bengals are hosting Green Bay, with both teams off emotionally tough losses. The Bengals lost a division showdown with the Steelers as a favorite, leaving a bad taste. The team has not been in a good mood this week and plays its second straight home game here. This is a talented, versatile Cincy offense, one that has scored points on 12 drives this season that have been for 70 yards or more, while the defense has allowed just five drives of that length. The Bengals under Marvin Lewis play the game hard and usually win and cover when they are supposed to, going 10-1 SU, 7-4 ATS their last 11 as chalk.

Their opponent, Green Bay, has had a miserable season, gouged by injuries. For this game, third-string RB Tony Fisher will start. Starter Ahman Green (torn thigh tendon) is out along with No. 2 RB Najeh Davenport (ankle). The Packers play their second straight road game here and blew a 17-0 halftime lead in a frustrating loss at Minnesota. Players were very dejected after the collapse in what is clearly a lost season for them. Cincy may offer good value for teaser players.

The Buffalo Bills are also in a tough spot, playing on the West Coast last week (38-17 loss at Oakland) and now fly back East to play at New England in a national TV game. The Bills have journeyman Kelly Holcomb at quarterback and a terrible run defense. Buffalo is 0-3 SU/ATS on the road getting beat by a 25-9 average! They take on a Patriots team that has had two weeks to prepare and is getting healthy, with DE Richard Seymour, RB Corey Dillon and LB Tedy Bruschi returning. Seymour and Dillon have missed the last two games, while Bruschi, the leader of the defense, hasn't played since the Super Bowl. Don't expect a lot from Bruschi on the field, but just being in uniform and partaking in some plays is going to have the Foxboro crowd in a frenzy, as he is a fan favorite. The Pats rolled over Buffalo in 2004, with a better defense and QB (Drew Bledsoe), by 14 and 23 points.

In addition, Patriots' coach Bill Belichick has spent much of the season focusing on the offense, as his two top coordinators left from a year ago. However, during the bye week he has been spending his time with the defense, the main area of weakness. Buffalo's weak offensive line offers a chance for the defense to improve its poor numbers. The Pats have also played four of their last five on the road, and they are 22-1 their last 23 home games! And that lone loss was the last home game, an embarrassing 41-17 loss to San Diego. This week, Seymour was quietly talking about pride and getting the defense back to where it belongs. That's the same kind of talk the team had when they went to play at Pittsburgh and Atlanta after losses. They won both games as a road dog, so teasing this team at home may offer some value.

Finally, the Monday night game finds an anemic Baltimore offense (11.5 ppg) at mighty Pittsburgh. The Ravens are 0-3 SU/ATS on the road where they are getting beat by 12 ppg. They have no passing attack and RB Jamaal Lewis is averaging 54.3 yards a game and 2.9 yards a carry. He admitted that he is feeling burdened by pending free agency. And the defense will be without two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Ray Lewis, and current Defensive Player of the Year Ed Reed, their best all-around lineman. The Steelers are home, healthy and hungry. It's amazing they've lost two in a row at home, but that's not likely the case here, especially with a national TV audience watching. The Bengals, Patriots and Ravens perhaps offer good teaser value this weekend.

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